Croatia in Europe

Democratic Croatia came into being 23 years ago, although it can hardly be considered a young state. Despite Croatia’s debut into the European Union today, it has been instrumental in the creation of European culture for millennia.
Nevertheless, Croatia’s Europeanness is marked by a certain dissonance between its two cultural variants – the Central European and the Mediterranean European. As Maciej Czerwiński notes, communism did not bring Croatia closer to Central Europe, to Kundera’s “kidnapped West”, but in fact drove it further away. Yet after the collapse of the communist regime, its attempt to distance itself from the stereotype‑ridden region virtually became declared proof of its Europeanness. The Croats “fled” the Balkans in the same way as the Poles, Czechs, Slovaks and Hungarians “fled” Eastern Europe.
However, the success of its European integration does not remove certain important questions from the horizon. Who do the Croats feel themselves to be? What is national identity, and is there any sense in discussing such a construct at all? Where is the boundary between “past” and “present”? Should the Yugoslavian idea be filed in the archives of history once and for all? And what role will fall to the Croats in a crisis‑racked Europe?

    • 1
      Editorial
      Jacek Purchla

      Democratic Croatia came into being 23 years ago, although it can hardly be considered a young state. Despite Croatia’s debut into the European Union today, it has been instrumental in the creation of European culture for millennia.
      Nevertheless, Croatia’s Europeanness is marked by a certain dissonance between its two cultural variants – the Central European and the Mediterranean European. As Maciej Czerwiński notes, communism did not bring Croatia closer to Central Europe, to Kundera’s “kidnapped West”, but in fact drove it further away. Yet after the collapse of the communist regime, its attempt to distance itself from the stereotype‑ridden region virtually became declared proof of its Europeanness. The Croats “fled” the Balkans in the same way as the Poles, Czechs, Slovaks and Hungarians “fled” Eastern Europe.
      However, the success of its European integration does not remove certain important questions from the horizon. Who do the Croats feel themselves to be? What is national identity, and is there any sense in discussing such a construct at all? Where is the boundary between “past” and “present”? Should the Yugoslavian idea be filed in the archives of history once and for all? And what role will fall to the Croats in a crisis‑racked Europe?

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      Worth a look

  • Croatia in Europe
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      Croatia in Europe: ex occidente lux
      Maciej Czerwiński

      Escape from the region into which the stereotypes pigeonhole these countries of Central Europe is treated as a priority: as proof of their Europeanness. The Croats shy away from the Balkans, the Poles from Eastern Europe. The historical experience of both nations is full of disappointments. Both have a deeply rooted conviction of their unblemished European pedigree, although their borderland status inevitably engenders extreme and ambivalent attitudes.

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      Slavenka Drakulić

      Before 2008 there was the hope of bridging the gap between East and West more quickly because there were more means and motivation. Now, when the entire train seems to be slowing down, there is less and less of a chance for those at the back. Democracy has its weaknesses; capitalism is in crisis. But what could be the alternative?

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      The Yugoslavian idea before and after Yugoslavia
      Predrag Matvejević

      If the European federation accomplished its objectives, then apart from what has already been achieved in Yugoslavia, together with the other South Slavic countries, we could gain something much better: modern and permanent relations with the world, and access to universal human heritage, which does not diminish anyone’s individuality or independence.

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      The future of the past in Croatia
      Marko Špikić

      In post‑war Croatia, the political discourse easily claimed victory over the professional and the public. Experts have been co‑opted or pacified within new forms of the bureaucratic system, and the public was offered a non‑scientific discourse about the past where until a decade ago the idea of the nation pushed aside all other forms of memory.

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      The spirit of Europe
      Zvonimir Milanović

      Croatian humanism may be said to be based formally on the Italian model, but in view of the historical conditions and the sense of kinship it was focused in ideological terms on the North, drawing if not its vital force at least its inspiration from the contemporary seat of Polish political power, i.e. Krakow. Polish state sovereignty undoubtedly impressed visitors from the Slavic South seeking a strong alliance for potential Dalmatian‑Croatian reintegration into a single political entity.

  • interview
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      On politics and art
      Andrzej Wajda

      An interview with Professor Andrzej Wajda

  • European Capital of Culture
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      Euro-Mediterranean Capital of Culture
      Ulrich Fuchs

      Ulrich Fuchs talks to Joanna Sanetra-Szeliga

  • ideas in practice
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      Cheap, attractive, modern – the Werkbund estates
      Agnieszka Zabłocka-Kos

      In the spring of 1914, a few months before the cataclysm of the First World War, Europe’s metropolises were not only glittering with extravagantly lit department‑store window displays and redolent with the scent of roses in the light, spacious salons of bourgeois apartments. The cities of this period also stank of dank, dark, overcrowded rooms in which poverty, disease and lack of any hope of change condemned their inhabitants to the misery of vegetation. The war that was already looming was to change all this, however. The salons become poorer, but serious thinking about reform was picking up speed.

  • Reflections, impressions, opinions
    • 142
      Andrzej Tomaszewski’s philosophy of heritage
      Andrzej Rottermund

      Andrzej Tomaszewski, "Ku nowej filozofii
      dziedzictwa" ("Towards a New Philosophy of Heritage")
      Selected and edited by Ewa Święcka
      International Cultural Centre, Kraków 2012

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      Memory of Königsberg – amnesia of Kaliningrad?
      Beata K. Nykiel

      "Unter der Brücken von Königsberg" / "Pod mostami Królewca" / "Под мостами Кёнигсберга" ("Under the bridges of Königsberg")
      Concept and texts: Konrad Nawrocki
      Cooperation: Iwona Cechosz‑Felczyk, Wiktor Nowotka, Jan Przypkowski
      Oficyna Pegaza, Warsaw 2011

      Maks Popow, Параллельная память. 150 лет истори Кёнигсберга и Калининграда в фотографиях / Max Popov, "Parallel Memory. 150 Years of Königsberg and Kaliningrad History in Photographs"
      Piktorika Publishing, Kaliningrad 2012

    • 160
      Wojciech Wilczyk

      Eustachy Kossakowski
      "6 metrów przed Paryżem" / "6 métres avant Paris"
      Editions Nous, Caen 2012

    • 168
      The photographer of change
      Peter Michalík

      "Viliam Malík 1912–2012"
      19 April – 14 July 2013
      Slovak National Gallery

    • 176
      Krakow for Zagreb…
      Csaba G. Kiss

      "Krakov Zagrebu. Kraków Zagrzebiowi"
      ("Krakow for Zagreb")
      Edited by Maciej Czerwiński and Magdalena Najbar‑Agičić
      Srednja Europa, Zagreb 2011

    • 180
      One hundred landmark buildings in Lviv
      Żanna Komar

      Andreas Hofer, Elisabeth Leitner, Bohdan Tscherkes
      "Lemberg Lviv – Architektur&Stadt. 100 Bedeutende Bauwerke" / "Lemberg Lviv – Architecture&City. 100 Landmark Buildings"
      LIT Verlag, Wien–Berlin 2012

  • By myself
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      Notes from a journey (2)
      Mykola Riabchuk