CROATIA (2020)- European Culture- Joint Issue w/Ireland
On January 23, 2020, An Post and Croatian Post jointly issued two commemorative stamps to celebrate the designation of Galway and Rijeka as European Capitals of Culture, 2020.
Croatia to preside over the European Union in 2020 - meet the country and its city that will be the European Capital of Culture in the same year.
Dear European friends and friends of Europe, welcome to Croatia, welcome to Rijeka!
Nested within northern coastal Croatia's stunning landscapes, Rijeka is a place beaming with life and a bastion of free-spirited, peaceful coexistence and progressive thinking.
Having developed under no less than seven different countries within the last hundred years, Rijeka and its residents await you with open arms, offering a plethora of cultural and historical heritage sites, testifying to Europe's profoundly turbulent history. This port of diversity, where the Mediterranean and Central Europe meet, will host a rich cultural programme in 2020 showcasing Rijeka's identity, while at the same time offering a panoply of European culture. We share the same continent, the same world, so let's get to know each other, let's get connected.
Along with Rijeka, the Irish city of Galway also bears this prestigious title of the European Capital of Culture in 2020. Galway is located on the West Coast of Ireland. Situated on the Wild Atlantic Way, it is well known for its cosmopolitan atmosphere, the exceptional kindness of its people, and for its status as the cultural hub of Ireland. This year's exciting pan-European programme will bring events to some of the most unexpected places both city- and regionwide, including the islands, remote villages, wetlands, fields, mountains and beaches. With all the food, music, dancing, theatrical and visual arts performances, poetry reading, literary and sporting events blending into quite a spectacle to behold, we are confident that visitors to Galway will be able to enjoy a pretty unique and fun-filled experience.
Although it may seem otherwise, cities actually do not have borders. The roads of Rijeka - both the physical ones and, more importantly, the metaphorical ones - lead towards the outskirts, where they merge with the natural environment.
Located in the Kvarner Gulf in the Adriatic Sea, Rijeka is the main marine port in Croatia, as well as the economic, administrative and cultural centre of the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County.
It is a city often overlooked by tourists in search for a magical vacation under the Adriatic sun, who often stay at romantic historic hotels and villas in Opatija or enjoy the natural beauties of nearby islands. The visitors who, sometimes intentionally, but more often accidentally, find themselves in Rijeka, are astonished by the complexity of this post-industrial city, which, due to its strategic position, was a site of fierce conflicts between various forces throughout the history.
Rijeka has been burdened by traumatic historical events. It is a divided city formed by force and migration, both voluntary and involuntary.
Rijeka lies in a geographic area the borders of which were constantly changed and redefined, causing various politically sensitive situations in the past. If anyone knows anything about those situations, it is the citizens of Rijeka, who were governed by as many as nine different countries in the 20th century alone. Such circumstances have produced a state of mind incorporating typical European values, such as multilingualism and tolerance, acceptance of diversity as a common good, focus on the things that unite us and cooperation. To all of this, there is only one appropriate answer - culture.
Rijeka strives to overcome its own misconceptions and narratives labelling it as a well-developed port and a promising industrial city. The fact is, the city that matches this image does not exist anymore. The city of Rijeka that reflects this idea vanished at the end of the last century, together with many lost jobs, leaving only abandoned industrial halls, smokestacks and facilities behind. The vast and epochal industrial heritage of Rijeka has defined the city and its citizens.
The energy of 23,000 students of the ambitious University of Rijeka, the innovativeness of creative industries and the 2020 European Capital of Culture title represent the foundation for building a new future for our city.
Borders are exciting. They must be drawn only to be erased because that way, we can use the best of both worlds. In other words, we can fully enjoy the uniqueness of our own and foreign culture, but at the same time respect individual specificities and shared values.
Welcome to Rijeka, the oasis of normality in an abnormal context. Enjoy your stay here because that is how history is made.