Day of the Unification of Međimurje and Day of the International Recognition of Croatia and Reintegration of Croatian Danube Region

People from Međimurje county in Croatia 100 years ago
Image by Međimurske Online

In January, Croatia marks three important events that are celebrated on two memorial days. The first one is marked on January 9 and the second one on January 15. These days are not official state holidays, which means they are considered working days.

In this post, we cover:

The facts are these…

Day of unification of Međimurje with Croatian mother country

On January 9, Croatia celebrates a memorial day called “Dan sjedinjenja Međimurja s maticom zemljom Hrvatskom” (Day of the unification of Međimurje with the Croatian mother country). On this day, we commemorate the adoption of the “Rezolucija o odcjepljenju Međimurja od mađarske države” (Resolution on the Secession of Međimurje from the Hungarian State). This day signifies the aspiration to preserve the integrity of the Croatian territory.

The Resolution on the Secession of Međimurje from the Hungarian State was brought on January 9, 1919. Croats from Međimurje county gathered in a public general assembly in Čakovec. They declared their secession from the Hungarian state to which they belonged under coercion and against their will. More than 10.000 people participated in the assembly.

Under their control, Hungarians pursued imperialism and enforced violent Magyarization. They wanted to create a single and monolingual Hungarian nation that would include nations of the former Hungarian state (Slovaks, Serbs, Romanians, Ukrainians) including Međimurje Croats. However, they failed in their plans.

After secession, Međimurje Croats wished to join the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. Although Međimurje was liberated from Hungarian authority through military action at the end of 1918, the Resolution on the Secession of Međimurje from the Hungarian State was brought at the beginning of 1919.

People who were the most prominent fighters against the Hungarization of Međimurje were Ivan Novak (lawyer, publicist, writer, and politician), Vinko Žganec (ethnomusicologist, melographer – a person who records folk melodies and dances, and academic), and Juraj Lajtman (priest, writer, and leader of Međimurje intellectuals).

On this day, government officials lay wreaths and light candles on their graves in thanks for everything they did for Međimurje.

Day of International Recognition of Croatia and Reintegration of Croatian Danube Region

On January 15, Croatia celebrates a memorial day called “Dan međunarodnoga priznanja Republike Hrvatske i Dan mirne reintegracije hrvatskog Podunavlja” (Day of the International Recognition of the Republic of Croatia and the Day of Peaceful Reintegration of the Croatian Danube Region). On this day, we celebrate two important events from Croatian history.

This memorial day is commemorated by laying wreaths and lighting candles near monuments and graves of Croatian War Veterans.

Event #1 – Day of the International Recognition of Croatia

The Day of the International Recognition of the Republic of Croatia confirms the statehood and full affirmation of the Croatian state within the international community. On January 15, 1992, members of the Europska zajednica (European Community) recognized the Republic of Croatia as a sovereign and independent state.

The first countries that recognized Croatia (June 26, 1991 – December 14, 1991) weren’t internationally recognized as states. These countries are:

  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Slovenia
  • Ukraine

The first country that internationally recognized Croatia, but wasn’t internationally recognized was Iceland. This happened on December 19, 1991. Germany also made this decision on the same day, but it became official on January 15, 1992.

Before January 15, 1992, Croatia was also internationally recognized by:

  • Estonia – December 31, 1991
  • The Holy See – January 13, 1992
  • San Marino – January 14, 1992

On January 15, 1992, Europska zajednica (European Community) internationally recognized Croatia. The European Community then included:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Luxembourg
  • Netherlands
  • Germany
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • United Kingdom

The following countries supported EC’s decision:

  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Hungary
  • Malta
  • Poland
  • Switzerland

After January 15, 1992, Croatia was internationally recognized by:

  • Argentina – January 16, 1992
  • Turkey – February 6, 1992
  • Russian Federation – February 17, 1992
  • Iran – March 15, 1992
  • Japan – March 17, 1992
  • Unites States of America – April 7, 1992
  • China – April 27, 1992
  • India – May 11, 1992
  • Indonesia May 16, 1992

Croatia established representative offices in Stuttgart, Munich, Brussels, Paris, Tokyo, Washington, Rome, and London even before the state was recognized (in 1991). In May 1992, additional Croatian embassies were founded in Vienna, Bonn, and Rome. Nowadays, we can find them almost everywhere. A list of all Croatian embassies and consular offices outside of Croatia is available here.

On May 22, 1992, Croatia entered Ujedinjeni narodi (United Nations). Although the recognition of the European Community was crucial, UN membership was the crown of Croatia’s international recognition.

Croatia maintains relationships with almost all other internationally recognized countries. Croatia is a member of many European and international bodies and initiatives including:

  • Vijeće Europe (Council of Europe) – since November 6, 1996
  • NATO – since April 1, 2009
  • Europska unija (European Union) – since July 1, 2013

Event #2 – Day of Peaceful Reintegration of Croatian Danube Region

The Day of Peaceful Reintegration of the Croatian Danube Region commemorates the peaceful reintegration of the Croatian Danube region into the constitutional order of the Republic of Croatia. This enabled peaceful life, work, and development on the territory of the Republic of Croatia.

On January 15, 1998, the occupied territories of eastern Slavonija (Slavonia), Baranja, and western Srijem (Syrmia) were reintegrated into the constitutional order of Croatia. This happened six years after the end of Domovinski rat (Croatian War of Independence).

For the process, the UN established a UN Transitional Authority in Eastern Slavonia. The reintegration started on January 15, 1996 and ended on January 15, 1998. This operation was the most successful peacekeeping operation of the UN, which is now a model for resolving similar crisis situations in the world.

View other holiday posts

A full list of Croatian holidays is available here.


Please note: All information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal advice in any form. For legal advice, you must consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. We can recommend one if you contact us.

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