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Report on the 29th International Congress of Vexillology

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Last modified: 2022-08-05 by rob raeside
Keywords: international congress of vexillology | ljubljana |
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image by Aleksander Hribovsek, 21 July 2019

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Daily Reports on the ICV

11 July - Day 1

Greetings from Ljubljana. The ICV opened this morning and is now in full swing. I met Tomislav which is a new "face" from FOTW.
In the meantime, here is a copy of the Congress photo. Not a bad turnout with 60 odd delegates ...
Bruce Berry, 11 July 2022

image provided by Bruce Berry, 11 July 2022
[Click on image for larger version]

The Congress opened with an opening ceremony in front of the Ljubljana City Hall. After the playing of the FIAV and Slovene anthems, the Congress flag was placed above the entrance of the City Hall, alongside the flags of the EU, Slovenia and Ljubljana. Chairman of the ICV Hosts, Heraldica Slovenica, Aleksander Hribovsek and FIAV President, Zeljko Heimer, welcomed the participants with Heimer then formally declaring the Congress open.

The opening paper was by Bard Cosman on Divine Vexillifery: God's Flag in the Judeo-Christian Tradition which provided an insight into how God's flag is depicted by primarily Christians and Jews. This religious theme was followed by Cederic de Fougerolle with a paper entitled Which Patron Saint for Vexillology? Vexillological Iconography of the Christian Sanctoral. Unfortunately due to the current travel restrictions in China, Zhao Xinfeng was unable to attend the ICV in person. His paper on the Qidao Temple on the Central Axis of Beijing in the Ming Dynasty was delivered electronically. The last paper in the initial session before lunch was that by Attila Istvan Szekeres on Historical Flags from Transylvania (15th - 19th Centuries) which also included actual replicas of the flags mentioned in the paper.

After lunch there were two papers. The first was a recorded paper by Kevin Harrington which dealt with Heroes on American Flags. Finally Zeljko Heimer gave an overview of the 142 Vexillological Periodicals published in 32 countries in over 30 languages since the first Flag Bulletin was published in October 1961.
Bruce Berry, 11 July 2022

12 July - Day 2

Jos Poels commenced the first session with a paper which dealt with February 14 1786 - The Dutch Flag Established which also covered the issue of when the upper stripe changed from orange to red on the Dutch flag. Alain Raulett's paper provided an overview of The Flag of Henry V and its Unknown Consequences. This refers to Henri V of France, the Count of Chambord ... and not any of the other Henry V's which he mentioned! The paper by Roman Klimes dealt with Ida Krauth and the First Standard of the President of Czechoslovakia and how she came to prepare and make the first flag used by the Cezch President in 1919.

After the break, it was my turn. My paper dealt with The forlorn, almost forgotten, flag of Zimbabwe Rhodesia. This was the flag used for 102 days immediately prior to the country becoming Zimbabwe in April 1980. Sebastia Herreros' paper recounted his personal story about the flag on the island on Cabrera which was followed by Andreas Herzfeld on the various proposals for a flag for the League of Nations.

The first paper in the afternoon session was a video presentation by Andriy Grechylo on the Ukrainian National Colours: history, myths and fakes. Given the current situation in Ukraine, and the now widespread display of the Ukrainian colours of blue and yellow, this provided many useful insights. The final paper of the session was by Jovan Jonovski on Phenomena of the Mijaks Flag.

The FIAV General Assembly was held after the afternoon tea break. I will provide an overview of the outcome of the meeting in a separate message.

Bruce Berry, 12 July 2022

The 27th General Assembly took place in Ljubljana on Tuesday.

44 member associations were present and following the report-backs by the President, Zeljko Heimer, the Secretary-General, Bruce Berry and the Secretary-General for Congresses, Graham Bartram consideration was given to the applicants which applied for membership. Each applicant (further background in Info-FIAV No. 55) was given an opportunity to make a short presentation about their respective associations/institutions prior to a vote being taken:

I am pleased to announce that the following associations/institutions have been accepted as members of FIAV, namely:

The Institute of Genealogy, Heraldry, and Vexillology (Lithuania)
Transylvanian Heraldic and Vexillological Association
Vexillological Society of Singapore.

The Proceedings from ICV 26, held in Sydney in 2015, were distributed earlier this year, while it was reported that the Proceedings from ICV 27 (held in London in 2017) and ICV 28 (held in San Antonio in 2019) are still being prepared.

Following a short presentation by the Société française de vexillologie (SFV), it was agreed by unanimous vote that ICV 31 will be hosted by SFV in Paris in 2026. A report-back on the preparations for ICV 30, to be held in Beijing in July 2024, is to be provided by the Vexillological Research Center of China on Friday morning.

In terms of Article 8 of the FIAV Constitution, a member which does not attend three consecutive meetings of the FIAV General Assembly will be deemed to have voluntarily resigned. Accordingly, the Magyarországi Zászló Társaság (Hungarian Flag Society) is no longer a member of FIAV as it has not attended an ICV since 2015.

The minutes of the meeting will be included in the next issue of Info-FIAV.

The announcement of FIAV Awards and presentation of certificates will be made at the Final Banquet of the ICV which is to be held on Friday evening.
Bruce Berry, 12 July 2022

13 July: Day 3

On Wednesday delegates were taken on tour to various Museums in Ljubljana and surrounding area. At the first we were shown the 13m Slovenian flag which was raised when independence was declared in June 1991. Numerous other flags and banners which were used in Slovenia from the turn of the last century were on display.

The displays in the National History Museum are divided into the various periods of Slovene history, with a number of vexillological artifacts from the pre- and post-World War II era being in on display. The national flag, and flag of Slovenia when it was part of Yugoslavia, are on display at the Military Museum we visited in Pivka. Examples of military vehicles, aircraft, a submarine etc are also on display here too.

We were also shown a Yugoslav Communist Party flag with mourning ribbon that was flown following the death of former Yugoslav President, Josip Tito in 1980. We were also privileged to see various other Communist Party and partisan flags used before and during WWI and WWII.

Following its declaration of independence, there followed a brief 10 day war between the Slovene Territorial Defence Force and the Yugoslav People's Army following which the Brioni Accords were signed recognising its independence.

Bruce Berry, 17 July 2019

14 July: Day 4

The third day of presentations began with a very interesting overview of Municipal Gonfaloni and Flags in the Italian Province of Trento. This was followed by Dominique Cureau proving an overview of the Communal Flags in French Region Sud. Interestingly only 152 out of the 963 communes (16%) in the region have a distinctive flag, with the majority of those that do being located along the Mediterranean coast. Krystof Huk then presented a paper on the Czech and Slovak Road to Communal Flags which traced the outline of the development of communal flags following the establishment of Czechoslovakia in 1919 and the process followed in both Czechia and Sloavkia following 1990 and the fall of communism. There are nearly 9000 municipal authorities in the two countries and the process to establish civic flags was explained.

After tea Annie Platoff presented a paper entitled Flying Flags at 28,000 kmh: An Introduction to Flag Usage on the International Space Station. She showed a variety of flags, flag patches and flags on space suits etc which have made it to the International Space Station - the new frontier of human endeavour. Ted Kaye's paper was on Identifying Mystery Flags: Museums Ask and NAVA Experts Answer. This dealt with how NAVA deals with the many requests it receives to assist with flag related queries.

The paper by Max Liberman dealt with Representing Languages with Flags. We have all seen the flag icons which indicate a language. Max indicated the problems which may arise when a language is used in a number of countries (ie German in Germany, Switzerland and Austria) and when a country which has a number of official languages (ie South Africa) ... so which flag should be used to indicate Arabic for example?

The last paper of the day was by Tony Burton entitled Less is More in Vexillis: Then and Now and Tomorrow in which he offered a suggestion for Slovenia on how to make its flag more distinctive!

Representatives from the Société française de vexillologie (SFV) then gave a short overview, on this Bastille Day, of their plans for hosting ICV 31 in Paris in the summer of 2026. This will be the first ICV to be held in France. A competition will be held to design a congress flag, the details of which will be advised shortly.

Following the presentations Annie Platoff outlined and how this could be used to create an International Vexillological Index. We can all start by adding our various collections on Zotero and start building a comprehensive index of vexillological publications.

Then some of us went down the road to discuss FOTW.

Bruce Berry, 14 July 2022

FOTWers at Ljubljana

FOTW meeting image by Bruce Berry, 14 July 2022
[Click on image for larger view]

Present: Bruce Berry, Željko Heimer, Peter Ansoff, Attila István Szekeres, Tomislav Todorović, Graham Bartram, Petr Exner, Annie Platoff,  Josef Hubka, Alan Hardy, Mike Thomas, Marcus Karlsson, Petr Holas, Manuela Schmöger, Jan Oskar Engene, Max Liberman

15 July: Day 5

The first paper of the final day was by Stoyan Antonov entitled Mistranslation of Vexillological Data From Virtuality to Practice: The Gagauz 'Ethnic' flag. The dealt with the flag of the Turkish speaking Gagauz people in Bulgaria. The following presentation by Uros Zizmund was a very insightful and personal view of how the design of the Anticorona Flag came about, its subsequent use across Slovenia and other parts of the world. The flag was designed as a symbol to thank the health care, and other front-line, workers during the Covid-19 pandemic. Mike Thomas then presented a paper on Recognising Flags by Colour Ratios. This was an update of the paper he gave in San Antonio and deals with software being developed which can identify flags from photos based on colour.

After the tea break, Patrice de la Condamine gave a presentation on Flags like Paintings. This was followed by Davied van Berlo's paper on A Flag for Every Student Home which provided the outcome of his research into the flags being flown by houses which accommodate students in his home town of Leiden in the Netherlands. The final presentation was by Dominik Cerelic on the Technical Drawing of Symbols. This covered the need to standardise colour and specifications in order to ensure that the correct details are always used.

Finally, an overview of the arrangements for the next ICV to be held in Beijing on 12-19 August 2024 was provided by video conference by the major host, the VRCC. This time of year has been chosen as it is cooler in Beijing. The ICV30 Flag and emblem were unveiled (see attached). Details of the venues and proposed tours to Tian'anmen Square (the site where the first flag of the PRC was raised by Chairman Mao), The National Museum of China and the Forbidden City were also provided. The language of the Congress will be English and translations will be provided.

Further details will be made available in due course.

FIAV Award Winners

The final banquet was held at the top of the Cankarjev dom, with a spectacular view of Ljubljana. FIAV President Zeljko Heimer thanked the Congress hosts and organisers for their sterling efforts which ensured that ICV 29 finally took place and without any major incident.

The FIAV Awards announced were as follows:

Presentation of Certificates to the Flag Society Australia (FSA) for the publication of the Proceedings of ICV 26 held in Sydney (NSW) in 2015
Presentation of Certificates to the newly admitted members of FIAV, namely:
The Institute of Genealogy, Heraldry and Vexillology (Lithuania)
Transylvanian Heralic and Vexillological Association
Vexillological Society (Singapore)
The Whitney Smith Award for the best paper (Sponsored by NAVA) was awarded to Krystof Huk for his paper on Czech and Slovak Road to Communal Flags.

The Vexillon (Sponsored by FSA) for the most important contribution to vexillology during the two years preceding an ICV was awarded to Roman Klimes for this contribution to the Encyclopaedia of Czech Legal History (Part XVII).

Fellowships of FIAV were awarded to:
Daan van Leewen (NVvV)
Steven A Knowlton (NAVA)
Theo Stylianides (SAVA)
Philip Tibbitts (FI)
and to the organisers of ICV 29, namely Heraldica Slovenica:
Aleksander Hribovsek
Uros Zizmund
Roman Krizanic.
Finally, Laureates of the Federation, the highest recognition in vexillology for scholarship,were awarded to:
Dr Patrice de la Condamine
Dr Jovan Jonovski
Dr Annie Platoff.
A toast was given to "absent friends" and a roll call of those who have passed away since the last ICV was read out by the FIAV President. The FIAV flag was then handed over from Heraldica Slovenica to a representative of the FRC (co host of ICV 30). and CV 29 was then formally declared closed.

All the best until Beijing.

Bruce Berry, 15 July 2022