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Interior of the Academy Palace
The Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts ( , , abbrev. HAZU) is the national academy of Croatiamarker. It was founded as the Yugoslav Academy of Sciences and Arts ( , abbrev. JAZU), and was known by that name for most of its existence.


The institution was founded in Zagrebmarker in 1866 as the Yugoslav Academy of Sciences and Arts. The bishop and benefactor Josip Juraj Strossmayer, a prominent advocate of higher education during the 19th century Croatian national romanticism, set up a trust fund for this purpose and in 1860 submitted a large donation to the then viceroy (ban) of Croatia Josip Šokčević for the cause of being able to

After some years of deliberations by the Croatian Parliamentmarker and the Emperor Franz Joseph, it was finally sanctioned by law in 1866. The official sponsor was Josip Juraj Strossmayer, while the first President of the Academy was the distinguished Croatian historian Franjo Rački. Đuro Daničić was elected for secretary general of the Academy, where he played a key role in preparing the Academy's Dictionary, "Croatian or Serbian Dictionary of JAZU".

The Academy's creation was the logical extension of the University of Zagrebmarker, the institution initially created in 1669 and also renewed by bishop Strossmayer in 1874. Bishop Strossmayer also initiated the building of the Academy Palace in the Zrinjevacmarker park of Zagreb, and the Palace was completed in 1880. In 1884, the Palace also became a host of the "Strossmayer Gallery" that contained 256 works of art (mostly paintings). The same is today one of the most prominent art galleries in Zagreb.

The Academy published the scientific magazine Rad (Croatian for "work") between 1867 and 1882, when each of the individual scientific classes of the Academy started printing their own magazines. A total of almost five hundred issues have been printed up to now. In 1887, the Academy published the first "Ljetopis" as a year book, as well as several other publications in history and ethnology.

Ivan Supek, Mihailo Petrović, Dragutin Gorjanović-Kramberger and Lavoslav Ružička were JAZU members.

Name changes

The Academy briefly changed name from "Yugoslav" to "Croatian" between 1941 and 1945 during the Axis client regime of the Independent State of Croatiamarker.

It was permanently renamed "Croatian" in 1991 after Croatia gained independence from Yugoslavia.


The Academy is divided into nine departments (classes):
  • Department of Social Sciences
  • Department of Mathematical, Physical and Chemical Sciences
  • Department of Natural Sciences
  • Department of Medical Sciences
  • Department of Philological Sciences
  • Department of Literature
  • Department of Fine Arts
  • Department of Music and Musicology
  • Department of Technical Sciences


There are four classes of members:

  • Full members
  • Associate members
  • Honorary members
  • Corresponding members

The number of full members and corresponding members is limited to 160 each, while the maximum number of associate members is 100. Number of full members per department is limited to 24. Only the full members may carry the title of "academician" ( , (male members) or (female members)).


The Academy has recently been criticized to the effect that membership and activities are based on academic cronyism and political favor rather than on scientific and artistic merit. In 2006 matters came to a head with the Academy's refusal to induct Dr. Miroslav Radman, an accomplished biologist, a member of the French Academy of Sciences, and an advocate of a higher degree of meritocracy and accountability in Croatian academia. His supporters within the Academy and the media decried the decision as reinforcing a politically-motivated, unproductive status quo.

Dr. Ivo Banac, a Yale Universitymarker professor and then a deputy in the Croatian parliamentmarker, addressed the chamber in a speech decrying a "dictatorship of mediocrity" in the Academy, while Globus columnist Boris Dežulović satirized the institution as an "Academy of stupidity and obedience." Dr. Vladimir Paar and others defended the Academy's decision, averring that it did take pains to include accomplished scientists but that, since Dr. Radman's work has mostly taken place outside Croatia, it was appropriate that he remain a Corresponding rather than a Full Member of the Academy


Interior of the Academy Palace

See also

Notes and references

  1. The adjective "Yugoslav" was coined in mid-19th century by the movement that sought national unity of the South Slavs from Austria-Hungary with their eastern neighbors. Its extent was likely ambiguous, e.g. in whether or not it meant to include Bulgarians and Macedonians. Later the term became associated specifically with the country and peoples of Yugoslavia.
  3. "Dictatorship of Mediocrity" debate, Feral Tribune, 2006. Banac speech, Paar reply, Banac response Retrieved 2009-10-21

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