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Croatia: Mountaineering flags

Last modified: 2023-03-18 by rob raeside
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Croatian Mountaineering Association

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Flag of HPS, horizontal and vertical versions - Images by Željko Heimer, 27 August 2014

The Croatian Mounaineering Association (Hrvatski planinarski savez - HPS) is the national organization of "mountaineers, admires of mountains, mountain nature and natural and historical landmarks in monuntains" and the "only national sporting union of mountaineering activities" (as per the HPS Statutes, text).

The Association was established in 1874 as the Croatian Mountaineering Society (Hrvatsko planinsko družtvo), being the 9th such national association in the world; in 1991 it was 10th largest association in the world union, in regard to the membership. In 1948 the society was renamed to Mountaineering Association of Croatia (Planinarski savez Hrvatske), and in 1991 to the current name. A specifical nature of the association in regard to other of this type in the region is explained in their website, as follows:

In the alpine countries the main goal of mountaineering was conquering peaks. The Slovenian mountains society (est. 1893) had important role in defense of Slovenian lands from the germanization, the Serbian mountains society (est. 1901) directed its efforts mostly to development of travel tourism, the Bosnian-Herzegovinian touris club (est. 1892 on the initiative of the Austrian-Hungarian occupational administration) had initially no Slavic character. The members of HPD in 19th century were mostly established scientific workers, academicians and university professors, who used the mountaineering as their scientific means, thus HPD gained a special place in the Croatian science and culture.

The flag of HPS is prescribed in Articles 8 of the Statutes as in poportions 1:2, light blue with the HPS emblem in the centre.
Article 13 specifies that the HPS members may have flags of their own. The HPS members are individual mountaineering societies, county or town unions of such individual societies, the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service (HGSS) and its division units, mountain guides service units and societies etc.
The flag is used either horizontally or vertically. with some variations; the vertical version may have the emblem either in the centre (photo) or in the bottom part (photo). The shade of light blue seems to vary a bit. The emblem is, apparently, as a rule, coloured so that the ribbon part inscribed with "HPD" is white, while the parts with the year are of the colour of the flag.

The emblem of HPS is prescribed in Article 6 of the Statutes. Probably dating back to the 1950s, the inscription excepted, the emblem features the a stylized representation of Mt. Klek and an edelweiss, within a red ribbon inscribed with the association's name, tied in base with a blue ribbon inscribed with initials "HPD" (for the original name) and the establishment year, "1874".
The old emblem of the society, from about the turn of the 19th to the 20th century, differs from the modern one in artistic style and inscription details, and lacks the mountain, having the edelweiss as the main charge.

Željko Heimer & Tomislav Šipek, 24 August 2014

Croatian Mountain Rescue Service


Official flag of HGSS - Image by Željko Heimer, 26 August 2014

The Croatian Mountain Rescue Service (Hrvatska gorska služba spašavanja - HGSS, website) is a state-funded volunteer organization for rescue in mountains, cave and like. The Service was established in 1950 within then Mountaineering Asoiciation of Croatia.

The official flag of HGSS (photo, photo) is vertical, blue with the service emblem in the centre. The emblem is a golden outlined white disk with a red cross throughout ensigned with a golden outlined white edelweiss, all bordered with a golden edged blue ring inscribed with the service name. The service previously used the same emblem in only slightly different artistic stylization, with the inscription "Gorska služba spašavanja - P.S.H.", but itis not confirmed that it used any flag prior to the 1990s.


Special flag of HGSS - Image by Željko Heimer, 26 August 2014

The special flag used by HGSS in field situations (photo) is an orange flag with the Service emblem above the white English inscription "RESCUE". The orange flag was spotted in recent large floods rescue operations in eastern Slavonia, where the Service was among several organizations that provided help.

Željko Heimer & Tomislav Šipek, 26 August 2014