Croat – a New State Herald of Sweden

State Herald Emeritus Henrik Klackenberg symbolically hands over to Davor Zovko the plate of the ancient service of the Herald of the Realm, at a ceremony held in Henrik Klackenberg’s honor. (Photo: Martin Sunnqvist)

The Swedish State Archives announced that on 15 June 2022, Davor Zovko, a distinguished heraldist and heraldic artist from Mostar, who lives and works in Sweden, will take over the position of state herald. We are proud that he is a member of the HGZD.
The state herald (statsheraldiker) is the officer of the State Archives responsible for heraldry. This service was established in 1953 in this form, succeeding the service of realm’s herald (riksheraldiker) which has
existed since at least the 15th century, but the Realm’s Heraldic Office (Riksheraldikerämbetet) was not established until 1734, when the first realm’s herald Conrad Ludvig Transchiöld was appointed. He was
followed by eight more holders of that office, and from 1953, when the office was united with the National Archives, four more heralds were appointed before Zovko. His predecessor, Henrik Klackenberg,
was appointed in 1999 and is now retired. Thus, Zovko is the fourteenth regular state herald since 1734, and the fifth with the current title of that office.

In Sweden, the state herald takes care of the protection of state symbols (coat of arms and flag) from usurpation and misuse; composes (devises conceptual and/or artistic designs) and approves the coats of arms of state institutions, provinces, and municipalities; serves as a reference instance for state bodies that control and approve trademarks; is in charge of spreading and popularizing knowledge about heraldry and the spread of heraldic tradition; and represents the state in international heraldic contexts. The state herald is ex officio the permanent convener and secretary of the Heraldic Council, whose delegates are appointed directly by the government.

Davor Zovko was born in 1965 and has a master’s degree in pedagogy. The topic of his master’s thesis was precisely heraldry. In 2017, he defended his dissertation for a licentiate of philosophy (Fil. Lic., the Swedish academic title between Croatian former Master of Science and Doctorate of Philosophy) in the field of social work, with the topic of evaluations and management in state institutions. He has many years of experience in public administration, including as a scientist and evaluator. Since 1996, he has been running an independent heraldic studio where he has composed a large number of coats of arms for associations, families, high-ranking church officials, and famous people. He won several heraldic competitions, the most important of which are for composing the coat of arms of the Swedish Heraldic Society (SHS) and for creating an ex libris bookplate for HRH Prince Carl Philip of Sweden. So far, he has published five books, two of which deal with heraldry and phaleristics. He also published a number of book chapters and articles on heraldry and phaleristics. Zovko bears titles in several knightly orders: he is a Knight Grand Cross of Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, Knight Commander of Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great, and Knight of St. George. He was also awarded the Gold Medal for
Merits to the SHS.

We congratulate our Davor, we wish him a successful service, which we will follow with interest.