In Company with the World Most Famous Vexillologists

(Translated with permission, from the magazine “Hrvatski vojnik”, nr. 534, 8 Sep 2017, p. 47,

Prepared by Domagoj VLAHOVIĆ ♦ VEXILOLOGY

Željko Heimer, officer of the Croatian Armed Forces, collaborator of the Hrvatski vojnik and vexillologist (scientist researching flags, their history, meaning and use), received a great international recognition for his work

The International Federation of Vexillological Associations (FIAV) awards as its highest recognition honorary title of Laureate of the Federation. The award was established already on the first session of the FIAV General Assembly held in Boston, Massachusetts on 7 September 1969 during the 3rd International Congress of Vexillology, with the Article 11 of then adopted FIAV Statutes. The laureates are named by the General Assembly, but after the Art. 13(a) of the FIAV Constitution the Assembly delegated this responsibility to its Board (composed by the FIAV president, a secretary-general and a secretary-general for congresses). The recognition is awarded for outstanding original contribution to the science of vexillology.
Prior to 2017 the honor of Laureate of the Federation was recognized six times, and four of the laureates are no longer alive. The first award was made in 1983 to the British Royal Navy Captain Edward Murray Conrad Barraclough (1893 – 1984), the founder of the Heraldry Society Flag Section in 1967, which eventually evolved into the Flag Institute. The “father of vexillology” and the founder of the Flag Research Centre Whitney Smith Jr. (1940 – 2016) was named a laureate in 1991, while two more giants were awarded posthumously in 1999 – the German heraldist and vexillologist Ottfried Neubecker (1908 – 1992) and the British vexillologist William George Crampton (1939 – 1997), the founder of the Flag Institute.

The honor of laureate was recognized in 2003 to the professor of American studies at the San Jose State University, Scot M. Guenter (born in 1956), the first editor of the vexillological scientific journal Raven, and in 2015 to the South African social anthropologist, heraldist, vexillologist and genealogist Frederick G. Brownell (born in 1940).

Foto: Annie Plattof

Photo: Annie Plattof

At the International Congress of Vexillology in London, 2017, for his work in establishment of scientific foundations of vexillology as a social science, the honorary title of Laureate of the Federation was recognized to Lieutenant Colonel Dr Željko Heimer (born 1971), the president of HGZD and the editor of journal Grb i zastava. It is only seventh recognition of this kind in almost half a century of the existence of the award. It is a great recognition not only for him personally, but also to our Society and to the Croatian vexillology in general.

At the 20th FIAV General Assembly held in Berlin 2005, a proposal for insignia for the laureate award was adopted. The insignia consists of a circular metal gilded medallion of 40 mm in diameter with blue enameled background depicting a golden vexillological knot, the symbol of the Federation, encircled with golden laurel wreath. The medallion is hung with a 5 mm suspension ring by a 10 mm circular ring through which it is set a blue ribbon 32 mm wide, with two parallel yellow stripes passing along its center, each 3 mm wide and as much spaced. The ribbon is worn around the neck and clasped with a clip at the nape. It is complemented with a ribbon bar for uniform, rectangular in shape 32 × 10 mm, of the same design as the insignia ribbon, with a golden “pip” (metal disk of 2 mm in diameter), with a metal securing clip at the back. For civilian suit the insignia set is equipped also with two button shaped pins of circular shape 12 mm in diameter, of gilded metals with blue enamel background with two parallel golden stripes and the golden pip, as in the ribbon bar. The badges have a needle and a securing feathered nut at the back. The insignia of a lower rank of Fellow of the Federation (that is awarded for significant contributions to vexillology and/or rendered significant service to FIAV) is basically of the same minted medallion, but the ribbon bar and the badges do not include the central “pin”, while the medallion is worn on the chest suspended on a short ribbon 50 mm in length with a securing clip at the top end. With the insignia, set in a box 160×160 mm and 12 mm in height, there is issued an accompanying charter in a blue folder with golden print depicting the FIAV flag and its full name in French. The charter itself is simple, white, with golden printed FIAV name in French topped with the flag (blue with a golden vexillological know). There follows the text: [FIAV] recognizes Željko Heimer as a laureate of the Federation for his outstanding, original contribution to the science of vexillology, Twenty-Seventh International Congress of Vexillology – London, August 11, 2017 followed by signatures of the FIAV Board members. It is attached to the folder with four corner canvas golden-yellow triangles beneath a transparent sheet.

We congratulate to LTC Heimer, our collaborator who published in the Hrvatski vojnik a series of professional articles in vexillology and we wish him much further success!