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Postage stamp on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the first Croatian Volunteer Fire Department
Croatia: Brave Rescuers of People and Property

Among many important historic events the inhabitants of Varaždin will count also one very prominent event – the beginnings of the modern volunteer fire department in Croatia. On 17 June Croatian Post will put into circulation commemorative postage stamp marking the 150th anniversary of the first Croatian Volunteer Fire Department. Just on that day in 1864. The first Croatian Volunteer Fire Department was founded in Varaždin, only 18 years after the founding of the first volunteer fire department in Germany.
In its long and rich history the people of Varaždin constantly had to fight against fires and the city authorities were continually working on improvement of fire protection. Thus, in 1747 the town got the fire protection Statute, and in 1755 also the Fire Ordinance. The disastrous fire which took place on 25 April 1776 cost Varaždin the status of the capital of Croatia. The Instructions for the founding of an organised fire brigade were sent from Germany by Oton Mayer, a citizen of Varaždin. In Varaždin also the first collection of technical literature on fire protection was gathered and printed. Since the town was under great Austrian and German influence, the Fire Department of Varaždin became a battlefield of fierce confrontation between the nationally and the foreign oriented  citizens, i.e. the fight for Croatian language and Croatianism.   Thus, in 1871 the citizens of Varaždin started an initiative to found the Union of Croatian Fire Departments. On 10 May 1874 for the first time the Union's minutes from the meeting was written in Croatian language. It was in this Fire Department in 1876 that the first orders in Croatian language were given and that for the purpose of advancement of alarm service in 1883 telephone was introduced. The commander of the Varaždin firefighters Mirko Kolarić delivered to the bishop J. J. Strossmayer on the occasion of his visit to the town of Varaždin in 1877 a fire notification form in Croatian language. This move by  Kolarić had a strong echo  in the whole  Croatia so that at that time also other fire departments  began to give orders in Croatian  and thus fully expulsed  the German language from use in the field. A part of the members of the Volunteer Fire Department started in 1959 an initiative to found the professional fire department of the town of Varaždin.
The author of the commemorative postage stamp 150th anniversary of the first Croatian Volunteer Fire Department, of the nominal value of 5 HRK, is Dean Roksandić, designer from Zagreb. The stamp has been printed in quantity of 100,000 in sheetlets of eight stamps with two labels.   Croatian Post has also issued a commemorative First Day Cover (FDC) while the First Day Cancellation will be in use on 17 and 18 June 2014 in the Post Office 10101 Zagreb, Jurišićeva 13.


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