Slovenian President presents Iconotheca Valvasoriana to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth

The President of the Republic of Slovenia, Dr Danilo Türk, arrived today on a working visit to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, where he met with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen said she had very fond memories of her visit to Slovenia one-and-a half years ago, especially her visit to Ljubljana and meeting people on the Triple Bridge, while photos helped her to better understand the ambience and the spirit of the people at the time. President Türk emphasised that her visit to Slovenia had not merely been a matter of protocol, but an event seen as a warm and human gesture, with a sense of the mutual respect that exists between the two countries.

The President of the Republic of Slovenia, Dr Danilo Türk, met with Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II. The two dignitaries discussed various European and global topics, stressing the importance of trust in the political situation in times of economic crisis. They agreed that the present crisis could be overcome provided there is sufficient trust in democratic institutions and that the right tasks are undertaken. The talks also turned to Janez Vajkard Valvasor and the importance of the spirit of the Enlightenment and rationalism for the whole of Europe. Valvasor was part of that spirit originating in Great Britain, while he was also thus far the only Slovenian member of the prestigious Royal Society.

The British Queen and the Slovenian President also exchanged views on the role of the United Nations and the significance of multilateralism for the future of the world.

President Türk visited the Royal Society, handing over a facsimile of the Iconotheca Valvasoriana collection. President Türk then visited the British Royal Society, where he handed over a facsimile of the Iconotheca Valvasoriana collection assembled by Janez Vajkard Valvasor. The Slovenian baron earned membership of the Royal Society with his scientific opus and his paper on the intermittent Lake Cerknica. The Iconotheca Valvasoriana comprises graphics, drawings and watercolours in various formats bought by Valvasor between 1659 and 1672 on holidays in Europe.

President Türk visited the Royal Society, handing over a facsimile of the Iconotheca Valvasoriana collection. In his address to the Royal Society, President Türk pointed out that the day’s event symbolised the depth and strength of the ties that existed between the Royal Society, as the oldest academy of science in the world, and the rest of Europe. He recalled that in the 17th century England was the home of the Enlightenment, rationalism, critical thought and scientific research. This new way of thinking influenced the further development of the entire European continent and inspired a number of personalities, including in the territory of Slovenia, which was then part of the Habsburg Empire.

Dr Türk underlined that Valvasor had been inspired by great Enlightenment ideas, which justified his life-long collecting of scientific information about his mother country and works of art in Europe; in this way he created his renowned collection of documents, printed material and drawings. Therefore, he believes it is right that a copy of this collection be kept at the Royal Society – the institution representing the intellectual home of Valvasor.

President Turk was then given a tour of the premises of the Royal Society, particularly examining archival material relating to Janez Vajkard Valvasor and Slovenia.