Croatian Armed Forces’ Cadets at Officers’ Ball in Vienna

Sixteen cadets from the Croatian Defence Academy “Dr. Franjo Tuđman” attended the traditional Officer’s Ball in Hofburg Palace in Vienna on 18th January. Aside from them, the ball was also attended by cadets from the Theresian Military Academy, senior officers of the Austrian Armed Forces and state officials of the Republic of Austria…

The 93rd annual Officers’ Ball was held in Vienna on 18th January 2019 under the motto “100 years and one night”. For a number of years, the ball has been a meeting place for not only officers of the Austrian Armed Forces and the Viennese society, but also European politicians and businessmen. This year, Croatia was chosen as a contributing country to the ball, which gave the cadets of the Croatian Defence Academy “Dr. Franjo Tuđman” an opportunity to dance the Viennese waltz at the opening of the ball. The Alt-Neustädter Ball, also known as the Officer’s Ball, has a long tradition. It has been held since 1926 and Croatian cadets first attended it in 2008. At this year’s ball, held at the Hofburg Palace, they danced alongside cadets from the Theresian Military Academy, senior officers of the Croatian Armed Forces and state officials of the Republic of Austria. Esteemed guests of the ball included the Commander of the Croatian Defence Academy Major General Mate Pađen and his wife as well as the Ambassador of the Republic of Croatia to the Republic of Austria Vesna Cvjetković.

“At the ball, we were represented by the fourth-year cadets, who were chosen by the commander of their company on the grounds of their academic achievements and model behaviour, so we might say that the opportunity to attend the ball was given to the most deserving cadets”, 1st Lieutenant Damir Kubinčan of the 3rd Cadet Company told us. He and 2nd Lieutenant Doroteja Klinžić led the delegation of cadets to Vienna. Kubinčan further emphasizes that this event was a true reward for the hard work that the cadets put into their academic commitments all year long not only because of the opportunity to attend the ball, but also because of the chance to learn about Austria’s cultural and military heritage. “I wish to thank Austrians, who have proven themselves as excellent and hospitable hosts. The organization of the ball was on a high level and our cadets represented Croatia in the best way imaginable,” Kubinčan concluded.

Cadet Staff Sergeant Adriana Stubičar and Cadet Staff Sergeant Eugen Pranjić told us a bit more about the ball itself and their visit to Austria.

“We started rehearsing for the ball about a month before our trip to Austria. Upon our arrival there, we were given an opportunity to rehearse at Eimayer, one of the oldest and most prestigious dance schools in Europe,” Cadet Stubičar explains. She admits she felt nervous before the performance, partly because of being awed by the esteemed guests and the majestic appearance of the Hofburg Palace, partly because of the strong wish to represent her country and its armed forces in a good light. However, there was no reason to be afraid; her fears disappeared when the music started playing and the couples on the dance floor looked beautiful and co-ordinated. Male cadets danced in their official uniforms, while female cadets wore long white gowns that are typical for balls.

Cadet Pranjić explained the importance of participating in such an event for the Croatian Armed Forces: “Balls in Austria are a social event of great importance; the military and the civil sphere connect there. It is nice to see the military fit into civil events like that.”

After the end of the official part of the ceremony, cadets enjoyed the remainder of the programme in the halls of the palace. The Royal Air Force of Oman Music Band performed classical music in the largest hall, while guests danced the night away to the sounds of rock, soul, funk and pop in smaller halls. The party, enriched by delicious snack food, lasted all night long.

Cadets spent a week in Austria. Aside from the ball, their stay also included sightseeing activities. Members of the Austrian Armed Forces took them on a tour of Vienna, where they visited the Museum of Military History and Schönbrunn Palace. Among others, they also toured the Theresian Military Academy in Wiener Neustadt, one of the world’s oldest military academies in the world. “Austrian cadets and their lecturers took us through the most important sections of the academy. This place bears historical significance for all Central European Armed Forces. The Austrian Armed Forces and their military education are on an extremely high level,” Cadet Pranjić said. They also paid a visit to the Croatian embassy, where they were received by the Croatian ambassador and military attaché. During their visit, they were amazed to learn that Croatian soldiers are highly esteemed in Austria, as proven by the fact the portraits of Croatian army leaders can be found next to those of Austrian rulers in museum and palaces. They returned to Croatia happy, pleased and enriched by new experience and knowledge. “We really should be proud of our military tradition,” the cadets conclude. We feel proud of them and yet another successful presentation of the Croatian Armed Forces abroad.



Translation by IVA GUGO