Author Archives: Liudmila Kobyakova

International Students’ Day: In pursuit of freedom

On November 17, 1939, in Prague, a chemistry student named Jaroslav Franc woke up to blasts of machine gun rounds and nearby shouting. His college building was being stormed by Nazi soldiers, who were retaliating against Czechoslovak students for their repeated revolts against the current Nazi occupation of their country. Jaroslav and 1200 other university students were soon arrested and transported to a concentration camp. Czechoslovak universities were ordered to shut down.

After being released by the Nazis in 1942, Jaroslav Franc (pictured here with his wife) became a manual worker in a dairy factory. When the war ended, he was finally able to finish his university studies. He then became a recognized chemist with several dozen scientific patents.

After being released by the Nazis in 1942, Jaroslav Franc (pictured here with his wife) became a manual worker in a dairy factory. When the war ended, he was finally able to finish his university studies. He then became a recognized chemist with several dozen scientific patents.

To commemorate these events, November 17 was declared International Students' Day in 1941 by the International Students' Council meeting in London. Today, 79 years later, students around the world still celebrate the day, one of many times throughout history when young people have been willing to stand up and defend freedom and democracy, sometimes risking, and even losing, their lives.

To honor the important role of students in history, Memory of Nations, one of Europe's most extensive archives of life stories, has partnered with Google Arts & Culture to create a new exhibition exploring the Czechoslovak roots of International Students' Day through the eyes of witnesses.

The International Students’ Council in London in 1941 decided to name November 17 International Students’ Day

The International Students’ Council in London in 1941 decided to name November 17 International Students’ Day.

Through newly digitized photographs, rare documents and, most importantly, interviews with the participants, the new exhibit tells the stories of the 1939 uprisings against the Nazis, as well as those that took place exactly 50 years later, on International Students’ Day 1989. That’s when Czechoslovak students again made history by organizing a march in protest of the oppressive Communist regime. Their peaceful demonstrations were met with violence from the state police. But the movement they started became known as the Velvet Revolution, and ultimately led to the transition to democracy. We hope that this new collection of their stories can inspire anyone, anywhere, on the value of freedom, as well as remind those who were born into it of its value.

Travel to Croatia with Google Arts & Culture

Croatia, the country of a thousand islands, is well known for its spectacular beaches and national parks, and as one of the sunniest places in Europe. But it also has a rich cultural history, with one of the highest counts of items on UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Google Arts & Culture partnered with the Croatian National Tourist Board, the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Zagreb and the Museum Alka of Sinjto let the world experience the colors and sounds of Croatia. Learn about the local crafts, dance like there is no music, join best-in-class festivals or learn about the national delicacy strukli.

1. The Crafts

Croatia Crafts.jpg

Decorating licitars Photo: Luka Smuk / Croatian National Tourist Board

Toy making from the region of Hrvatsko Zagorje Photo: Julien Duval / Croatian National Tourist Board

It’s the little things that give a place a distinct personality. In virtually every gift shop and souvenir stand in Croatia, the sweet biscuits called licitars are ubiquitous. The bright red, decorated hearts, birds and other shapes aren’t just colorful mementos—they’re part of Croatia’s intangible cultural heritage and a symbol of the country itself. Another tradition that survived centuries is the skill of handcrafting wooden toys. They are ubiquitous to the region, so much that in 2009, the traditional manufacturing of children’s wooden toys in the Hrvatsko Zagorje region of Croatia was inscribed to the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Check out the whole toy-making process.

2. The Fashion

Croatia Fashion.jpg

Ljelja singing Photo: Ivo Biočina / Croatian National Tourist Board

Slavonika beret Photo: LFP Studio / Croatian National Tourist Board

When people think of the cultural heritage of Croatia, they often look to centuries-old traditions being kept alive by a small handful of practitioners. Croatia is vibrant with colors and traditional regional costumes, from Dalmatia’s floral handkerchiefs to Gorjani’s hats literally made out of flowers. Historical men’s fashion includes Alkar lancers, whose dark blue uniforms and plumes in their hats will take you back in time to the Ottoman Empire. And for an unforgettable celebration of color, there is nothing quite like the Rijeka Carnival.  A new wave of young Croatian designers is taking inspiration from the country’s rich history of folk arts and crafts and applying it to contemporary fashion and accessories. See herehow Croatian crafts are influencing today’s design and fashion.

3. The Festivals

Croatia Festivals.jpg
Lastovo Poklad festival with firecrackers: photographer: Stjepan Tafra / Croatian National Tourist Board

Bell ringers festival Photographer: Ivan Vranjić / Croatian National Tourist Board

Croatia is rich in music festivals, historic reenactments and religious festivities. Throughout the year, but especially in the spring and summer, annual festivities celebrate Croatia’s local, regional and national traditions. There is the loud and empowering Bell Ringers’ Pageant in Kastav, a historic Alka Tournament in Sinj, the beautifully costumed Spring Procession of Ljelje and the hilarious donkey race in Tribunj. On the opposite side of the country, on far-off Korčula Island, the locals cultivate the saber dance, a choreographed mock sword battle between two kings fighting for the love of a princess—quite a spectacle to see!

4. The Places

Drywall on Kaprije island _ Croatian National Tourist Board _ Photo_ Ivo Pervan.jpg

Dry stone wall on Kaprije island Photo: Ivo Pervan

Though Croatia is full of beautiful beaches and vibrant cities, the country’s foundations rest on dry stonewalls, which dates as far back as the 9th century BCE. That was when the ancient Liburnians began to erect defensive hill forts and walls using stone but no mortar or other binding material. They were such good builders that remnants of these constructions remain even today. Bavljenac Island has the densest concentration of dry stone walls, and when viewed from above it looks like a giant fingertip

Curious to see more? Stroll around these top five locations and immerse yourself in the lush naturescapes of the country. Alternatively, check out g.co/travelcroatia, download the Android or iOS app or visit Google Arts & Culture. Uživaj!


Stay “connected to culture” on International Museum Day

Culture is the glue that connects us, even when we can’t be together. Right now people around the world are learning, exploring and finding joy in unexpected places and things, and cultural organizations everywhere are responding with new ways of staying connected to audiences digitally.

Supporting cultural organisations online

To mark this year's rather unusual International Museum Day, together with the International Council of Museums, we’re supporting cultural organizations to continue their cultural programs online with our multi-language resource “Connected to Culture.” It has been inspiring and humbling to see creative cultural organizations from around the globe reimagining the way people interact with art and culture, and adapting to the virtual world. Together, they’re helping to keep our communities connected through shared, digitized cultural moments.

Launching new things to explore for everyone 

Also today, more than 80 museums from over 25 countries are sharing new collections and stories on Google Arts & Culture, joining over 2000 partners already onboard. Discover the Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation (China), Parsons School of Design (USA), Meiji Jingu Forest - Festival of Art (Japan), Patronato Ruta de la Amistad A.C (Mexico) or the Casa Buonarroti (Italy). Together, they contribute 250 new stories and over 10,000 artworks as well as virtual Street View tours to exciting places such as the sacred grounds of the Meiji Shrine in Japan.

Offering tools to teachers and parents

To support teachers, parents, and curious minds throughout this period of quarantine, we’ve launched new educational content—from the Family Fun on Google Arts & Culture hub, to lesson plans, and virtual field trips with digital skills lessons.

For many art lovers, culture vultures, creators and curators, the idea of spending International Museum Day at home may not be a familiar one but we hope these new additions to Google Arts & Culture will inspire you to explore and learn more about arts and culture, with the whole family while at home.

Stay “connected to culture” on International Museum Day

Culture is the glue that connects us, even when we can’t be together. Right now people around the world are learning, exploring and finding joy in unexpected places and things, and cultural organizations everywhere are responding with new ways of staying connected to audiences digitally.

Supporting cultural organizations online

To mark this year's rather unusual International Museum Day, together with the International Council of Museums, we’re supporting cultural organizations to continue their cultural programs online with our multi-language resource “Connected to Culture.” It has been inspiring and humbling to see creative cultural organizations from around the globe reimagining the way people interact with art and culture, and adapting to the virtual world. Together, they’re helping to keep our communities connected through shared, digitized cultural moments.

Launching new things to explore for everyone 

Also today, more than 80 museums from over 25 countries are sharing new collections and stories on Google Arts & Culture, joining over 2000 partners already onboard. Discover the Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation (China), Parsons School of Design (USA), Meiji Jingu Forest - Festival of Art (Japan), Patronato Ruta de la Amistad A.C (Mexico) or the Casa Buonarroti (Italy). Together, they contribute 250 new stories and over 10,000 artworks as well as virtual Street View tours to exciting places such as the sacred grounds of the Meiji Shrine in Japan.

Offering tools to teachers and parents

To support teachers, parents, and curious minds throughout this period of quarantine, we’ve launched new educational content—from the Family Fun on Google Arts & Culture hub, to lesson plans, and virtual field trips with digital skills lessons.

For many art lovers, culture vultures, creators and curators, the idea of spending International Museum Day at home may not be a familiar one but we hope these new additions to Google Arts & Culture will inspire you to explore and learn more about arts and culture, with the whole family while at home.

Commemorating Václav Havel’s 80th birthday

To commemorate Vaclav Havel's life and work, Google Arts & Culture has partnered with the Václav Havel Library to present Tribute to Václav Havel, an online exhibition of photographs. This, along with three other existing digital collections, gives anyone the opportunity to learn more about this famous dissident, dramatist and freedom fighter.