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Prime Minister Janez Janša donates Slovenia's EU Council Presidency gift to Justus Lipsius building

Slovenian Prime Minister and European Council President Janez Janša today presented the Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union, Javier Solana, with the donation of Slovenia to permanently mark its EU Council Presidency. The donated gift – a replica of a long-case clock designed by Slovenia's greatest architect, Jože Plečnik – will from now on stand in the Council's Justus Lipsius building.

Jože Plečnik (1872–1957) was an important European architect, urbanist and designer of the Art Nouveau period. His work marked the urban face of Slovenia's capital, Ljubljana, and other Slovenian cities. But it was not limited only to Slovenia.

Plečnik was also a true European in the sense that his work was not limited by state boundaries. He made a significant impact on many European cities, most famously Prague, where he conceptualised the renovation of the Hradčani Castle, and Vienna, where a well-known example is the Zacherl house.

It was in Vienna where he designed the long-case clock, the replica of which Slovenia donated today as the Presidency gift to the Council. Stylistically it belongs to the late phase of Art Nouveau, of which Plečnik was one of the pioneers. As the original has been lost, the clock was carefully re-created by Slovenian master clockmaker Jurij Hübscher, who had to consult numerous craftsmen still familiar with old clock-making techniques. It is safe to say that it is therefore as close to the lost original as possible.

This exceptional example of modern Slovenian design is now on permanent display in the Justus Lipsius building (floor 50).


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Date: 14.03.2008