The building of a memorial centre to the Renaissance inventor and lexicographer Faust Vrančić (1551-1617) on the island of Prvić is one of the first ERDF-funded projects aiming to develop the economy of the Croatian islands. Tourism is the dominant industry on the island of Prvić, on Croatia’s western coast with the Adriatic Sea, and visitors are mostly drawn by the landscape of olive groves and vineyards dotted with tranquil fishing villages. Since September 2012, when a museum dedicated to former island resident Faust Vrančić opened, visitors have had another reason to visit the island. Faust Vrančić was not only an inventor but also a philosopher, lexicographer, polyglot, polymath, theologian and visionary.
Among his numerous achievements was his authorship of a five-language dictionary which is not only the first Croatian but also the first Hungarian dictionary. Vrančić was buried on the island in the town of Prvić Luka. The new visitor centre displays models of Vrančić’s numerous inventions and contraptions, such as the parachute, olive mill and the chain suspension bridge. The centre also has an interactive multimedia exhibition that aims to display the brilliant mind of Vrančić through the inventive play of light, video displays and background sounds. In addition, the new centre includes a refreshment area and a souvenir shop. One of the main aims of the project was to provide the island of Prvić with an additional cultural attraction which will bring more tourists and visitors to the island.
As the museum is open throughout the year it is expected that its existence will help to extend the tourist season by bringing visitors to the island outside the peak summer months. Around 12 000 visitors a year would come to the new memorial centre. The island of Prvić is only 10 minutes by boat from the mainland town of Vodice and it is expected that the town as well as the region’s local hotels, caterers and retailers will benefit from more tourists visiting the new visitor centre. It is also hoped that passing cruise liners and yachts will bring further visitors to the island. Two permanent and two seasonal jobs had been created as a direct result of the project. Total investment for the project “Faust Vrančić Memorial Centre on the island of Prvić” is EUR 1,3 million with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 960 000 through the “Regional Competitiveness” Operational Programme.