The 25th edition of the Croatian Ball, organised by the Austrian-Croatian Culture and Sport Association, opened at Vienna's Kursalon on Saturday evening.
Among the guests in Kursalon, a music hall in Vienna designed by Johann Garben in the style of the Italian Renaissance, was Croatian Social Welfare Minister Bernarda Juretic.
"The ball is an opportunity for socialising and meetings between Croats and Austrians and its strengthens and revives thousand year old connections between Austria and Croatia," Juretic said.
Croats living in Austria are a bridge between the two friendly nations and they are integrated well but they had never lost their identity and this ball is proof of that, Juretic added, calling on those present to chose Croatia as their vacation and investment destination.
The event brought together around 600 Croats from Vienna and other parts of the country, their guests from Croatia and Austrian friends, and the event's sponsors.
The association's president, Miroslav Piplica, said the ball had become a traditional event symbolising the unity of Austrian Croats.
The Austrian-Croatian Culture and Sport Association was established in 1990, it coordinates 26 Croatian societies and two Croatian sport leagues in Vienna and it has more than 5,000 members, which makes it one of the largest Croat expatriate communities in Europe and the rest of the world.
Croatian Ambassador in Austria Vesna Cvjetkovic said the ball was a beautiful tradition of unity of Croats in Austria.
This year's ball was held under the auspices of the cities of Zagreb and Vienna, Split-Dalmatia County and the Croatian Embassy in Austria.