Vladan Djordjevic was a Serbian politician, diplomat, doctor, officer, and writer. Djordjevic was also the president of the ministerial council of the Kingdom of Serbia, a medical colonel, and a founder of the Serbian Red Cross and the Serbian Medical Association.
Vladan was born in Belgrade in 1844, in the spirit of the Greek – Aromanian culture of his mother’s family, he was baptized as Hippocrates, with his parents’ desire to be a doctor, and he carried that name until his graduation, when, at the suggestion of Djura Danicic, he started using the name Vladan.
He finished high school in Belgrade, and under the influence of Josif Pancic, he studied medicine in Vienna, where he received his doctorate and was the first trained surgeon in Serbia.
It was recorded that at Vuk Karadzic’s funeral, Aleksandar Sandic, as Vuk’s friend for many years, gave a long speech and that Vladan Djordjevic, who was still a Viennese student at the time, spoke after the funeral in the Greek chapel.
To perfect his surgical knowledge, with the permission of the Serbian government, he participated in the Franco-Prussian war and organized a war hospital near Frankfurt, which earned him a military rank and the praise of surgeon Langebeck.
Return to Serbia
After returning to Serbia, he worked as a private doctor for a while, then he was accepted into the Serbian army, where he became the first medical colonel, and from 1873 he was the personal physician of Prince Milan.
He is one of the founders of the Serbian Medical Society, the Red Cross in Serbia, and the initiator of the “Serbian Archive” magazine for all medicine.
He founded and was the first director of the Military Hospital in Nis in 1878, and the head and great reformer of the civil health system of Serbia. On his initiative, the First Belgrade Society for Gymnastics and Wrestling was founded.
Political and diplomatic career
As president of the Belgrade Municipality from 1884 to 1888, Djordjevic initiated the introduction of public lighting, sewerage and water supply, and the paving of Belgrade’s streets. He moved the cemetery from Tasmajdan to Novo groblje, which many people remembered as Vladanovac.
He was also the Minister of Education and Economy in the government of Nikola Hristic, after which he entered the world of diplomacy.
He served as a representative of Serbia in Athens from 1891 and in Constantinople from 1894, where he significantly contributed to the appointment of Serbian bishops in Macedonia.
A few years later, he became Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs. Although his government worked to quiet down fierce party fights, the economic progress of Serbia, and strengthening of its army, Djordjevic resigned after the announcement of King Aleksandar’s marriage to Draga Masin.
King Alexander and Vladan Djordjevic
Due to the alleged publication of state secrets in the book “The End of a Dynasty”, Djordjevic spent six months in prison in 1906, and during the First World War, he was in Austrian confinement because of Russophilism since the annexation crisis of 1908.
He was elected a corresponding member of the Serbian Royal Academy on January 23, 1888, and a full member on November 15, 1892.
For twenty-five years, Dr. Djordjevic was the editor-in-chief and took care of the financing of the “Serbian Archives”, one of the oldest and longest-lived medical journals in the world, which is still published today.
He also wrote on historical subjects, as well as novels, short stories, poems, and plays.
Vladan Djordjevic died on the last day of August 1930 in a sanatorium in Baden, a lonely old man and sick at the age of 86. The state, at its own expense, buried this Serbian great man in Belgrade “without fanfare and noise”.
As part of the celebration of the centenary of the military hospital, in December 1938, a monument to him was unveiled on the grounds of the Main Military Hospital, and the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts declared 2020 the year of Vladan Djordjevic when the exhibition “Vladan Đorđevic: portrait of a tireless creator” was held in the SANU Gallery.