National Anthem of Bosnia and Herzegovina

The National Anthem of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Serbo-Croatian: Državna himna Bosne i Hercegovine, Државна химна Босне и Херцеговине) is the name of the national anthem of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is one of four national anthems in the world (along with those of Spain, San Marino, and Kosovo) to have no official lyrics, though unofficial lyrics have been written for it.[2][3][1][4]

The National Anthem of Bosnia and Herzegovina

National anthem of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Also known as"Intermeco" (English: "Intermezzo")
MusicDušan Šestić, 1998
Adopted25 June 1999 (1999-06-25) (de facto)
2001 (2001) (de jure)[1]
Preceded by"Jedna si jedina"
Audio sample
U.S. Navy Band instrumental version (four bars)

Following the Dayton Agreement that ended the Bosnian War in the mid-1990s, Bosnian state symbols were mandated to be inclusive of the country's main ethnic groups and not make any overt references to a specific one. The Bosnian national anthem that was in use at the time was considered to be insufficiently inclusive towards all of the country's ethnic groups and thus the United Nations, which oversaw the country as part of the Dayton Agreement, decided to replace it with an instrumental one, which was considered by it to be more inclusive. In the two decades since its inception, various attempts have been made to adopt lyrics for it, most recently in 2018, but due to political disagreements, none have been successful as yet.



The national anthem was adopted provisionally by the UN's High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina on 25 June 1999 by the promulgation of the Law on the National Anthem of Bosnia and Herzegovina,[5] replacing the previous national anthem, "Jedna si jedina",[6] which was not particularly well-liked the country's Serb and Croat communities.[7] The Bosnian government itself formally adopted it in 2001,[1] and it has reportedly been in use along with the flag and coat of arms since 10 February 1998.

Bosnian Serb composer Dušan Šestić from Banja Luka composed the melody,[8] to which initially there were no lyrics under the working title "Intermeco" ("Intermezzo"), which is commonly referred to as its title although it was never officially adopted as such. Šestić was denounced by some Serbs who disliked that he had written the national anthem of a state whose existence they were opposed to, whereas some Croats and Bosniaks disliked that a Serb had composed the national anthem as opposed to a member of their ethnicity.[9]

Due to its length, an abridged version omitting several bars near the middle of the piece is often played at occasions requiring brevity.[10]


2009 Serbo-Croatian VOA News video about that year's lyrical proposal process, featuring a live rendition of the proposed 2008 lyrics by a musicologist and a statement by the composer and one of the lyrics' authors

Since 2007, various attempts have been made to have lyrics adopted for the Bosnian national anthem.[1] Lyrics written by Šestić, the original composer, and Benjamin Isović were proposed in June 2008 and accepted by a parliamentary commission in February 2009.[11][12] The 2008 lyrics emphasize national unity and a focus on the future, rather than emphasizing the past or ethnic differences.[1] Though he was reportedly supposed to be paid 17,000 Euros by the state split with Isović for his role in writing new lyrics, Šestić had not yet received compensation as of 2015.[9] The decision still requires approval of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina.[13] The proposed lyrics do not mention the two administrative entities or the constitutional nations that make up the state, leading to some opposition,[4] and end with the line "We are going into the future, together!". As part of the consideration process, a recording of the lyrics was sung for a government committee by Dragica Panić Kašanski, a musicologist.[12]

A lyrical adoption was again proposed in 2016, but those were not approved either.[14] In February 2018, a renewed effort for an adoption of lyrics was initiated,[14] though due to the ethnically-fragmented nature of Bosnian politics,[1] it is unlikely to succeed in light of several other similar attempts being made before having failed.[15][16][4][17] Some have suggested using the words from the Serbo-Croatian poem "Emina" as the lyrics for the national anthem, due to its connection to Bosniaks, Croats, and Serbs alike.[4]

Proposed lyricsEdit

Bosnian[18] Serbian Cyrillic Arebica English translation[18]

Ti si svjetlost duše
Vječne vatre plam
Majko naša zemljo Bosno
Tebi pripadam

Divno plavo nebo
U srcu su tvoje rijeke
Tvoje planine

Ponosna i slavna
Krajina predaka
Živjećeš u srcu našem

Pokoljenja tvoja
Kazuju jedno
𝄆 Mi idemo u budućnost
Zajedno! 𝄇

Ти си свјетлост душе
Вјечне ватре плам
Мајко наша земљо Босно
Теби припадам

Дивно плаво небо
У срцу су твоје ријеке
Твоје планине

поносна и славна
Крајина предака
Живјећеш у срцу нашем

Покољења твоја
Казују једно
𝄆 Ми идемо у будућност
Заједно! 𝄇

تى سى سويەتلۉست دۆشە
ويەچنە واترە پلام
مايقۉ ناشا زەمڵۉ بۉسنۉ
تەبى پرىپادام

دىونۉ پلاوۉ نەبۉ
ۆ سرڄۆ سۆ توۉيە رىيەقە
توۉيە پلانىنە

پۉنۉسنا ى سلاونا
قرايىنا پرەداقا
ژىويەڃەش و سرڄو ناشەم

پۉقۉڵەںٛا توۉيا
قازۆيۆ يەدنۉ
مى ىدەمۉ ۆ بۆدۆڃنۉست 𝄆
𝄇 !زايەدنۉ

You're the light of the soul
Eternal fire's flame
Mother of ours, o land of Bosnia
I belong to you

The beautiful blue sky
Of Herzegovina
In the heart are your rivers
Your mountains

Proud and glorious
Land of ancestors
You shall live in our hearts
Ever more

Generations of yours
Show up as one
𝄆 We go into the future
Together! 𝄇


According to a 2011 survey conducted of the Bosnian population, Bosnians' attitudes towards their country's national anthem were shown to be sharply split along ethnic lines, with Bosniaks generally liking the national anthem, Croats being ambivalent towards it, and Serbs overwhelmingly disliking it,[1] even booing it at some performances, refusing to stand for it, and displaying three-fingered salutes.[19][20][21][22] In some cases, the Bosnian national anthem is not played in Republika Srpska even at events where others are played.[23]


In the late 2000s, commentators noted an aesthetic similarity of the Bosnian national anthem to Elmer Bernstein's instrumental piece "Faber College Theme" that serves as the introductory music to the 1978 film National Lampoon's Animal House,[24][25][9] leading to accusations of plagiarism and calls for the composition to be replaced as a result. The composer Dušan Šestić defended himself against accusations of plagiarism, saying that he could not have plagiarized Bernstein's work as he was unaware of the latter's composition.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Džankić, Jelena (28 September 2015). Citizenship in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Montenegro: Effects of Statehood and Identity Challenges. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 105. ISBN 9781472446411. Retrieved 28 September 2015 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ "Spain - Marcha Real". Retrieved 23 November 2011.
  3. ^ "Himna BiH: Struka rekla DA, politika NE". N1 BA. 2 February 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d "Bosnia's National Anthem Remains Lost for Words". Balkan Insight. 7 February 2018. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  5. ^ Office of the High Representative (25 June 1999). "Decision imposing the Law on the National Anthem of BiH". Archived from the original on 9 July 2003. Retrieved 10 May 2010.
  6. ^ Pavkovic, Aleksandar; Kelen, Christopher (28 October 2015). Anthems and the Making of Nation States: Identity and Nationalism in the Balkans. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 185. ISBN 9780857726421. Retrieved 28 October 2015 – via Google Books.
  7. ^ "Dušan Šestić: Tekst himne ćemo dobiti onda kada to budemo istinski željeli". Klix (in Bosnian).
  8. ^ "Zašto je Dušan Šestić najveći svetski baksuz među kompozitorima". Blic (in Bosnian).
  9. ^ a b c d "How many national anthems are plagiarised?". United Kingdom: British Broadcasting Corporation. 26 August 2015. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  10. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Himna Bosne i Hercegovine na otvaranju EYOF-a". YouTube.
  11. ^ Ministry of Justice of Bosnia and Herzegovina (4 June 2010). "Proposal of the Text for the National Hymn of BiH Adopted by the Council of Ministers of BiH". Archived from the original on 22 June 2009. Retrieved 10 May 2010.
  12. ^ a b "BiH: Predstavljen prijedlog teksta državne himne". Radio Slobodna Evropa (in Serbo-Croatian). Voice of America. 20 February 2009. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  13. ^ Balkan Insight (23 February 2010). "Bosnia Anthem Gets Lyrics After 10 Years". Retrieved 10 May 2010.
  14. ^ a b "EUROPE: BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA". CIA World Factbook. 14 November 2018. Retrieved 20 November 2018. note: music adopted 1999; lyrics proposed in 2009 and others in 2016 were not approved; a parliamentary committee launched a new initiative for lyrics in February 2018
  15. ^ "HIMNA OSTAJE BEZ TEKSTA Bosanski "Intermeco" i dalje će se ZVIŽDUKATI" (in Bosnian). February 2018. Archived from the original on 18 January 2019. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
  16. ^ "BiH bi mogla dobiti himnu s melodijom i tekstom". Jabuka (in Serbo-Croatian). Retrieved 18 January 2019.
  17. ^ "Bosnia renews efforts to find lyrics for its national anthem". euronews. 7 February 2018.
  18. ^ a b Anthems and the Making of Nation States: Identity and Nationalism in the Balkans. Pavković, Aleksandar and Kelen, Christopher. Bloomsbury Publishing via Google Books. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
  19. ^ Nedim Dervisbegovic (2 June 2005). "Bosnia's first unified army platoon deployed to Iraq". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on 15 October 2007. Retrieved 26 September 2007.
  20. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Banja Luka, bojkot himne BiH i pevanje Boze pravde". YouTube.
  21. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Himna Bih na ozvucenju, i "prava" himna Herceg-Bosne" na tribinama. Bravo Škripari!♡♡♡". YouTube.
  22. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Kako je docekana Himna BiH u Republici Srpskoj, Banja Luci". YouTube.
  23. ^ "Bosnian Serbs Celebrate Contentious 'Republika Srpska Day'".
  24. ^ Pavkovic, Aleksandar; Kelen, Christopher (28 October 2015). Anthems and the Making of Nation States: Identity and Nationalism in the Balkans. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 181. ISBN 9780857726421 – via Google Books.
  25. ^ Marshall, Alex (5 May 2016). Republic Or Death!: Travels in Search of National Anthems. Penguin Random House. ISBN 9780099592235. Retrieved 5 May 2016 – via Google Books.

External linksEdit