Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species and The Descent of Man have at last been translated into Croatian, thanks to the work of the renowned science and theology translator Josip Balabanić. Other European countries — including Denmark, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Russia and Sweden — had access to Darwin's works in their mother tongue during his lifetime. But it was not until this year that Croatian students of biology could read them in their own language.

Religious education was introduced in elementary schools during the early years of Croatian independence, and ethics and the major world religions are now studied in high school. At the same time, the importance of evolution for modern biology and medicine is publicly acknowledged by science academies and societies — in the spirit of your Editorial 'Spread the word' (Nature 451, 108; doi:10.1038/451108b 2008).

Croatia aspires to join the group of countries in which education and science occupy prime positions in national strategies, and recognizing the influence of Darwin's writings is an important step in that direction. Celebrations of the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth on 12 February next year, possibly at the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, will have particular significance for Croatians.