Honorary Citizens of the City of Nis



The City of Nis, during its rich history, bestowed the honorary citizen title upon various individuals worthy of the distinction. This recognition was granted to persons from the country and the world who, through their scientific, political or humanitarian work, as well as other forms of activity contributed to the development and building of the reputation of the City of Nis.


The King of Serbia Milan Obrenovic, the liberator of Nis from the Turkish rule, is considered to be the first honorary citizen. The Historical Archive does not have the document as to when exactly King Milan was declared honorary citizen, but there are documents from which this information is indirectly learned.

The honorary citizen of Nis was Sir Thomas Lipton, theking of tea in Great Britain – tea in bags was his invention. The founder of the company Lipton Tea was in Serbia in a philanthropic mission and visited Nis, where he was bestowed the title of the honorary citizen, as a recognition and gratitude for transporting medical personnel, medical supplies and humanitarian aid with his ships for the needs of Serbian hospitals during the First World War in 1915. This data is taken from the book “Balkan Balance”, written by Milan Dj. Milojevic, a royal diplomat.

In the recent history the City of Nis Honorary Citizen title was bestowed upon:

In 1999. Kyriaky Panagiotidy, from Athens, Greece,  during the bombing of Serbia, delivered a convoy of humanitarian aid to children and victims of war events. Since then, every year, she organized the delivery of humanitarian aid, food, medicine and medical equipment to the children and citizens of Nis. In 2000, she was awarded the title of the honorary citizen of the City of Nis.

Hans Ola Urstad, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway to Serbia from 2001 to 2005, unselfishly advocated the development of our city and made an outstanding contribution to the development of cooperation between the City of Nis and the Kingdom of Norway, as well as strengthening the relationship between the two nations. During his term of office numerous projects with the Government of Norway were implemented, among which the most significant were: reconstruction and rehabilitation of Nis airport, scholarships for final year university students, grants in precision equipment for the Laboratory of the Police Administration Nis, establishment of the Regional Center for the Professional Advancement of the Employees in Educational System, the establishment of a Business Incubator Center. In 2005, due to all of this, the City of Nis Assembly decided on the awarding of honorary citizenship title to Mr. Hans Ola Urstad.

In 2005, the Assembly of the City of Nis awarded the honorary citizen title to the Greek Consul in Nis, Mr. Dimitrious Xenitellis. The title was bestowed as a sign of gratitude for everything he did to develop friendly relations between the two countries, for the delivery of humanitarian aid from Greece, and the promotion of economic, political, cultural and all other forms of cooperation between Nis and this part of Serbia with partners in Greece.

Harry and Joana Anastastasiou, a couple from Catherine in Greece, the also founders of the Benjamin Humanitarian Organization, provided assistance for the children who have lost their fathers in the war on the territory of the former Yugoslavia. Besides financial assistance their help was reflected in a series of humanitarian actions that include organization of summer vacation for those children in Greece, English language courses and computing and many other individual forms of assistance. In 2007, the City of Nis Assembly passed the decision on the awarding of honorary citizenship titles to Harry and Joanna Anastasiou.

The Architect Ligia Ramirez from Brazil, the Head of the UN-Habitat Office in Serbia, received the honorary citizenship of the City of Nis in 2008. This title was awarded because of her selfless dedication in representing Nis in the world and for the great professional assistance she provided in the development of the mid-term Nis City Development Strategy. Mrs. Ramirez significantly helped the refugees and displaced persons who found shelter in Nis.
Famous Dutch saxophonist Candy Dulfer received the City of Nis honorary citizenship in 2017. The proposal for this title was submitted by Nisville Jazz Festival organizers, who pointed out that Candy Dulfer, since her first performance at Nisville Jazz Festival in 2009, continuously promoted Nis through appearances in the national media in the Netherlands, but also throughout the world during her tour and festival performances on all continents.