Monday, 17 October 2022

SuperSport HNL Round 13: 8 Points Separate Dinamo and Hajduk Before Friday's Derby

October 17, 2022 - The SuperSport HNL 13th round was played from October 14 to October 16, 2022. Another last-minute win for Hajduk keeps them 8 points behind Dinamo before the big derby this Friday at Poljud Stadium in Split. Rijeka also recorded their second consecutive win. Here's our SuperSport HNL round 13 recap. 

Sibenik v. Slaven Belupo (0:2)

Sibenik and Slaven Belupo opened the 13th round on Friday, October 14, in Sibenik. 

Sibenik was the first to score in the 21st minute, but VAR ultimately ruled the goal offside. Hoxha put Belupo ahead in the 71st minute for 0:1 before scoring again in the 89th minute for the final 0:2. 


Sibenik is currently in 7th place with 12 points, while Belupo is in 4th with 20. 

Osijek v. Istra 1961 (2:0)

Osijek and Istra met at City Garden Stadium on Saturday, October 15. 

The first half went without goals. Mierez scored for the Osijek lead in the 62nd minute. A red card for Istra's Antovski put the team a man down from the 3rd minute of stoppage time. Caktas scored for the final 2:0 in the 5th minute of stoppage time. 


Osijek is in 3rd place with 24 points, while Istra is in 6th with 13 points and a game in hand. 

Gorica v. Hajduk (0:1)

Gorica and Hajduk met on Saturday, October 15, in Velika Gorica.

The first half went without goals, but the second half certainly made up for it. Wague was shown a red card in the 49th minute, forcing Gorica to play with a man down for the rest of the match. Hajduk was awarded a penalty after the ref consulted VAR, which Marko Livaja hit at the Gorica keeper to keep the game 0:0. The match's only goal came in the 8th minute of stoppage time as Livaja redeemed himself to give Hajduk the win. 

Gorica is currently in the last place with 6 points and a game in hand, while Hajduk is in 2nd with 26 points and a game in hand. 

Dinamo v. Varazdin (3:1)

Dinamo and Varazdin met on Sunday, October 16, at Maksimir Stadium. 

Brodic put Varazdin ahead for 0:1 in the 9th minute. Herrera was shown his second yellow of the match in the 33rd minute forcing Varazdin to play with a man down for the rest of the game. Dinamo woke up in the second half, with Petkovic first scoring in the 64th minute, though it was called offside after consulting VAR. Petkovic got his goal 6 minutes later, equalizing at 1:1 in the 70th minute. Baturina made it 2:1 eight minutes later, and Petkovic scored a penalty in the 3rd minute of stoppage time for the final 3:1. 


Dinamo is in first place with 34 points and a game in hand, while Varazdin is in 5th with 16. 

Rijeka v. Lokomotiva (3:0)

Rijeka and Lokomotiva closed the 13th round on Sunday, October 16, at Rujevica. 

Frigan put Rijeka ahead in the 26th minute for 1:0 before Vukcic scored a penalty for 2:0 in the 39th minute. De Haas was shown his second yellow in the 73rd minute, forcing Lokomotiva to play with a man down for the rest of the match. Frigan scored for 3:0 five minutes later, and Pavlovic was shown his second yellow for Rijeka to even out the playing field with ten men on each side. 


Rijeka is currently in 8th place with 12 points, while Lokomotiva is in 9th with 10. 

You can see the full HNL table HERE.

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 17 October 2022

Zagreb Tourfilm Festival Returns, Spain Triumphs in Strong International Field

Zagreb, October 17, 2022 - After two years of being held virtually due to the coronavirus, the favorite autumn festival returned to the big screen this week. The 11th Zagreb Tour Film Festival, which promotes audiovisual production and tourism, began on Wednesday, October 12, with a ceremonial opening at the Kaptol Boutique Cinema. Numerous visitors had the opportunity to watch top films from the world of tourist films, participate in tastings and city tours, and last night awards were given to the best tourist films!

The international tourist film festival - the 11th Zagreb Tour Film Festival - began on Wednesday, October 12, with the opening ceremony at the Kaptol Boutique Cinema. Organized by Balduči Film and the Zagreb Tourist Board and under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Croatia Zoran Milanović, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and the Croatian Tourist Board, the festival returned to the big screen after two years of virtual holding due to the coronavirus, and the selected program met with positive reactions from the audience. among which were many famous Croats, tourism workers, media representatives and other numerous guests.

11th ZAGREB TOURFILM FESTIVAL from 12th -15th October, 2022 from ZAGREB TOURFILM FESTIVAL on Vimeo.

"This year's edition of the Zagreb TourFilm Festival meant a lot to us, especially after two pandemic years that significantly changed the trends in tourism. As many as 106 films were submitted to the Festival, of which 32 were tourist films from Croatia, which is the largest number ever. We are also pleased that we have films submitted from 29 countries around the world, from exotic destinations such as Fiji, Madagascar, Uganda, Australia, Japan and Iceland" - said Spomenka Saraga, director of the Zagreb TourFilm Festival, announcing the winners. Tourist reportages, documentaries and vlogs competing for prizes in the mentioned categories and the Grand Prix for the best film of the Festival will be specially evaluated.


The second day of the festival was marked by free film screenings for all interested citizens, who had the opportunity to watch the best domestic, European and world tourist films at the Kaptol Boutique Cinema from 15:00 to 18:00. Foreign visitors were introduced to the magical Zagreb with a tourist guide, Josip Siklić, better known as Purgerica, who revealed to them several seductive faces of the Croatian capital - the one mysteriously filled with legends and stories, medieval, wacky and humorous.


In addition to the rich film and tourist program, accompanying activities were also prepared for festival guests, such as a tasting workshop that showed how wine and extra virgin olive oil are the perfect accompaniment to film art and tourism. In partnership with the Zagreb Tourfilm Festival and the ART&TUR Tourism Film Festival and the support of the Tourist Board of the Istrian County and Vinistra - the association for viticulture and winemaking of Istria, a workshop with wine and olive oil tastings from Portugal and Croatia was held.

Portuguese sommelier Bebiana Monteiro, professor at the Polytechnic of Porto, presented three wines from Bairrada: Aliança (sparkling), São Domingos (white) and Messias (red). Regarding olive oils, three olive oils stood out: Azeite Fátima and Cabeço das Nogueiras (Premium Cobrançosa and Premium Cornicabra) from Sociedade Agrícola Ouro Vegetal, from Abrantes.

Istrians, sommelier Emil Perdec and Ivan Marić director of Vinistra, presented sparkling wine Festigia Blanc de Moi Vintage Brut, Vina Laguna from Poreč, dry Malvasia Santa Lucia from 2017, Kozlović wine from Momjan and Teran Il Primo from 2018, Fakin wine from Motovun and olive oil - Ipša Istarska Bjelica 2022 from Livada, Meneghetti's selection Buža 2021 from Bala and Salvela Aurum blend from 2021 from Vodnjan.

Given that this tasting workshop was a success and has great cultural significance for both countries, sommeliers Bebiana Monteiro and Emil Perdec will repeat this event, with the same wines and olive oil, on October 25 and 26 in Ourém, during the 15 ART&TUR Festival. This cultural bridge between Croatia and Portugal has the technical and scientific mentoring of the Portuguese team as part of the European Olive4All project, which aims to preserve and promote the olive heritage.


The guests of the festival also visited the most famous medieval fortress in Zagreb, which shone in its full splendor last year after a major renovation and became even more attractive to visit. For years, the Medvedgrad fortress was a favorite meeting place and location for summer film and music festivals, and now it is possible to discover its interior through the Medvedgrad Visitor Center. The restored walls delighted visitors, as well as the impressive center and one of the most beautiful views of the Croatian metropolis.

The well-coordinated team of Balduči Film and the Tourist Board of the City of Zagreb ensure that the gathering of the world's best filmmakers, top experts on tourism and the audience goes perfectly. "This year, we have prepared for the guests of the Festival a superb tourist experience and a tour of the city, with great tastings, but above all phenomenal films. The audience thus had the opportunity to enjoy the best tourist films in the world that talked about various types of attractiveness. The best ones tonight were chosen by relevant domestic and international experts, led by the president of the jury, Boško Grubić (Bobby), an Emmy award winner," said Saraga, director of Balduči Film and the Zagreb Tour Film Festival.

The Zagreb TourFilm Festival has been supported by numerous media sponsors for years, and this year we were joined by our academic partner Edward Bernays University College and the gold sponsors of the festival Podrumi Kolar and Chic IB bags leather goods.

The Grand Prix was won by Spain!


At the gala dinner at the Esplanade Hotel Zagreb, where the participants of the three-day gathering of filmmakers and tourism experts, professionals dealing with this, one of the most lucrative branches of the economy, and lovers of attractive destinations gathered, awards were presented to the best films as judged by an expert jury, namely:

GRAND PRIX – for the best film of the festival

No Joy In Life Is Small.mp4 from Filmservice International on Vimeo.

The best tourist film in the category TOURIST DESTINATION - city

1st place TIME SWITCH AVEIRO, Portugal

2nd place 10 PLANS TO LIVE MADRID, Spain


The best tourist film in the category TOURIST DESTINATION - region

1st place NO JOY IN LIFE IS SMALL, Spain


3rd place JUST BETWEEN US, Portugal

The best tourist in the category TOURIST DESTINATION, country



3rd place (shared) EXPLORE UGANDA – THE PEARL OF AFRICA, Uganda

3rd place (shared) INTRODUCING THE ICELANDVERSE, Iceland

In the TOURIST PRODUCT category

The best Wellness & Spa travel film


The best Gastro film


The best heritage presentation film


The best event Film

WHY CHOOSE PORTO & NORTH OF PORTUGAL FOR YOUR EVENT? The Majestic Adventures of Ofelia de Souza, Portugal

The best film about wine tourism, Croatia


Best film - Hotel and Resort


Special award - Cultural tourism

BOL & CULTURE, Croatia


Best documentary film

1st place THE HOUSES OF LIGHT, Croatia

2nd place NATURE WITHOUT BORDERS, Slovenia


Special jury award - Ethnography and society


The best environmental film


The best TV reportage


In the category the best CROATIAN TOURIST FILM

Tourist destination - city


Tourist destination - region


In the category TOURIST COMMUNICATION, advertising

UTOPIA, Greece

The best video blog - vlog

1st place JORDAN, Croatia

2nd place THE REAL EGYPT, Croatia

This year, the STUDENT'S CHOICE AWARD awarded by a student jury composed of students from Edward Bernays University College - an academic partner of the festival, went to BUDAPEST MICE image film, Hungary.


You can watch some of the selected films here.


Sunday, 16 October 2022

Serbian Orthodox Church Patriarch Visits Vukovar, Prayer for War Victims

October 16, 2022 - The patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Porfiri, called on the Orthodox believers from Vukovar to remember their sacrifices in prayer, but also the sacrifices of their Catholic neighbours because, he said, the one who respects the sacrifice of another is equal to the one who sacrifices himself for another.

As Index writes, he called on the believers to pray for the sacrifices of others. "They are our role models, and those who commit violence against helpless people, whether in war or peace, are worthy of all condemnation and contempt. That is why I invite you today to light a candle for all our suffering Orthodox brothers and sisters, but also to light a candle for all the innocent Roman Catholic Croats who have suffered; let us pray for our brothers and sisters who have suffered, but also for the Roman Catholic Croats who have suffered," urged Porfirije, who served the holy liturgy in the presence of numerous Serbian Orthodox bishops in the Vukovar Cathedral of the Holy Father Nikola, where he consecrated the renovated temple and Parish Hall.

He called on the believers to pray for every sacrifice, for every innocent victim in Vukovar and the city of Vukovar itself because, he said, prayer and Christian forgiveness are the only way to heal all wounds. He asserted that people live in Vukovar whose differences are small and insignificant, there are incomparably more similarities than differences, and the Christian faith brings them together but also binds them.

"When in prayer for our sacrifices, we also remember our martyred neighbours, Catholic Croats, God will rejoice over us," noted the Serbian patriarch.

He said he constantly lights a wax candle in his heart for the victims in Glina, Varivode, Grubori, and other places where Serbs suffered. "In the same way, I pray and light a candle for those who perished at Ovčara, Škabrnja, Lovas, Sotin, and many other places of execution."

"We also pray for all those who disappeared from 1991 to 1995, in the terrible and unfortunate war in these areas, regardless of which nation they belonged to," he said in his address to the believers, inviting them to join him in prayers.

There is no other way but prayer and forgiveness, he asserted. "As children of God, we must not leave it to those who have levers of power from this world to solve the issues of our lives, arrange our mutual relations, past, present and future because," as he said, "at the very least it can be said that the goals of these leverage different from the goals of the Gospel."

At the end of the liturgy, Patriarch Porfirij was presented with the award of the Holy Despot Stefan Štiljanović, patron of the Diocese of Osijekopolska and Baranja. Decorations were also given to other deserving people, including SDSS president Milorad Pupovac and one of the party's founders and longtime president Vojislav Stanimirović.

The Cathedral of Saint Nicholas was built in 1737. On the night between September 18 and 19, 1991, the temple was severely damaged in an explosion. The renovation lasted from 2009 to 2014 and was financed entirely by the Croatian government.

The comments of Vukovar mayor Ivan Penava

As Index further reports, after commemorating the 31st anniversary of the death of Major General Blago Zadro, the mayor of Vukovar Ivan Penava was asked to comment on Patriarch Porfiri's message that it is necessary to pray for all victims from both sides, without distinction. He stated that the call to pay homage to innocently killed victims is a step in the right direction and that he welcomes it, but that the situation in which the Serbian Orthodox Church decided to promote the war criminal Vojislav Šešelj remains unacceptable.

"As a believer, I respect all religious institutions, including the Serbian Orthodox Church, but everyone must be aware that the moment you promote the war criminal Vojislav Šešelj, you close the door and that this is a story that is not welcome in Vukovar, said Penava.

He points out that "he would like Zagreb to become more aware that the story of Vukovar is also the story of Croatia" because he believes that it is not good for Vukovar to always be "on some sort of buffer or advanced position, while everyone else suffers from political correctness."

"If there must be a line below which we do not go, I think that everyone in Croatia will agree that Vojislav Šešelj and the Chetniks are the line that we will never agree to. I hope this attitude is a generally accepted value in Croatia because otherwise today's commemoration of Blago Zadro loses its meaning, said Penava.

He wished the citizens of the Republic of Croatia of Serbian and any other nationality to feel good in the Croatian state, and to respect their religious customs and culture, but that all of this "has nothing to do with Greater Serbian hegemony, aggression against Croatia, pretensions towards other people's territory and all other things which we witnessed 30 years ago".

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Lifestyle section.

Sunday, 16 October 2022

CNB Governor Boris Vujcic: Croatia Still to Have a Very Good Year

October 16, 2022 - After two and a half years of exceptional challenges due to the pandemic, the world is facing new crises. The road ahead will probably be just as difficult, if not more, Fund Director Kristalina Georgieva said at the end of the annual meeting of the IMF and the World Bank. The IMF's strategic committee called on Russia to stop its invasion of Ukraine. The Governor of the Croatian National Bank, Boris Vujcic, commented on the forecast for the Croatian economy.

As HRT reports, the war worsened the economic crisis, slowed growth, and created inflation and energy and food insecurity. The fight against inflation and protecting the most vulnerable categories of citizens remains the main priority. This was the conclusion of financial experts.

CNB Governor Boris Vujcic commented on the forecasts for the global and Croatian economy for HTV in Washington.

"It is obvious that the economy, both globally and European, and now according to the latest high-frequency data, the Croatian economy has started to slow down. At the global level, this slowdown has been visible for some time in Europe as well; in Croatia, it is very recent, and we have practically started seeing it from September onwards. Croatia will still have a very good year. We expect growth from 5.5 percent to 5.8 percent, which is very good after 10.2 percent last year. However, next year we expect that this slowdown that we are seeing now will be fully reflected in a much lower growth rate where the economy could grow by only one percent", he said.

IMF estimates

IMF estimates are that the economy of the Eurozone could only grow by half a percent and that some countries, primarily our main foreign trade partners such as Germany and Italy, would be in recession, which would mean having negative growth rates. As for Croatia, the primary projection is that we will have a low growth rate and not a recession. However, when the practical prospects are continuously deteriorating in this situation, he said it would not be surprising if we also entered at least a technical recession, meaning two consecutive quarters of negative growth.

"Of course, inflation is the biggest problem everywhere; central banks have to tighten their monetary policies, which means raising interest rates, but also to reduce their balance sheets, which have grown a lot since the great financial crisis and represent another, I usually call it fertile ground for the growth of the inflation. Central banks will continue to do so. As of next year, we will be a member of the eurozone, so this is primarily a concern of the European Central Bank, where I will co-create that policy. And as for the governments, this winter, they are mainly limiting the prices of electricity, thermal energy, and natural gas. Next year, we will see how things will develop, he said.

Entry into the eurozone

"Everyone congratulates us; they think it is very good for Croatia and will help Croatia significantly in this crisis. And we can already see that. We see that Croatia is doing better in this crisis than other EU countries that are not on the way to become members of the eurozone or existing members. Our rating is growing; we don't have to spend reserves on intervention in the foreign exchange market, which we had to do in the spring of 2020." He concluded that our interest rates are significantly lower.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Politics section.

Sunday, 16 October 2022

Split Real Estate Prices Going Wild: Annual Increase of 20 Percent

October 16, 2022 - The prices of Split real estate have been rising for some time, and it is almost impossible to find an apartment where a square meter would go for less than 3,000 euros. For example, a square meter in the most expensive district of Split, Meje, costs almost 6,900 euros. The owner of the real estate agency Ivica Vulić was a guest in Novi Dan, where he shared his opinion on whether such prices can be maintained.

N1 reports. "Real estate prices rise according to the law of supply and demand," explains Ivica Vulić and adds: "Split is specific, there is not much room for expansion, the demand is high, and that is why the prices are rising. All projects are sold as soon as they obtain their building permit; they are even sold without a defined price because the owners do not know what will happen during construction in a year or two. Considering the high demand, the prices have been increasing by 20 percent annually for the last couple of years, maybe more. Split is also interesting to our customers, returnees, athletes, and entrepreneurs, that's why the prices are so high in select locations like Meje. Foreigners also invest. This situation with covid has encouraged people to invest money in real estate because the interest rates in banks are minimal, sometimes negative, so the best investment is in real estate."

Vulić believes that citizens tend to buy more because of the low-interest rates for savings in banks, so they think it is more worthwhile to invest in real estate.

When asked whether people should wait to buy real estate or not, Vulić answered: "If this situation continues, what you buy for five today, you will buy for six next year." Considering the prices of square meters of apartments, if you buy an apartment for 3,000 euros per square meter and calculate that you will pay it off through rent, it is logical that owners will keep raising the rent prices."

He says we cannot know when and how Split real estate prices will settle.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Lifestyle section.

Sunday, 16 October 2022

Paul Bradbury's Croatia: Things I Like about Split

October 16, 2022 - As part of the forthcoming relaunching of TCN, one more new series into the video age - Paul Bradbury's Croatia - starting off with Things I Like about Split. 

One of the things I love about my 'job' is meeting people from all walks of life in Croatia. A typical working day on a visit to somewhere like Split, for example, will take me to lots of meetings in multiple locations with lots of different characters and types of meetings. From the terraces of luxury hotels to some of the grungiest bars in the city. 

I love it.

I was in Split a couple of weeks ago on one such business day, and it struck me that it might make some good video content to show destinations through the eyes of a foreigner who has been here for 20 years. As I travel a lot, and now that filming can be done with a phone, it is relatively easy to capture snapshots of a destination as I go from meeting to meeting.

So here is the first attempt at what will become a regular feature on TCN YouTube - Paul Bradbury's Croatia, starting with Things I Like about Split. Huge thanks to Mirela Rus who rescued the filming as I was halfway through the concept and kindly agreed to have breakfast at Brasserie on 7 a couple of days later to reshoot some of my very amateur filming. I WILL get better. 

Feedback and suggestions more than welcome - I intend to turn this into a major series in 2023.  

To watch more of Paul Bradbury's Croatia videos, follow the dedicated section on TCN or subscribe to the TCN YouTube channel.

To learn more about the Dalmatian capital, check out the Total Croatia Split in a Page guide.


What's it like living in Croatia, and where can you get the best survival tips? TCN CEO Paul Bradbury and TCN Editor Lauren Simmonds have teamed up to publish Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners - out now on Amazon.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.



Sunday, 16 October 2022

Croatia Handball Edges Out Belgium in Dramatic 2024 EURO Qualifying Match

October 16, 2022 - After a thrilling second half that went goal for goal, the Croatia handball team beat Belgium 30-27 in Hasselt as part of the EHF EURO 2024 qualifiers. 

After beating Greece in the 1st EHF EURO 2024 qualification round, a new challenge awaited the Croatia men's handball team. On Sunday, Croatia played in Hasselt against Belgium, a national team that has made great strides in the last few years and is rapidly approaching major competitions.

Hrvoje Horvat took 18 players to Belgium. He decided to spare Ivan Pešić, Veron Načinović, and Vlada Matanović. The first two missed the first match, and instead of Vlado Matanović, Horvat took Luka Lovre Klarica to Belgium. 

Qualifications for EURO 2024 began for Croatia on October 12 against Greece. The 2024 EHF European Men's Handball Championship will be hosted in Germany from  January 10 to 28, 2024. This will be the 16th handball Euros and the third to feature 24 national teams. 


Belgium: Lettens, Brixhe, Serras, Braun, S. Spooren, Colman, Vandebeeck, Vancosen, Kedziora, Danesi, Glorieux, Qerimi, Gille, De Beule, R. Spooren, Deekens

Croatia: Marić, Duvnjak, Šarac, Karačić, Musa, Cindrić, Mandić, Lučin, Jaganjac, Kuzmanović, Martinović, Šipić, Šego, Glavaš, Klarica, Jelinić

Match report

FULL-TIME Croatia managed to beat Belgium in a tough match - 27:30

59' Lučin brings Croatia back to a two-goal lead with less than a minute left in the match

58' Croatia goes back up to two goals. Lučin and Duvnjak lead Croatia. Belgium calls a time-out

57' Qerimi continues brilliantly, finds the pivot with an excellent ball behind Croatia's defense. Glavaš misses a chance to score, and Belgium equalizes

53' Tin Lučin manages to bring Croatia to a two-goal lead, but Belgium immediately responds 

50' The game is goal for goal; Jelinić keeps Croatia level with two goals, while we have no solution for Belgium's attacks

46' After Cindrić's goal, Qerimi returns. Croatia fails to stop Belgium's attacks

43' Kuzmanović is excellent in goal with his seventh save, preventing Belgium's new lead. Jelinić brings Croatia back to one goal behind

39' Horvat loses patience and calls a time-out. Belgium takes its first lead in the match

38' Belgium equalized, Croatia started to struggle in the attack 

36' Croatia's defense suffered. Belgium failed to equalize only because of two great reactions from Kuzmanović

33' Martinović continues brilliantly, but Qerim responds on the other side. Marino Marić enters the pivot position for the first time in today's game

31' The second half begins in Hasselt, Croatia has a two-goal advantage, and Belgium has the first attack

HALFTIME: Croatia leads 15:13 in Hasselt, Belgium, but it is far from what was expected against Belgium

30' Martinović and Lučin bring Croatia back to a two-goal advantage

28' After an excellent defense, Kuzmanović passes the ball to Belgium, who returns to one goal behind 

25' Croatia plays on the outside line; the defense is still the biggest problem; Karačić, Lučin, and Martinović keep Croatia at three goals ahead 

22' Croatia does not capitalize on three attacks in a row, Belgium returns to just a goal behind, time-out called by Hrvoje Horvat

15' The first time-out of the match was called by Belgium. Croatia is good in the attack but allows too much in the defense

12 'Driving from the outside line and with David Mandić's goal, Croatia reached a comfortable three-goal lead

9' Croatia does not manage to break away; the game is goal for goal

4' Two consecutive goals by Belgium and a short lead before Luka Cindrić's goal to equalize

2' Domagoj Duvnjak scored the first goal of the match

1' Croatia went for its second victory against Belgium in the 2024 European Championship qualifiers

Source: Jutarnji List

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 15 October 2022

Croatian Restaurant Chain Koykan Hopes to Conquer Germany, Austria

October the 15th, 2022 - The Croatian restaurant chain Koykan, known for its so-called ''fast-casual'' style, is set to spread to the German and Austrian markets following a new investment round.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, on Wednesday this week, the Croatian restaurant chain Koykan presented its expansion plans for the wider European Union (EU) market to investors, which includes the opening of as many as fifty franchise restaurants in Germany and Austria by the tear 2025. The Croatian chain Koykan is otherwise quite the unique restaurant concept that offers a wide range range of street food dishes and international cuisine in one place, from Asian and Mexican to Mediterranean and American, all based on high-quality and fresh local ingredients.

In order for the company's ambitious plan to expand its business to the European Union market to come true, the founders of Koykan plan to attract an investment worth one million euros with the help of the digital investment platform Funderbeam, and would-be investors have confirmed their interest in investing in this rapidly growing Croatian street food franchise.

"Funderbeam is a global digital platform that enables startups and developing businesses to raise capital under more favourable conditions than venture capital and other forms of investment at that stage of business development. At the same time, Funderbeam also enables individuals to become part of the business success of innovative and growing businesses as small investors with an investment of as little as 250 euros. This is a significant change in the world of investments, since until now such investments were reserved only for large institutional investors,'' explained Ognjan Despot, the director of Funderbeam for Central and Eastern Europe. He also pointed out that Croatian companies have already raised more than six million euros through various Funderbeam investments, while total investments through Funderbeam amount to more than 50 million euros.

"We didn't just decide to take this step overnight. Over the past decade, we've learned a lot, often from our own mistakes, we've worked persistently, we've developed, and only now are we truly ready for expansion into the European Union markets. With the help of Funderbeam, our goal is to raise one million euros in Series A and with that spring our step, to open up fifty franchise restaurants throughout Germany and Austria over the next three years," explained Boro Milivojevic, one of the co-founders of the Croatian restaurant chain Koykan.

Every company on Funderbeam must have a leading investor who contributes to the campaign's credibility with their investment, and the leading investor in Koykan, Mato Marcinkovic & Partners, emphasised that here in the Republic of Croatia, it is necessary to activate the investment climate in promising companies that plan to expand to a much larger market in Europe.

Davor Bruketa, a partner in the famous Croatian branding agency Bruketa&Zinic&Grey, joined Koykan as one of the investors. "After hearing about Koykan's story a few months ago, I decided to invest and financially support the project. The expansion of the first Croatian fast-casual restaurant chain is also interesting to my agency, so we decided together that Bruketa&Zinic&Grey will help with the design, digital advertising and brand activation for their franchise expansion," says Davor Bruketa.

The Croatian restaurant chain Koykan wants to include all of its fans in this project, therefore both Koykan employees and major suppliers have become investors, and the desire is for customers who like the famous Koykan classics such as their burgers, gyros, wraps and other offers to join in as well. The fundraising campaign on Funderbeam is set to continue for another month, and the currently expressed interest in investing has already exceeded the initial expectations of the founders.

For more on Croatian companies and investments, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Friday, 14 October 2022

Dutchman Finds Dubrovnik Father after 55 Years

October 14, 2022 - Some 55 years after a holiday romance that brought him into the world, a Dutchman comes to Dubrovnik to search for his father... and finds him!

It has been quite a 3 weeks since I published the appeal of a Dutchman trying to locate his biological father, with just a grainy old photograph of a Dubrovnik waiter, a name which was probably not correct, and a few details of a holiday romance on the Adriatic back in 1967 - Looking for My Dad, a 1967 Hotel Bellevue Dubrovnik Waiter.

My inbox was flooded with offers of help - paid and unpaid - and leads to the father in no less than 5 countries. Cometh the hour, cometh the legendica. I asked for help from my partner-in-crime, Laura Siprak from 24Sata, from last year's story identifying the mystery woman on Krk who had lost her memory

Laura took over the story completely, and all credit for finding Stefan's father and uniting them is 100% hers. Here is her story, published earlier in Croatian on 24Sata.

Stefan found his father! 'I found peace and a piece of family. After a whole 55 years, I hugged my dad!'

It all started with an email that Stefan Brouwers sent to Paul Bradbury on the Total News Croatia portal. He was looking for a father he had never met, and his mother was not comfortable talking about it. He had one blurry picture, the name of the Hotel Bellevue and his name: Gojko Smiljanić.

Bradbury published his email and contacted 24sata reporters to help, based on previous good cooperation. And we helped. After a video call with Stefan and his wife, the two of them packed up and set off from the Netherlands on a 1,500-kilometer journey to Dubrovnik.

At the same time, Bradbury was getting information from people from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia, and we set about checking directories, asking former hotel drivers who are still alive, looking into old school and military archives, even the first director of the Dubrovnik - Neretva tourist board, Anto Štrbić - Fulina. In his youth, he was a baker in Dubrovnik, and even today he runs a restaurant in Ploče, so he knows most of the restaurateurs from that area. But the number of people named Gojko Smiljanić is higher than expected, so the elimination process took a few days.


In the end, the friend of Gojko we were looking for called and, after the initial uncertainty and cancellation, Stefan managed to find his father.

- I have to thank everyone who called, you who did an excellent job with Paul, and my father's friend who acted as a mediator and helped us meet. The people in Croatia are truly wonderful, we could not have imagined such a turn of events. It was emotionally draining, but also beautiful. The mediator drove us to the restaurant where we met, introduced us and left after 15 minutes. My father is a warm and gentle person with a great sense of humor. We were both a little nervous at first, but he had a relaxed 'it happened' attitude, so it was easier. We spent several hours together, exchanged numbers and will try to stay in touch. We didn't do a DNA test, but it's him, the story matches and we look very similar physically - says Stefan.

He is not his only child and after the summer romance with Nettie, Gojko met his wife and built a family, so he will leave the remnants of the meeting and photos for himself. This is a shock to everyone, which is why the meeting was arranged in five days, but the most important thing is that they found each other.

- Emotions were everywhere. For most of my life, I was interested in who my father was. I've been looking for him for over 20 years, ever since I had my son, and my mother gave me that blurry photo and told me the basic information. This was my last attempt, to find him where he and my mom met. A month ago, I did not believe that I would find him. When we arrived two weeks ago, I was excited and nervous because it looked like you found it. And it is! At that moment, I could not even imagine that I would meet him. I am glad that he is understanding and accepted me from the moment we met. There were a lot of emotions in me, but happiness is the strongest one. Now I can say that I have found peace and that part of my family that I have been missing all my life - concludes Stefan.

And besides his father, he also got a large family. Life is unusual, so it turned out that some relatives live scattered around the world, some of them very close to Stefan. The unusual search, fortunately, ended in the best way: two families have expanded, and Stefan now knows what interests every person - where we come from. 


What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

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Friday, 14 October 2022

Drought Especially Tough on Croatian Sheep Farmers: Hardest Year in Last 30

October 14, 2022 - The drought created big problems for Croatian sheep farmers. The largest sheep farm in Krk produces five and a half tonnes of cheese annually. And while last year, despite the pandemic, was good for them, they are adding damage due to the drought this year.

As HRT writes, they do hope that the sheep will recover by the time they need to be milked and that they will persist in the quality of the cheese.

Both in summer and winter, about four hundred sheep of the Mrakovčić family roam freely in the pastures on the sunniest side of the island of Krk. They learned everything about sheep from their ancestors and founded their OPG and Sirana (family farm and cheese production) about thirty years ago. But due to the dry summer, this is their first year which they think could be critical.

"We normally do not add fodder or dry hay during the summer, but only during February and March when the vegetation is scarce. I don't remember having to add so much water and food," says Mirjenko Mrakovčić, owner of OPG from Kornić, Krk.

Typically, sheep consume a cubic meter of water daily and up to twelve hay bales." And you can see that the sheep are not in the best condition and have lost some weight. Well, you can't see it now because of the wool, but if you fleeced them, it would become apparent. They graze on grass, eat young olive leaves, blackberries, whatever they find, and laurel is the sweetest for them", said Marko.

Everyone hopes the sheep will have recovered by the time they need to be milked.

"We exclusively milk sheep who graze on vegetation; we do not add anything, which is why our milk and cheese are of high quality," emphasizes Mirjenko.

They are the eight-time champions of Croatia and the region. The flavours of their cheeses - Green and Black Bodul, Ordinary, and Magriž - are enjoyed on all continents. They even refined the offer on the doorstep with olive oil and sweet delicacies.

"One month is better; another is worse; we get some incentives from the county and some from European funds. We have had customers for about 20 years," pointed out Vesna Mrakovčić, owner of the OPG.

Their good results are spoiled by wild boars and jackals, killing about twenty sheep yearly.

"As far as I know, two farms are now selling sheep; there is no future if the wild boars and jackals are not removed from the island of Krk," emphasized Mirjenko.

The reality is these humble OPGs are just desperate to maintain the high quality of their products.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Lifestyle section.

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