Sunday, 19 June 2022

€1.16m for 136 Projects of Ethnic Croatians in 12 European Countries

ZAGREB, 19 June 2022 -The Central State Office for Croats Abroad has set aside 8.7 million kuna (€1.16 million) for 136 projects and programmes which will be carried out by associations of Croat communities in 12 European countries.

The grants for ethnic Croat projects range from HRK 7,000 to HRK 320,000.

This highest grant has been awarded to the project of public transport of ethnic Croat students in Janjevo and revitalization of the local Croat community in that part of Kosovo. Furthermore, the soup kitchen in Letnica, Kosovo, has received HRK 180,000 in aid.

The Democratic Alliance of the Croats in Romania has been awarded HRK 299,000 for its project of the preservation of the identity of local Croats in that eastern European country.

The state camp of the Croatian language and culture "Collegium Croaticum", managed by the Croatian local self-governing authorities (HDS) in Hungary, has been given HRK 275,000.

Apart from the Croat minorities in Kosovo, Romania, and Hungary, also ethnic Croats in Austria, Bulgaria, Montenegro, the Czech Republic, Italy, North Macedonia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Serbia have been granted the funds following the public call for applications.

 The decisions on the grants are available on the Office's website.

(€1 = HRK 7.52)

For more news about the Croatian diaspora, visit our dedicated section.

Sunday, 19 June 2022

Vrana Lake Nature Park: Perfect for Both Peace and Action

June 19, 2022 - Ever paid a visit to the gorgeous and truly unique Vrana lake nature park?

It’s that time again, when the ancient streets of coastal Croatia are full of traffic. It's the same thing for the roads, especially the Adriatic Highway, probably one of the most scenic routes you could ever drive along. No matter which part of Croatia’s coastline you're heading to, incredible views are guaranteed. Between Zadar and Šibenik, a real natural phenomenon can be sighted – the Adriatic Sea and the freshwater Vrana lake separated by less than one kilometre of mainland.



Besides of being one of Croatia‘s largest natural lakes, it has been pronounced a nature park as well. Stretching from Pakoštane to Pirovac, blessing the two Croatian counties of Zadar and Šibenik-Knin at once, Vrana lake nature park covers about 57 square kilometres in total. A ridge, the Prosika canal, lets salt water flow down into the freshwater lake, making it possible for both salt water and freshwater fish to live there – a fact that attracts both sport and recreational fishing enthusiasts.




There are plenty more opportunities on offer at the gorgeous Vrana lake nature park aside from fishing, such as swimming or kayaking for example. One can also choose horseback riding or even try out swimming with the horses. Besides the abundant water activities, Vrana lake nature park also boasts 40 kilometres of impressive cycling and hiking trails with stunning views on offer. Several display boards providing educational information dotted around Vrana lake can be found as well.


What makes Vrana Lake nature park even more special, is its declaration as an Ornithological Reserve and its listing as one of the “Important Bird Areas in Europe” with more than 256 bird species being registered as living there. Off-season, particularly during the winter, over 100,000 aquatic birds seek out Vrana lake as their seasonal home. Birds aside, numerous other fascinating animal species can be found there as well.



From the “Kamenjak” viewpoint, Vrana lake nature park’s highest peak, one can catch sight of the rugged coastline, the Kornati archipelago, the Mediterranean swamp as well as the rural area of Ravni Kotari all at once – an amazing picture that one can hardly ever forget. During the year, some traditional festivities take place at the top, right in front of the Chapel of All Saints. Moreover, the main path up the hill is known as the Way of the Cross with its 14 stations regularly walked by locals and tourists.




A traditional Dalmatian tavern makes it possible to enjoy local delicacies while admiring the picturesque surroundings up there, and in the mornings one can see the beautiful shades of blue of both the lake and the sea, and soak up the amazing sunsets in the evenings. At this place, one thing is sure – unforgettable memories are guaranteed.





For more on Croatia's nature parks, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

Sunday, 19 June 2022

Zadar Digital Nomad Week Diary: Fourth Day Recap

June 19, 2022 - Although the Zadar Digital Nomad Week program kicked off on June 10, a press conference three days later marked the start of various panels, workshops, keynotes and master classes around the city of Zadar. A look at what the fourth day of Zadar Digital Nomad Week left us.

After an appropriate weekend to strengthen ties between the participants and with the host city of Zadar, it was time to formalize the start of a week with a program rich in workshops, keynotes, master classes, and panels. We met on the morning of Monday, June 13 at the Hotel Bastion Cafe, in the old town of Zadar. Tanja Polegubić from Saltwater Nomads, Jan de Jong from Digital Nomads Association Croatia, and Franjo Pehar from Zadar University led the press conference.


Photo: Jose Alfonso Cussianovich/Total Croatia News

Jan de Jong used the occasion to make a balance of the great progress and success of the digital nomad visa more than a year after its introduction in the country, which started with an open letter from Jan to the Prime Minister of Croatia, Andrej Plenković. Jan revealed that statistically speaking, at any given moment we have some 6,000+ digital nomads in the country, making this already a 100 million EUR industry annually for Croatia. He expressed his joy that a city with very good infrastructure is following in the footsteps of Zagreb, Dubrovnik, and Split in attracting these digital nomads.

For her part, Tanja Polegubić said that the reasons behind the Zadar Digital Nomad Week are personal, which can be evidenced in perhaps one of the most ambitious and diverse programs that have been carried out as part of the promotion of Croatia as a destination for digital nomads. Tanja also highlighted Zadar as a city that, in addition to its modernity and infrastructure, can boast of being surrounded by a lot of nature due to its proximity to national parks.

Finally, Franjo Pehar thanked the organizers for bringing this event to Zadar, considering it the most central city in Croatia due to its proximity to the capital, the northwest and the south of the country, and expressed his wish that more events take place in the city to promote it as a destination for digital nomads.


Photo: Jose Alfonso Cussianovich/Total Croatia News

After the press conference, we found ourselves at the next venue, just across the street. The Garden Lounge was the location chosen for the first panel of the Zagreb Digital Nomad Week, with a lineup that included Romana Konjevod from the Digital Nomad Association Croatia, Franjo Pehar from the University of Zadar, Jan de Jong from the Digital Nomad Association Croatia, Tanja Polegubić from Saltwater Nomads, Albert Anthony, and Josip Zurak from Authland Croatia. The panel was moderated by Marlee McCormick, one of the 10 winners of last year's Dubrovnik Digital Nomad in Residence, and panelists shared their experiences and insights on local businesses and nomads.


Photo: Jose Alfonso Cussianovich/Total Croatia News

There is no big event in Croatia without a space to taste good wine, and that is why we went to the Fiolić winery, where in addition to trying some of its internationally renowned wines and some delicious appetizers, the attendees would be part of a masterclass offered by Marlee McCormick and her husband Jeff Burke on how to podcast like a pro. The Texans used their extensive knowledge from their radio and podcast backgrounds to deliver a great class that covered everything from conceiving an idea to creating a podcast, to the tools needed to produce it.


Photo: Jose Alfonso Cussianovich/Total Croatia News

The master class could not have been better accompanied, as Ana Fiolić from the Fiolić winery allowed the attendees to try an excellent red wine, white wine, rose and even a delicious homemade rakija.

The last venue of the date would be Code Hub Zadar, a coworking space located on the campus of the University of Zadar, where different workshops would take place. KPMG delivered an in-person speed networking tax session from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., and digital nomads were able to learn more about the tax system in Croatia, and specifically for remote workers like them. An online masterclass by Maya Middlemiss followed, in which virtual attendees were able to learn a little-known side of the podcast world, on how to create one that fits the business world.


Photo: Jose Alfonso Cussianovich/Total Croatia News

Finally, the day closed at Code Hub Zadar with a LinkedIn masterclass with Mandy Fransz, one of the LinkedIn 2022 top voices, who with her co-host Emanuel Stojanov, delved into the dos and don'ts in that platform. Mandy emphasized that LinkedIn is no longer a platform solely for job searching or posting job offers, but beyond. Now, LinkedIn allows its users to connect with thousands of other users with whom they can find diverse opportunities for collaboration or even as an educational platform. Mandy, at the end of her presentation, gave attendees the opportunity to analyze their profiles to see how they can improve their ranking on the platform.

It was definitely a day that had it all: panels, networking, wines, podcast masterclasses and LinkedIn... and there was still a long way to go to get closer to the end of Zadar Digital Nomad Week.

For the latest news and features about digital nomads in Croatia, check out the dedicated TCN section

Sunday, 19 June 2022

International Children's Festival Kicks Off in Šibenik

ZAGREB, 19 June 2022- The 62nd International Children's Festival began in Šibenik on Saturday evening with the "At last an orchestra" musical play performed by the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra and directed by Petra and Paola Radin.

The 18 June - 2 July festival will feature 27 shows, 21 foreign performances in streets and squares, 14 domestic performances, 12 film screenings, four exhibitions, seven book launches, four sports programmes, and 47 workshops for more than 1,000 children.

Ten states will participate in the programme - Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Austria, Poland, Portugal, and Ukraine.

This year the festival is hosting 150 children from Ukraine, some of whom will be part of the audience and some, pupils from an art school in Lviv, will perform.

The opening of the festival was attended by Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek.

The festival is taking place under the auspices of President Zoran Milanović and with the financial support of the Culture Ministry.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Sunday, 19 June 2022

The Rise and Rise of the Hvar Wedding Destination

June 19, 2022 - The Hvar wedding industry is booming - why wouldn't you get married (and honeymoon) in Paradise?

When I first moved to Hvar 20 years ago, having discovered it quite by accident, I realised what a wonderful and romantic island I had landed on. It truly was the most beautiful place I would ever live. 

I met lots of tourists in those initial years, who were also blown away by the island's beauty - it would be a wonderful place to get married, commented more than one loved-up couple. 

Back then, foreign weddings did take place, but they were the exception rather than the rule. Our old friend, Croatian bureaucracy, was always on hand to blunt Cupid's arrow when it came the idea of a happy 'I do.'


And things started to change slowly. Some enterprising locals started businesses as wedding planners, offering a bespoke service for foreign couples who had fallen in love with Croatia and wanted to celebrate their own love there in front of family and friends. 

Organising a wedding in a foreign country was not without its challenges, especially in the early years, but the bureaucratic obstacles were slowly overcome, stunning wedding videos appeared online, and it seemed that the concept of getting married in idyllic Croatia was a very realisable dream. 


Especially on Hvar, where leading hotel group Suncani Hvar have turned the opportunity into an occasional wedding into an impressive part of their already impressive portfolio. With so many outstanding in-house locations for weddings, the full hospitality facilities of a leading hotel group, and gorgeous Hvar as the perfect backdrop. 


Over the years, there has rarely been a summer Saturday when newlyweds cannot be found having their photos taken on the main square and in other Instagrammable spots. The Hvar wedding industry has been one of the quiet growth areas for tourism in recent years, helped perhaps by the high costs of weddings back home in the UK. And where better to continue the wedding than on honeymoon on a gorgeous island, with many of your friends and relatives enjoying a holiday to keep the party going.

It is almost 5 years since I interviewed the Suncani dedicated Hvar weddings coordinator, Nikolina Pijanovic, on the rise of Hvar weddings (you can read that interview here), and the options and popularity have only grown ever since. With capacity to cater for weddings up to 400 guests, as well as much smaller numbers, the Suncani team is able to cater to almost all wedding requests. 

And the locations are outstanding.


There are few places on the island that can match the elegance of Beach Club Hvar, a spectacular colonnade in front of Hotel Amfora which can seat 250 and house a reception for 350. And with the island's main family hotel just a few steps away, no need to worry about and drink-drive issues. The colonnade is one of the island's most iconic buildings and adds a touch of class and style to that special day. 


Gorgeous by night, gorgeous by day, as well as an essential part of your post-wedding detox, with luxury private cabanas with cabana service and massage on offer to kick start married life in style. 

More than 250 guests? Not a problem, and you can invite up to 400 guests who will trade being on the water for magnificent views of the Pakleni Islands on the terrace of Hotel Amfora. 


With space for 600 to the reception party, the walk home to the hotel room is even closer. Amfora's legendary cascade pools are just below the terrace, only adding to what is truly a magical setting. 

There are also other location options for smaller gatherings and lesser budgets, with the Splash Restaurant and Bar (by Hotel Amfora) offering a private and intimate setting on the water.  


Capacity is for 100 guests to sit, and a reception maximum of 150. The views to the Pakleni Islands are divine. 


Or perhaps you prefer the historic inside of the first 5-star heritage hotel on the island, Palace Elisabeth, hvar heritage hotel, which has quite a history. Did you know that organised tourism in Europe began on this very spot, with the founding of the Hvar Health Society back in 1868? Share your memorable day with up to 80 guests. 

Each wedding location comes with a range of packages, or you may of course devise your own. 


As any stressed bride will tell you, the big day is only part of the wedding planning, and the range of additional services that have been developed in recent years has really added a touch of class to the Hvar wedding offer.  

Get set for your big day stress-free, with style, class and glamour. Our team is ready to spoil your taste buds with a delicious rehearsal dinner combined with a world-class wine and services with soul and sunsational style. Our Sensori Spa will be your safe haven of relaxation and rejuvenation and treatments with locally produced plants and oils will make you glow inside and out.

With special discount codes for wedding attendees, what a great way to prepare for your big day in the company of your closest and dearest. 


Your special day may be over, but the fun is only just beginning. Whether or not you have chosen Hvar as your honeymoon destination (why would you choose anywhere else?!?), take a few days to enjoy your new-found status and relax with friends and family who have come to share in your special day. 

The post-wedding services are just one more reason to consider this amazing island, with your dedicated wedding coordinator and team of local partners on hand to continue delivering the magic:

The amazing smell from fields of blooming lavender; the sumptuous taste of spectacular wine that has been cultivated here for more than 2000 years; the stunning view of an ancient stone village surrounded by olive groves; the rush of wind as you race across the sea!

This is Hvar, not just the Mediterranean as it once was, but the essence of island life. An island of adventure and hedonism as well as intimacy and legend. The chosen destination of the rich and famous and commoners alike. From bottles of bubbly, to in-room spa treatments and picnics in the nature or surrounding islands, live it up with lots of luxury delivered right to your room.


And don't forget another essential part of your special day - the photos! There is no more beautiful island in the world in my opinion, and your expert hosts know exactly where to take you for those shots which will stay with you forever. Lavender fields, anyone?

Still need a little convincing? A little video overview perhaps?

For more information about getting married on Hvar, click here.  


To learn more about this gorgeous island, check out the Total Hvar in a Page guide.   

Sunday, 19 June 2022

Annual Terezijana Festivities Taking Place in Bjelovar

ZAGREB, 18 June  2022 - Over 500 costumed participants walked through the centre of Bjelovar on Saturday evening within the annual Terezijana festivities in memory to Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa during whose rule in the 18th century Bjelovar developed into an urban centre.

On Saturday evening Croatian President Zoran Milanović attended the costumed procession through this city 80 kilometres east of Zagreb.

The first edition of the annual festivities called "Terezijana" was launched 26 years ago. Every June since then, Bjelovar prepares this tourist and entertainment programme.

This year, the festivities are being held from 15 to 19 June, and feature regional rock and pop stars.

Typical meals of the local cuisine were also offered to visitors.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Sunday, 19 June 2022

ACAP 2022: A New York Room Full of Croatian Excellence

June 19, 2022 - The Association of Croatian American Professionals conference, ACAP 2022, has been an unqualified success. So much excellence in just one room in New York City. 

A lot of my Croatian friends laugh at me when I am positive about the future of Croatia. I can understand why, after the disappointments and dashed hopes they have been forced to endure of the 30 years since that hard-won independence. The corruption, nepotism and emigration was certainly not part of the deal they thought they were signing up for in developing a newly independent country. 

One thing I have learned about Croatians is that positive new initiatives are mostly embraced by skepticism. Something might worked wonderfully in every other country in the world, but in Croatia? 

But things are changing, and I genuinely believe that. Overcoming that skepticism and turning the mindset into a positive direction is one of Croatia's key challenges, but - at least from where I am sitting - I see more and more bright spots, new initiatives, success stories, and a strengthening of the eco-system of Croatia 2.0 to realise that we are an a path of change. 

Being a fly on the wall in a room in New York this week was probably one of the best snapshots of how far Croatia has come, and an indication of the direction it is heading. So many examples of Croatian excellent in so many sectors came together and networked, bonded, and connected. My social media feed and inbox has been flooded with positivity from New York these past few days from the ACAP 2022 conference. 

So who was there and speaking? The ACAP 2022 Facebook page did a great job keeping us all updated. Congrats to the organisers and participants - the future of Croatia is looking just a little brighter. 













For more news from the Croatian diaspora, follow the dedicated TCN section

Sunday, 19 June 2022

Meet The Luka Mozaika, A World Record Contender

June 19, 2022 - The Port of Mosaics (Luka Mozaika) project aims to become the world's longest recorded mosaic walkway. This innovative Luka Mozaika project can be explored in Vela Luka, a coastal town situated at the very western end of the Island of Korčula.

Currently, at forty metres in length, Luka Mozaika has already been laid and is still an ongoing project which is growing steadily. The recent global coronavirus pandemic slowed down the Vela Mozaika project and even halted it for some time, but it has now regained full motion once again. The project was started back in 2017 by Udruga Likovno Stvaralaštvo Vela Luke (the Vela Luka Artistic Creation Association). Each mosaic involves a detailed picture with four thousand stones per masterpiece. The mosaic pieces that are used to create the final image are between one and two centimetres long, and they are all cut in an old and unused factory, which has become the workshop where this utterly exquisite artistry is designed.


Photo: Adriana Tasovac/Total Croatia News

The creative head of the operation is Ante Marinovic who also lead a smaller-scale mosaic project on Proizd island, which contains seventy mosaics and are all under Vela Luka’s ownership. The Port of Mosaics in Vela Luka aims to cover the entire walkway with mosaics along the shore belt, which is just under three kilometres long.


Photo: Adriana Tasovac/Total Croatia News

Over three hundred mosaic pieces make up the walkway in Vela Luka already, and tourists, as well as locals with an artistic flair, can participate in adding to the project, which will forever make them a part of the culture and history of this ever-growing walkway. Even novices who are unfamiliar with the process have the opportunity to become skilled in this artistic field as part of a truly impressive move Vela Luka has made.

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Sunday, 19 June 2022

World Karate Federation Youth League Tournament Coming to Porec!

June 19, 2022 - Porec is set to welcome the World Karate Federation! Typically seen as a popular Istrian summer holiday destination, Porec is also known as “a city with a thousand-year history”. This year, the city is looking forward to the Croatian Karate Union’s second spectacular World Karate Federation Youth League Tournament.

After an extremely triumphant event last year, Porec will be hosting the championship once again. Despite the global coronavirus pandemic and all of the issues it caused, the organisers are excited to welcome a larger and more successful event to be held between the 1st and the 3rd of July this year.

The tournament will take place at the Intersport Sports Hall and recreation centre in Porec, and the organisers are hoping to break the world record for the number of competitors, and simultaneously raise the standard of the tournament's overall quality.

Over six days, ambitious Karateka (karate students) will be given the opportunity to learn and train with world-class athletes and renowned coaches in the training camp, which takes place before the tournament. The 2022 Youth Camp will be open to receive competitors and athletes between 10 and 20 years of age. There are over 500 youths from 36 countries that have enrolled in the training camp as it is, which bodes very well.

Originally staged in Umag, the training camp and tournament were moved to accommodate the overwhelming number of athletes expected to participate in these events for the second year running.

The Karate Youth League tournament was conceived to emphasise the influence of karate on youths globally, and the tournament will highlight those athletes who are aiming to reach higher positions in their World Karate Federation international ranking. This league aims to become a platform to develop the skills of these young athletes and their sporting careers with maximum progression at the fullest potential.

Since the Japan 2020 Olympic games, and with the increasing interest of youth in this sport, it's more than inspiring to see that the organisers of the event are taking extra measures to ensure that the competitors participate in an experience that they will never forget.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.

Sunday, 19 June 2022

The Outsiders, by Joomboos: First Bilingual Teen Series (Trailer, Episode 1)

June 19, 2022 - An interesting and innovative initiative from the hit YouTube channel, JoomBoos, as they launch 'The Outsiders', the first bilingual teen series in the region. Watch the trailer and first episode below.

Finding a more global audience and reaching the diaspora has always been a challenge for Croatian-language media, and one of the reasons why I enjoy running TCN so much. There is so much amazing content taking place in Croatia every day all over the country, the majority of which sadly remains in the Croatian language, and as such is only consumed by a tiny percentage of its potential audience. Simply retelling those stories on TCN in English immediately widens the appeal and interest, and I have been fortunate to have had so much incredible content to choose from over the years. 

Reaching more international markets as a Croatian broadcaster can be particularly challenging, with few Croatian-language productions making it to the international stage (the excellent The Paper on Netflix) is a notable exception. 

And so I am intrigued to follow the progress of an interesting new teen series called The Outsiders, which aired its first episode on the phenomenally successful JoomBoos YouTube channel this week, and which will be broadcasting a new episode each Thursday. It is I think the first bilingual teen series in the region, predominantly in English, but with a sizable amount in Croatian, from different dialects (subtitles are available). I have to say that I like the format and the way it is put together. A little more on the plot and the project as it was introduced on 24Sata, and you can watch the trailer, first episode, and trailer for the second episode which will air next Thursday.


But it's time to officially meet the first bilingual series in the region - JoomBoos' new hit 'The Outsiders'! The first, official trailer for our new series, which you will be able to watch exclusively on JoomBoos from June this year, has just been released on our YouTube channel.

The plot of the series follows a young boy named Noah. Because of the work his mother does, he moves to a new country, a new home, every few years. This time he arrives in Zagreb from London and starts again. New school, new rules, new apartment, new social life ... yet to be found. Shortly after arriving in Zagreb, he 'invades' a society that everyone at school calls 'outsiders'. They are unusual, they have their own rules, they have their own passions and ambitions, they love to hang out in their little box and they try to force the rest of the world out.

Elena, Vito, Patrik, Andrija and Noah become friends after his arrival in Croatia and their private school, but their journey does not go too smoothly and without quarrels, drama, anger, jealousy ... The whole story is further complicated by the main mean girl at school, Nina, who wants to ruin the plans of the 'outsider' team at any cost.

Digital Nomad Series This series is about a new generation of kids. About digital nomads who don't tie their lives to one place, even though they are constantly looking for a sense of belonging, a sense of home. They’re some new kids, they’re third culture kids. This is exactly the character of Noah, who, in his travels, is always looking for a safe haven, no matter how much he enjoys the process. In addition to enjoyment, there are also torments because every now and then you have to adapt to new people, a new environment. Well, the same story awaits him in Zagreb ... Will he really have to change in order to fit in, or will he find people like him who will give him a sense of security, friendship and love? Will he find just that in the 'outsiders' with whom he will go through really different things during all the episodes of this new JoomBoos series? 

One of the authors of the series, Bruno Mustić, claims that a totally natural symbiosis of this project and JoomBoos, which was the ideal platform for presenting the idea of ​​this series, took place during this exciting period. "This 'symbiosis' was so natural followers will recognize the potential and fall in love with our characters and our story ", said Bruno. Apart from speaking English in the series, which is natural for Noah (Josh), other actors come from different parts of Croatia and will present several dialects and slang that will blend perfectly into this ‘bilingual’ project.

"Given that content in the local language is difficult to pass outside the home country, we came up with the concept of a bilingual series, but we were guided by the fact that bilingualism must be dramaturgically justified," Bruno explained the idea behind it all. And this very moment is just one of the reasons why this series is already being talked about far beyond the borders of Lijepa Naša. And we will talk about him ... Follow 'The Outsiders' this summer exclusively on JoomBoos The main character was played by English actor Josh Thorley, who really traveled to Zagreb from London for filming. And he really liked staying here for those few weeks, he admitted in an exclusive interview, which you will be able to watch on the YouTube channel 24sata Oriđiđi! In the series, in addition to the main characters, there are also some other famous faces such as the famous local actor, Goran Grgić, and the most famous local Tiktokers and JoomBoos' Mimiermakeup.

For more on lifestyle in Croatia, visit the dedicated TCN section.


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