Thursday, 5 January 2023

Milan Horvat, Snapshot of Change: Foreigners 15% of Varazdin Workers

January 5, 2023 - The demographics of Croatia are changing. An interesting snapshot from Varazdin resident and entrepreneur, Milan Horvat.

During the 2018 World Cup in Russia, a bizarre discussion emerged in the international media complaining that Croatia had no black players, and that is was a 100% per cent white team. Nobody seemed to mind that most of the African teams were black by comparison. It started a bit of research into just how many foreigners where living in Croatia, and the results you can read in the article of the time, 99.3%: Croatia, the Most Racially Pure Caucasian Country in the World.

Fast forward four years, and one does not have to be long in a supermarket or cafe to see that there has been a seismic change, as foreign workers from Africa and Asia are increasingly doing jobs which Croats are reluctant to take due to low wages. 

One of the people I follow on LinkedIn is a chap called Milan Horvat in Varazdin, whose posts are always thought-provoking. Below is a translation of his latest, a fascinating snapshot of the rapid change Varazdin has undergone in just a few years.

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In the city where I live, Varazdin, there are just under 3,000 foreigners from Europe, Asia, and Africa, and that is almost 15% of all employees. Without them, the economy of this city has no chance of functioning normally.

It is the city with the lowest unemployment rate in the Republic of Croatia. Only 7 years ago, there were barely 50 foreign workers in it, and then everything began to change abruptly. In the Croatian public, there is talk of our people going to work abroad, and Varazdin, for example, in 2021 had a greater number of immigrant citizens than they moved away. What happened?

We entered the EU a decade ago, and the other day we entered the euro monetary union and the Schengen zone, and it's time to start discussing the European value system.

Varazdinians have been working in the border towns of Slovenia and Austria for as long as I can remember, especially after 2013. A lot of them travel there to work and back as well as to Zagreb, and a smaller part of them have rented cheap accommodation because they spend weekends at home. They work where their work is better paid.

Less than a decade ago, Varazdin was an example of an ethnically-clean city with extremely tolerant and hardworking people. In just a few years, everything has changed. Today, almost every ninth working person in my city is from another part of the world, and you can no longer walk around the city or go to the store to buy groceries without meeting people from another continent, of colour and race, from other countries. They are not tourists, they are my fellow citizens, my associates at work, and with them, life in the city is more dynamic, interesting, richer, and better.

The European value system implies, inter alia, that a city or region must make sure that they become attractive to the lives of citizens and be able to attract other people because they need them to be able to function and develop, and not to act as if it is self-evident that the people who were born there will stay here to live and work.

At the same time, such an approach retains the existing residents and offers them opportunities for a better life for both them and newcomers. What is best in my story is that Varazdin entrepreneurs are aware of this, but so too are the HDZ county prefect and SDP mayor, so they are both trying in accordance with their capabilities and powers to make the best possible conditions for living and working for all citizens.

Life in the EU is not a black-and-white film, and we are becoming more and more aware of it, and Luckily I was raised to love all that colorful colour, and I grew up and live in a city where it has always been cool.

PS Last year, Varazdin was declared the best city to live in Croatia and not for the first time, nor is it accidental.

You can see the original post in Croatian and/or follow Milan Horvat on LinkedIn.

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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.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

You can subscribe to the Paul Bradbury Croatia Expert YouTube channel here.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners is now available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.

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Thursday, 5 January 2023

Croatian Government to Simplify Work Permits for Foreigners in 2023

January 5, 2023 - The Croatian Government announced some of its new measures for 2023, including accelerating the process of issuing work permits to foreigners, tightening sanctions for violence against women and children, and expanding single-shift school days.

As Glas Slavonije writes, the preparation of amendments to the Foreigners Act is one of the priorities of the work of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. They are adopted to harmonize with the acquis of the EU regarding the entry and residence of citizens of third countries to employ highly qualified workers and simplify and speed up the procedure for issuing residence and work permits. In cooperation with the Croatian Employment Service, the existing application is expected to be upgraded to more efficiently issue residence and work permits; the MUP points out.

In the first quarter, the Ministry of Justice and Administration should prepare a package of legal changes that will tighten sanctions for violence against women, especially in the case of violation of preventive measures, and increase the rights of women - victims of violence while expanding the support system for victims and witnesses. Drafting of a new law on the protection of children from violence is planned for the last quarter, and it will cover the sanctioning of all forms of violence against children, especially when it comes to sexual abuse and child exploitation. The issues of redefining the terms for rehabilitation for the commission of these criminal acts will also be considered, while the issue of using data from criminal records will be defined, with the intention is to introduce additional verification mechanisms.

The Ministry is also working on a salaries act to eliminate the imbalances in the salary system, both in civil and public services. The new law will define a wage system that will be fair and sustainable, with full application of the principle of equal pay for equal work, the Ministry says, which is also preparing a new law on conciliation and a new law on non-litigation proceedings.

This year, the Ministry of Interior will continue the projects of improving and modernizing the work of the traffic police and introducing cameras on the uniforms of police officers, which will contribute, as emphasized, to the improvement of the relationship between the police and citizens in cases of disputed actions, and to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens, but also to protect police officers from unfounded complaints.

In accordance with the National Mine Action Program, the area of Osijek-Baranja and Šibenik-Knin Counties are planned to be demined entirely this year (a total of 15.4 square kilometers). The Ministry of Science and Education is preparing an invitation from the National Plan of Resilience and Recovery for the beginning of 2023 for the construction, extension, and reconstruction of schools for the transition of all elementary schools in Croatia to single-shift work.

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

Thursday, 5 January 2023

Croatian Djuro Djakovic Group Aiming Very High for 2023

January the 5th, 2023 - The Croatian Djuro Djakovic Group has some very ambitious plans for this year, and following a rather complicated procedure which is now finally completed, railway wagon production could see the group catapulted to new heights at no less than the EU level.

As Marija Brnic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, a complex process involving the restructuring and recapitalisation within the Croatian Djuro Djakovic Group was finally carried out in 2022, which enabled the strategic partner, the Czech company DD Acquisition, to acquire majority ownership. At the very end of that same year, it was announced that another decision had taken place, and one which has aims for this year set very high indeed.

The construction of more brand new plants

According to information on the Zagreb Stock Exchange, CERP signed an agreement on behalf of country with the Croatian Djuro Djakovic Group (Special vehicles) on the entry of claims into the company's share capital in the amount of 8.97 million kuna, thereby acquiring five percent of the shares, all based on the restructuring programme and the decision made by the Croatian Government back on February the 3rd, 2022.

The Special vehicles company is part of the wider Croatian Djuro Djakovic Group, and is also its "backbone", but exactly which claims are involved, when and how they arose, hasn't been stated in the announcement, nor has the government's actual decision, since it is marked as confidential.

The state already included the claims that the banks had from the companies which make up the Djuro Djakovic Group during earlier assemblies, after which DD Acquisition carried out its recapitalisation by investing a massive 231 million kuna. The Croatian Djuro Djakovic Group otherwise held a 99.9% stake in Special Vehicles.

This segment is still waiting for a some fresh perspective to take charge, because the new owners have some big plans for the Croatian Djuro Djakovic Group precisely in the business of the production of railway wagons, but also in a military sense.

Adam Sotek, the CEO of CE Industries, owned by one of the partners in DD Acquisition, had a recent interview with the Slovakian business daily Hospodarske noviny, in which he pointed out that in 2023, the production of more than 800 wagons is planned within the group, while 264 were produced in 2021, and 580 in 2022.

The goal, on the other hand, is for the Croatian Djuro Djakovic Group to become the third largest wagon manufacturer in the entire EU. With small investments in the existing facilities, he says, 1,200 wagons can be produced annually.

Part of the production will take place in Serbia?

"Our vision is to have two separate factories with a total production of 2,500 wagons. That would make us third in Europe," said Sotek.

The Croatian Djuro Djakovic Groups's share in the wagon market back at the time the restructuring programme was approved was insignificant, standing somewhere between 3 and 4 percent, and the key players were Greenbrier Europe and Tetravagonka with around 30 percent share, and Transvagon with 10 percent share. It is a market with somewhat stronger growth, because the demand for rail transport is on a strong upward trajectory.

The new owners will direct the production of wagons with higher added value to Slavonski Brod, and due to costs, at least according to Sotek's interview, they aren't ruling out the possibility that part of the production will be done in neighbouring Serbia as well. The defense programme, which is also under Djuro Djakovic Special vehicles, has a weaker representation when it comes to the group's revenues, but the new owners have pointed out that changes are set to come in that segment as well.

For more, check out our dedicated business section.

Thursday, 5 January 2023

Ericsson Nikola Tesla Contracts Digital Transformation Jobs Worth Millions

January the 5th, 2022 - Ericsson Nikola Tesla has contracted work in the impressive amount of 2.4 million euros, carrying out jobs related to the much talked about digital transformation of multiple Croatian ministries.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Josipa Ban writes, at the very beginning of this year, Ericsson Nikola Tesla signed new contracts with Croatian state and public institutions worth 2.4 million euros. These contracts, according to the press release of one of the largest Croatian technology companies of all, are aimed at digital transformation.

Throughout the rest of this year, Ericsson Nikola Tesla will work on the digital transformation of the Ministry of Culture and Media, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MUP) and the ''Dr. Fran Mihaljevic'' Clinic for Infectious Diseases in Zagreb.

For the Ministry of Culture and Media, which is headed by Nina Obuljen Korzinek, Ericsson Nikola Tesla will work on the development of the National Archival Information System, the purpose of which is to improve the management of documentary and archival material within the state administration and within other such public services, and to increase the availability and usability of information for all who require access to it.

On the other hand, as the aforementioned press release states, cooperation in the field of green border protection continues, as part of which new mobile systems for monitoring the green border will be delivered in the summer of 2023. This project will be realised in cooperation with the companies Securitas Hrvatska (Croatia) and Hidraulika promet (traffic).

When it comes to the work Ericsson Nikola Tesla will carry out for the ''Dr. Fran Mihaljevic'' Clinic for Infectious Diseases,  a contract was signed on the maintenance of their integrated hospital information system. The amounts of each individual contract haven't been specified, but with the total sum being as high as it is, it can be safely said that Ericsson Nikola Tesla is starting the year as it hopefully means to go on.

For more, make sure to follow our dedicated business section.

Wednesday, 4 January 2023

Cricket and Antoinette, the First Croatian Feature Animated 3D Film

January 4, 2023 - Cricket and Antoinette (Cvrčak i Mravica), one of the most ambitious film ventures so far in Croatia, has premiered in cinemas. It is the first Croatian feature animated film made in 3D technology.

According to the blurb, the film is a new take on the famous fairy tale first told by Aesop and then Jean de la Fontaine. Ket, a guitar-playing cricket, leads a band to entertain the carefree bugs. Nearby lives Antoinette, heiress of the anthill, where music is forbidden, and only discipline and hard work are allowed. By accident, they meet, and affection grows between them. The ant girl tries to warn the crickets of the upcoming winter, to no avail. When Antheodor, an over-ambitious ant, kidnaps Antoinette, it’s Ket and his friends who come to her rescue.

As HRT reported, the reactions of the audience during the premiere in the Kaptol Centre were excellent; both halls were filled with laughter and enthusiasm from children and adults alike. There are many reasons to celebrate.

This film marked the beginning of the film year 2023, and distribution in 40 countries worldwide has already been agreed upon. One of the distributors will be HRT, which will also be the first television to show the film.

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Cricket and Antoinette

A lot of effort was put into the project in the 13 years of work, involving more than 150 professionals from all over the world.

When it comes to 3D animation, the producer himself pointed out that it is not a film for which 3D glasses need to be used and that 3D stands for the technique.

Based on Aesop's fable, the producer couple Krpan decided to make the film to present it to their daughter, who was 5 years old at the time and recently turned 18.

"I am very happy that this cartoon has songs. The best part, which I wish would be done more often in animated films, is that I had my partner right there in the room", said Tara Thaller, the voice actor for the character of Princess Antonette.

The director of the film, Luka Rukavina, was also satisfied with the result.

"3D animation is specific, but somewhat more rewarding than classic animation. From a director's perspective, it simply gives us more options.

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Cricket and Antoinette

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

Wednesday, 4 January 2023

When Will We be Able to Purchase ZET Tickets via Mobile App?

January the 4th, 2023 - If you've ever used Zagreb's iconic (and usually blue) public transport, you'll have wondered just when it will catch up and allow people to purchase ZET tickets via mobile application (app) instead of at iNovine, Tisak, or on board the tram. It seems that we've finally got some good news on that front for 2023.

With the digital transformation seeping into just about every corner of everyday life, the green transition isn't far behind it. Tram travel is and always has been a very environmentally friendly transport option, and something the City of Zagreb does very well in, ferrying countless people around the capital day in, day out. Now the digital age might finally be catching up with it.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, over the first half of this year, the activation of the brand new ZET mobile application, which has been awaited and being announced for several years now, is finally expected. The new ZET administration also announced that, in addition to being able to purchase ZET tickets through the new app, it will also be possible to check the tram and bus timetables, as well as the traffic situation in the city, according to a report from Vecernji list.

By the way, it's also worth noting that the up and coming ZET application is something that has been being waited on for many years now, but so far there have been no serious developments, at least not from this Zagreb city-based company. Buying ZET tickets online is something most would more than reasonably be expecting to be able to do by now, and it's nice to see that the powers that be within Zagreb's public transport are making it a reality.

It doesn't stop there, as addition to the new ZET application, we residents of Zagreb should also soon receive a renewed fleet, which will include twenty brand new buses and the same number of new trams.

For more, check out our dedicated news section.

Wednesday, 4 January 2023

Popular Split Znjan Beach to be Transformed into Construction Site

January the 4th, 2023 - The wildly popular Split Znjan beach is set to be transformed into a construction site, the Dalmatian port city's largest construction site of all, to be more precise.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Znjan beach is Split's largest city beach, and at this moment in time, there are no more coffees or walks taking place there, and this summer there will be no swimming either. The much loved Split Znjan beach is turning into the city's largest construction site. The Znjan beach area, which can be compared to around forty football pitches, will eventually boast numerous interesting recreational facilities, and the investment is worth an enormous 35 million euros, reports HRT.

"We inherited this project from our predecessors, the urban planners did everything necessary to bring it to the beginning, and I hope very soon, we'll do the same to the end," said the mayor of Split, Ivica Puljak.

"Recently, we signed a contract with the competent ministry whereby our company received a concession for a period of forty years. We've made sure we meet all the prerequisites, we've had all of the building permits, and now we're drawing up all of the documentation for the tender, which they'll announce soon, after which we'll find contractors and start the works this spring,'' said Puljak.

"We hope that these works will last for one year and that in the summer of 2024, the Split Znjan beach will really become the most beautiful beach in all of Croatia, and beyond, which all the citizens of Split will finally be proud of," he said. However, this Znjan transformation isn't the only project brewing, and plans are heading more towards the east coast, that is, to Split's ferry port. That area is also set to undergo works as part of the wider Split east coast development plan, which also involves the much loved Riva (promenade).

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

Wednesday, 4 January 2023

Job+: Croatian Employment Service Introduces New Approach

January the 4th, 2023 - The Croatian Employment Service (HZZ/CES) has come up with a new tool aimed at the long-term unemployed, and 2023 is greeting that group with a new approach entirely - Posao+/Job+.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Brnic writes, we're more than aware by now of the utterly chronic lack of workers on the domestic labour market, and groups of those registered within the Croatian Employment Service have become entangled in long-term unemployment. Various programmes have been trying to activate and include this category in the labour market for a long time, and for 2023 a completely new approach has been designed.

Namely, the new Croatian Employment Service's programme "Job+" is being introduced, which integrates the use of several existing measures to encourage employment, and was adopted by the Administrative Council of the CES at the last session before Christmas last year, at which the measures of the active employment policy for 2023 were also adopted.

In designing this programme, the Croatian Employment Service was guided by the fact that the Croatian labour market has undergone a dramatic transformation over the past 20 years, and that people who were once declared as more difficult to employ now have a much greater opportunity to find and remain in work, because supply and demand relations, as well as the general conditions for workers have evolved significantly.

However, for some of the unemployed, inclusion is a problem, even with employment measures intended for more vulnerable groups, partly because employers failed to recognise them as motivated potential workers, and partly because some were not ready for education for a new occupation and raising their competencies, something financed by the Croatian Employment Service.

Care for this category of unemployed people is also provided for in the NPOO, which, through the improvement of the Croatian Employment Service, envisages the introduction of a new procedure for identifying more vulnerable groups and referring them to different sorts of measures for employment. The approach to each of the unemployed will be individual, and ror everyone who becomes a candidate for "Job+", a special plan tailored to their specific needs and capabilities, and an employment counsellor will monitor the implementation of the measure and be in contact with both the would-be worker and the would-be employer.

The new programme envisages synergy between the CES and the Institute for Social Welfare, as well as with employers who will engage workers and institutions where education will be conducted. In preparing the programme, the CES conducted an analysis of data on newly registered persons from the past three years, more precisely from 2019 to 2021, and the dynamics of their employment.

In that aforementioned period, 592,274 people were registered with the Croatian Employment Service, of whom 95.1% left, mostly because they managed to gain employment (72%), and 4.9% or 28,756 are still registered. The data also shows that more than half of those who apply get a job within six months, while 16% of those newly registered enter long-term unemployment, longer than one year, and 7% into extremely long-term unemployment, longer than two years.

The data also shows that among those who have been registered for more than two years, they are mostly over 50 years old and have completed primary or secondary school. Part of the long-term unemployed could return to the labour market, and a change in attitudes is expected to be achieved by combining several active employment policy measures depending on the needs of each unemployed person.

"Job+" aims to include the unemployed who are beneficiaries of the guaranteed minimum compensation, without high school education and the long-term unemployed, who will receive the aid of an employment counsellor, and for those from the guaranteed minimum compensation group, social mentoring, and the combination of measures would last up to 36 months.

How much per individual measure?

For one individual, the current plan is to use up to three measures from the active employment policy programme, which would achieve activation in the job search, the acquisition of work skills with employers involved in public work measures or employment support, and raising qualifications in educational institutions and workplaces alongside employers.

The amount of the cost will depend on the value of the measures that are combined and used, and in this case, three of the nine measures from the package for which the Croatian Employment Service planned a total of 120.9 million euros in incentives are available. In particular, we're talking about the Support for employment, Public work and Training at the workplace measures, but it isn't yet known how much the CES will distribute per individual measure.

For more, check out our news section.

Wednesday, 4 January 2023

How to Croatia - Why You Absolutely Should Learn the Language

January the 4th, 2023 - In this edition of How to Croatia, we're going to be exploring the reasons why you should make the effort to learn the language, and that Croats having an excellent grasp of English should never a be a get out of jail free card.

I’ll be frank, learning Croatian is difficult unless you happen to have a Slavic language as your mother tongue. It has been listed as among the most difficult languages to pick up in the world on multiple occasions, and I’ll also be frank when I say many expats don’t bother trying to learn it. Do you absolutely need to be able to speak Croatian? Honestly, no. You’d get by. I’ve mentioned that the English language proficiency among Croats is very high. Should you learn to speak Croatian? Yes. And not only because it is the respectful thing to do when living in a country where Croatian is the official language, but because it will help you to adapt in a way that nothing else even comes close to.

Do you need to be fluent? Absolutely not. Croats are (unless the person is very ignorant to the world) aware that Croatian is difficult to learn. That said, as I mentioned before, any attempt at learning shows respect and will be greatly appreciated and even admired if you manage to get a bit more advanced with your skills. 

It’s true when they say that the earlier you begin learning something, the more quickly and easily you’ll master it. Croatian kids converse very well in English, many of them take extra lessons outside of school, and a lot of them enjoy watching YouTube videos by American content creators and reading books written by British authors. I’ve met Croatian kids who actually don’t even like to speak in Croatian, choosing to instead speak in English among themselves, and lapping up the chance to practice to what is often fluency. 

Given the fact that the English language is so desired and so widely spoken across the world, those who have English as a first language often speak only that. That of course isn’t always the case and claiming so would be a wild generalisation, but at age 13 with raging hormones and wondering whether or not Darren from the year above fancies you or not, it isn’t really the best time to soak up the ability to tell everyone what you did on holiday in French. This puts Brits especially at a disadvantage when it comes to properly learning foreign languages.

Croatian is made up of dialects, there are three main ones; Kajkavian, Shtokavian, and Chakavian, but the reality is that the way in which people speak can alter from town to town, let alone region to region. Someone from Brač (or as they call it - Broč) will struggle to understand someone from Zagorje, and vice versa. The way the time is told in some parts of the country is different from in another, and Dalmatian is a language with many unfortunately near-extinct words of its own. Did I mention that Dubrovnik language is also one of its own in many respects? Don’t get me started on different words being used on different islands which are a mere stone’s throw away from each other. There are words that the now dying generation use which, when they depart this life, will tragically go with them.

Some words in Croatian are so similar to each other in how they sound but mean wildly different things. Proljev is diarrhoea, and preljev is dressing. I cannot imagine a salad slathered in the former would be all that appealing. A friend once accidentally called her mother in law (svekrva) her ‘sve kurva’ (kurva means whore). Another person I know once said he had a headache (boli me glava), but ended up saying ‘glavić’ instead, which is part of the male sex organ. Given that ‘glava’ means head, you can probably guess which part ‘glavić’ is. My point is that this is a language which is intricate, and the little things make a big difference.

Croatian is a very colourful language. The ways people swear in this country and the creativity used is quite the art form in itself. The genitals of sheep, mice and Turkish people are dropped into conversations quite casually, and people refer to things being easy as a ‘cat’s cough’ or even as ‘p*ssy smoke’. I’ll be here all day if I carry on and explain all of their meanings, but rest assured, Croatian makes up for its infuriating difficulties with its imaginative creativity.

How do I begin learning Croatian?

Turn on your TV, your radio, and start reading news in Croatian language. You’d be surprised how much information having the radio or TV on in the background actually puts into your brain without you even actually listening. Children’s books are also extremely helpful if you’re starting from scratch.

Find a private Croatian teacher

Word of mouth and expat groups are your friend here. People are always looking for Croatian teachers and seeking recommendations for them. One question in an expat group will likely land you with several names of teachers with whom other users have had good experiences and progress with their language skills. Some teachers hold small classes, some do lessons over Skype, Zoom or another similar platform, and others will meet one on one. 

Language exchanges

There are also language exchanges offered informally, where a Croat will teach you Croatian in exchange for you teaching them English, German, French, Spanish, or whatever language is in question. You both help each other learn the other’s skill, and it is a very equal affair.

Take a Croatian language course

Certain faculties and Croatian language schools, such as Croaticum, offer Croatian language and culture courses for foreigners. Did you know that you can also apply for residence based on studying here? There are different types of courses available and at reasonable prices. Some of them are even free! From semester-long courses on language and culture spanning 15 weeks and over 200 lessons to one month courses of 75 lessons spanning 4 weeks, there is something for everyone, depending on how much time they can or want to put into it. There are also others which offer Croatian language courses online, such as HR4EU, Easy Croatian, the Sputnik Croatian Language Academy, CLS and more.

If you have a Croatian partner, don’t rely entirely on them

Have them help you to learn, but don’t completely rely on them to the point that they’re your buffer stopping you from attempting to learn and improve. Many expats make this error, and their Croatian spouse actually ends up becoming an unwilling barrier to them picking up at least bits of the language in their perfectly noble attempts at helping. Stick some notes on household items with their names in Croatian. You’ll be calling a bed a krevet, a door a vrata, a wall a zid, a floor a pod, a window a prozor and a glass a čaša (or a žmul, if you want to take a step even further and learn a little old Dalmatian), in no time.

Age is a factor, so don’t run before you can walk

It isn’t a popular thing to say, but age does play a role when it comes to learning new skills, whatever they may be. Kids soak up new languages like sponges because their brains are developing, but with each passing year of our lives, that sponge gets a little bit drier. Croatian isn’t Spanish, it has very complex rules which are unlike what native English speakers have grown up using. You might find that you never truly master Croatian, and you might also feel as if you’re behind and not picking it up as quickly as you’d like to. This is normal, and it’s fine. Moving to or spending any significant amount of time in another country is a huge shift and for some people, throwing themselves into learning the language is last on the list in comparison to working out how to make ends meet or set up their lives. Nobody should be shamed for not having the same priorities as others might have. For some people, being a polyglot is just part of their nature, for others, it just isn’t. Patience is a virtue. Many expats will tell you that they understand much more Croatian than they’re able to speak, and if you can reach that level (which takes a while), you’re already much more than halfway there.

If you’re a member of the Croatian diaspora, the State Office for Croats Abroad has has scholarships available

If you’re a member of the Croatian diaspora, even if you don’t have Croatian citizenship and don’t have any intention of moving to or working in Croatia, you can still learn Croatian in various locations in Croatia and reconnect with your family’s roots and heritage.

I’m a translator. I translate from Croatian into English all day long, I could talk about my love and endless interest in linguistics all day (so I’ll stop now) and I can tell you that the two languages are very different in almost every aspect. It will not come easily, but genuine desire and consistent effort will surprise you with its results. Listen to Croatian, watch things in Croatian with English subtitles, have your spouse, friends and Croatian family members help you, don’t fear making mistakes and your confidence will grow. You will get there.

For more How to Croatia articles, which explore living in and moving to Croatia and span everything from getting health insurance to taking your dog on a ferry, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 3 January 2023

Croatian Tourist Board Recaps Season 2022, Many Records Broken

January 3, 2023 - The Croatian Tourist Board recapped the tourist season 2022 in Croatia, commenting on the positive results in visits and overnight stays, and expectations for 2023.

As Poslovni writes, last year, Croatia achieved 91 percent of its 2019 turnover in arrivals, and 96 percent in overnight stays, with a total of 104.8 million overnight stays, and foreign revenues are expected to amount to around 13 billion euros.

"The year 2022 was also a record year in terms of some of our biggest markets, such as Germany, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the Netherlands, from which we achieved almost 800,000 more arrivals than in 2019.

This is also a great announcement for the year 2023, especially in the context of Croatia's entry into the Schengen area and the eurozone. Our focus in 2023 remains on quality, sustainability and innovation, so that the successes of tourism are long-term and additionally contribute to the overall economic and social development of Croatia", said Minister of Tourism and Sports Nikolina Brnjac.

Kristjan Staničić, director of the Croatian Tourist Board, reminded that this year the implementation of the new Strategic Marketing and Operational Plan of Croatian Tourism, a new umbrella communication concept and slogan, and a new marketing direction towards sustainable development are expected.

"In 2023, our goal is the complete recovery of tourism, the achievement of pre-pandemic tourism results at the level of the entire country, and an even stronger dispersion of tourist traffic in the pre- and post-season.

We will emphasize the promotion of the Croatian islands, the hidden pearls of the Croatian tourist offer in the interior of the country, the luxury offer, gastronomy, but also all those tourist products that generate tourist consumption throughout the year", said Staničić, adding that what lies ahead, considering inflation, rising energy prices and geopolitical tensions, is another very demanding and challenging tourist year.

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

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