Sunday, 25 September 2022

Looking for My Dad, a 1967 Hotel Bellevue Dubrovnik Waiter

September 24, 2022 - Do we have anyone in Dubrovnik, especially Hotel Bellevue Dubrovnik, with a good memory who can help a Dutchman find his father?

The TCN inbox a colourful and diverse place, and we get many requests for help, not all of which we can address due to lack of resources. But let's see if the wider TCN community in Dubrovnik can help this reader from Holland, who is hoping somebody with a good memory may be able to help him find his Croatian father, who was working as a waiter at Hotel Bellevue Dubrovnik in 1966. 

Hi Paul,

I saw your articles in Total Croatia News about Croatian Returnee Reflections. With much imagination, you can say I’m a Croatian Returnee, but that is just a very small part of the story.

I also have no idea if the story I‘m gonna tell is something for you because it needs time and old-fashioned journalistic investigation.

In a nutshell: In 1966 and 1967, my mother (Dutch) has been on holiday in Dubrovnik. The first year she went to Hotel Bellevue. The next year she went again (different hotel) but met the waiter from hotel Bellevue. They dated during her holiday and 1 + 1 became 3 after 9 months. She tried to reach my father by sending a letter for him to the hotel but never got a response. So it’s unclear if he ever got her message and know about my existence.


In the past, I took some action to find my father. I wrote a mail to the hotel but got no reaction. Last month I tried to get in contact with someone who could help me. I wrote to The Dubrovnik times (could be an interesting story for them) but Mark Thomas is in England. Other actions didn’t help either so far.

Important is of course his name. That’s somewhat of a mess. He never wrote his name, so I know only the pronunciation from my mother: Gojko Smilonic. I couldn’t find anyone with that name, the best existing names who look like that are and Smiljanić or Smilović. If he’s still alive, he must now be in his eighties. I have a hazy photo of him.

It’s already a short timeframe; we’re coming to Dubrovnik on the 29th of September for two weeks (so I have time to travel). I have no idea if this story and project can be any interesting for Total Croatia News. If not, maybe you can help me with a person or organization I can contact who can.


Anyone with any information, please contact me on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Dubrovnik waiter


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Sunday, 25 September 2022

Looking for a Job in Croatia? This Week's Top 10 from (September 24, 2022)

September 24, 2022 - Looking for a job in Croatia? A new weekly feature on TCN, in partnership with leading job site agency,, who present a selection of weekly job listings.

How hard is it to find a job in Croatia, and what is on offer?

We spoke to Ines Bokan, director of leading jobs site, who kindly took the time for this excellent interview overview.  

Ines has kindly agreed to work with us on a new weekly feature on TCN - a weekly selection of 10 job listings, as chosen by  Details and links to the job opportunities below in the latest edition of this feature.



Eumetsat is looking for a Contracts Officer (m/f) in Darmastadt, Germany. The company is offering training and development support and full medical coverage for employee and family. Apply by October 22nd via this link.

Mango Moda d.o.o. zapošljava na poziciji Visual Merchandiser (m/f) u Zagrebu. Poslodavac zapošljava kandidata na puno radno vrijeme, nudi popust za zaposlenike i naknadu za prijevoz. Prijaviti se možete klikom na link do 27.09.2022.

Strabag BRVZ d.o.o za usluge is hiring Full-Stack Developer (m/f/d) in Zagreb. They are offering an opportunity to work in a team, the final salary level depends on professional knowledge. Apply by October 16th via link.

Flix Snip is looking for a Social media Manager (m/f) in Zagreb. The company is offering a hybrid remote work.They are looking for a person who is independent, organized, dependable, self-motivated proactive and passionate about the social media and digital marketing space. Candidates can apply by clicking here until Sep 28th.

BrunettiRecruitment d.o.o is looking for a Recruitment of Human Resources (m/f) in Zadar. They are looking for a valid and responsible person with experience regarding the employment of Third Country National workers. Apply by October 20th via link.

Next Step is hiring a National Recruiter (m/f) in Klagenfurt, Austria. If you are bilingual in Italian/English or Italian/German, have great MS Office knowledge and excellent interpersonal skills with good negotiation tactics, this might be a great opportunity for you! Apply via this link until October 16th.

Onjobs Personalagentur GmbH zapošljava Osobu za posredovanje pri zapošljavnaju novih djelatnika (m/ž) u Salzburgu, Austrija. Poslodavac traži osobu sa znanjem njemačkog jezika i nude austrijske ili njemačke ugovore o radu. Poslodavac svim zaposlenicima iz Hrvatske osigurava besplatan smještaj. Prijaviti se možete klikom na link do 01.10.2022.

Falkensteiner Hotels & Residences are looking for Online Marketing Lead Camping Division (m/f), Head of Marketing / Commercial Lead Camping Division (m/f) and Head of Sales MICE & Sports (m/f) in Zadar. They are offering a competitive salary, buddy program, opportunities to help shape the future in a dynamic and open working environment and other benefits. Apply by Sep 26th via link.

Mooie Glimlach d.o.o. is hiring an Assistant with knowledge of French and Dutch (m/f) in Zagreb. If you are fluent in French and Dutch, and English or Croatian, have highly developed communications skills and are highly responsible. The company is offering a part time job or student job for beginning with possibility to start full time in the future. Apply via this link until October 10th.

CCPORTER Sp. z.o.o. is hiring a Sales Advisor with Croatian (m/f). They are offering remote-work, competitive basic salary and attractive bonuses depending on the sales, specialized training and possibility of development within the company’s structures and flexible working hours. Apply by October 23rd via this link!


For more career options and job listings, visit


These weekly job listings will appear in the weekly TCN newsletter - you can subscribe here.


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.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners will be out by Christmas. If you would like to reserve a copy, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject 20 Years Book

Saturday, 24 September 2022

Croatian Returnee Reflections: Nadia Milevcic, from Buenos Aires to Rijeka

September 24, 2022 - Whisper it quietly, but more and more people are relocating to Croatia from the diaspora. In a new TCN series, we meet them to find out how they are faring and what advice they have for others thinking of making the switch. Next up is Nadia Milevcic, who moved from Buenos Aires to Rijeka.


My name is Nadia Milevčić, I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and I am 27 years old. My relationship with Croatia was always very strong because four of my great-grandparents were Croatian and went to Argentina in the 1920s. They did not meet in Croatia but in Argentina, where they made a family. My dad grew up among Croatians, and that tradition came down to my family. Since I was very little, I was aware of my Croatian roots, and that is why I always wanted to come here. In Argentina, I studied literature, and I worked as a high school teacher, but when I won the Croaticum scholarship, I left my job behind and decided to travel to Rijeka. I loved my career and my life in Argentina, but I also felt that something was missing. I wanted to travel and see the world, connect with another culture and live in a place totally different than mine. At first, I was only going to stay for four months to study Croatian, but the outbreak of covid made me change my plans because I couldn't go back to Argentina. I finally spent almost two years in Croatia without going back to my country. At the beginning of this year, I spent three months in Argentina, but I realized that Croatia changed me and that I cannot stay only in one country. I love Argentina, and I will always be from Latin America, but these two years in Croatia marked my heart, and a big piece belongs to it. This country allowed me to feel free, cross limits that I had never imagined, and connect with people from all over the world. I grew up in every way and learned so much that I can't go back. Half of my life is in Argentina, but the other half is in Croatia, and for that reason, I travel every year from one continent to another. I still don't know where I'm going to build my life, but I know very well that I don't want to give up on either of them.

1. You made the switch to Croatia. Tell us a little about the decision process and how long it took for you to get on the plane.

In Buenos Aires, I decided to take classes in Croatian language and culture with my dad and my brother. This was my first meeting with a Croatian person who not only taught us about the language and culture but also told us about the history of his country with a lot of love. It also brought me closer to other descendants of Croatians who also wanted to strengthen their roots and get closer to the culture. In parallel with this process, I began to look for information to obtain citizenship, and for this reason, I went to the embassy. There they told me about the Croaticum, a program for friends and descendants of the Croatian people. At that moment, the possibility of traveling and living for a while in Croatia began to take shape in my head. I was finishing my degree in Buenos Aires, and I thought it was a good time to try it. I applied in May 2018, and they did not give me the scholarship. At the end of the year, my Croatian cousins (whom I did not know) contacted me through Facebook. We quickly established a good connection, and this was a sign to me that I needed to try again. In 2019 I sent my application to study in Rijeka again, and this time they gave it to me. I remember that when I won the scholarship, my heart was overflowing with happiness, but I also had a hard time believing that I was actually going to travel to Croatia. Living in Latin America makes everything complicated from a geographical and economic point of view, and I would be lying if I said that it was easy to get here. If I succeeded, it was also because I received a lot of support and help from my friends and family, who knew that my biggest wish was to come to Croatia. 

2. What did your family and community back home think of your decision at the time?

At that time, I had finished my studies in Argentina, and everyone knew that nothing could tie me to the country. From the Croatian lessons, the first unsuccessful scholarship application, and all my visits to the embassy, it was a project that had been in my head for two years. Everyone was happy for me because they knew of the effort and time invested in this idea. Especially, I think it was very important for my dad because I was the first person in our family to visit Croatia and meet our cousins. It was a bridge that we had yet to establish, but the fact that I was going to travel marked a beginning.


3. Where did you get your information about the realities of Croatia prior to coming?

My Croatian cousins and teacher gave me a good overview of the situation in the country. My grandmother had also traveled to Croatia in the year 2000, and she told us a lot about the country and our family, but I think that no one can prepare you and tell you effectively what you are going to find on the way. Nobody could have told me that a pandemic was coming and that it was going to complicate the process of obtaining citizenship. Or that it would also be difficult to get a job or have to take a semester online because the faculty was closed. No one could have told me that I was going to separate from my new friends so quickly due to quarantine. My first month in Croatia was very hard, and this was completely unexpected. I had to say goodbye to many people and places when I was just starting to get into a routine. I knew that my life in a new place was going to be a challenge, but I never imagined that it would be so hard.

4. What were you most nervous about making the switch? What was your biggest fear, and what was the reality of what you found?

I was scared to find myself alone on a continent and in a country, I didn't know. All this was like starting from zero for me, even though I knew I had a family in Rijeka who could help me and give me support. About the language, the culture, the people, and everything that could happen, I knew from the moment I applied for the scholarship that leaving Argentina meant facing the unknown. When I arrived, I was surprised by how warm my Croatian family was even though we had never seen each other. They picked me up at Zagreb airport and included me in their life as if we had known each other all our lives. This was very important to me, and to this day, I say that I was very lucky.


5. Think back to the time before you arrived. What were your perceptions about Croatia, and how were they different from the reality you encountered?

I thought maybe Croatians would not be so friendly to descendants because we weren't born in Croatia. However, I noticed that they were happy every time I explained that my great-grandparents were Croatian and that I was studying the language. Even if my Croatian was not good, they were always willing to help me and teach me. I also noticed that they themselves considered me a Croatian many times when I told them about my family history and the reason for my trip. I also believed that it would be difficult to obtain citizenship and that the police were not going to help me with this process. However, I noticed that they had a lot of consideration when processing the residence and citizenship. The importance given to blood is incredible, and that is why I saw that the workers also had patience and consideration with me. Processing citizenship was difficult in 2020 due to covid. It was difficult to obtain the papers from Argentina and present them in Croatia because the Foreign Ministry did not work in my country. Many papers expired, and my citizenship appointment was delayed. However, they understood, and I finally got citizenship. I honestly had high hopes for the scholarship, but I never believed that they would give me the same status as a Croatian student. On campus, I lived with Croatians, and they also gave me the opportunity to eat in the dining room for very little money. I used the same facilities and paid the same money as my colleagues. The campus is new, and it was a very beautiful experience to live in it for a year. In other words, this program not only allowed me to learn the language but also gave me the opportunity to pay little money for food and accommodation. I think this shows how important the concept of blood is and that the grandchildren of Croats return to the country. I believe that at a social level, descendants are given a very valuable place, and they do not treat us as foreigners.


6. You are still here, so obviously, the pros outweigh the cons. Tell us about some of the things that you love about being in Croatia, as well as some of the things you don't like.

Croatia is not only a very beautiful country, but it is also very safe, and there are more job opportunities than in Argentina. It also has good connections with other countries, and many cities are always full of tourists. In Rijeka, there are many international students, and there is a cultural exchange that is very useful and interesting. I love the fact that Croatia brought me closer not only to the locals but also to people from all over Europe, and this opened my mind a lot. It also has a lot of things to do and places to explore; you can always go to a new island, climb a different mountain or visit a beach you have never seen. The country is also very calm; you don't have to deal with an excessive amount of people and traffic like in a big city. In Buenos Aires, I needed maybe three hours to make a trip that should last one. In this country there is no traffic, you can walk quietly down the street or drive without too many problems. I think there are a few things that I don't like. Mainly I think everyone smokes too much, and I can't get used to them doing it indoors. Maybe the rest of the things I don't like are explained by cultural differences, like music or food. I know that this would happen in any country, and they don't seem like a big reason to leave Croatia.


7. What advice do you have for others thinking about making a move from the diaspora?

I would tell them that if they have the desire, they should do it without thinking too much about it. It is normal to be afraid of the unknown and the unexpected, but in the end, they will always be grateful for having put it aside and come. There will be difficulties, but everything can be resolved along the way. I was scared, too, and yes, there were painful situations, but in the end, it was all worth it, and I would do it again from the beginning. Even if I had to relearn the language and start from cero without any friends, I would repeat it. It is not only for knowing the country of our grandparents and living in a beautiful place, but it also implies personal growth that no one can take away from you. I would also advise them to apply for the scholarship and explore Croatia. Whether if they want to live here or just travel, I think it's a first approach to the country and an experience worth having. In this way, they can learn the language and also see what life is like here. I would also tell them not to worry about the language or about coming without citizenship, as the people are kind and patient and will help them as much as they can. If you have Croatian relatives, look for them! For them, it is very important to know what happened to the grandchildren of their relatives, and they are going to receive them with tears in their eyes.


8. How do you think Croatia can better assist those who are looking to return to the Homeland?

I think Croatia is doing very well through the Scholarship program and the state office for Croats. However, I think that perhaps it could improve job placement since it is often difficult to find a job because you do not know where to look. The information inside and outside of Croatia could also be extended a little more since it is often necessary to ask about issues such as citizenship, residence, scholarship, etc., and the information is not so clear and accessible. There is not much promotion of the scholarship in Latin America, and many people do not know that this exists. They also do not know what papers are needed for citizenship and how it is processed within Croatia. To obtain this information, I had to ask many times and go to different offices, in addition to talking to my classmates.



Thanks Nadia!

You can follow more stories in the Croatian Returnee Reflections series in our dedicated TCN section.

Would you like your returnee story - positive or negative - to be featured in this series? Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Returnee.


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.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners will be out by Christmas. If you would like to reserve a copy, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject 20 Years Book

Saturday, 24 September 2022

Meet Vukovar 365, Full of Life - Karla of Karla's Arts

September 24, 2022 - Autumn is on the doorstep; the leaves are crunchy, and the air is crisp. Vukovar is still full of life. Not that it matters which season it is. The new generation that breathes life into the city is agile, resilient, and adaptable. They create digitally and remotely; they take inspiration from the world around them but do not fear stepping out of it and finding creativity or letting creativity find them at every step. The digital era has made it significantly easier to make progress and expand. Today, meet Karla. She draws.

Tell us about Karlas Arts, what do you do?

I'm Karla Fehir, on Instagram as @karlas.arts; I'm 21 years old, a computer science student, and I do digital drawing. I've loved drawing since kindergarten, but it wasn't until 2018 that I became more serious about digital illustrations.


How and when did you start, and where did the inspiration come from?

When I was little, I watched my mom draw, and that inspired me to start mainly drawing cartoon characters. At school, I always drew in my notebooks; it was just a hobby and something I enjoyed. But after a while, I stopped until 2016, when I came across several profiles of artists engaged in digital art on Instagram. I fell in love with the digital style and started drawing using Photoshop on my laptop. On paper, my favorite was the realistic black-and-white style, while on digital media, I prefer the "cartoon" style. The combination of these two styles led to a semi-realistic style that is now my favourite. Two years ago, I started using the iPad as my primary medium for drawing, which drastically affected the progress, drawing speed, and appearance of the illustrations.


What was it like to start such a business in Vukovar? What were the main challenges?

It took a long time to find my style and clients who were interested. I didn't have a client for the first 2-3 years until I began to take the potential of digital illustrations more seriously. The key was daily practice and finding my style. I tend to be a perfectionist and found myself in many blocks where I could not progress, but I continued until I was satisfied with the final look of my illustrations. Eventually, I found my voice in the Beauty Logo area. My clients are mostly young female entrepreneurs from the USA and Canada. After the first client advertised my work on her profile, other clients from the same area started coming. And that's how things developed. One of the biggest challenges of drawing was the cost of materials; that's why I switched to a digital medium where all the colours, brushes, and backgrounds for drawing are readily available. These days I enjoy drawing with pencil and watercolours, which is something I would like to devote more time to and improve.


Does the fact that you are in the east of Croatia affect your work and art?

Initially, I thought it would have an impact, but since we live in the era of social media and online payments, we can reach clients from any part of the world. I have had a lot of clients from Croatia, but it still took place online. The final product is an illustration that can be printed on any medium, and I give my clients the freedom to use that drawing.

Are you satisfied with how your business is developing? What is the outlook for the future?

At the moment, I am satisfied with the progress, although, at some points, I have not been as active as I planned, which has a lot to do with finding clients. But I believe that in the future, it will be even better; I am planning different projects and to one day combine my professional work with digital illustrations.


What opportunities are there in our city and region?

I believe that it is much easier to "breakthrough" in our city than in bigger places due to the smaller population and fewer people who are engaged in art on a serious level. But on Instagram, it is much more difficult to gather an audience on a global level, as in every field of illustration and art, thousands of artists see each other as competition.

Are you connected with other artists in town? What's the scene like?

I am connected with several artists from our area who are also engaged in digital drawing. We share illustration tips and techniques. Each person I meet has their unique style, illustration look, and specific client group. The relationship is friendly, and we do not see each other as "competition" as one might expect.


Finally, tell us about life in Vukovar. What do you like most? What would you say to potential visitors?

Vukovar is the city where I grew up, and it will remain in my heart forever, even though my career and education temporarily moved to Osijek. When I have time, I like to walk along the promenade along the Danube or cycle to Adica, and during the summer, I also go to Vukovar Ada. Vukovar is a small town, but it has many attractions and ways to spend quality time.

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

Saturday, 24 September 2022

Large Number of Sharks Live in Croatian Adriatic, Experts Reveal More

September the 24th, 2022 - There are a surprising number of sharks living in the Croatian Adriatic Sea, and while they don't bother people, the occasional sighting for a lucky few is always an incredible experience, especially if it's captured on video.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, although the main summer tourist season has now ended, the news that there are a large number of marine predators living quite peacefully in the vicinity caused a wave of disbelief among tourists in Croatia, as Metropolitan writes, as reported by City magazine.

Dozens of different species of sharks live in the Croatian Adriatic, going about their daily business and bothering nobody, despite the sheer amount of people in the sea during the hot summer months. Research by a Croatian-Slovenian team showed that more than half of these sharks are unfortunately at risk. They are mainly threatened by fishing, as they often become entangled in nets and die. Although hundreds of sharks can be found in Croatian Adriatic, they are very rarely seen because they usually stay away from crowded beaches and human activity. However, a group of sharks has been spending time near Split's largest beach over more recent weeks.

"There's a group of sharks here that came here to mate, and we estimate that there were between 200 and 300 of them here in August," Croatian researcher and lecturer Alen Soldo explained to, adding that people rarely notice them because they usually swim in deeper waters and keep themselves to themselves.

Most of them are harmless species of sharks reaching about a metre and a half in size only. Soldo explained that from time to time, more dangerous species of sharks do enter  and spend periods of time living in Croatian waters, but, according to him, this is quite rare.

The last fatal shark attack to take place in Croatia was recorded back during the seventies in Lokva Rogoznica. Soldo believes that the person who tragically lost their life was attacked by a large Great White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias). 

Fourteen years ago in Croatia, Slovenian national Damijan Pesko was also attacked by a shark, but he luckily survived. In conversation with Metropolitan, he said that Professor Soldo analysed the teeth of the shark, and it was likely one which weighed in at around one tonne.

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

Saturday, 24 September 2022

Croatian Mandarin Harvest Begins - Yield Low, Producers Unhappy

September the 24th, 2022 - The Croatian mandarin harvest finally began this past week, with many people's favourite fruit now being distributed for sale. Owing to poor and unusually harsh conditions this year, the yield isn't as good as it has been in the past, and producers aren't too satisfied.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Croatian mandarin harvest finally began this week and the fruit that has been picked is currently being distributed to the market, ready to be purchased by people who wait all year for this. Producers are primarily giving their fruit to purchasing centres, but many are also still selling them at traditional stands. The drought this year has affected just about everything, from olives to grapes, and mandarins are no exception. Producers cite price increases as the biggest thorn in their side, as reported by HRT.

"I have stands which are located far away, I'm talking 500-600 kilometres away, imagine the the cost of all that! That's ultimately going to see me have to raise the prices," said Ante Dugandzic from Komin.

The purchase price is currently 4.20 kuna, and the producers agree that this is now too little for a first-class product. "We were expecting around 5 kuna, but now everything depends on whether that price will last, so if it lasts for about fifteen days, then it won't be bad," said Niko Kapovic from Opuzen.

A general sense of dissatisfaction isn't only being found in regard to pricing, but also because of this year's smaller Croatian mandarin harvest. "There is twenty percent less this year than we had last year. My expectation is somewhere around 30,000 tonnes,'' said Neven Mataga, also from Opuzen.

This year's mandarins are of very high quality, which is ultimately what interests customers the most. Pickers mostly come from neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, and they're picking for about eight hours a day.

"We harvest somewhere around 30 tonnes a day. At this rate, it should take about fifty days if the weather is good, and if it isn't, we will have to wait until Christmas to harvest the rest of the mandarins, as we did last year," explained Ivan Bjelis of Agro Neretva.

Up to 20,000 tonnes of that amount should be placed and sold here on the domestic market, and the rest will be exported elsewhere.

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

Saturday, 24 September 2022

Promo Prices for Virovitica-Podravina County Cultural Attractions Next Week

September the 24th, 2022 - There are promotional prices on offer for those wanting to pay a visit to various Virovitica-Podravina County attractions next week, with entrance fees for all sorts of historical and cultural sites totalling a mere 20 percent of their usual costs.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the gorgeous Jankovic Castle in Suhopolje is worth paying a visit for not only the beautiful architecture but all of the stories this location boasts, such as the story of the noble family which once lived there. Historical gossip such as why Ilka Jankovic refused to allow her husband, Count Elemir, into the matrimonial bedroom for a while might also be of interest.

You may also be interested in the Drava story (Dravska prica) in Noskovci, where, among other things, there is a rehabilitation and recovery centre for white storks, and you can also get to see what the beautiful Papuk Nature Park looked like back during the age of the Carboniferous swamps.

The Croatian coast might get all the attention, and Zagreb is now getting a lot too, but the rest of the continental part of the country, including Virovitica-Podravina County, is often overlooked. It's perhaps best to say that it is very wrongly overlooked as this part of the country is just as full of history and culture as the coast. In the period from September the 26th to October the 2nd, tickets for all attractions of cultural, historical and natural heritage in the county will come at a cost of just 20 percent of their usual entry/ticket prices.

"On the occasion of celebrating World Tourism Day on September the 27th, the Virovitica-Podravina County Tourist Board is providing all visitors with an 80 percent discount on tickets for museums and visitor centres  in the county's wider area," said Martina Jakelic, the director of the Virovitica-Podravina County Tourist Board.

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

Saturday, 24 September 2022

Croatian Company OV - Carriage Maintenance Exceeds in 2022

September the 24th, 2022 - The Croatian company OV - Carriage maintenance (Odrzavanje vagona) is a regional leader in the field of the repair and upkeep of freight cars, diesel engine trains and locomotives. It secured longterm jobs this year which totalled an impressive 25 million kuna.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Croatian company OV - Carriage maintenance recently completed the complex process of restructuring and consolidation, in which it stabilised its operations and is now in the process of contracting new, quite large jobs. In the first seven months of 2022, it made a profit of 600,000 kuna, which is a continuation of the planned direction from 2021 when, despite the global coronavirus pandemic, the company increased its revenues and even the salaries of its employees and made a significant profit.

Today, the company operates with 100% contracted capacity and is an example of successful restructuring, which is led by the HZ Cargo Management Board and the aforementioned company's management board.

The Croatian company OV - Carriage maintenance is otherwise 100% owned by HZ Cargo and was initially established as a service department for HZ, but during restructuring processes which took place in 2019, 2020 and 2021, in addition to already providing constant services to HZ Cargo, HZ Passenger Transport and HZ Infrastructure, it turned to external customers, both foreign and domestic.

As such, new jobs were contracted with multiple companies, including Koncar. In the period which followed, and after a complex and successful restructuring process, the equipment was modernised and the overall quality of service improved, and they are currently in the process of obtaining the VPI certificate at the Slavonski Brod facility, which guarantees that the maintenance and revisions of wagons and carriages are carried out according to rather stringent European Union standards.

Today, the Croatian company OV - Carriage maintenance has a total of three plants - in Slavonski Brod, Cakovec and Bjelovar, and five workshops - in Moravice, Rijeka, Koprivnica, Zagreb and Solin. It currently employs 450 workers, whose salaries were raised back in 2021 and additional benefits for work in the field were provided. In 2022, large long-term deals worth more than 25 million kuna were contracted with several external customers.

Commenting on the company's positive financial indicators, director Boris Gobac pointed out that, in addition to business progress, in cooperation with social partners, they are also focused on social policy and increasing employee income.

''The situation within this company is proof that successful restructuring and consolidation of business is very much possible. Despite all the global challenges we've faced and continue to face, such as rising energy costs, inflation and the coronavirus pandemic, the company is continuing to operate successfully, and in the future we expect an increase in the capacity for freight wagon repairs for foreign operators,'' concluded Boris Gobac.

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

Friday, 23 September 2022

Croatian Returnee Reflections: Anna Abramovic, from Toronto CA to Zadar

September 23, 2022 - Whisper it quietly, but more and more people are relocating to Croatia from the diaspora. In a new TCN series, we meet them to find out how they are faring and what advice they have for others thinking of making the switch. Next up is Anna Abramovic, who moved from Toronto, CA, to Zadar.



I was born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, by Croatian parents who moved from Slavonija in December of 1989. I lived in Hamilton for 27 years, working as a Dental Assistant for 10, during which time I decided to go back to university and change my career path. After receiving my degree in Business Management and Marketing, I was introduced to a Company in Toronto that specializes in the development of Surgical Navigation Solutions. I immediately went through an interview process and boom-started my new job a few weeks later. I was happier than ever, but there was still something missing from my life. I was tired of commuting; I was tired of constantly trying to prove something to people around me. I was tired of the go-go-go lifestyle.  I needed to slow down; I needed a change.  I was getting fulfillment from my job, but that was the only place it was coming from. And to some, that may be enough, but to me, it wasn’t even close to enough. And that’s where Croatia comes in. Here I am, 3.5 years later, sitting in front of my laptop answering these questions from Zadar, where I get to have a coffee by the sea every day and enjoy life.



1. You made the switch to Croatia. Tell us a little about the decision process and how long it took for you to get on the plane.

I have wanted to move to Croatia since I was 16 years old. My father was a very proud Croatian, always pushing my brother and me to speak the language with our family and friends and to continuously learn about our heritage and roots. In our house, only Miso Kovac and Kico Slabinac could be heard playing on the radio. We traveled back as a family only once after the war in 1995. After that, all of my trips to Croatia were solo 3-month summer vacations. I would spend most of my time visiting my family in Slavonija, it was my favorite place to be and still is!  I learned a lot about how my parents grew up and what they and my grandparents had to do to survive. Life for them was hard, but they were happy! They had everything they needed and more. And that was what I was searching for, happiness. To see someone truly happy, in my opinion, is rare. Canada is not what it used to be in the late ’80s and early ’90s, full of opportunities, “the American dream,” as they used to call it. These days, people are so focused on what material things they have, which car they’re driving, and who lives in a bigger house. What they are not focused on is living their life to the fullest and truly enjoying every single day.

The final decision came in my late 20’s when my partner at the time and I decided to take a Euro trip to scope out different countries and get a feel for what life could be like in Europe as an adult who is not on vacation. Of course, Croatia was always my first option, but the decision on where I would go first was in the hands of my partner, who was job searching. We took the trip in August of 2018. In December of 2018, he was flown into Germany for a weekend to interview for a job, which he practically accepted on the spot. And that was that we were moving to Europe! By March 2019, I was living in Germany. One step closer to Croatia.



2. What did your family and community back home think of your decision at the time?

Even though my first destination was Germany, my family was my biggest support, especially my father. I felt as though I was finally living out his dreams. Moving back was something we always talked about as a family, but the timing was never right for the four of us. Both of my parents and my brother were extremely proud of the decision I was making.

The company I work for was also one of my biggest supporters. I consider myself very fortunate to work for a company that allows me to chase my dreams and supports me every step of the way.

Everyone else just thought I was Crazy, and they did not hold back on telling me that. Questions and comments were thrown at me from every direction. “You’re nuts, Anna” was a classic. “What are you going to do there?”. When I finally moved to Croatia in June 2019, the comments were: “Everyone from Croatia is moving OUT of the country, and you’re moving in!”. It was tough to hear the negative reactions of those close to me, but all I kept saying to myself as I am doing this for myself. Don’t get me wrong; it was a complete nightmare in the beginning. There were countless times when I sat on the bridge in Sibenik crying, asking myself why I came here. Those days were often after dealing with the Croatian bureaucratic system, or what there is of it anyways. When they say “Uvijek jedan papir fali” (One paper is always missing) they aren’t lying!!!





3. Where did you get your information about the realities of Croatia prior to coming?

If I’m being completely honest, I didn’t. And I had no idea what was waiting for me. I did not know any returnees to ask them what it was like. Of course, my family in Croatia also thought I was crazy for moving here. However, they did not understand the harsh reality I was coming from. In Croatia, people complain all the time about how the life they have here is not ideal and that they dream of leaving this Country to make a better future for themselves. The problem with that is, any country you move to, be that Germany, Austria, or Canada, you’re still going to have to work your ass off to get what you want and to make something of yourself. They didn’t know that I was commuting on a 6-lane highway for 3 hours in one direction from Monday-Friday and that most of my days were spent in my Car. They didn’t know that I had to call my friends and “book” a coffee or dinner date weeks in advance because nobody had time. They especially didn’t know what 2 meters of snow and minus 30 in December looked like!




4. What were you most nervous about making the switch? What was your biggest fear, and what was the reality of what you found?

I honestly can’t say that I had any fears about coming to Croatia, or Germany for that matter. I was ready to embrace change and accept Croatia with my arms wide open. And with that attitude, I was accepted by everyone and welcomed wholeheartedly by the people with who I have crossed paths during my time here.


5. Think back to the time before you arrived. What were your perceptions about Croatia, and how were they different from the reality you encountered?

Every time I left Croatia after one of my trips, I would always cry on the plane and wished I was staying longer. My perception had always been that no matter your financial position, people are generally happy and content with their lives. They don’t have much, but there are always 10 kunas in their wallet for a coffee. The people here they're not living to work, they are working to live. That perception has not changed since I’ve been here. If anything, it has become more apparent. Of course, people work hard and value their jobs, but their lives are filled with love and happiness, not dollar signs.


6. You are still here, so obviously, the pros outweigh the cons. Tell us about some of the things that you love about being in Croatia, as well as some of the things you don't like.


If I could describe Croatia in one word, that word would be Laganini (Easy). There is not as much pressure put on one here as there is in North America. Life is relaxing and enjoyable. I love that every day, no matter the season, I can walk to the Sea, enjoy a coffee on the beach, and take in the breathless beauty of this amazing Country. No matter where you go, the people are friendly and always smiling. Neighbors are always happy and willing to lend a helping hand.

However, behind all of Croatia’s beauty lies the very disorganized bureaucratic system. In Canada, I was used to going to Service Ontario, where I could get my health card, driver’s license, and car sticker renewed all by one person in one day. In Croatia, it’s almost impossible to get someone on the phone or to get information about the papers you need to renew. Never mind the fact that there are about 3 different places you need to visit, and 5 different people all somehow doing the same but different job that you need to speak with before you can even go to the police station to renew a personal document.



7. What advice do you have for others thinking about making a move from the diaspora?

There is no better time to do it than now. Stop waiting for tomorrow or Friday. Stop waiting for your kids to grow up or to get that better job. Life doesn’t wait for you, and time moves quickly. Trust me; it will be the best decision you ever make!  


8. How do you think Croatia can better assist those who are looking to return to the Homeland?

I think one of the biggest things Croatia lacks is marketing. By simply opening their platforms to provide the information people are looking for would be one giant step in the right direction.






Thanks, Anna!

You can follow more stories in the Croatian Returnee Reflections series in our dedicated TCN section.

Would you like your returnee story - positive or negative - to be featured in this series? Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Returnee.


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.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners will be out by Christmas. If you would like to reserve a copy, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject 20 Years Book

Friday, 23 September 2022

The international festival Taste the Mediterranean begins the Month of Gastronomy in Split

September 24, 2022 - With the jubilee 10th edition of the most prestigious domestic festival of Mediterranean cuisine, Taste the Mediterranean, the 1st Month of Gastronomy will begin in Split. It will be marked by a whole series of exciting events: for the first time in Split, an exclusive dinner will be cooked by a chef whose restaurant has been awarded three Michelin stars, it is the first event to be held in the newly opened Hotel Ambassador, for the first time an exclusive dinner will be prepared by 5 chefs, 5 sommeliers will present accompanying wines, and the best chef in the world will visit the center of Dalmatia.



From October 4 to 9, Taste the Mediterranean will once again gather more than 40 top foreign and domestic chefs in Split, awarded with Michelin stars, Gault&Millau caps, and other important culinary awards. During the five days of the Festival, top chefs from Italy, France, Japan, Morocco, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Croatia, together with the host chefs, will cook their delicacies in 22 Split host restaurants:  Adriatic Sushi; Oyster Bar, Artičok, Bokeria, Central-Hotel Santa Lucia, Chops Grill- Steak&Seafood, Corto Maltese, Dujkin Dvor, Dvor, Mazzgoon, Méditerranée-Hotel Ambassador, Noir, Noštromo, Olive Tree, Pandora Greenbox, Pinku Fish&Wine, Štorija, Šug, Zinfandel, Zoi, Zona, Zora Bila, Zrno Salts.

Numerous tourists, and especially the local population, will be able to enjoy Mediterranean specialties accompanied by appropriate wines from Dalmatia, Kvarner, Spain, and Italy. Visiting chefs will hold 15 masterclasses at the Olivia Allegra school for catering school students and professionals, and together with other distinguished guests from the world of gastronomy, they will participate in panel discussions, book promotions for children, and attractive educational workshops for festival visitors. The central events of the festival will be held in Ambassador, the only 5-star Split hotel on the Riva, a symbol of tradition and exclusivity.

"We are honored to have the opportunity to host such an exceptional event and top chefs, gastronomy experts, and key people from the world of tourism because we build the image of our hotel precisely on top service and gastronomy, and a relaxed and pleasant stay in accordance with the principles of sustainable tourism. From the program, I would highlight the dinner on October 5, when the Spanish chef Adur Arrieta and our chef Ivica Katić will prepare a fusion of Mediterranean flavors. We are also very proud that chef Roberto Cerea, whose restaurant Da Vittorio has 3 Michelin***, will be cooking in our hotel for the first time in Split, and the award-winning chef will hold a masterclass here." said Stipe Medić, the young director of the Ambassador.




The Kingdom of Spain is the partner country of the festival for the third time, and Montserrat Pérez Ripoll, from the economic and commercial office of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Spain in the Republic of Croatia, presented the program for the Spanish Day in Split, where delicacies, wines, and extra virgin olive oils will be offered, which will to a special tasting to present Ph.D. Mirella Žanetić.

The program will also have many workshops, of which the "Spices and Fragrances" is particularly attractive, on the use of the same exotic spices from the Nadalina range in perfumes by Ormonde Jayne, dishes by chef Marko Đurašević, cocktails by Marko Vital and Marijan Maksan, and desserts by Keiko Naga.

The book "Divlji Pijat"; - the work of students of Bol High School on Brač will be presented in Prokultura - an observatory of cultural policies in Split, and French chef Flora Mikula and Croatian chef Vesna Miletić will talk about the use of wild herbs in cooking. The promotion of the picture book "The sea is your best friend" by the Swedish author Lassa Åberg in the Puppet Theatre is intended for freshmen, and adults will benefit from the lecture "Food against disease" by Dr. Meri Bura.

On Saturday, October 8, organized by TTM and the shopping chain Tommy - a premium partner of the festival - a competition of young chef trainees will be held, whose dishes will be judged by an international jury led by chef Fabricija Vežnaver and representatives of the French association Gourméditerranée and the Food In Sud festival. Exclusive wine tastings at the festival will be led by excellent connoisseurs of the wine scene, Alen Gulan, Siniša Koceić and Rajner Rogulj from Split's Vinolike, and Ivica Ukić from hotel Ambassador.

The panel discussion "The role of gastronomy in the development of sustainable tourism", "Hospitality - how to achieve memorable service with a lack of educated staff,"; and "Burning topics of tourism"; will bring together foreign and domestic experts including Željana Zovko, Gabriel Vasquez, Rudi Štefan, Stipe Čogelja, Marie-Hélène Amsallem, Phillipe Zerah, and many other Split restaurateurs.




"We are happy that the Taste the Mediterranean festival is the opening manifestation of the Month of Gastronomy, and with its rich program will contribute to the extension of the tourist season and the affirmation of the city of Split and the Split-Dalmatia County as a desirable destination for hedonists. Every year, more and more restaurants from Split are included in the Festival program, which is the best indicator that the profession has accepted Taste the Mediterranean and sees in it the potential for exchanging experiences and raising quality," said Dubravka Tomeković Aralica, executive director of the TTM festival.

The month of gastronomy will also be visited by Leonor Espinosa, the best chef in the world according to the 50 Best selection, who is coming to Croatia at the invitation of the Mediterranean Women Chefs initiative. Through her FUNLEO foundation, which she runs with her daughter Laura Hernandez, Espinosa combines her profession with social responsibility, and she will speak about this in Split on October 21.





"Split restaurants, as well as hotel restaurants, are the main participants in the promotion of our city's gastronomy, and with attractive Mediterranean menus, they will best present the traditional and somewhat forgotten specialties of Split and Dalmatia in their own way. The Wine Festival, which will take place on October 14 and 15 and 21 and 22 in Peškarija, will contribute to that atmosphere, and local wines and olive oil will be presented at it by the Tourist Boards of Kaštela, Omiš, Vrgorac, and Marina" said Alijana Vukšić, director of TZ Split, and as part of the Gastronomy Month, also announced the Days of the Tourist School in Split, hosting and culinary show of the TZ Canton Sarajevo, and finally the Split Grand Gourmet Škmer - competition of baristas, bartenders and waiters. "When something is good for the citizens, it will also be good for the guests. We believe that a manifestation will become big if the citizens of Split accept it. It would be nice if even those who do not live from tourism get the chance to enjoy what the City has to offer and feel the benefits of gastronomy. People often ask: what is the most important ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine, and the answer usually follows that it is olive oil. But the most important ingredient is the pleasure of a meal made from good ingredients," concluded Ivica Puljak, mayor of Split.




As Ingrid Badurina Danielsson, the director of the Taste the Mediterranean festival, always points out, "its main determinant is the preservation of the Mediterranean cultural heritage and way of life, the exchange of experiences and the education of professionals as well as the public. The motto of the festival for ten years has been - good food, good wine, good fun - there will be no shortage of all of that in Gastronomy Month in Split".

Taste the Mediterranean Festival is held under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism and HTZ, Split-Dalmatia County, TZ Split-Dalmatia County, City of Split, and TZ City of Split.

Participation in workshops, lectures, and panels is free for participants, while dinners and culinary masterclasses are charged according to the price list, which can be found on the festival website together with the program and participants, and all news will be published on social networks.

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