Tuesday, 4 October 2022

4 Croatian Cities Boast Most Expensive Properties, Zagreb Isn't Among Them

October the 4th, 2022 - Four Croatian cities boast the most expensive property prices when looking at square metre costs, and the City of Zagreb isn't among them.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, to begin with, it's worth noting that the Republic of Croatia's real estate turnover last year amounted to a massive 60 billion kuna, which is a whole 20 billion kuna more than it amounted to back in 2020. The number of sales was also 30 percent higher. The highest price per square metre - coming in at more than two thousand euros - was achieved by property sellers in four Croatian cities: Dubrovnik, Rovinj, Split and Opatija, while in the City of Zagreb the average price per suqare metre was 1,600 euros.

It is particularly interesting that almost half of the properties were bought with cash, and when we talk about the possibility of buying real estate, residents of the coast are the least likely of all to be able to actually afford property.

This interesting data was commented recently on HTV's Dnevnik by economic analyst Luka Brkic from the Libertas University, who said that people, especially in turbulent, uncertain times, try to escape with their assets to safer harbours - and one of the anchors definitely comes in the form of purchasing real estate.

Brkic also said that APN's loans further stimulate the demand for apartments, and then the price increases follow.

"It's also possible to go into slightly more speculative waters and say that a large part of property that is bought with cash has speculative characteristics and attributions, that is, that it is possible that it is a matter of some percentage of money laundering," said Brkic, claiming such things can never really be ruled out.

Brkic added that some Croatian and international research estimates show that the shadow economy which is very much present here in Croatia could be worth slightly less than 30 percent of GDP. This is an absolutely enormous amount of money that does not end up in the tax system at all, he noted.

"This is something that is definitely a problem. Whether it is a third now or not we can't be sure, but whatever the figure is - it's definitely much too high," he warned.

For more on property prices in different Croatian cities, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 4 October 2022

Famous American TV Host Jay Leno Thrilled With Rimac's Nevera

October the 4th, 2022 - American TV host, writer and comedian Jay Leno is clearly pleased with the amazing Nevera created by Croatian entrepreneur Mate Rimac.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, famous American presenter Jay Leno well and truly threw himself into the waters of all things automotive just a few years ago. He has since grown a very successful YouTube channel called "Jay Leno's Garage" which is dedicated entirely to his passion and he recently tested out Mate Rimac's stunning Nevera.

Leno loved Rimac's remarkable car, the Nevera, and he was particularly impressed by the speed it can reach without much effort and the sheer ease of driving one feels when behind the Nevera's wheel. Leno said that Americans, especially many of those who have never even heard of the Republic of Croatia, will now hear about it and the incredibly intelligent people who built the strongest car in the entire world, as RTL Direkt reported.

"The Nevera's acceleration is impressive. It's linear,'' said Leno in the video in which he tested the Nevera, comparing it to the lack of ease of other electric vehicles and adding that he thinks that this, the latest of Rimac's astonishing supercars, is set to achieve great success on the demanding American market.

Livno-born Croatian entrepreneur and businessman Mate Rimac has often been compared to famous inventors and is frequently referred to as Europe's own Elon Musk. This doggedly determined creator started out with his love of cars from his garage, with not much knowledge or cash behind him.

He has since put Croatia, a country which had absolutely nothing to do with the automotive world whatsoever, very firmly on the map for all lovers of cars and connected it forever with Bugatti, showing that even the most unimaginable ventures can work out, even in a country which is still only just learning how to give entrepreneurs a fighting chance to succeed.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Made in Croatia section.

 

Tuesday, 4 October 2022

Zagreb Company Stemi Encouraging Kids to Develop Robots and Chatbots

October the 4th, 2022 - The Zagreb company Stemi, which is engaged in the development of software, wants children to learn how to develop robots and chatbots in school as skills which are more relevant for the rapidly altering times we're living in.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Josipa Ban writes, a couple of years ago, the Zagreb company Stemi launched the "School of the Future/Skola buducnosti" project in Croatian schools, through which elementary and high school students can work to acquire the technological knowledge of the future, that of robotics, artificial intelligence (EI), and the Internet of Things (IoT).

So far, more than 350 teachers and two thousand students have participated in their project, equal to every tenth school in the Republic of Croatia. The initiators of the project now want this project to come to life in every fifth school, 220 of them. With this goal, together with their partners Infobip and A1 Hrvatska/Croatia, they launched a group financing campaign "Build the school of the future/Izgradi skolu buducnosti", during which they plan to raise a grand total of one million kuna.

In this way, all those who want their children to acquire the technological knowledge and skills of the future from an early age now have the opportunity to influence changes in the Croatian education system. They can change things in this country's often-criticised education system precisely through showing their support to the Zagreb company Stemi's praiseworthy campaign.

Marin Troselj, the initiator of the project and director of the Zagreb company Stemi, explained that their goal is to expand the bridge between schools and our technology industry. "We want to bring knowledge and practice from our best technology companies to every fifth school in Croatia and thus turn them into schools of the future," he pointed out.

This truly innovative and valuable project, in which around 750 thousand euros have been invested so far, has advantages for both students and teachers. Through technological challenges, students can gain some of the most sought-after knowledge on the market, and through teamwork and project work, they'll develop key soft skills for a successful career in the technology industry. The teachers, on the other hand, are also educated about new technologies, and using an innovative educational platform significantly facilitates the preparation and implementation of classes.

Slobodan Velikic, Stemi's business development director, announced that soon, both students and teachers will be able to talk with their colleagues from other countries who are also participating in their programmes. This will be possible because the School of the Future also starts across the pond over in the USA and closer to home in Europe in Great Britain this year.

"Students need to start preparing for the jobs of the future in their classrooms, where they will definitely have to work in an international environment, and through practical work, they'll improve the local community with their projects," said Velikic.

Until this year, through the School of the Future project, students learned about artificial intelligence through the development of chatbots, i.e. computer programmes that can talk to people using natural language. This year, the programme will be enriched with two new ones - robotics and the Internet of Things. Students will thus learn how to make a walking robot for Mars exploration, but also how to grow their own food and how to manage production with the help of technology.

In addition to transferring the technological knowledge of the future, the School of the Future project is also of great value because it popularises STEM fields.

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

Tuesday, 4 October 2022

As Huge Ships Return, How Has 2022's Croatian Cruise Season Been?

October the 4th, 2022 - The Croatian cruise season for 2022 has been excellent, much like the rest of the country's post-pandemic tourism picture. Which were the most visited Croatian destinations for cruise ships?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, just as the global coronavirus pandemic decimated air traffic, it also brought the cruise industry to its knees. Large cruise ships saw their passengers vanish overnight, and the question of when this segment of the tourist offer will recover, given the large number of passengers in one place, remains open.

This year, however, passengers returned to cruise ships, albeit not in the same volume as before, after all, the companies themselves aren't selling at full capacity, but many companies have now announced that they did have a good summer season and that 2023 should be a very good year for cruises, as reported by Novi list.

Recently, a specialised fair for cruises, Seatrade Cruise Med, was held, which took place this year from September the 14th to the 15th in Malaga, Spain. Croatian ports were also presented there under the joint name of Croatian Cruise Ports. As part of the MedCruise pavilion, the Port Authorities of Rijeka, Zadar, Sibenik, Split, and Dubrovnik, the Port Authority of Dubrovnik-Neretva County, the County Port Authority of Dubrovnik and the Port Authority of Vukovar all presented their offer. Croatian representatives in Malaga also presented the Adrijo project, which connects eight Croatian and Italian ports - Ancona, Ravenna, Venice, Trieste, Rijeka, Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik.

This year's hosts were the Port Authority of Malaga and the City of Malaga, with the support of the MedCruise association and CLIA, and it is one of the most important specialised fairs in Europe, attended by more than 3,000 participants from across the rest of Europe and the world operating in the cruise industry.

Representatives of the Rijeka Port Authority were also present in Malaga, representing Rijeka at this world cruise congress. A series of meetings were held with representatives of the cruise companies themselves, which resulted in agreements for the next cruise season. Rajko Jurman, head of commercial affairs of the Rijeka Port Authority, announced that two arrivals of Norweigan's Getaway cruise ship have been arranged in Malaga for next year.

"This ship will arrive twice in July next year. It's the longest vessel that has ever sailed into Rijeka, 325 metres long in total and with a capacity of 3,900 passengers," announced Jurman. He also added that the announcements for next year look very good, meaning that the City of Rijeka could host more than 40,000 passengers from cruise ships.

After two years dominated by the pandemic, this gathering of those employed within the cruise industry in Malaga is finally an opportunity to "examine" the state of the industry and make announcements for 2023. The conference said that the cruise industry must strive to improve its reputation and restore the trust of passengers, that the industry should be carbon neutral by 2050, and that the 2023 cruise season is looking great. Pierfrancesco Vago, CEO of MSC Group and the president of CLIA, referred to new CLIA data on passenger interest in cruises and said that a significant number of passengers tend to stay in destinations before and after a cruise, contributing to local economies.

According to the latest data from the State Statistics Office (DZS), in the first seven months of this year, 66 foreign cruise ships, or large cruise ships, entered Croatian seaports, which is equal to far fewer cruise visitors than the Croatian cruise season was used to before 2020. There were 294 thousand passengers being carried on those ships, who stayed in Croatia for 658 days. The number of passengers on foreign cruise ships increased by 259 thousand passengers during the first seven months of 2022 compared to the first seven months of 2021, when due to the pandemic, stricter epidemiological measures were introduced that restricted cruises by foreign ships. Last year, the first entry of foreign cruise ships was recorded in Croatia once again only in June.

This year, the data shows that the results from the pre-pandemic year of 2019 were not reached during the Croatian cruise season. As such, during the first seven months of this year, the number of trips realised by foreign cruise ships decreased by 10.6 percent, and the number of passengers on these ships decreased by 48 percent compared to 2019. This indicates the trend of the arrival of smaller vessels and the fact that the companies aren't selling at full capacity. Cruisers are back, and the Croatian cruise season has bounced back with it, but with far fewer passengers.

Foreign cruise ships during the first seven months of 2022 sailed under the flags of thirteen different countries, with the largest number of cruisers having arrived under the flag of the Bahamas, followed by cruisers under the flag of Malta, Italy and Panama.

Out of a total of 329 cruises, most of them were realised down in Dubrovnik-Neretva County, a total of 45.6 percent, then in Split-Dalmatia County, which accounted for 31 percent of cruise ship arrivals during this Croatian cruise season. Together, these two Dalmatian counties accounted for as much as 78 percent of the traffic that cruise ships achieved in all Croatian ports until the end of July this year. Primorje-Gorski County, for example, accounted for a mere 3.3 percent of round trips.

The most visited port this year was of course the Port of Dubrovnik, which saw 213 cruise ship visits in seven months, followed by Split with 144 visits, then by Zadar with 73 visits, and the the Central Dalmatian islands of Hvar and Korcula with 45 cruise ship visits each.

For more on the Croatian cruise season and cruise tourism, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

Tuesday, 4 October 2022

Mirela Kardasevic Sets New World Record in CNF Freediving Discipline

Mirela Kardasevic set a new world record at the World Cup in Kas, Turkey in the CNF freediving discipline (constant weight without fins) with a dive of 75 meters. 

Mirela Kardasevic set a new world record at the World Cup in Kas, Turkey in the CNF freediving discipline (constant weight without fins) with a dive of 75 meters. With this exceptionally great success, she became the first woman in history to win a gold medal and set a new world record at the depth and pool world championships. Mirela is one of the few divers who competes in the pool and in the deep, so this success is even bigger. 

“I did it! NEW WORLD RECORD CNF 75m ??‍♀️ (constant no fins) at Kas Baska World Cup? My first world record in depth (the hardest discipline by far), and let me tell you, the one I ve been waiting for the longest. It took me 5 years to finally achieve this result. The journey was hard. I had many failures and doubts. I was the "early turn" diver, but nevertheless, I never stopped working hard, I changed my approach, I started from the beginning this year regarding equalization, and I wasn’t afraid to take that risk. As I said in my previous post, sometimes we have to take that huge step back in order to understand and grow ?”, said Mirela Kardasevic in her latest Facebook post. 

Mirela Kardasevic pics Facebook

At the Free Diving Indoor World Championship that took place in Belgrade in June, Kardasevic set two new world records. In the DYNB (Dynamic With Bifins) discipline she won a gold and set a new record by swimming a distance of 250 meters, while in the DYN (Dynamic with Fins) event she covered a distance of 275 meters, winning another gold and setting another world record. 

Mirela has a total of 11 medals from the world championships in diving, of which four gold, four silver and three bronze medals, while she has two bronze medals from the European championships. It is interesting that the Croatian Diving Association did not include our most successful athlete in freediving in the national representation for the upcoming world championship. 

Mirela Kardasevic 2


 

Tuesday, 4 October 2022

New York Croat Attended the Austrian-American Day Reception in New York City

New York, October 4, 2022 - Srecko Mavrek, an internationally recognized educational expert, attended a reception on the occasion of the 25th Austrian American Day at the Austrian Consulate General in New York. In 1997, President Bill Clinton proclaimed September 26 as Austrian-American day in gratitude for the many gifts that Austrian Americans bring to the life of the USA. The event was hosted by the Austrian Consul General Ms. Helene Steinhaeusl. Attendees were honored and delighted by the presence of H.E. Karl Nehammer, Federal Chancellor of the Republic of Austria H.E. Alexander Schallenberg, Federal Minister for European and International Affairs, and Major General Jürgen Ortner from Permanent Mission of Austria to the United Nations in New York, with whom Mavrek had a long and interesting conversation about bileteral relations between Croatia and Austria and the current situation in Europe.

Mavrek’s connection with Austria dates back to the 2000s when he worked as a research fellow at Karl-Franz-University in Graz between 2001-2005. In cooperation with the Austrian-American Educational Cooperation Association, he was hired as an international teacher by the New York City Department of Education in 2005. Since then, he received numerous professional awards including President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition Community Leadership Award, SHAPE America Eastern District High School Physical Education Teacher of the Year, National Service Award from the Council for Aquatic Professionals of the American Association for Physical Activity and Recreation, etc. He also served as a professional representative of Kappa Delta Pi – International Honor Society in Education to the United Nations Department of Global Communications. Mavrek has been passionately preserving and promoting Croatian heritage and culture worldwide since the 1990s. and is currently one of the Croatian Radio New York hosts.

Pic Srecko Mavrek with the young Austrain diplomats

Srecko Mavrek with the young Austrian diplomats

Photo Srecko Mavrek and the Austrian Consul General Ms. Helene Steinhaeusl at the Summer 2021 reception

Srecko Mavrek and the Austrian Consul General Ms. Helene Steinhaeusl at the Summer 2021 reception




 

Tuesday, 4 October 2022

Croatian Returnee Reflections: Phil Vrankovich, from California to Hvar

October 4, 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 Phil Vrankovich, who moved from California to Hvar. 

My name is Philip Vrankovich, and I am presently retired after 30 years in the IT side of the energy business. I was born in Oakland, California. My connection to Croatia is through my paternal grandparents, Antun Vranković and Bona Dobrosić, both from the village of Svirće on the island of Hvar. They immigrated to America at the turn of the 1900s.

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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 had always talked about going to Croatia, starting in the 1980s, but didn’t actually make it there until 2000. In July, 2000, we made a family trip to Hvar to meet family members I had only heard about. We arrived at the Stari Grad port to our cousins waving Croatian and American flags in the parking lot. It still gives me chills recalling that experience. My wife, Vicki, and I returned in 2001 to purchase property in Vrboska, with the intent of retiring on the island. In 2006, we made that dream come true, when we purchased a house in the now UNESCO-protected town of Stari Grad. I also became a Croatian citizen in 2010. We’ve made Hvar our home for 6 months out of the year, spending the rest of the time in California and now Connecticut.

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

Family and friends have been very supportive of our decision to make Hvar our second home, and of course, many have come to visit over the years.

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

Since I had family who came from Dalmatia, I had resources in America who helped to tell us about what to expect; however, that was no replacement for actually being here - in reality, it was so much more beautiful than I had imagined!

My godmother and her two daughters helped us arrange to meet family members, as well as their families, on our first trip in July 2000.

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

Really, we had no reservations about making a switch to living on Hvar. We had family here, made some friends, both domestic and expatriate, and felt welcomed. Initially, I thought the language difference would be an issue, but we found many people spoke English and those that didn’t, we were able to use our limited Hrvatski, sign language and pantomime in order to communicate

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?

My parents and sister visited Hvar in the mid-1970s, and of course, it was much more primitive then. I remember my father saying there was no air conditioning, few autos and that you couldn’t get ice at a bar. He questioned why we would want to live there… of course, when we arrived, it was decades later, and things had changed here. I recall asking, “why did my grandparents ever leave, this place is so beautiful!” However, life in the late 1800s was very different here. When they married, it was two brothers who married 2 sisters, and there were not enough resources for both pairs to stay there. So my grandparents made the move to America.

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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.

We love the island life, “polako,” the family and friends we have met here, and of course, the culture, food, history, and environment (sea, mountains, and the climate). It’s difficult to put into words the feeling of visiting the house my grandmother was born in or planting grape vines in a field where my great-grandfather once toiled… it’s very special!

For the cons, the bureaucracy of getting anything done here is frustrating, and trying to learn Hrvatski is difficult (grandmother and father always spoke to me in English… I guess they never conceived any of us ever going back), especially with so many people here speaking English, and missing immediate family and the variety of food available back in America.

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

Follow your dreams! Visit, and live in one place for a period of time to experience the community. See if it really fits your lifestyle. Don’t be disappointed and frustrated when things don’t turn out exactly as you expected, instead embrace the differences and go with the flow.

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

Make becoming a Croatian citizen a streamlined process, and afford all family members of returning Croatians the same level of respect under the law. For example, during Covid, my Croatian passport expired in 2020, and my wife’s residency card expired in 2021, yet they allowed me to renew my passport but told her she must start the entire process all over again! Why is it that my wife can’t become a citizen simply by the fact that she is married to a Croatian? Instead, she must go through the process of being a temporary resident for many years.

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Thanks, Phil!

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.

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

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

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Monday, 3 October 2022

SuperSport HNL Round 11: Hajduk Takes 3 Points Against Rijeka, Dinamo's Winning Streak Continues

October 3, 2022 - The 11th round of the SuperSport HNL was played from September 30 to October 2, 2022. This round saw Dinamo take another 3 points, while Hajduk secured a crucial win against Rijeka to remain in 2nd place. Osijek, however, is just two points behind Hajduk in 3rd. Here is our SuperSport HNL round 11 recap. 

Varazdin v. Istra 1961 (1:1)

Varazdin and Istra opened the 11th round on Friday, September 30, 2022, in Varazdin in front of 1,593 fans. 

Teklic put Varazdin ahead in the 37th minute for 1:0 before Caseres equalized for the final 1:1 in the 69th minute. 

Varazdin is in 5th place with 16 points, while Istra is in 6th with 13. 

(No video available)

Osijek v. Lokomotiva (4:1)

Osijek and Lokomotiva met on Saturday, October 1, 2022, at City Garden Stadium in Osijek. 

The Slavonian club nearly confirmed the winner in the first half with goals by Barisic and Beljo in the 2nd and 3rd minutes for 2:0. Caktas increased their lead to 3:0 in the 45th minute. And Osijek wasn't done scoring yet, as Kleinheisler made it 4:0 with 10 minutes to go. Finally, Vasilj got one goal for Lokomotiva in the 86th minute for the final 4:1. 

 

Osijek has now moved into 3rd place with 18 points, while Lokomotiva is in 8th place with 9 points. 

Dinamo v. Slaven Belupo (4:1)

Dinamo and Belupo met at Maksimir on Saturday, October 1, 2022. 

Dinamo took the lead in the 9th minute thanks to an own goal by Markovic for 1:0. Hoxha equalized for 1:1 in the 60th minute, but that only woke Diamo up. Petkovic scored a penalty for 2:1 in the 72nd minute, Bockaj made it 3:1 in the 81st, and Ivansuec secured the 4:1 victory in the 3rd minute of stoppage time. 

 

Dinamo is currently having the best start to the season in the club's history, sitting in first place with 31 points. Belupo is in 4th place with 17. 

Rijeka v. Hajduk (0:1)

Rijeka and Hajduk met on Sunday, October 2, 2022, at Rujevica Stadium. 

The first half went without a goal, and Rijeka looked much more aggressive than they did just a few weeks ago against Hajduk at Poljud. Awaziem scored for Hajduk at the beginning of the second half, making it 0:1 in the 51st minute, which was the final score. 

 

Rijeka remains in the last place with 6 points, while Hajduk sits in 2nd with 20 points and a game in hand. 

Sibenik v. Gorica (1:1)

Sibenik and Gorica closed out the 11th round in Sibenik on Sunday, October 2, 2022. 

Fruk scored for 0:1 Gorica in the 38th minute. Prsir received his second yellow in the 55th minute, forcing Gorica to play with a man down for the remainder of the match. But it didn't take long for Sibenik to suffer the same fate, and Arai was booked for his second yellow in the 73rd. Delic scored a penalty to equalize at 1:1 in the 82nd minute. Gorica ended the match with nine men on the pitch as Julardzija was sent off or his second yellow in the 1st minute of stoppage time. 

Sibenik is currently in 7th place with 11 points, while Gorica is in 9th with 6 and a game in hand. 

(No video available)

You can see the full HNL table HERE.

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

 

Monday, 3 October 2022

Croatian Arable Land Prices Increase Significantly in Short Time

October the 3rd, 2022 - Croatian arable land is yet another thing that has seen its worth massively increase in a relatively short space of time. While property of all kinds across the country has seen price hikes, the price per hectare of arable land has done quite the leap.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the average price of purchased Croatian arable land last year stood at 27,595 kuna per hectare, which is 1,665 kuna more than it was the year before, according to data from the State Statistics Office (DZS) published on Wednesday.

The aforementioned statistics also show that back in 2021, the average price of purchased meadows was 18,204 kuna per hectare, which is 915 kuna more than it was the year before, and pastures costed 18,516 kuna or 2,865 kuna more.

In Pannonian Croatia, the average price of purchased arable land was 27,869 kuna, meadows came with a price tag of 19,276 kuna, and pastures totalled 11,557 kuna per hectare. Compared to just one year before, the average price for the purchase of Croatian arable land increased by 1,453 kuna, meadows by 408 kuna and pastures by 837 kuna per hectare.

The average price of purchased arable land in the Adriatic part of Croatia stood at 40,793 kuna per hectare, which is 7,153 kuna per hectare more than it was back in 2020, meadows came with a price tag of 16,456 kuna or 2,499 kuna more, and pastures were 25,313 kuna per hectare or 4,890 kuna more than they were sold for back in 2020.

In Northern Croatia, the average price of arable land was once 23,872 kuna per hectare, meadows costed 19,021 kuna, and pastures came at a price of 17,111 kuna per hectare. As such, the average purchase price of Croatian arable land was 1,354 kuna more, meadows were 40 kuna more and pastures had seen an increase of 125 kuna per hectare.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section for more on Croatian land and property prices.

Monday, 3 October 2022

Sabine Engelhardt Chooses Brac Agriculture over Architecture

October the 3rd, 2022 - Sabine Engelhardt is a German architect who came to live in Croatia thirteen years ago, choosing the Central Dalmatian island of Brac as her home on which she switched her life of architecture for a life of agriculture.

As Morski/Blanka Kufner writes, Sabine Engelhardt is the owner of the eco estate Gea Viva which has been entirely designed according to permaculture principles. Her goal in life is not to use more than the planet can handle and she imagines the future of the world we live in as a multitude of small but strong local communities where people live self-sustainably.

The German national who moved to Croatia thirteen years ago is an architect and carpenter by profession, and while she had some level of contact with agriculture in her childhood, she never went on to have any sort of employment in it as an adult. She considers it illogical that in Germany, for example, they save on food, which is essential for health, and spend an awful lot of money on cars. For years she worked as an architect in Great Britain, but at one point she felt a strong need for change and decided to create her new life near Milna on the island of Brac, Agroklub writes.

The permaculture way of life has been attractive to her for a long time because the planet we live on is important to her, and she was also involved in eco-architecture. Her main idea was to organise a meeting place for people who think in a similar way, and agriculture, she says, somehow developed along the way.

''Permaculture is very close to the traditional approach to agriculture because it encourages a variety of plants, working with your hands, and a circular economy. Some things are more modern, others are very close to the traditional way of life,'' Sabine Engelhardt explained, readily admitting that agriculture on Brac is a challenge.

Since there's no connection to the water supply, you can't really base much on the production of vegetables, but there are plenty of fig trees and other fruit trees that she planted, as well as 180 olive trees. She realised that it is more profitable for her to produce olive brine than olive oil, and she also creates massage oils, macerates, creams, salves and soaps. On her family farm (OPG), which spans a little more than one hectare, he has various medicinal plants from which she makes things.

''The immortelle one is excellent for injuries and burns, and the mint one it great for neck massages,'' she revealed. As an interesting product, she pointed out a mixture of dry herbs that are lit for a pleasant smell in the home. It is particularly important for her that consumers become aware of how much power they do actually have and that it is important what they choose to spend their cash on, and she strongly advocates for supporting local producers.

''It's important for me to be able to spend time out in nature, not in the office. It's a great asset to be able to organise your day as you wish, even though there is a lot of work to do,'' said Sabine, admitting that it isn't easy because she has to take care of several animals - a donkey, chickens, a dog and a cat, and all of the plants, so she can't "just go somewhere".

Regardless of the many obligations and the great effort invested, Sabine Engelhardt says that the satisfaction she gets from creating her own products is far more valuable than anything else. This year, she had a lot of figs and tomatoes, but the potatoes were a complete failure. She added that this year she grew lentils for the first time, struggled with peeling them, and in the end only got five tablespoons. However, with a smile, her quinces produce well almost every season. She doesn't earn much from farming, she gets a little more from the campsite she runs and the events it offers. She doesn't lead a luxurious life and constantly needs to invest more and more.

She likes life in Dalmatia, as well as the fact that people here know how to enjoy the little things. When she first arrived on the island, there were still plenty of people who could pass on knowledge about traditional agriculture to her and she regrets that young people mostly run away from agriculture because there are fewer and fewer old people with experience to gain wisdom from.

Sabine also resents how absolutely everything is aimed at tourism, and the construction of yet another new resort is also planned near her property.

''I feel that big changes are coming and that people will need to focus more on food production and self-sustainability,'' concluded Sabine Engelhardt.

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