Saturday, 5 November 2022

EHF EURO 2022: 'Queens of Shock' Open Tournament with Defeat to Norway

November 5, 2022 - The Croatia women's handball team opened the EHF EURO 2022 with a loss to Norway in Ljubljana on Friday night. 

The Croatia women's handball team started the 15th EHF EURO in Ljubljana with a defeat. In the 1st round match of Group A, they lost to Norway 23:32. It was the meeting of the European gold and European bronze medalists from the last European championship in Denmark two years ago. Norway has won 13 consecutive European titles.

Croatia was without several significant players and opened the match against the eight-time European champions in the following lineup: Ivana Kapitanović was in goal, Lara Burić was on the right, and Paula Posevec was on the left. Ana Debelić held the line, and Kristina Prkačin, Valentina Blažević, and Dora Krsnik played in the outside positions. The coach made only one change: Katarina Ježić in defense and Valentina Blažević in the attack.

Both teams were nervous at the beginning. The first goal was scored only at the end of the 3rd minute. Croatia scored its first goal in the 4th minute thanks to Dora Krsnik.

It was clear from the beginning that Croatia would have many problems with Norway's defense. After only ten minutes, Norway was up by three points (2:5). Croatia's defense remained solid but missed several clear chances at goal in the first half. 

In the 22nd minute and the 29th minute, Croatia came to one goal behind (9:10, 14:15). Norway woke up, going back to plus two (14:16) at the half. 

Croatia opened the second half with a 3:1 series. Then, in the 33rd minute, Croatia equalized at 17:17. Unfortunately, Croatia made several technical mistakes and opened the door for Norway to go ahead by three - 18:21. Coach Nenad Šoštarić, therefore, asked for a timeout. 

Croatia's play started to drop. Norway's transition and quality took precedence and went up by five goals (21:26). 

In the 52nd minute, Norway was already up by seven goals. Croatia went 11 minutes without scoring a goal. The European champions routinely brought the match to an end and achieved a convincing 23:32 victory. 

With four goals, the top scorer for Croatia was Stela Posavec. Paula Posavec, Tena Japundža, Dora Kalaus, Ana Debelić and Valentina Blažević scored 3 each. Norway's Nora Mork was the best with eight goals. Henny Reistad scored seven and was also chosen as the best player in the match.

Croatia will face Hungary next on Sunday, November 6, at 6:00 pm.

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

 

Friday, 4 November 2022

We Are All One Family: HNS Launches Campaign against Discrimination

November 4, 2022 - 'We Are All One Family' is a new campaign launched by the Croatian Football Federation against discrimination in football. 

The Croatian Football Federation presented the promotional campaign "We Are All One Family," which sends a strong message that all forms of discrimination in football are unacceptable.

Players of all ten clubs in the SuperSport Croatian Football League and NK Parag, including members of the Roma national minority, are featured in three videos. In addition to Croatia national team members Dominik Livaković, Bruno Petković, Mislav Oršić, Lovro Kalinić, Marko Livaja, Ivica Ivušić, and Nediljko Labrović, the videos feature players of all 32 nationalities who play in SuperSport HNL. Each of them sends a simple and powerful message in their language:

"We are all one family."

 

The campaign is the result of a joint session of the Professional Football Commission and the HNS Security Commission held at the beginning of October, in which all SuperSport HNL clubs participated and at which the Croatian Football Federation warned of an increase in the number of discriminatory messages as well as hate speech in the stands. At the same time, the Federation presented its decision that the financial resources collected from club fines for racism and other forms of discrimination would be used to benefit projects that prevent this unacceptable behavior.

 

"I am happy about the excellent cooperation of all the clubs and the Federation in this project, which is the best confirmation that there is a unified attitude in the football family that racism and all forms of discrimination in our stadiums are unacceptable. I thank the clubs and players who showed by their example that there is no place for racism in Croatia and discrimination regardless of racial, ethnic, religious, national or any other affiliation," said HNS president Marijan Kustić.

 

"Getting out of the football framework and cooperating with the scientific community is the strategic goal of the Federation. We thank the Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation, whose professional and scientific contribution helped create this preventive video campaign adapted to the widest population. The youngest people, who this video will reach, will see it via digital platforms and social networks and will have a positive impact on them with a special emphasis on accepting diversity," said Jurica Jurjević, head of prevention, security, and integrity.

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

Friday, 4 November 2022

A Week in Croatian Politics - Arab Investors, Marijuana and Pay Rises

November the 4th, 2022 - This week in Croatian politics, we've had everything from investors purchasing stakes in Croatian companies that apparently nobody knew anything about, attempts to legalise marijuana, hopes for neighbouring countries to become EU member states, Italians and more drama regarding Zoran Milanovic.

Fortenova claims it was unaware of the approval of the sale of Sberbank's stake to an investor from the UAE, the government says it knew nothing, either

Ever heard of Saik Alketbi? Nobody here has either. The name cropped up for apparently the first time this week in Croatia after the sale of the Russian Sberbank's stake in this massive Croatian company was sold to him. The government also claims it has absolutely no idea about any of this either. To be more specific, a 43.4% stake has been sold to the Arab investor without any approval, with the transaction having been completed on the final day of October this year.

Sberbank, which is the biggest shareholder in Fortenova, is currently under international sanctions due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and it seems that the company hasn't even been officially notified of this stake sale, which is not only difficult to believe but extremely odd. It's worth recalling that the first would-have-been buyer of Sberbank's stake in the company was Indotek from neighbouring Hundary, but it failed in its quest as it didn't get the necessary approvals. The second attempt at a purchase was made by pension funds, but the transaction was halted.

''Sberbank's assets are under sanctions and their sale requires the issuance of all of the necessary approvals by the authorities in charge of implementing those sanctions,” Fortenova said in its statement on this rather bizarre matter.

“Fortenova has no information that further approvals to buy Sberbank's stake have been issued and therefore we don't see how a valid sale could have gone through. Besides, following the pension funds, there has been no due diligence of the company. If sanctions [those against Russia, which encompass Sberbank] have been violated, then a crime has been committed and the company has not participated in it,” Fortenova stated.

Multiple politicians have voiced their views on this topic, believing that something extremely strange has gone on. Politicial figures from the opposition (read not HDZ) are frothing at the mouth at this new opportunity to tear HDZ a new one, stating that it is impossible that after the initial Agrokor scandal from 2017 and now this latest charade with INA, claiming ''they don't know anything about it'' is an excuse which is wearing thin for HDZ.

Marijuana isn't addictive, claims parliamentarian when discussing the new on the substance

Ivana Posavec Krivec (social democrats) has stated that marijuana doesn't lead to addiction. Posavec Krivec's party was the one to propose a new law on exploiting the full potential of hemp in Croatia.

"The use of marijuana isn't harmful, it doesn't lead to addiction, this isn't a question of the use of hard drugs," Ivana Posavec Krivec said in Croatian Parliament during the recent debate on the proposed law of her party. With this, she responded to HDZ's Luka Brcic, who believes that this bill would create an atmosphere where people believe that the use of marijuana is not harmful, which, he believes, isn't the case. He stressed that like any drug, it can be especially harmful for children and young people. HDZ's Mladen Karlic also made sure to warn that the proposed law stipulates that every adult can grow nine flowering female plants for their own needs, which, in his opinion, flings the door wide open for the completely free enjoyment of marijuana and "the entry of drug tourism into Croatia". On top of that, he thinks such a move would result in a significantly higher number of marijuana users.

Posavec Krivec explained that research into marijuana has shown that the cultivation of nine female hemp plants is the amount needed to produce everything needed to relieve pain in seriously ill patients who are using it for relief. She claims that properly legalising and regulating this would prevent such people doing things under the table and purchasing impure things on the market, and it would help boost the domestic economy too. The proposers of the law, Posavec Krivec and Vesna Nadj, both pointed out that hemp has an exceptional economic potential because more than 25,000 different products are produced from it.

"The Club of Social Democrats believes that Croatia must not be at the tail end of European and global trends in the legalisation and liberalisation of hemp in order to exploit its full potential. Croatia must be a country that will be a leader in exploiting all of this plant's significant potential through this law,'' Nadj stated.

PM Andrej Plenkovic says it is in Croatia's interest for its neigbouring countries to join the European Union (EU)

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic (HDZ) stated after the meeting at the Western Balkans Summit 2022 in the German capital of Berlin that it is very much in the Republic of Croatia's interest that all countries in its immediate neighbourhood become members of the European Union, and he praised Germany's efforts in reviving the Berlin process.

"The meeting was very good. I think it's excellent that Chancellor Olaf Scholz decided to continue this initiative that Chancellor Angela Merkel started back in 2014," Plenkovic said after the summit ended. Croatia's energy potential and issues with the political system in Bosnia and Herzegovina were also discussed at the summit.

The Croatian Government finally came to a decision to increase the salaries taken home by those employed in public and state services

The government finally adopted some formal conclusions at a recent session, and the assumption now is that for about 240,000 employees in the public and state sector, their basic salaries and other material rights will be increased in this and the next year. According to the agreement which was finally (and somewhat painfully) reached last Wednesday by the trade unions and Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, salaries for employees in the public and state sectors will increase by six percent from October the 1st this year and by two percent from April the 1st next year.

The plan is also to increase Christmas bonuses from 1,500 kuna to 1,750 kuna, among other similar increases. Out of a total of 11 public and state service unions that were involved in negotiations with the government regarding the base increase of late, nine unions accepted the government's offer, meaning that the conditions for signing the addendum were met because the government's offer was supported by unions that have more than 50 percent of the total number of members of all unions that participated in the negotiations, as well as unions from at least three of the five areas that were negotiated.

The government's offer was still not accepted by the Preporod trade union and the Independent Trade Union of employees in science and higher education, considering that it was an insufficient salary increase for them considering the inflationary pressures we're currently all dealing with.

A six percent increase in the base will cost the state 600 million kuna, and it will be provided through budget rebalancing and redistribution, while a two percent increase will require a slightly lesser sum of 500 million kuna. Plenkovic said that the agreement with the unions testifies that they reached an agreement through a high-quality and open dialogue with the leaders of the unions, which confirmed the government's commitment to social dialogue and the strengthening of social partnership. Plenkovic also stated that their end goal is to support workers and employees as much as possible.

President Zoran Milanovic (SDP) wasn't invited to an important war anniversary

As All Saints' Day was marked, many delegations were present at Zagreb's Mirogoj cemetery. Wreaths were laid and candles were lit by Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, Minister of Croatian Veterans Tomo Medved, Minister of the Interior Davor Bozinovic, and the President of the Croatian Parliament, Gordan Jandrokovic.

"These are the days when we remember the dead with sadness and reverence, especially those who lost their lives during the Homeland War. Over these days, we also think about the suffering of others that we observe, especially over in Ukraine. I hope that all this week, and in all of Croatia's cemeteries, a dignified atmosphere will take hold, and that we'll all remember those who are no longer among us in peace and quiet," said Nina Obuljen Korzinek, Minister of Culture and Media.

"We urge that anniversaries are not misused for political purposes,'' she stated when asked if the tragic anniversary of the Vukovar massacre later this month will end up being  misused for political purposes by certain individuals and groups in Croatian politics.

"What we as a government do and say is aimed exclusively at coming together [to remember]. If someone creates an agenda on divisions, I think people will recognise that, and Minister Tomo Medved clearly emphasised that we as a nation are facing one of the saddest months of the year, especially for the people of Vukovar, Skabrnja and other Croatian cities which suffered heavy casualties back in 1991. We always call for us to come together in silence, with dignity, and that neither anniversaries nor commemorations be misused for any political goals, especially those that cause unrest, discord and divisions in society."

Commenting on the situation with Milanovic not being invited to an important anniversary, Obuljen Korzinek said that "nobody is boycotting anyone".

"We're doing our job responsibly. There are actors in society who only and exclusively have an agenda of inciting hatred, throwing out unacceptable theses and narratives, people will be quick to recognise that. I think that especially from this place we should call for dignity in our behaviour, but also in public communication,'' she said.

The minister didn't want to directly comment on the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the liberation of southern Croatia, to which President Milanovic was not invited. She briefly and simply said that no one would face any issues because of it.

Plenkovic meets with the Italians in Pula, stating that he wants to further strengthen Croatian-Italian relations going forward

During his recent stay in Pula, Plenkovic with representatives of the Italian Union and emphasised their great commitment to maintain and further develop the culture and identity of their national community in these areas.

"The cooperation between the government, the Italian Union and Istria County as a whole can serve as an excellent example for all other national communities across Croatia. We also discussed the framework of our cooperation today, noting that there is a special chapter in the government's operational plan that concerns the activities of national communities," said Plenkovic adding that the goal of both Croatia and Italy is to strengthen their relations and level of mutual cooperation.

The president of the Italian Union, Maurizio Tremul, expressed his satisfaction with the conversation he'd had with the Croatian prime minister, noting that they discussed a number of topics aimed at improving the position of members of the Italian minority population across Istria, and thanked the Prime Minister for the government's support for the Italian national community.

 

For more on Croatian politics, make sure to follow our dedicated section and keep an eye out for our Week in Croatian Politics articles which are published every Friday.

Friday, 4 November 2022

The City - It Is You: Legacy of Vukovar War Reporter Sinisa Glavasevic

November 4, 2022 - 62 years ago in Vukovar, Sinisa Glavasevic was born, who went on to become the most recognisable voice of the city. The city that is us.

After primary and secondary school, he graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy in Sarajevo and worked in schools in Lovas and Borovo naselje near Vukovar. He was an editor for the pre-war Radio Vukovar and continued to report from the besieged city for the whole duration of the Serbian aggression against Croatia. Sinisa Glavasevic was the voice of hope, faith, and community in the most difficult times. His reports were made up of not only facts and news but stories, essays, and words of reassurance and inspiration. He was not afraid to call out the Croatian Parliament when he felt abandoned. His Optužnica, based on Émile Zola's J'accuse, might not have made it through the censorship of the national radio, but it was broadcast on Zagreb's 101. 

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Hrvatski Radio Vukovar

On this day 31 years ago, his 31st birthday, while entering the hospital where he went to collect the latest reports on the wounded civilians and volunteers, he was injured by a shell fragment and remained under treatment in the Vukovar hospital. He kept reporting from the hospital and sent his last report on November 18, 1991. On the night of November 19-20, all traces of him were lost. Sinisa Glavasevic and the other wounded from the hospital were brutally murdered at the Ovčara camp for Croatian prisoners. His body was buried at the Zagreb Mirogoj cemetery next to his colleague, a radio technician, Branimir Polovina, who was also killed at Ovčara.

His warm human stories were collected into a book and published posthumously in 1992 under the title Stories from Vukovar. The book has been translated into German, English, and two editions in Esperanto. 24Sata also republished it in 2011. His stories inspired other works of art, such as documentaries and theatre plays. In Vukovar, one of the primary schools carries his name, and his two busts watch over the school and the building of Hrvatski Radio Vukovar.

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We spoke to Robert Rac, the director of Hrvatski Radio Vukovar, who shared his views on Sinisa Glavasevic's legacy. The foundations of the work of fifteen employees of today's Radio, he says, are those set by Sinisa Glavasevic and his colleagues, who were also tragically taken away by the war. His legacy lives on in the journalistic integrity they all share, with the single goal of sharing the truth above everything else. And his words found a way to not only live on in us but in actual tapes found in the ruins of the Radio's building in Vukovar. During the siege, the building was constantly shelled and was largely destroyed. Some of Sinisa's tapes, however, fell through the cracks into the basement, where a citizen found them while looking for something, anything of value left in the fallen city to live off. Not knowing what they were or having the technology to find out, he decided to wrap them up in a plastic bag and store them in his attic. Upon the return of the Radio's employees, they were stunned to find out that the tapes were preserved well enough and contained Sinisa's reports, thoughts, and interviews. They are faithful witnesses of the time. They were digitalised and kept in the archive, and are now publicly available.

It was people like Sinisa Glavasevic who helped the civilians in the occupied city keep going, who reassured them and made them feel like they weren't alone. He was the voice of the people, of the city, of hope. Let us carry on his legacy by sharing today's words of Hrvatski Radio Vukovar, as well as the translation of his essay (translated by Marko Puljić, Saint Louis, USA). 

Siniša was killed, but his voice lives on among us.
Editor, thanks for everything.
"Who will watch my city, my friends, who will carry Vukovar from the dark?"
Us. Because the city is us. (HRV)

A Story About the City

I refrain from searching for all justice, truth, I refrain from attempts to let ideals arrange my personal life, I refrain from everything that until yesterday I considered essential for some good beginning or good end.

I would possibly refrain from myself, but I cannot.

Because who will remain if we renounce ourselves and flee into our fears.

Who will inherit the city? Who will watch it for me, when I am gone, while I am searching in the trash heaps of the human spirit, while I am as it is alone, staggering without myself, wounded, tired, feverish, while my eyes begin to wax before my personal defeat.

Who will watch my city, my friends, who will carry Vukovar from the dark?

There aren't shoulders stronger than mine or yours, and therefore if it isn't too much for you, if there still remains in you a youthful whisper, join us.

Somebody has touched my parks, the benches that still have your names carved into them, that shadow that you gave it at the same moment, and received your first kiss - somebody has simply stolen it all, because how do you explain that not even a Shadow remains?

There isn't that store window in which you admired your personal joys, there isn't that movie theater in which you saw the saddest film, your past has been simply decimated and you have nothing.

You must build anew. First your roots, your past, and then your present, and then if you still have the strength, invest in the future. Do not be alone in the future.

Do not worry about the city, it has been with you all this time. Only hidden. So that the murderer cannot find it. The city - it is you.

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

Friday, 4 November 2022

Moving to Croatia: Getting Phone and Internet Connections

4 November 2022 - Moving to Croatia can be stressful, with many hurdles to negotiate. A new TCN section to ease the pain, Moving to Croatia, starting with how to get connected and the mobile phone package options.

In 2022, there are three main mobile service providers in Croatia: T-Mobile (098, 099), A1 (091), and Telemach (095), and two virtual networks, Tomato (092; operated by A1) and bonbon (097).

There are two great sites for comparing prices of mobile phone and Internet services, Kompare and Procjenitelj troškova, but both are available only in Croatian.

As in most other countries, you have two options: prepaid and postpaid SIM cards. If you like the feeling of not having to worry about topping up your credit, postpaid option is the one for you, even though the deals are not as cheap as they are with prepaid tariffs. On the other hand, if you want to spend less and you like being more in control and having fixed limits when it comes to your monthly mobile phone bills, prepaid is the thing for you, even though there’s a possibility that you won’t have enough credit when you have to make a phone call.

You can buy prepaid SIM card on any Tisak, iNovine or any other newsstand that can be found all over the country, at most larger convenience stores (such as Konzum, Spar, Tommy or others) at the cash registers, or at the operators’ retail stores (mostly found in bigger towns and in shopping centres). They usually cost around 25 kn and include the same amount of credit for you to spend. You can top up you credit with various amounts, usually from 11 to 200 kn, at the same places where you can buy SIM cards, and some ATMs also give you the option to top up your phone. These days, most operators also give you the option to purchase or top up their card online. Don’t forget to activate a tariff after you’ve topped up your phone, because that way you don’t get charged for every single call you make and SMS you send, but you get a package deal and get different number of minutes, SMS texts, and GB of Internet included in the fixed tariff price. Some networks charge an additional fee of about 0.30 kn for each call you make. The tariff is valid for a month, but if you spend everything included in it, you can activate it again before a month has passed.

The best prepaid deals you can get are, at the time of this writing (Sept 2022):

  • 30 kn/month (1000 units (minute of call, SMS or 1 MB) at Tomato
  • 45 kn/month (2 GB, 200 minutes, 200 SMS) at Telemach
  • 50 kn/month (2 GB, 450 min, 400 SMS) at bonbon
  • 59 kn/month (3 GB, 2000 units (minutes or SMS)) at VIP
  • 69 kn/month (4 GB, 2000 units (minutes or SMS)) at Simpa/T-mobile

Postpaid options usually range from 50 to 500 kn a month, and, based on the price, include different amounts of minutes, texts, and Internet that you can use over a month. Some costs are not included in your chosen monthly postpaid option, like SMS parking or international calls, so bear in mind that the price you pay per month is probably going to exceed that amount. Most postpaid options include having to sign a contract for a period of 12 or 24 months, which also means you get a discount on mobile phones (the longer the contract and the higher the price, the bigger the discount). You sign a contract and choose your preferred method of payment in special stores for each operator, and the information on store locations can be found on their websites. If you wish to end your contract before its expiry, you will have to pay additional fees both for the remaining number of months for the postpaid option that you chose and for the phone, if you decide to buy it. Also, the phone you buy is usually compatible with that operator’s SIM card only, so if you wish to use it with a different operator later, you will have to unlock it. The postpaid tariffs are valid for a month, and if you spend everything included in your tariff, you’re going to be charged extra. There’s also an additional fee of 10 kn for network access.

The best postpaid deals you can get at the time of this writing (Sept 2022) are:

  • 50 kn/month (2 GB, 450 min, 400 SMS) at bonbon
  • 82 kn/month (6 GB, unlimited minutes and SMS) at Telemach
  • 105 kn/month (5 GB, unlimited minutes and SMS) at A1
  • 135 kn/month (10 GB, 5000 minutes or SMS) at T-mobile
  • 89 kn/month (9000 units (MB, minutes or SMS) at Tomato

Even though we live in a mobile phone era and we don’t need phones to connect to the Internet anymore, most people still like to have a good old landline phone in their home, so getting a package deal including phone and the Internet is the best choice. There are several options to choose from in Croatia, including A1, HT (including the brand they also own, Iskon), Terrakom, Optima and Telemach.

Most operators require signing a contract for a period of 12 or 24 months, which sometimes gets you an additional discount over a certain period of months. Your options also depend on the place where you live, because an operator’s infrastructure might not cover your neighbourhood, especially if you live in the countryside. When you visit each operator’s website, you’ll find the maps showing you whether your neighbourhood/apartment is covered. Broadband speed also varies depending on the operator and the location.

You can compare what they offer and their prices at a site we already mentioned, Procjenitelj troškova.

The options are numerous, include various combinations of services, such as different internet speeds, TV packages (including HBO or similar promotions), various landline phone options, discounts for longer contracts etc. We’ll just show you the options given at the time of writing (Sept 2022) for the flat Internet by each of the providers:

  • A1 – 179 kn/month, download speed up to 200 Mbit/s
  • HT – only offers a package with landline included, 239 kn/month, download speed up to 200 Mbit/s
  • Iskon – 159,90 kn/month, download speed unspecified
  • Terrakom – 99 kn/month, download speed 100 Mbit/s
  • Optima – 149 kn/month, 4 Mbps download
  • Telemach – 139 kn/month, optical internet, download speed up to 300 Mbit/s

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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.

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

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Additionally, in recent years the so-called „portable Internet connection“ options have become popular, and most providers have them. Those are usually not flat rate and the prices depend on the amount of traffic a month included in the package, so if you want those, check the providers' websites for details.

Thursday, 3 November 2022

Hvar TV: A Permanent Snapshot of Island Life from 2012

November 3, 2022 - It is 10 years since I came across one of the finest video snapshots of life on a Croatian island The year is 2012, and Hvar TV captured the essence of life on Croatia's premier island a decade ago for eternity. 

I remember the first time I saw them, at Hotel Adriana in Hvar Town. I had just started the Total Hvar portal and had been invited to an event where Croatian Masterchef Zdravko Kalabric was training young Croatian chefs for the Culinary Olympics in Germany.   

I was introduced to Maja and Jura from Hvar TV, a relatively new YouTube channel that was reporting on various aspects of life on Hvar. Within minutes, I found myself being interviewed on camera about the event. I remember saying "The wine's not bad" (which in British English is a compliment, only to be castigated on social media when the video came out. Who was this British asshole being so critical of our wine... 

A friendship - and a cooperation - was born, and Jura and Maja were a large part of my life in 2012, as we collaborated on some projects, as they allowed me to give my readers a unique insider view of life on the island. Ten years later, it is a real trip down memory lane to see some of these videos again, as well as a chance to thank them for their excellent work in permanently preserving a snapshot of life on Hvar at a certain moment in time. Our cooperation extended to adding English subtitles to some (but not all) of these videos. Here is a year of magic on Hvar as It Once Was a decade ago through the lens of Maja Zrnic and Jura Vodanovic from Hvar TV.  

Did you know that Hvar has its own island football league with ten teams who play each other home and away? And that in 2012, the champions were from Velo Grablje with a full-time population of just five. Maja and Jura followed them the whole season and produced a fantastic documentary, Lavender Smells from the Top - Velo Grablje is the lavender village on Hvar, complete with its own aromatic festival. 

 A winter postcard from Stari Grad. 

New Year in Hvar Town. 

There is life in winter. Billiard tournament at the Gariful Sport Centre. 

Days of Hvar Cuisine, a fantastic initiative that bought the kitchen of Kod Kapetana to Zemun in Belgrade each year, the first initiative to reconnect Belgrade's huge Hvar fan club with the island after the war. It is a wonderful event.

Secret Hvar and their original and (back then) very innovative off-road tour. 

Hvar restaurateurs gather in Jelsa to taste the new Tomic vintages.

Za Krizen - the UNESCO 'Behind the Cross' procession. What is it like to carry the cross and take part in this 500-year-old tradition. This is probably the best of any media on this incredible procession, and with English subtitles.  

Renaissance Dinner. A superb step back in time to 1612, as Ante Lacman of Hvar Tours brought 150 guests on a teambuilding to Hvar and put on a spectacular Renaissance dinner event, which included the Mayor of Hvar and I dressing up in tights. 

Fishing without complaints. Life as a fisherman on Hvar.

Luxury Dom Perignon night at Restaurant Gariful. 

The King of Meat - Djordje Tudor of Djordjota Vartal.  

Bogdanusa Wine Festival in Svirce. 

Days of Honey in Stari Grad.

Levonda Kids play the Levonda Blues.  

A Californian couple gets married in a Jelsa vineyard.  

The Puhijada edible dormouse festival in Dol.  

Kids Day in Hvar Town.  

Hvar Open Tour, one of the finest (and most short-lived) tourism products on the island, killed by those with an interest in not making it work. It was a wonderful hop on, hop off service from Jelsa, Vrboska, Stari Grad, the ferry, Hvar Town, and Agroturizam Faros, on a 2-hour cycle, with tickets at just 75 kuna a day. 

Grape Harvest on the Pakleni Islands.

Peskafondo squid fishing championship.

Stari Grad Wine Festival. 

 

Farewell, Summer. 

 

Veljko Barbieri cooks risotto at the Tomic winery. 

What a fabulous year!

The first Hvar TV video I ever saw is still one I enjoy watching from time to time - life in the Hvar harbour with the camera speeded up.  

Hvar Harbour Fast Forward.  

Hvar TV still exists, but Maja and Jura have progressed with their careers, filming much of the feature content for national television, including this superb piece on digital nomad life on a Dalmatian island  

Thank you, Maja and Jura, for all your fabulous work to document life on this special island. If you want to browse some more, you can visit the Hvar TV YouTube channel

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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.

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

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Thursday, 3 November 2022

The Euro: What to Expect on Croatian ATMs on 31 December and 1 January

November 3, 2022 - There are less than two months left until the introduction of the euro. And while the citizens are already slowly getting used to the new currency, with the mandatory dual display of prices, preparations for the practical introduction of the euro are in full swing. What about the ATMs?

As HRT reports, from the first of December, Croatian citizens will be able to buy initial packages of euro coins, and in the middle of next month, the adaptation of ATMs for the payment of banknotes will begin. "For now, everything is going according to plan. Banknotes are arriving continuously, we are minting our Croatian coins. There is a lot of work, but we will be ready on January 1", said CNB Governor Boris Vujčić, in a guest appearance on HTV's central Dnevnik.

When asked what will happen from the night of December 31 to January 1, he said that there is a combination of computerised/automated and purely physical cash distribution.

"ATMs must be ready to dispense cash in euros, although we will have a co-circulation of two weeks between kuna and euro. A large number of ATMs will deliver euros on January 1st, and some will be able to deliver kuna until December 31st. We will coordinate this so that it is easy for people to get cash", he said, pointing out that it would be easiest to deposit cash in banks where it will be automatically converted on January 1.

He also commented on the inflation

"The inflation is caused by completely different things, not the introduction of the euro. It will increase somewhat after the introduction of the euro, but very little compared to this rate of inflation that we have, which is primarily caused by disruptions in the energy market, and partly also in the food market. The euro itself, when we introduce it, will contribute very little to the inflation rate", Vujčić pointed out.

The European Central Bank's decision to increase key interest rates entered into force today.

"In Croatia, the largest part of loans are cash loans - almost a million, and they are practically all at a fixed interest rate. Of the housing loans, of which there are a little over 200,000, 15 percent are fixed, and the rest are variable. Those who will feel the increase in interest rates are those whose rates are not fixed, he said and explained: 1 percentage point increase in interest rates on a medium loan, a medium housing loan, increases the monthly repayment installment by approximately 5 percentage points. So, on an average medial loan with an annual repayment of 3,600 euros, we have an increase in repayment by approximately 180 euros per year. This is not something people should worry about", the CNB governor pointed out.

He also said that the recession is not here yet

"We can see a slowdown in economic activity. Our growth forecast for next year is 1 percent, but there are risks. The biggest risk is the question of whether there will be a reduction in energy sources or not. If there is no reduction, then we will get through this winter relatively well, and if there is a need for a reduction, then we have a recession", concluded Vujčić.

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

Thursday, 3 November 2022

Spiritus: Special Croatian App Turns Graveyards into Museums

November the 3rd, 2022 - A very special application (app) by the Croatian startup Spiritus is turning graveyards into virtual museums, telling the stories of those lying at rest there.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Mladen Miletic writes, a team of Croatian tech experts from the Zagreb startup Spiritus has designed an application that turns cemeteries across the Republic of Croatia into virtual museums, and it has already attracted more than three million kuna in investments intended to expand this heartfelt idea to other European markets.

Through the application, the families of the deceased can write stories about their lives, as well as receive photo suggestions or stories about their loved ones that they may not have even known about. The Spiritus application was premiered in Vukovar, and on October the 31st, 2022, it arrived at almost all major cemeteries in the country.

"We've been preparing the project for more than a year now, and we hope that it will be recognised and supported by people. There are so many untold and inspiring life stories that we want to preserve for our descendants," explained Spiritus director Dino Jerkovic.

So far, the application has more than 700,000 memorials spanning more than 50 city cemeteries loaded into it, from Vukovar to Zagreb, Varazdin, Osijek, Karlovac and Split.

"We believe that every person who has ever lived has at least one story worth telling. These are often wonderful and inspiring life stories that will be forgotten over generations. We want to find such stories and enable families to keep hold of them forever," added Dino Jerkovic.

"We'd like to thank our previous partners for recognising the potential of this project and we're looking forward to future collaborations. The goal is that every family in Croatia has the opportunity to preserve the memories of their loved ones through technology. Pictures, stories and biographical information can remain indelible on the Internet, in fact they're eternal. As such, the memories of our grandparents can remain for all generations. Of course, we do check all of the content placed there. It's very important to us that all of the content on Spiritus is dignified and respectful of the deceased," concluded Jerkovic.

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

Thursday, 3 November 2022

Meet Vukovar 365, Full of Life - Valentina Šimak's Holiday Home

November 3, 2022 – November is always a difficult month in Vukovar. The feelings are a mix of pride and gratitude, sadness and hope. All further aggravated by the sudden interest in what goes on. And while the city often only gets one weekend of attention, people here live, work, and thrive every day. Just another example of that is a young lady called Valentina, who not only decided to take the plunge and start a business with her partner but was brave enough to do that in tourism. Yes, in Vukovar. In the beautiful area of Vučedol.

Could you tell us about yourself and your project?

I'm Valentina, I'm 28 years old, and I grew up in Vukovar and lived here all my life. I studied public administration, and I graduated in 2020. I worked various jobs until I found one in the profession; now I work as a school secretary. I often go to holiday homes with my friends to take a break from work and the hustle and bustle of the city or to escape from everyday life. The cottage, located 3 kilometers from the town of Vukovar, in the forest of Vučedol, has become our oasis of peace and a corner where all worries disappear. I thought it would be good for other people who visit our city to have their own oasis of peace, so I decided to open a vacation house called "Vučedolska Golubica" (The Vučedol Dove). Just as the dove symbolises peace, our home also exudes peace due to its location in beautiful nature.

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What inspired you to start something of your own?

Thinking about my hometown, my fellow citizens, visitors, and tourists who come from different parts of the world, I realised that our holiday home is all they need to spend quality time resting and relaxing. From there, they can take a short walk to the Vučedol Culture Museum, the beautiful Danube, and the island that can be seen from the shore, the wonderful wine road. People who enjoy walking and cycling will love the proximity and accessibility of all the sights and amenities.

What were the main challenges of starting such a business?

Every beginning is complex, and so was ours. I was always thinking about how to start a business, how to advertise, how to do marketing, and how to show people all the great things they could experience here... Really, there were a lot of challenges because I didn't know where to start. After we took the first step, though, all my worries disappeared. The visitors who came rated us very well and gave us the strength and motivation to be even better and more persistent in our goal. We strive to be better every day.

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How does your location in the east of Croatia affect the development of your business?

Vukovar is located in the very east of the Republic of Croatia, in our beautiful Slavonia. Our city has a lot of historical stories and events that every individual should learn about to experience Vukovar as we, the people of Vukovar, share it. For us, the city of Vukovar, a hero city, is our strength.

Our location is challenging since we are not at the coast. Visitors do believe that it is much better to go to the sea, but I can convince them with photo evidence that we also have our sea, our beautiful Danube. In summer, free boat transportation to the island (Vukovar's Ada) is organised. And it boasts a diverse world of content for all ages and desires. 

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Are you happy with your progress so far?

I am satisfied with what we have done so far, even though we are at the very beginning. The house has two floors, a kitchen, two bathrooms, and a bedroom with panoramic windows upstairs, while downstairs, there is a large living room and dining room. We are planning to build a children's playground on the property, as well as a swimming pool. We currently have a jacuzzi, an area for barbecuing, and a fire pit for outdoor cooking.

What is the situation with this type of tourism in Vukovar?

Most of our visitors come to Vukovar from Croatia. The reason is that few foreigners know our city's history and what it has to offer. I recommend everyone who hasn't been to visit us and see all the cultural sights of our city and take a break from everyday life in beautiful nature. Indeed,we are surrounded by fantastic nature and have wonderful things to offer.

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Are you connected with other similar businesses in Vukovar?

In the city, there are many renters, but we are unfortunately not connected. I want to connect with others to reach a place where everyone would present their suggestions and criticism so that together we can keep up with the times and take off into new business ventures.

What is it like to live in Vukovar, and what is unique about the area of Vučedol?

I would describe life in Vukovar as a priceless gift. Most of us from Vukovar know what the city experienced in its past and how it rose and became a wonderful, peaceful, small town over time. Next to Vukovar, which exudes uniqueness because of everything it has experienced, you can find Vučedol. This area is a peaceful natural oasis where our holiday home has found its place, adorned with untouched nature and the beautiful wild coast of the Danube, which is incredibly charming for fishermen. Of course, cyclists won't be disappointed either because a cycling route through Vučedol goes all the way to Ilok, following one of the most beautiful cycling routes in Europe.

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Why should people visit your holiday home?

After all, it can be concluded that our vacation home exudes uniqueness and peace, and gives you a touch of home. It's a place where you feel like it's your home. Why? Because it provides peace, security, and a sense of freedom. Visit us, come to us, and see how you can get immense quality, warmth, and acceptance for a small price. We will be at your disposal throughout your stay, ready for any questions and always helpful.

How can they reach you?

Book your stay on Whatsapp or Viber at +385989532320 and follow us on Facebook at Kuća za odmor Vučedolska golubica.

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

Thursday, 3 November 2022

Croatian Dalekovod to Engage in Big Job For Norwegian Client

November the 3rd, 2022 - The Croatian Dalekovod company is set to engage in a new job for a large Norwegian client - Statnett, which chose Dalekovod's offer during a tender as the best.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, the latest job that Dalekovod has got its hands on, with the proviso that the contract will be concluded after the final confirmation, concerns the construction of a new 420 kV transmission line over in Norway, more specifically on the Aurland - Sogndal section, spanning a total length of 41 kilometres.

After an evaluation process in accordance with the tender criteria, the Norwegian client Statnett chose the Croatian Dalekovod company's offer, and the intention to conclude a contract was quickly expressed. At this moment in time, the appeal period is still running, and if there are no surprises or bumps in the road, Dalekovod's Management can peacefully wait for the conclusion of this important contract on the execution of works for this well-known partner.

They are just finishing the construction project of a new 420 kV transmission line between the substations Skillemoen and Skaidi for the aforementioned Norwegian client, which spans a total length of 89 kilometres and is specific given its geographical position in the far north of Norway. Because of that, it was built in arctic weather conditions.

Approximately 70 to 80 percent of the Croatian Dalekovod company's business revenues are generated on foreign markets. About 80% of that is realised in Scandinavia, which means that on an annual level, 50% of Dalekovod's income is generated by jobs carried out over o the Scandinavian market.

Scandinavia is therefore an important stronghold for this Croatian company, and there is still a significant investment cycle on which Dalekovod is building its plans, although apparently at a reduced intensity. The electricity transmission company Statnett is otherwise the Norwegian counterpart of Croatia's very own HEP.

The Croatian Dalekovod company's cooperation with Statnett started way back in 2007 and then continued with a series of projects in which Norway, due to its geographical shape and terrain configuration, has been successfully connecting the north and the south with a new distribution network for the past fifteen years.

As many as 350 Dalekovod employees have worked there on certain projects, sometimes under extremely demanding conditions. Similarly, only in later dynamics, cooperation was achieved on energy projects in nearby Sweden. Dalekovod's latest contracts concern two Swedish investors, Elevio AB, the owner of the distribution network, and Svenska Kraftnät, the national energy company. The management is also still trying to position the company on the demanding German market, and Dalekovod established a branch in Germany again this year. It is estimated that by 2030, the largest investments in energy will take place there.

Business recovery

The recorded 36% drop in the Group's revenues in the first nine months of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021 (when revenues amounted to 705.7 million kuna) was mostly influenced by the stoppage of work on two projects in Ukraine for obvious reasons, and less activity in Scandinavian countries.

Business recovery was noticeable in the third quarter of 2022, in which 264 million kuna of revenue was realised with a net profit of 3.6 million kuna. Dalekovod's management expects these positive trends to continue.

For more, make sure to keep up with our dedicated business section.

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