Wednesday, 22 March 2023

Happy Birthday! Josip Manolic Celebrates 103rd Birthday

March the 22nd, 2023 - Josip Manolic, Croatia's former prime minister and one of this country's most famous pensioners who seems to outlive just about everyone and everything else, is celebrating his 103rd birthday today. Happy birthday, Josip!

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the legendary Josip Manolic, former Croatian Prime Minister and one of the most famous retirees in Croatian history, turned 103 years old today.

Manolic was born in was born on the 22nd of March, 1920, in Kalinovac near Djurdjevac. He began to engage in politics in 1937, and the following year, he became a youth and trade union leader. During the Second World War, he became the organisational secretary of the PK SKOJ for Croatia. In 1944, according to the organisation of the UN, he was sent as the commander-in-chief to the operation to liberate Bjelovar and its surroundings.

In 1946, Josip Manolic lived and worked in Zagreb as the head of the department for the execution of criminal sanctions in the then Secretariat for Internal Affairs. In 1948, he became the head of the Secretariat of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Croatia. In 1960, he graduated from the Faculty of Law in Zagreb, and in that same year he became the head of the SUP (Secretariat of Internal Affairs) of the SFRY.

In 1965, he was elected to the Parliament of the SR of Croatia and held the positions of president of the organisational-political committee, president of the legislative-legal commission, and was also a member of the Constitutional Commission. By the time 1969 rolled around, he had been elected to the Parliament of the SR of Croatia for the second time. After the damous Croatian Spring (Hrvatsko proljece), he became a dissident and became acquainted with Dr. Franjo Tudjman.

He is one of the founders of HDZ, and in 1990, he became the vice-president of the Presidency of the Republic of Croatia. In the early 1990s, he was the second man in the newly created Republic of Croatia, next to Dr. Franjo Tudjman, with whom he had become a very close associate. From August the 24th, 1990 to July the 17th, 1991, he held the office of Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia, succeeding Stipe Mesic in that position, because the latter was elected as the Croatian member of the Presidency of the SFRY.

Since 1991, he had been the head of the Office for the Protection of the Constitutional Order (a body that coordinated all secret services). From 1993 to 1994, he held the position of President of the County House of the Parliament of the Republic of Croatia.

In 1994, Josip Manolic left HDZ due to disagreements about its policy towards neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 1995, he founded his party, the Croatian Independent Democrats (HND), whose president he became the following year.

He is currently enjoying retirement after an extremely full and eventful life.

For more, check out our news section.

Wednesday, 22 March 2023

Three Years On: A Tale of 4 Earthquakes

March 22, 2023 - It is three years since the Zagreb earthquake - some reflections from a longterm resident of Croatia. A tale of 4 earthquakes.

My phone started pinging at 06:25, just a minute after it happened.

But it did not wake me.

For I was already chained to my laptop since 05:00, working in bed in Jelsa on the idyllic island of Hvar, as I was every day in those early days of the pandemic, trying to keep my business alive as all clients cancelled around me. March 2020 was already the scariest month of my time in Croatia. And it was about to get worse.

Earthquake in Zagreb!

The earthquake struck at 06:24, and my article was indexed by Google News at 06:39, the first news in English on the web, and the first of many articles we would write that day and in the coming weeks.  


(Photo credit -

And then the horrible sight from the maternity ward car park in Zagreb, of evacuated mothers and their newborns huddling in the cold - threatened by both corona and aftershocks. There was not much I could do from my Jelsa bed, apart from write, write, write, as well as check on the Zagreb team. Lauren, my editor, was safe if a little traumatised. She wrote a brilliant piece on the first anniversary - Zagreb Earthquake Memories - Deafening Sounds and Cracking Walls.


(Photo credit - Forrest J. Stilin)

Our other writer at the time had a much more dramatic wakeup call, with a chandelier landing on his bed and narrowly missing him. 

One child died. The government made all the usual promises, and the emergency was acute. And while the main focus was on the city itself, little attention was paid to the village just outside Zagreb, where Karla Lemaic (who quite coincidentally happens to be the producer of my talkshow on 24Sata 3 years later), sent us this video report from the epicentre.

Months passed, with little sign of anything happening regarding the renovation. EU funds were made available, and then - on December 28, 2020 - disaster struck again about 50km from Zagreb in the Petrinja and Sisak area, with another powerful earthquake, whose epicentre was the village of Majske Poljane. I visited the next day to document the story, which you can read in Majske Poljane, Glina, Petrinja: A Foreigner View of Croatia's Emergency Response.


I returned to Majske Poljane one year later, coinciding with a trip there by Croatian President Zoran Milanovic, and saw little change - read more in Petrinja Earthquake 1 Year On: Politics, Pain, Problems, But Progress?

And, as TCN reported on the second anniversary in December 2022, Banovina Earthquake Reconstruction Recap 2 Years Later - Houses Built: 6

And there are plenty of stories in the Croatian media on the third anniversary to show how little progress has been made in the Croatian capital.


Especially when you compare it to past earthquake responses, earthquakes which wrought much more destruction, death and homelessness. 

Back in Januay 15, 2022, I posted a new status on Facebook:

This is how good we are.

In 1962, the Makarska earthquake destroyed or badly damaged 12,000 homes. Within 17 months, everything had been rebuilt.

In 1963, the Skopje earthquake killed over 1,000, left 150,000+ homeless, and destroyed or badly damaged 75% of the city. Within 17 months, the city had been redesigned and 14,000 apartments had been built. (link in second comment)

In 2020, the Zagreb and then Petrinja earthquakes badly damaged both cities. 17 months later, little to nothing has been done, and now EU funds earmarked for the earthquake will have to be returned, as the deadline for spending them is looming.

There ain't no political leadership like Croatian political leadership. Happy Anniversary, Croatia, on the 30th anniversary of International Day of Recognition of Croatia. A golden age when the population was 4.78 million, compared to 3.88 million today.

You can read more in Makarska Earthquake 1962 Full Reconstruction after 17 Months: And Zagreb, Petrinja 2020?

(And for more of an account of the 1962 earthquake and aftermath through the eyes of a child, read An 8-Year-Old's Memory of the Dalmatian Earthquake of 1962.)

I contacted Karla Lemaic to see how things were going in the epicentre village three years later:

"After 3 years in Markuševec, the epicenter of the earthquake, the most of all people have changed. Many received help and support from the City of Zagreb. Some took advantage of it, and for some it brought even bigger problems. For example, the deadline for submitting invoices in order to justify the use of money from the City for the purpose of renovation is only one year. In one year, you cannot find a construction company that would completely renovate larger projects and issue an invoice. Also, sometimes the renewal of requests and other repairs opens up 'old holes', so this donation from the City is not even enough. Be that as it may, most of them solved the aesthetic repairs, so Markuševec looks nicer, but with every new news about the earthquake somewhere in the world, old wounds appear."

1962, with much worse infrastructure and no EU funds - 12,000 destroyed homes rebuilt in 17 months.

And in Zagreb and Petrinja 2023, more than two years on?

The Croatian people deserve a lot better. 



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

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Wednesday, 22 March 2023

Croatian Returnee Reflections: Dejan Cuk, from Salt Lake City to Split

March 22, 2023 - 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 Dejan Cuk, who moved from Salt Lake City to Split. 

I was born in Gospic, Croatia, in 1991. A great time to be born in ex-Yugoslavia (sarcasm). It was around the heat of the war, and at that time, my family, like many people during that time, were either living with family or moving from place to place in order to survive. At one point, my family also immigrated to Serbia to live with family from my father’s side.

In 1998, my parents decided to move my older brother and me to the states for a chance at a better life. A decision that, when I look back at times, is one that really helped save all of us, as it allowed my brother and me a chance for a better life than the one we would have had we stayed; we lost everything.

I’m a graduate of the University of Utah with two bachelors (Sociology & Business Administration), and I’ve been working in Digital Marketing for 10+ years. 


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?

Flying from Salt Lake City, Utah, to Croatia was expensive for my family, especially during the peak summer months, when we would typically go, so we went every 5-6 years. In 2014, my brother and I went just by ourselves, and that was when we decided we wanted to be back in Croatia for good. One thing is having an idea; it’s a whole different thing planning it.

I was still in college at that time, so my plan was finish that first. Then I told myself I needed a remote friendly job and before coronavirus there were really like 2 choices at the time; digital marketing or to be a programmer, I went with the former because it was more aligned with my studies. Being the planner that I am, that wasn’t enough. I also had to save up some money for those “what if scenarios” so I did that as well. Once I ticked off the boxes, one by one then I made the decision in 2019 to move back for good.

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

My parents knew about this, and supported the idea. Truth be told, growing up they would keep me and my brother tied to the culture as best they could and that honestly helped me realized how much I did want to go back.

As far as my friends, some were surprised and some were I’m sure envious/happy because there is a large part of our community regardless of where they are from the Balkans, that want to go back but again back to that question and answer from earlier, don’t know how to make it happen.

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

I kept in touch with some family members in Croatia. Also, my parents were like the anchor and co-anchor for me and my brother, giving us news on what happened that day in Croatia. I found it silly and useless when I was younger but as I grew older I realized how important it was and how it helped me stay informed, even when I wasn’t living there.


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

I think I was a bit shy speaking the language around locals because of my “American” accent, but also because I wasn’t sure how some would react given that my vocabulary was a mix of ex-Yugoslavian i.e., not Croatian specific words.

I quickly got over that because my personality is more “who cares” than anything else but it was in the back of my mind.

My other fear I guess would be the administrative stuff, yes, I know the language but I don’t know the law and how things “worked-worked” if that makes sense. One thing is to live here and be on vacation when all you need to do is order drink and food, but it’s a whole other thing figuring out how to get your health insurance. In the end, I can say it all came out good, because I made an effort to understand it and ask questions. I wasn’t shy to ask questions about whatever I needed to get done.

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

Being born in Croatia, and parents born there as well, I never had that culture shock that perhaps others might get. I knew what to expect, for the most part. Sure, there were small things like “Oh I have to put my own groceries in the bags” but I realized that as cashier kept ringing items up and they weren’t being put into a bag. #spoiled   


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.

I like the slower pace of life in Split, the 2-3 hours of drinking coffee and just chilling and talking about what’s new in one’s life is so refreshing because in the states you don’t have that. If you do go out, its with friends on a Friday/Saturday to get drinks and repeat again, where as in Croatia you can see people throughout the week and I really like that.

While on the topic of friends, I value that people here REALLY do become friends and its not just surface deep as it is in the states. People actually help each other through the darkest times and remain friends for 10+ years, which again is a rarity in the states. I changed so many friends from high school to college, and from college to the work force. It must be nice knowing that you are friends with someone that saw so many phases of you and you of them.

The nature is second to none, and find it breathtaking throughout the country, not just in one region but throughout the country. One thing is pics you find on Google but it’s a whole different thing when your eyes sparkle and you just forget to blink.

I don’t like how some people treat the nature as their trash can, when I see people throw cigarette butts randomly on the beach or on the street, my blood starts boiling. When I first came back to Croatia, I would just be quiet but now I say something. I guess my inner-Balkan is waking up.

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

I think like any place, you have to feel home and if you are of Croatian descent that is perhaps an easier path than those that have no connection to the country, but again its not impossible.

For the diaspora, I say this. Do you think you would be happier in Croatia, if so then make it happen. It doesn’t have to be one of those spurs of the moments that you go online to buy your tickets right now, rather think about. How will you pay for bills, how will you get income, will it be enough, etc. Sure, you don’t need to know the answers to everything but plan it out and if its looking good then you can decide to come here.

I say this because, moving from one country to another isn’t the easiest and its always much easier if you can immerse yourself in the country, without having to worry about financials.


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

I think the youth is the future, but we can’t lose our youth to other countries because they don’t see hope in their own country. This doesn’t just apply to the diaspora but also to the ones currently in this country right now. Mate Rimac is an example of someone from Croatia creating a world-class level company, and without having to leave Croatia. Obviously not everyone will have this happen but imagine if the Mate’s of Croatia take their brains to Germany or Austria or anywhere else, because they don’t see potential in their own homeland. 

Nepotism must be wiped out. Doors must be open to those with ambition and not closed because they aren’t with XYZ political party or because they don’t have any friends/relatives in XYZ company.

Where can people reach you?

On LinkedIn

On Facebook

And on Instagram


Thanks, Dejan!

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'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.


Wednesday, 22 March 2023

Picture of Croatian Unemployment Records Staggered as Seasonal Job Hunt Begins

March the 22nd, 2023 - As is the norm in the spring because of the hunt for seasonal workers, the picture offered on a county by county basis by Croatian unemployment records is staggered, with some counties experiencing large declines and others stagnancy and increases.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Jadranka Dozan writes, quite traditionally at this time of the year, the domestic labour market is usually under the influence of increased seasonal employment, meaning that the number of unemployed individuals registered in the records of the Croatian Employment Service (CES) has decreased by about 3,500 over the last 20 days of March, down to the current 14,400.

Over more recent days, the aforementioned institute published a detailed picture of developments from within the Croatian unemployment records over the first two months of 2023. About 188,000 registered unemployed people at the end of February compared to the previous month means a drop of almost 4,400, and on the annual level, the number of unemployed individuals stood at about 12,500.

Although the number of unemployed women remains higher than the number of unemployed men, in year-on-year comparisons, a stronger decline has been recorded among women (11.7 vs. 6.8%). Percentage-wise, in that year unemployment decreased the most, by about 15 percent, among the older age groups (from 50 to 54 and from 55 to 59 years old), while for example, the rate of reduction among people between the ages of 25 and 29 years stood at 6.4%.

If employment trends are observed by level of education, in annual comparisons held in Croatian unemployment records, there are more unemployed people, and that's only slightly, only among those without school diplomas and among those who didn't complete elementary school, and the largest decrease has been recorded among those with a university education (more precisely a decrease of 12.6%) .

Likewise, out of a total of 21 counties, only three of them (Varazdin County, Medjimurje County and Virovitica-Podravina County) had more people registered as unemployed back at the end of last month than they did one year before, and the institute recorded the biggest relative decline in Vukovar-Srijem (by almost 20%) and in Lika-Senj County (-17%).

Back during February, 11,000 people registered with the CES unemployment register, or ten percent less than in the same month last year, and at the same time, 21% more, or about 15,400 people, left it. The majority of them left that status due to gaining employment. In that group, the largest number of people were employed in public administration, trade, processing industry and the tourism, hospitality and catering sector.

Based on other business activities, more than 460 people left the records of the enemployed last month. In the case of more than half of them, the reason was starting their own business by registering a trade or freelance profession, a fifth of them founded a company, and a quarter of them had their status terminated because they earn monthly income from another independent activity that exceeded the amounts of monetary benefits they're entitled to from the state for the year 2022. In the case of the other slightly more than 4,000 persons, deletions from the unemployment register are the result of retirement, non-compliance with legal provisions, self-deregistration from the register, and so on.

For more, check our our news section.

Wednesday, 22 March 2023

Schengen Accession Provides Opportunities for Croatian Cycling Tourism

March the 22nd, 2023 - Accession to the borderless, passport-less Schengen zone has been excellent for Croatia and will be for its strongest economic branch - tourism. One type of tourism, however, Croatian cycling tourism, is set to benefit the most.

As Marija Crnjak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, entry into Schengen is an enormous opportunity for Croatian cycling tourism, given that borders no longer exist even administratively, we can begin to see the whole of Europe as a single, large market that needs to be discovered, its needs and wishes understood, and the huge cycling tourism potential of this country fully valorised.

''That said, we'll hardly hardly be able to use this huge potential without making some significant investments in infrastructure, catering and hospitality services and stronger support from local and national tourist agencies,'' warned Karlo Kucan, an organiser of the three-day Days of Cycle Tourism conference, which will be held from May the 10th to the 12th in Sinj.

It's the first and so far the only Croatian specialised professional conference intended for this segment of the tourism offer, and it brings together various representatives of Croatian cycling tourism stakeholders, from ministries, the Croatian Tourist Board, agencies, local self-government representatives to clubs and equipment manufacturers.

The conference is held in a different place every year, and the Adriatic and continental destinations alternate. The fifth edition of the Day of Cycle Tourism is going to be held in Sinj, given that the gorgeous Dalmatian hinterland has numerous excellent predispositions for the development of this type of tourism.

"In addition, the proximity of the largest coastal tourist centres, good traffic connections, well-preserved nature, a dynamic and diverse landscape and a wealth of heritage attractions, as well as food and wine offers, make this region valuable in terms of resources. We chose the theme ''No borders, no limits'', because after several challenging years, in which special forms of tourism, especially Croatian cycling tourism, have shown remarkable resilience, it's now time to fully develop its potential by using the incredible opportunities provided by Schengen's freedom without borders.

Suffice it to say that the cycling tourism market in Europe is worth a massive 44 billion euros, which is more than the entire cruising industry, which receives significantly more attention in Croatia. In addition, the global coronavirus pandemic has done a lot for the promotion of Croatian cycling tourism, because people have turned much more towards outdoor activities, to destinations that aren't overcrowded,'' Kucan explained.

"Croatia declares itself declaratively a country that wants to invest in cycling tourism, but the Slovenians have invested more in the Drava cycle route alone than we have in the infrastructure of the entire country. When building new roads, we're oriented towards motor vehicle traffic and the plans don't include paths that would be not only for tourists but also for local residents on two wheels. There are a lot of ungraded roads that could get such infrastructure if it were thought about at the local level. Another important factor is the offer. Cycling tourists come outside the summer season, and in many destinations in Croatia, they have nowhere to sleep, hotels, restaurants, and shops are no longer open. It's a question of the cooperation of all of those involved at the level of local government units, and not merely a question of one single ministry,'' Kucan added.

In addition, agencies specialising in Croatian cycling tourism can still be counted on one hand, so it happens that partners from abroad cannot find a local agency that will help them organise a trip.

For more, check out our news and travel sections.

Wednesday, 22 March 2023

The Croatian EU Blue Card Scheme - How Do I Get One?

March the 22nd, 2023 - The EU Blue Card scheme is a special sort of status given to third country nationals (non-EEA/EU citizens) and British nationals who are not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement who are highly qualified. It allows them to live in an EU member state for the purpose of taking up gainful employment there. How does one go about getting a Croatian EU Blue Card?

Is there a difference between the Croatian EU Blue Card (plava karta) and a normal residence/stay and work permit?

Although they both allow the holder the ability to work and take up lawful residence, there are differences between the two.

If you're a highly qualified third country national and you fit the bill, you can apply for the Croatian EU Blue Card. You'll need to fill in form 4A (downloadable) either at the administrative police station responsible for their planned place of residence here in Croatia, or at a Croatian diplomatic mission abroad. There is, as touched on above, a difference between the Croatian EU Blue Card and a normal residence or stay and work permit, and that difference lies in some of the criteria a prospective blue card holder needs to meet. 

What does one need in order to apply for a Croatian EU Blue Card?

Unlike for the issuance of a residence permit (which is all an EEA citizen needs as they're free to work) or a stay and work permit for non-EEA citizens, the issuance of a Croatian EU Blue Card has some differences. Would-be Croatian EU Blue Card holders still need to meet the general requirements asked of other individuals applying for residence in Croatia, and they're all outlined in Article 59 of the Law on Foreigners (Zakon o strancima), but you'll also need to provide the following:

Proof that you meet all of the conditions the legislation of the Republic of Croatia asks of them in order to properly engage in a legally regulated profession. The details of that profession must be fully and clearly stipulated in your employment contract, and it all must correspond with the Croatian legislation on professional qualifications.

As made obvious above, you'll need to show proof of your employment contract for said highly qualified work position. The employment contract cannot be for a period shorter than twelve calender months (one year), and the issuer of the employment contract must have their company registered in Croatia.

You'll also need to prove your level of education (higher) from your home country or the country in which you gained said education. This can be done with your degree(s) diploma(s), certificate(s) and so on.

What are the costs?

There are admin fees implied with all processes undertaken at MUP (the Interior Ministry), and they vary. In the case of the application for and the issuance of a Croatian EU Blue Card, you will need to pay just under 75 euros for the issuance of the status/permit, and then just under 32 euros on top of that, for the issuance of the actual physical card (which comes in the form of a biometric residence permit/ID card). 

Please note that the aforementioned sum of just under 32 euros is for the issuance of the biometric card in what's called a ''regular procedure'' (that just means that it will take the usual amount of time to be made). You can pay more, more precisely just under 60 euros for the card to be issued to you in an ''accelerated procedure'', and you'll get it more quickly.

On top of that, you'll need to pay just under 10 euros to the state budget.

Payment details are specified here.

Can Croatian EU Blue Cards be renewed?

Yes. As long as you as the holder start the process at the same administrative police station which issued you the blue card no later than 30 days before it is due to expire. You're free to remain in Croatia until a decision on renewing the card is made and becomes legally enforceable. 

Can my family members join me, even if they aren't blue card holders or even applicants?

Yes! Your family members are free to join you using something called family reunification. Your family member simply needs to meet the requirements laid out in Article 64 of the Law on Foreigners in order to be granted temporary residence on the basis of family reunification with a Croatian EU Blue Card holder. They'll still need to provide some things to MUP, so here's a list:

They'll need to fill in form 1A.

They'll then need to provide: a photo of themselves, a copy of their valid passport, a residence permit to prove that they resided in the territory of another EEA member state as family members or life partners, a visa (if applicable at all), proof of them holding health insurance, proof of sufficient funds in order to not become a burden on the welfare system, proof that they haven't been convicted of any criminal offences in the country they resided in for more than 12 months immediately prior to arriving in Croatia.

There are other things to note and items to provide the Croatian authorities with based on who you are to each other in the sense of being family. This varies if the relationship is a parent/child relationship, if your husband or wife is in question, if you're not married but are in a commonlaw partnership, an informal life partnership, and so on.

Those more specific details can be found here.


As a Croatian EU Blue Card holder, you may only work for the company (registered in Croatia) for which the blue card has been issued for, and for the length of time it has been issued for. In other words, you're only permitted to work for the employer that you have entered into employment with and been granted a blue card for.

Your family members will be granted temporary residence on the basis of family reunification only for the amount of time your blue card has been issued for. The same is true for the renewal process.


For more on moving to and living in Croatia, spanning everything from rental car and ferry tips to getting health insurance and buying property, make sure to keep up with our lifestyle section. An article on living in, moving to or handling administrative tasks in Croatia is published every Wednesday.

Tuesday, 21 March 2023

Croatian Mensa IQ Testing in Zagreb, Doing Exceptionally Well Globally

March 21, 2023 - Croatian Mensa is conducting this year's first IQ testing on Saturday, March 25 in Zagreb. The testing will be carried out by an authorized Mensa psychologist, and the test result will be sent to the e-mail address of each applicant within a few weeks. Everyone who achieves a result better than 98 percent of the population will be able to join Mensa, which gathers more than 140 thousand members worldwide.

As Poslovni writes, intelligence testing on March 25 at the Faculty of Philosophy is the first test of the year, with which Croatian Mensa will join the celebration of the national Gifted Awareness Week.

Registration for testing is possible through the Hrvatska Mensa webshop, where you can find more information about testing. The primary goal of the testing is not to become a member of Croatian Mensa, but to test intelligence, which is emphasized in every test.

"Last year, 2022, was exceptional for Croatian Mensa, when, among other things, it marked the 25th anniversary of its existence. The anniversary year ended with the largest number of members (1,322) in one year since its establishment, with as many as 300 more members than in 2005, when the largest number of members was reached. As for testing, in 2022 the largest number of candidates was tested in one year since the foundation of the Association, with a final number of 1,212 people. As part of last year's International Intelligence Day, a total of 367 applicants were tested in all 5 of the largest Croatian cities, which represents the largest number of people who took part in the test in one day," said Krešimir Kružić from the Public Relations Department of the Croatian Mensa.

The minimum age limit for joining the test is 14 years, and those under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The intelligence tests that are used are gender and age neutral, they are based exclusively on pictures, and a successful result on the test does not require previous knowledge, knowledge of mathematics, any level of education, or knowledge of languages.

"In October of last year, an international gathering of mensas was held in Budva, where Croatian Mensa learned that it had the best result in the last 12 years at Mensa International, moving it from 13th place a year earlier to 7th place in terms of the relative number of members per million residents, on a total of 40 national Mensa, which for the first time brought Croatian Mensa 2 votes in all voting procedures. Also, for the first time since its foundation, Croatian Mensa has more than 200 members per million inhabitants," Kružić pointed out.

In order for potential applicants to be somewhat closer to the test tasks, see examples of tasks:

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

4 Months a YouTuber: Comparing Paul Bradbury Stats with the Kingdom

March 21, 2023 - Four months a YouTuber, time to reflect on my journey into an unknown world while keeping an eye on the promotion over at the Kingdom of Accidental Tourism.

Full disclaimer: when someone sues you for no reason - twice - and plays with you for 2.5 years, before dropping two cases they knew they had no chance (and I suspect, interest) of winning, it changes one's perspective.  

Long before I was sued by the Kingdom of Accidental Tourism, aka the Croatian National Tourist Board, I had questioned the point of their existence. I genuinely think if we abolished the Kingdom, the Ministry of Tourism, and whatever that tourism thing is in the Croatian Chamber of Economy, and replaced them all with Nikola Tesla at the head of Croatian tourism, we would have the same number of tourists. And probably even more tourism ideas, even though he has been dead for 80 years. He wouldn't take a salary, and at least he is a brand. 

Does anyone disagree?

Over the years, I have listened to many self-congratulatory claims by the Kingdom's senior ambassadors, but one in particular stayed with me. It was back in October 2021 at the annual Days of Croatian Self-Congrratulation, aka Days of Croatian Tourism, the annual gathering of the official tourism industry to pat themselves on the back at great expense for a job well done. You can read more about it in my article of the time - Ever Been to a Party Where the Host is Suing You?


I will forever be grateful to Minister of Tourism and Sports, Nikolina Brnjac, for coming over to say hello in what was a fairly hostile atmosphere. Thank you, once again.

Director of the Croatian National Tourist Board, Kristjan Stanicic, gave a typically self-congratulatory speech about his accomplishments over the year, including the great success of the digital nomad campaign, Croatia, Your New Office, which 'achieved over 8 million impressions' during the month-long campaign. 

It was all I could do to not laugh out loud at the time. The main sources of interest in digital nomads coming to Croatia were Jan de Jong, Saltwater Nomads, and TCN. While Jan became the face of Croatia's remote work welcome and Tanja Polegubic from Saltwater Nomads was delivering award-winning conferences and programmes, the Kingdom was doing nothing. But if the Director announced his campaign was a success, then it must be so, right?


(Source Press Release)

And suddenly, a campaign which influenced nobody I spoke to (and I spoke to a LOT of nomads) was a great success. With over 8 million 'impressions.'

What is an 'impression'? Compared to a click when the person reads the article or watches the video? It simply means it appears in your social media feed and you see it. Often (as in this case) it is sponsored, and you see it and ignore it. The Kingdom spent 250,000 kuna sponsoring ads to get to that 'successful' campaign of 8 million impressions. 

Despite spending over THIRTY THOUSAND EURO on the campaign, they only got - by their own admission - 60,300 clicks to the site, not all of which necessarily came from the campaign (see email exchange with the Kingdom and I below). In other words, ONE EURO FOR TWO CLICKS.

A successful campaign, claimed Director Stanicic. 


(Source - email exchange with the Croatian National Tourist Board)

I couldn't help thinking that 250,000 kuna was an incredible amount of money to throw away on social media boosting. Why not invest that money in someone who could generate those clicks organically, genuinely, by producing great content and driving engagement?

Of course, it is all very well to talk about these things, but how realistic was it to be able to do that?

Four months ago, I started a journey, completely unrelated to this question, and I got my answer. 

When I decided to start the YouTube channel, Paul Bradbury Croatia Expert, I had limited expectations. Although I knew my content was good, and I was ready to engage and build a community, the reality is that I have a face for radio, no budget, and limited access to quality video materials of destinations. 

But that number of the 'successful' 8 million impressions would not leave me. I didn't have 30,000+ euro to buy those impressions, I would have to do it all organically. Budget zero, apart from my time and the time of my video partner, Igor Vuk.

Four months later, I have some answers. 

Passing the 8 million impressions of a 'successful' project took us 34 videos, zero euro, and an investment of our time. By far away the biggest time investment on my side was engagement and building community. Here are my (100% organic and unboosted) statistics after 4 months of a journey into a media I knew nothing about - video.

Paul Bradbury Croatia Expert, the first 4 months in numbers - November 14 - March 14

34 videos

928,399 - total views (compared to 60,300 clicks at a cost of 250,000 kuna)

27,300 average organic views per video

8.4 million impressions

3.02 minutes average watch time

9,302 subscribers, all organic, compared to the Kingdom's 21,000 - over 12 years. A national institution with a budget v a small vlogger.

98.7% - positive likes

300 - 10,000 - YouTube likes per vid

30-1200 - YouTube comments - per vid

80% of traffic from within YouTube


Most successful article - 1.6 million organic views

783k - Facebook

250k - YouTube

567k - Tiktok

Cost (apart from time) - ZERO

I present the statistics not to boast but to show the Emperor's clothes and the reality of what is happening. Of how tourism promotion money, when not being used to harass bloggers in court, is used so inefficiently that it is beyond sad. Getting organic views, building engagement and community takes a lot of work, of course it does, but with some 70-80 well-paid full-time employees, shouldn't that be someone's job description?

Some simple screenshots will explain things a little better. Here is the screenshot of the latest videos on the official YouTube channel of the Croatian National Tourist Board:


Of the last 8 videos, with all the promo and power available to the Kingdom and its 21,000 subscribers, only one has more than 1,000 views. And that one has an incredible 1.6 MILLION views. Let's take a closer look...


Some 1.6 million views, but only ELEVEN likes. What kind of video or viewer must it be that only 11 people out of 1.6 million like the video? Perhaps it was the Norwegian train which featured in this promotion of Croatian Tourism Month that kept the likes so low. 

And comments turned off, so that nobody can engage. Why? Too much work? Easier to throw hard-earned taxpayers' money at the problem, rather than do some work?

And one wonders at the cost of producing videos which get 157 views on the national tourist board flagship YouTube channel. 


It is not much better on the official Kingdom Facebook page, despite having 1.7 million followers - thankfully, Croatia has a great football team to boost traffic. 

Of course, it is always easy to criticise. Show how you can do better.



Not even 250,000 views compared to 1.6 million, but 10,000 likes compared to just 11. Over 1,200 comments v comments switched off. There are more likes on some of the comments than views on the Kingdom's videos.

And that is why I vote for the abolishment of the Croatian National Tourist Board, part 17.

And my vote goes to Nikola Tesla to run Croatian tourism.

Meanwhile, I am off to join the TikTok revolution - you can be at the start of the journey as we launch the Paul Bradbury Croatia TikTok channel this week.

And if you are interested in the culture of SLAPP lawsuits in Croatia, you can read about my experience in 10 Things I Learned from my SLAPP Lawsuits in Croatia.


You can subscribe to the Paul Bradbury Croatia Expert YouTube channel 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 is now available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.




Tuesday, 21 March 2023

Croatia Looking for Bidders for State Business Spaces in 5 Cities

March 21, 2023 - The Republic of Croatia is looking for bidders for ten-year leases of 25 state business spaces, located in five cities. The deadline for applications is April 5, the state company Državne Nekretnine, which is conducting the tender, reported on Monday.

As 24Sata writes, the cities where the advertised business premises are located include Zagreb, Bjelovar, Pula, Rijeka, and Split. All the premises are leased as seen for ten years with an exemption from paying rent for the first month after the solemnization of the contract.

The majority of commercial spaces for lease are located in Zagreb, 18 of them, among which are two street and two basement spaces in the city center at the locations of Prolaz Sestara Baković 1, Teslina 13 and Tomićeva 3.

Regarding rents, they say that, for example, the initial rent for the space in Prolaz Sestara Baković near Cvjetni trg, which connects Masarykova and Varšavska, is 176.42 euros per month, and this is the smallest space offered with an area of only 12 square meters (m2).

At 13 Nikola Tesla Street in Zagreb, the starting price for renting a street space of about 20 m2 is 14.39 euros per m2, while the starting rent for a basement space of about 38 m2 is half the price.

For two office spaces in Bjelovar, at the address Ivan Gundulića 10, adjacent spaces of 50 and 70 square meters are leased, with an initial rent of 7.20 euros/m2.

Three office spaces in Rijeka, at the locations of Ivan Čikovića Belog 8B, Školjić 7D, and Tizianova 36A, are repeated from the previous lease tender because the offers received for them were invalid. Državne Nekretnine is reminding interested bidders that the extract from the corresponding register is an integral part of the offer and that the offer should be bound and numbered.

Before applying for the tender, all interested parties can view the premises between March 27 and 31, 2023, and legal and natural persons and associations can apply.

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

Tuesday, 21 March 2023

See Where Croatia Ranked on the 2023 World Happiness Report

March 21, 2023 - Croatia, the land of sunshine, sea, and wine. The land of pristine nature, and good food, always an inspiration for a good mood. The perfect mix of absurd and extraordinary. A laidback lifestyle for all. But how did it rank on the 2023 World Happiness Report?

Finland has been declared the country with the happiest population for the sixth year in a row, according to the World Happiness Report that was published yesterday, as reported by Index.

The report, which also considered the effects of the crisis caused by the coronavirus on people's well-being, is compiled every year by scientists in the USA based on surveys by the Gallup Institute. 

According to the report, the happy Finns are followed by the residents of Denmark, Iceland, Israel, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and New Zealand.

Croatia in 48th place

Croatia is in 48th place, behind Japan and ahead of Brazil. Among Croatia's neighbouring countries, Slovenia ranks the happiest in 22nd place, Italy in 33rd place, Serbia comes in 45th, while Hungary is 51st. Montenegro is in 67th place on the World Happiness Report, Bosnia and Herzegovina is in 71stst place, while Kosovo is 34th on the list.

Saudi Arabia is in 30th place, Kazakhstan is in 44th place, and Argentina is in 52nd place. Greece is slightly lower on the report, in 58th place, following South Korea. Russia is one spot above BiH; it is in 70th place.

Albania is in 83rd place, above Indonesia and South Africa.

At the bottom of the ranking are predominantly African countries, and war-torn Afghanistan and Lebanon are the two unhappiest countries in the world, concluded a survey that included a total of 137 countries.

Scientists claim that people's happiness assessment remained "remarkably resilient" despite the Covid-19 pandemic, with global averages from 2020 to 2022 as high as those in the pre-pandemic years of 2017 to 2019.

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

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