Sunday, 7 May 2023

Suncani Hvar Sustainable Tourism Efforts Recognised in Bol

May 7, 2023 - Suncani Hvar Hotels' sustainable tourism efforts recognised in Bol. 

There is nothing like a short break on the adopted island where you lived for 13 years to fall in love with it again. 

Easter on Hvar was delightful, and I have taken a renewed interest in the island, as I learned that there are some rather interesting things happening. Among them seems to be a new push to better promote the culture, traditions and gastronomy on the island, of which they have an embarrassment of riches. Indeed, this month, in addition to the important Feast of St Propsper, Hvar Town's patron saint, the town will be celebrating 155 years of the oldest organised tourism in Europe, the 50th anniversary of Hvar Theatre Days in the oldest public theatre in Europe, and Mediterranean Diet Days, celebrating the 10th anniversary of Hvar's Mediterranean DIet being inscribed as intangible UNESCO heritage. You can learn all about what it is in store here

The island is also establishing its sustainability credentials, most notably the island's leading hotel group, Suncani Hvar Hotels, which we recently reported had become the leading producer of solar energy in Dalmatia. I guess living on the sunniest island in Croatia can't do any harm... 

The hotel group's efforts were recognised in Bol last month at the #BOL100 conference, which celebrated 100 years of organised tourism to the popular Brac destination, as well as aiming to build a recognisable island brand, focused on smart and sustainable hotels, green and digital transitions, coastal planning, and European funds. 

Suncani Hvar received an award in recognition of the most successful island sustainable projects for its solar panels, one of several winners. Suncani's leadership position in the application of energy efficiency and green transition programs was highlighted, setting new standards both in the hotel industry and in the economy in general.


Sunday, 7 May 2023

Amazing Hvar in May: Culture, Tradition and Special Anniversaries

May 7, 2023 - An historic month in Hvar Town, as Croatia's premier island prepares to showcase some important anniversaries - a divine time to visit.

In many ways, I think that Hvar Town is the complete destination in Croatian tourism, and I am not just saying that because that magical island was my home for 13 years. 

It literally has EVERYTHING. From the most UNESCO island heritage of any island in the world, and the oldest public theatre in Europe, to the most sun in Croatia and the birthplace of organised tourism in Europe. Oh, and THOSE Pakleni Islands. Whether you are looking for culture or wine (this, the island with the most indigenous grape varieties of any Croatian island), vibrant nightlife or lavender festivals, this is the place to come. 


But, as much as Hvar Town enjoys an embarrassment of tourism riches catering to all kinds of tourists, from family to party, it is also a very versatile destination throughout the year. July and August are obviously the busiest, where the beaches, bars and restaurants are packed, and the town is buzzing. But shoulder season Hvar is a much different proposition, and one where the slower pace of life and smaller crowds allow you to explore the rich heritage and culture of this incredible island. 

And there is no better time to visit than May if you want to explore the finest that Hvar has to offer. Especially May, 2023, a month of culture, tradition and gastronomy, while celebrating some rather important anniversaries. 

When I first started writing about the island on my Total Hvar blog back in 2011, May 10 was known as the unofficial start of the tourism season in Hvar Town. for this was the feast day of the patron saint of the town, St Prosper, a day of festivities, including Mass and a religious parade through the centre, a fair showcasing domestic products, and a competitive gastro show, where local restaurants come together to prepare dishes in friendly competition for tourists to enjoy. 

Times change, and the Hvar season is already in full swing, and the St Prosper celebrations this year have been extended to incorporate two significant anniversaries for the town. 


Some 155 years ago, on May 15, 1868, the Hvar Health Society was founded, with the first hotel on the site where today's luxury 5-star Palace Elisabeth hvar heritage hotel stands. It was the birthplace of organised tourism in Europe, just across the square from the Arsenal building, whose top floor houses the oldest public theatre in Europe, dating back to 1612.

Did I mention that this is a destination that has it all?

A destination which has it all must be known for its gastronomy, and Hvar certainly is. Indeed, this year, the island will be celebrating 10 years of inclusion - along with Brac and 7 other destination around the region - of its Mediterranean Diet listed as intangible UNESCO heritage. Along with the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Stari Grad Plain, intangible heritages of the Za Krizen procession, Benedictine lace, art of dry stone walling, and the klapa of southern Dalmatian, Hvar's six UNESCO heritages are the most of any island in the world. 

All these anniversaries and events have combined to bring a spectacular cultural start to the season for this outstanding destination, with a celebration of the Mediterranean diet, theatre and 155 years of organised tourism. And the festivities have already begun. Here are the key things that should be getting you onto a catamaran to Hvar Town this month:


Celebrations of St Prosper have now become and 8-day affair, starting with the salting of the sardines last Friday. You can see the programme above, with the main day being the 10th as usual, including a kids dance in front of the loggia. 

The Mediterranean Diet's 10th anniversary will be celebrated as part of the St Prosper festivities, with a special two-day programme celebrating the island's food and wine. You can see the full programme here

There will also be another anniversary, as the historic Hvar theatre will be hosting the 50th edition of Hvar Theatre Days from May 16-19, a unique chance for you to enjoy live performances inside the oldest theatre in Europe. You can see the programme here.

And, on the anniversary of 155 years of organised tourism, the opening of a rather excellent initiative, which will run until July 20 - the Made in Croatia exhibition inside the Arsenal and below the theatre.


One of the things I have noticed about Croatian tourism over the years is the tendency to just promote the immediate area, and so I am delighted to see that this multi-media exhibition covers the whole country, inviting visitors to get to know the greatest Croatian minds, exploring their inventions and achievements of civilisation, and to see the impact that they have had on the world. A superb addition of quality content for the town for over two months of the season. Among the Croatian minds represented will be the inventor of the pen, the parachute, and the godfather of dactyloscopy, Hvar-born Ivan Vucetic. As well as a certain Nikola Tesla... More on this here

From culture to sport, and Hvar is known as an activity island. It was here, for example, that Bahrain Merida chose for its cycling winter training. But the sporting focus on May 20 and 21 will be on pro basketball, with Hvar Town chosen to kick off a new Olympic sport on the island. 

In the beautiful surroundings of Hvarska Pjaca, enjoy the moves of 3x3 basketball masters. Great fun is guaranteed! After the spectacle in 2022, when the PRO 3x3 Tour was organized in the attractive locations of 10Croatian cities, this great story continues in the period from the second half of May to the middle of August 2023, and the first stop is precisely the sunniest island. You can visit the official PRO 3x3 site here.

An excellent few weeks of quality entertainment in store, showcasing the very best culture, tradition and gastronomy that Hvar has to offer. With free sunshine, beaches, as well as the availability of the Pakleni Islands thrown in. 

Is there a destination in Croatia which offers more diversity?



Sunday, 7 May 2023

British Embassy Celebrates King's Coronation in Osijek (Photos)

May 7, 2023 - With all eyes on London, the British Embassy in Zagreb headed east to celebrate the Coronation in Osijek.

It was a day of pomp and tradition which was beamed all over the world, as the Coronation of King Charles III took place at Westminster Abbey, some 70 years after his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, was crowned Queen before him. 

The British Embassy in Zagreb headed east to the Slavonian capital for a ceremony with Croatian partners, to mark the occasion. Charles and Camilla visited Osijek back in 2016, and indeed, his great-great-grandfather was born in Osijek. Read more in The British Royal Family Has Blood Ties with Osijek, Đakovo Bids Farewell.

Some photos, with commentary from the Facebook page of the embassy, on yesterday's celebrations. 


The Coronation emblem on The Zagreb fountains. The Union Jack colours on Osijek pedestrian bridge. Colourful light displays in #Croatia?? celebrate the Coronation.The Coronation emblem on The Zagreb fountains. The Union Jack colours on Osijek pedestrian bridge (lead photo). Colourful light displays in #Croatia?? celebrate the Coronation.



Today we witnessed a significant historical event, 70 years after Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in June 1953. His Majesty King Charles III was crowned King of the UK and the 14 other independent Realms of which He is also Head of State. The King is now the 40th monarch to swear the traditional oath of faithful service. While the Coronation was taking place in Britain’s capital, we celebrated in Osijek with our Croatian partners, allies and friends. 








Sunday, 7 May 2023

Looking for a Job in Croatia? This Week's Top 10 from (May 7, 2023)

May 7, 2023 - Looking for a job in Croatia? A new weekly feature on TCN, in partnership with leading job site agency,, who present a selection of weekly job listings.

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

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

This week's top 10 jobs from

 Connection Project j.d.o.o. is hiring Administrative Assistant in Sales (m/f). The location is remote.  The employer is offering a salary between 700 – 1400 euros, freelance or long-term contract and flexible working hours. You can apply until 16.05.2023 on the link here

Manpower is hiring Medical Representative (m/f) in Dalamatia County. Employer offers fieldwork, a chance to work in a renowned pharmaceutical company and a motivated team. The deadline for applying is 17.05.2023. You can apply here

Strabag BRVZ d.o.o. is looking for Senior Backend Developer (m/f). The location of work is Zagreb. Employer offers friendly team, professional development, training and much more. For more info about their benefits, you can click here and apply until 13.05.2023. 

Next Step career network is hiring Head Chef (m/ž) in Austria. The employee is offering a monthly salary of 2.500 euros, 14 salaries a year, provided accommodation and 3 meals a day. For more benefits and applying process, check this link until 11.05.2023. 

Teleperformance Greece is looking for Croatian Customer Service (m/f) in Athens, Greece. The employer is offering fully paid relocation support (flight ticket, hotel), competitive monthly salary, two salaries per year and much more. You can find more information about their benefits on this application. The deadline for applying is 27.05.2023. 

KWS SAAT SE & Co. KgaA is hiring SAP Inhouse Consultant HCM (m/f) in Berlin, Germany. The Employer is giving an international environment, dynamic team, flexible working hours and team spirit. KWS is offering a lot more benefits that you can find on this link until 18.05.2023. 

MED-EL Elektromedizinische Gerate GmbH is looking for Software Developer (m/f) in Innsbruck, Austria. The employer is offering flexible working hours, workplace well-being, employee discounts and a minimum salary of 41,691.44 euros annually. You can apply until 18.05.2023. on application link. 

Kempinski hotel Adriatic is hiring a Cluster Sales Manager (m/f) in Savudrija, Umag. The employee is offering dynamic work, professional and strong responsibilities, the possibility of professional growth. You can apply until 20.05.2023. on application link. 

Gi Group Staffing Solutions is hiring Sales Engineer (m/f) in Zagreb. Employer is offering company car, laptop and mobile, remote work and friendly team. You can apply here until 24.05.2023. 

AA Euro Croatia d.o.o. is hiring Medical Laboratory Technician (m/f) in Ireland. The employer is offering 33000-46000 euros annually, travel costs covered, free accommodation and more. You can find out more and apply on the link here until 27.05.2023. 

For more career options and job listings, visit


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


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Saturday, 6 May 2023

New HBOR Credit Instrument Boasts 400 Million EUR of Potential

May the 6th, 2023 - The brand new HBOR credit instrument boasts an impressive 400 million euros of potential, and large Croatian companies will now finally have a guarantee scheme offered to them by this particular body.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, after a decade and a half of questions and comments being fired back and forth on this particular issue, HBOR, supported by the operational decision of the Croatian Government, is finally going to start offering a proper guarantee scheme for large domestic companies as well.

As part of the sixth instrument implemented by the NPOO, HBOR has launched an attractive financial product on the market - "a credit guarantee as a way out" for investment projects of large companies in situations where there is a lack of own collateral, either due to the inability to access the necessary loans or owing to a lack of free assets.

For this purpose, nearly 80 million euros were allocated to HBOR from the NPOO, which, for the private sector at least, also comes as a trigger for investment projects with the aforementioned obstacles, but also for the public sector because this will greatly relieve the burden felt by local budgets. Large entities will definitely want to use the new HBOR credit instrument, as the total guarantee potential of this new financial product stands at around 400 million euros.

Beneficiaries of the new HBOR credit instrument can be commercial banks and leasing companies, and HBOR itself when acting as a creditor. With the new product, this institution will become a development bank in the full sense of the word for large domestic companies, and it will also involve taking on new risks in the name of and indeed on behalf of the Republic of Croatia as a nation.

The product became operational with the Croatian Government's decision to appoint a commission that will "nominate" consent givers for guarantees, so that their role becomes crucial in encouraging investments for the purpose of launching, modernising and digitising business as we go forward.

A maximum of 30% of such new HBOR loans can be used for working capital, and the maximum guarantee coverage is up to 80% of the loan principal for investments in special areas of the Republic of Croatia, the green and digital transition, research, development and innovation, while for other investments, coverage is up to 70% of the loan principal.

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

Saturday, 6 May 2023

British Couple Mark and Gilly Start Medjimurje Glamping Business

May the 6th, 2023 - British couple Mark and Gilly decided to swap Northern Europe for Strigova in Medjimurje, where life is less expensive and the peace and quiet also offered in the British countryside can be enjoyed for much less. They have also started their Medjimurje glamping business, and it's going very well.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, we're more than often flooded by depressing headlines and stories about Croats abandoning their homeland and heading off abroad in search of a better life and more economic stability, but the opposite story is also being more and more frequently told. A British couple have decided to move to Strigova and start their Medjimurje glamping (luxury camping) business. They're far from regreful about their move.

Due to the nature of their work, Mark and Gilly have already travelled the world, but they said they knew they would one day settle somewhere in Europe, but not necessarily the UK. The final decision ended up being the Republic of Croatia.

"I noticed the vineyards, somewhere around Novi Marof, I think. I thought, this would be an interesting place to live," said Mark.

"It seemed like a very nice place, people take care of their properties nicely, it's very peaceful. We thought this was the perfect place to live," added his wife Gilly Whitefield.

Mark and Gilly have lived in Strigova for three years now, and last year they started their Medjimurje glamping business, which has been going very well for them indeed.

"We have two tents, and this year we will have four. Business is going very well," explained Gilly proudly.

"From our perspective, we wanted to live in a place with a more pleasant climate. We knew it was unlikely that we would return to the United Kingdom, it has become very expensive to live there. In addition, we like the peace and quiet, Croatian culture and the fact that Croats are more connected to nature, working on the land, growing their own food. I mean, that's a nice part of living here," says Mark.

Starting a business in Croatia isn't easy, but this couple had all possible support on offer to them during the often daunting task of getting started, let alone running the business.

"We had excellent cooperation with the local mayor. He was exceptionally supportive, as were all of the other local authorities, the county and the city of Cakovec, urban planning, and tourism. In addition to all of that, we've only had good experiences with the local craftsmen," pointed out Mark.

They visit local manifestations and events, socialise with local people and both agree that the move has been very good for them. Their neighbours, just by a sheer stroke of good luck, are also a couple who chose to relocate to gorgeous Medjimurje from Britain.

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

Saturday, 6 May 2023

Croatian Catering and Hospitality Sector Enjoys 28% Higher Turnover

May the 6th, 2023 - The Croatian catering and hospitality industry has enjoyed 28 percent more turnover in April 2023 when compared to the same month last year. While this is good news, it also speaks volumes about Eurozone accession and price hikes.

As Jadranka Dozan/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, cafes, restaurants and other Croatian catering and hospitality facilities which deal with the preparation and serving of food and drinks and which are in the fiscalisation system registered 221.6 million euros in turnover last month.

In April of last year, slightly more than 1.3 billion kuna, or 173 million euros, passed through the fiscal cash registers in the Croatian catering and hospitality sector, which means that the value of the bills issued this year is 28 percent higher.

Such an increase in fiscalised turnover was achieved due to a five percent higher number of invoices and bills issued, and in addition to the possible influence of the consumption structure, this also speaks volumes about price hikes and Croatia's new currency - the euro.

In any case, the data kept by the Tax Administration shows that in the Croatian catering and hospitality industry (the activity of preparing and serving food and beverages), fiscalised turnover increased more strongly than at the level of all activities covered by fiscalisation, where turnover which is one fifth higher has been recorded.

The main "harvest" for the Croatian catering and hospitality sector is yet to come, and of course by this we mean the height of the summer tourist season. For example, last year, a total value of 22.5 billion kuna or three billion euros was paid by both cash and card to enterprises across the country engaged in the preparation and serving of food and beverages, and 56 percent of that was paid out in the period from June to September alone.

Cumulative data for this year shows that the beginning of the second quarter of 2023 in the Croatian catering and hospitality industry brought somewhat stronger annual turnover growth than in the first. From the beginning of this year to the end of last month, taxpayers in the catering and hospitality industry reported almost 709 million euros in turnover to the tax authorities, which is 20 percent more than in the comparable period last year.

In the first four months of 2022, more than 4 billion kuna, or 590 million euros, passed through their fiscal coffers.

In the activity of providing accommodation, which is closely linked, April's data signals an acceleration of annual growth compared to the first quarter, which concluded with a 34 percent increase in fiscalised turnover. Last month, accommodation services saw an inflow of cash in the amount of almost 104 million euros, paid with both cards and cash, which is 43 percent more than last year's reported amount of 547 million kuna (73 million euros).

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

Friday, 5 May 2023

Race That Commemorates a Famous Murder - Vinkovci Orient Express

May 5, 2023 - Everyone knows about Agatha Christie's famous novel "Murder on the Orient Express." But did you know that the train which was the scene of the murder was passing right through Vinkovci, on the rails of Slavonia? That train really used to pass there and travel on to exotic places, and Mrs. Christie often traveled on it. And now, just a little slower but equally fun, we're presenting the Vinkovci Orient Express race.

And the second race of the Vinkovci trilogy, which began with the Orion race, was named after the Orient Express, writes Turističke Priče.

Races through the history of the oldest city in Europe

The route of the Orient Express race will explore the streets of Vinkovci on Saturday, May 6. It starts in the city center at 5 p.m., and the length is 10 kilometers.

Pick-up of the start packages is on the day of the race from 4 p.m. and includes the official race shirt, unique start number, finisher's medal, refreshments, and prizes for the first three places in the men's and women's competition. The entry fee is 20 euros, and the announcement of the winners and the awarding of prizes in both categories for the first three places is scheduled for 6.30 p.m., followed by a concert and a DJ performance.

The final treat – Valens Victorius

The Vinkovci race trilogy will end with the Valens Victorius, which will take place on June 18. Valens Victorius is a 4.5-kilometer-long obstacle race. Its name was inspired by the rich Roman history of Vinkovci, where not one but two emperors were born. It is a fun, half-adrenaline race that will decide the overall winner of the Vinkovci trilogy.

This unique and magnificent race in the heart of Slavonia, full of challenges and fun, will be part of the Roman Days, and like every year, in memory of the tragically killed Croatian veteran Nedjeljko Klarić.

At the end of the trilogy, the times of all three races will be added up for the total time for each competitor, and the fastest and most agile will be crowned. The announcement of the overall winners will take place after the completion of the Valens Victorius race on June 18, 2023, at Šokački Stan Vinkovci.

The organizer is the Half Marathon Association, in cooperation with the FCT Citizens' Sports Association. All info about the trilogy and the upcoming Orient Express race can be found here.

Come to Vinkovci, the pride of Slavonia, and take part in this unique race. A city rich with history, which still shapes it, awaits you with a handful of stories about famous characters who created history and lots of sports entertainment.

And don't worry - everyone will leave this Orient Express alive, healthy, and with precious memories of the oldest city in Europe.

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

Friday, 5 May 2023

World-Famous Clowns at the 4th Zagreb Clown Festival

Zagreb, May 5, 2023 - As part of the 4th editon of Zagreb Clown Festival, May 11th to 14th, world-famous clowns are bringing laughter, fun and good vibes to Croatian audiences!

KUC Travno is hosting Zagreb Clown Festival 2023 which will take place from May 11th to 14th, bringing Croatian audiences the opportunity to enjoy six performances by world-famous figures in the world of clown art. The festival is organized by Triko Cirkus Teatar, and this year the theme is perseverance. The theme will be delivered in six different clown shows coming from USA, Italy, Austria, Slovenia, Serbia, France and Croatia. In addition to the performances, the audience will also be able to participate in a panel about the regional clown scene. The panel will be moderated by Barnaby King, and there will also be a master class in clowning and physical comedy by the world-famous artist John Towsen. The festivals’ Clown Cafes will be open for visitors and friends and will give an opportunity for all to communicate, exchange experinece and meet artists.

From May 11th to 14th , the 4th edition of Zagreb Clown Festival will be held in the Travno Cultural Center (KUC Travno). Zagreb will host world-famous names of physical comedy and clown art. According to Iva Peter-Dragan, the artistic director of Triko Cirkus Theater, the organizer of the festival, the theme of this year's festival is perseverance and everything that term implies as a term in everyday life. In the 4th edition of this unique festival in Croatia, the organizers have prepared a great international program with a special EX YU block of performances and John Towsen's clowning and physical comedy master class, which will be held from May 11th to 13th as part of the festival. "Preparations for this year's festival began last year with the call for artists. We received more than 50 applications, and based on the theme of the festival, which is perseverance, we selected those that best fit the entire theme and that we found are of exceptional artistic value. The topic is extremely important for a clown. Everyone involved in clowning knows this. Not only is the art of clowning quite marginalized itself, but perseverance in clowns hides in abandoning the most logical patterns of behavior and showing his way of tackling a problem or a challenge and achieving success. This sometimes requires a lot more energy than if we had decided to act ”normally”. But, also investing that energy creates a lot of fun and very often comic situations arise from it. Perserverance in order to make the audience laugh and everything that happens in our failures in order to achieve it, that is the clown's way that leads to success, and that is why it is the theme of this year's festival", explained Iva Peter-Dragan, organizer of Zagreb Clown Festival.

The festival program includes six shows that will make us laugh

During the four days of the festival, the audience will be able to enjoy six shows performed by artists from the USA, Italy, Austria, Slovenia, Serbia, France and Croatia. The first day brings the Italian artist Angela Delfini. She will "explain everything to us" in her comedy called "Angela Delfini will explain everything to you". A day later, on May 12th, the Serbian artist Stefan Ostojić brings to the stage his folklore-clown solo show "Lala" to share with us the love for tradition, culture and the history of his native region - Northern Banat and the city of Kikinda in a way that the audience has never seen before. On the same day in front of KUC Travno, Triko Cirkus Teatar will perform their clown show "MMMaid", in which two maids, instead of working as a theme, see each other as competition. The day ends with the Slovenian artist Tina Janežič and her show "The Chair Tamer" who has a special relationship with her chair. On the third day, May 13th, there is a special surprise for those over 18. The world-famous clown troupe The Hot Clown Company from Chicago will take the stage, and their witty performance will have its premiere in Zagreb. The name of the show is "Hot Clown Sex", and the organizers say that it is definitely worth watching. The program of the 4th Zagreb Clown Festival closes on May 14th with the performance of Tanja Simma, an Austrian clown who will introduce herself to the audience with her hit show "Anna de Lirium - Live Concert!" Anna will make us laugh in her recognizable, authentic way as a wild and lovable clown.

Zagreb becomes the meeting place of the world clown scene with the 4th edition of Zagreb Clown Festival

In the official program of the festival, the audience will be able to participate in a panel moderated by Barnaby King on the state of the regional clown scene. Barnaby King is a world-famous clown and the founder of the "Clown Spirit" platform, which unites clowns around the world and offers both practical and theoretical education. "Festivals are places for socializing and networking, and the arrival of Barnaby King is important for our festival and its recognition in the world. During the festival, he will broadcast live interviews with the participants, and the play "MMMaid" will be broadcasted live as well on his channel Clown Spirit. I am also happy and honored to have John Towsen with us this year. John is the author of a legendary book on clowns “The Clowns”. Lee Delong, an actress and clown who played on the biggest Parisian stages will join us too and the festival also brings a play directed by Jango Edwards, the indispensable figure of the clown theater of our time who made a kind of clown revolution with his festival The Festivals of Fools. With this festival, Zagreb really becomes the centre of the world clown scene", Peter-Dragan pointed out.

During the etire time of the festival, the CLOWN CAFFE will be open. Located in Vlaška 92, that will be a meeting place for artists and the audience.

The program of the 4th edition of Zagreb Clown Festival is supported by the Kultura nova Foundation, the Republic of Croatia, Ministry of Culture and Media City of Zagreb.

You can find the complete program on the Triko Circus Theater website:

Tickets are available at:

You can buy group and festival tickets by contacting Triko Circus Theater at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Venue: KUC Travno, Božidara Magovca 17, Zagreb.

Friday, 5 May 2023

AZOP Fines B2 Kapital 2.2 Million Euros Due to Data Leakage

May 5, 2023 - A large fine imposed on the B2 Kapital debt collection agency by thee Agency for the Protection of Personal Data (AZOP), reports

The Agency for the Protection of Personal Data (AZOP) imposed an administrative fine on the processing manager – the debt collection agency B2 Kapital in the amount of EUR 2,265,000.00. It is also about the possible commission of a criminal offense, which is the responsibility of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which will conduct a criminal investigation.

Let's remind you that the B2 Kapital agency, which deals with debt collection, released the data of 77,317 natural persons, which contain first and last name, OIB, date of birth, residential address, name and OIB of the employer, debt to B2 Kapital, the amount of the principal and the amount of default interest, as well as, which is particularly controversial, a mobile phone number and a personal e-mail. Index was the first to write about it in detail.

We emphasize that we warned AZOP that we are in possession of a typed contract on the sale of receivables (assignment contract) between banks and the agency, from which it is clear that the banks also provide the phone numbers of their former and current clients to debt collection agencies. It was clear from the AZOP's response that we received that the banks provided information that they were not allowed to, so the investigation expanded.

The four largest banks operating in Croatia, the Croatian Association of Banks and the Croatian National Bank, which supervises contracts for the sale of receivables between banks and agencies, did not want to answer what banks hand over to debt collectors when they sell bad receivables.

A fine of 2.26 million euros
AZOP has now imposed a fine of 2.26 million euros, and this is because the data controller did not clearly and accurately inform his respondents about the processing of their personal data through the notification on the processing of personal data. Also, they did not enter into a contract on the processing of personal data with the processor for the simple consumer bankruptcy monitoring service and did not take appropriate technical and organizational protection measures when processing personal data.

In the explanation, it is stated that the Agency initiated a supervisory procedure in December 2022 and carried out a procedure in which the three previously described violations were determined due to the negligent actions of the processing manager (claims collection agency).

The processing manager bears the greatest degree of responsibility for not taking technical protection measures, since it was precisely because of deficiencies in such a security system that unsafe processing of a large number of personal data occurred. The debt collection agency lost complete control over the movement of personal data of their respondents and could not explain the causes of unauthorized exfiltration (extraction) of personal data.

They didn't cooperate
Also, as an aggravating circumstance in the conducted administrative procedure, certain shortcomings in cooperation were determined. Namely, to several letters sent by the Agency requesting additional statements or documentation from the processing manager, he responded before the last days of the set deadline and sent letters for the purpose of extending the deadline and clarifying the requested circumstances, although he could have requested the same earlier, which to a certain extent had an effect to the delay of the procedure.

Also, upon repeated requests from the Personal Data Protection Agency for certain documentation (list of system records), the processing manager did not provide it. Also, as an additional aggravating circumstance, the fact that the data controller has not informed the Agency until today that he has taken additional protection measures that would prevent future risks of established violations and has not adjusted the privacy policy available on their website to date has been taken into account.

Report submitted to the police
In conclusion, in this particular case we are talking about the violation of several provisions of the General Regulation on Data Protection, by one of the leading companies in the field of debt collection, which could not allow itself to process the personal data of a large number of respondents in a non-transparent and insecure manner.

Also, the data controller probably would never have noticed the exfiltration of personal data of a large number of respondents, at least for 77,317 of them from their system, if the Personal Data Protection Agency had not received an anonymous report and conducted surveillance activities.

"Until today, the data controller has not clarified all the circumstances of the breach, i.e. the transfer of a certain amount of personal data outside their storage system, which additionally indicates inadequate protection measures on the part of the data controller," reads the explanation of the AZOP's decision.

The explanation also states that it is about possible individual criminal liability, that is, the commission of a criminal offense, which is the responsibility of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which conducts criminal investigations within its jurisdiction.

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