Sunday, 8 January 2023

Sunday Times Features Hvar as 1 of 3 Digital Nomad WFA European Destinations

January 8, 2023 - More good news for Croatia's attempts to attract the remote work sector, as the Sunday Times promotes Hvar in its top three WFA (Work from Anywhere) destinations. 

It seems so long ago, May 2019.

That was when I met a Russian and Ukrainian couple wanting to rent our apartment for 3 months the following year, from April 1 - June 30. They were doing something called remote work 10 months a year, with two in the office in Munich. Three months each year in Jelsa, then to Italy, then to Spain, then to Portugal at home. 

It sounded like an idyllic lifestyle, and one which I was about to immerse myself in, as well as dealing with the imminent pandemic.

That coffee was one of the moments of realisation about the power and the reality of the digital nomad movement and remote work shift. I became a big promoter in the opportunity, helping Jan de Jong and his team to realise only the second digital nomad permit in Europe after Estonia. 

The rest is history, and Croatia is now firmly established on the digital nomad global map, with the latest evidence in the influential Nomad List 2023 survey, which has Croatia as the most-liked country for nomads, and Zagreb as the second most-liked city. You can read more about this in Croatia Tops Nomad List 2023 Survey as 'Most-Liked Country.' 

And it seems that some of that nomad attraction has been rubbing off on my adopted island of Hvar, where that initial coffee took place almost four years ago, for the Croatian sunshine island featured in an excellent article in today's Sunday Times about the new breed of nomads, and the new hotspots - Hvar, Valencia and Malta in 

WHY THE NEW BREED OF DIGITAL NOMADS HAVE FULL-TIME JOBS

Forget twentysomethings backpacking with a laptop. Now CEOs, architects and lawyers are doing their jobs from anywhere in the world. Plus: the new hotspots 

Here is what they said about Hvar.

The WFA hotspots

by Hannah Ralph

Hvar, Croatia

Since January 2021 Croatia has been offering temporary residence via its digital nomad visa, but while most flock to the cinematic cities of Dubrovnik and Zagreb, many remote workers forget the islands can be equally welcoming to those in need of an internet connection, a community of friendly faces and little else. Try Hvar, one of the Dalmatian coast’s most popular haunts, which has co-working spaces by the sea, an emerging après-beach scene, and crystal-clean coves ideal for a post-work dip.

You can read the full article here.

For more news and features about digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section

Sunday, 8 January 2023

Tax Office Comments on Prices in Croatia and Slovenia

January 8, 2023 - As anger at the price differences between Croatia and Slovenia continues with the introduction of the euro, a statement from the Croatian Tax Office, reports Index.hr.

IN THE LAST days, one of the main topics in the public eye is the prices in Croatia and Slovenia. After the introduction of the euro in Croatia, it is easy to compare prices with those in Slovenia, where the euro was introduced back in 2007.

The Tax Office actually reacted to the statement of economist Damir Novotny.

"For the purpose of truthfully and fully informing the public about the incorrect claims of Mr. Damir Novotny, Ph.D., made in the RTL Danas show on January 7, 2023, in which he says that "Slovenia has a lower tax burden on most products of daily consumption and the basic VAT rate is lower than in Croatia, and the VAT rates for food products are especially lower, which are 9.5 percent, i.e. significantly lower than in Croatia", we draw attention to the fact that in the Republic of Croatia, on a fairly wide range of basic food products, the VAT rate is and reduced to 5%, while in the Republic of Slovenia the VAT rate on these products is almost twice as high and amounts to 9.5%," writes the Tax Administration.

So they continue:

"In the Republic of Croatia, VAT is calculated and paid at a reduced rate of 5% on deliveries of the following goods:

* all types of bread,
* all types of milk (cow, sheep, goat) marketed under the same name in liquid form, fresh, pasteurized, homogenized, condensed (except sour milk, yogurt, kefir, chocolate milk and other dairy products), substitutes for mother's milk,
* baby food and processed cereal-based food for infants and young children,
* edible oils and fats, of plant and animal origin, butter and margarine,
* delivery of live animals: cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, horses, donkeys, domestic poultry, rabbits and hares,
* delivery of fresh or chilled meat and edible slaughter products from: cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, horses, donkeys, domestic poultry, rabbits and hares,
* delivery of fresh or chilled sausages and similar meat products, meat slaughterhouse products or blood,
* delivery of live fish,
* delivery of fresh or chilled fish, molluscs and other aquatic invertebrates,
* delivery of fresh or chilled crabs
* delivery of fresh or chilled vegetables, roots and tubers, including leguminous dry vegetables,
* delivery of fresh and dry fruits and nuts,
* delivery of fresh poultry eggs, in shell,
* products that are mainly used as animal feed, except for pet food.

Despite this, although in the Republic of Slovenia the VAT rate on eggs, for example, is almost twice as high as in the Republic of Croatia, it is pointed out in the attachment that the price of eggs in Croatia is higher than in Slovenia. Namely, the prices of products in retail are affected by a number of factors, and tax is only one of them," they add at the end.

Sunday, 8 January 2023

Downtown to Winter Wonderland: Zagreb’s New Cable Car Experience

January 8, 2023 - Did you know that a whole different world awaits you a short distance from Zagreb, a world which is as far removed from the bustling centre in every possible way? And a world which is accessible in just 15 minutes via the recently opened Zagreb Cable Car.

Zagreb is one of the few European cities that has quality skiing on its doorstep, and now even closer thanks to the cable car ride up the mountain to Sljeme. On a gorgeous December day, I made my way to the base station, determined to overcome my fear of heights and cable cars, to see what the 15-minute ride would bring.

The cable car was incredible smooth, quiet and secure – I actually enjoyed the experience for the first time in my life, and I was rewarded with a choice between sun-kissed views of the city below and a winter wonderland of trees above. With several stops en route, I opted to the top and entered a vibrant world of winter fun, active fun, family fun, and just pure fun, fun, fun.

Skiing, sledding, mountain biking, hiking, snowball fighting, or just relaxing over a mulled wine or hearty winter portions of homemade food. Enjoy the experience in the video below, before descending back down into the Zagreb sunshine.

Zagreb is a destination of four distinct seasons, and Sljeme is a wonderful experience whatever the time of year. Don’t miss it – a wonderful escape from the city.

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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.

Subscribe to the Paul Bradbury Croatia & Balkan Expert YouTube channel.

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

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Sunday, 8 January 2023

Advent in Zagreb 2022: A Video Snapshot

January 8, 2023 - Advent in Zagreb 2022 has come to an end. How was it for you? A video snapshot. 

And you thought Croatian tourism was all about the coast in the summer? Come visit the Croatian capital of Zagreb in December, as hundreds of thousands of others do, to experience one of the best Christmas markets in Europe (and voted the best three years in a row from 2016-18).

It is a remarkable story of a small event which was first branded as Advent in Zagreb in 2010, at a time of year when tourism in Croatia was almost non-existent. And yet, within just 6 years, it was voted the Best Christmas Market in Europe on the European Best Destinations website, a feat Advent in Zagreb repeated for two more years. You can read more about the event’s sensational success in From Zero to European Champion: a History of Advent in Zagreb.

The pandemic put global tourism on hold in 2020 and severely limited it in 2021, but while many destinations put their Advents on hold, Zagreb chose to continue the tradition through those difficult years, albeit in a reduced, online and hybrid format.

But in 2022, Advent was back to its pre-pandemic best in Zagreb, with the iconic skating rink on Tomislav Square perhaps the symbol of that. Take a video tour below and see why Croatia away from the beach and summer has plenty of other attractions.

Learn more from the official Advent in Zagreb website from the Zagreb Tourist Board.

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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.

Subscribe to the Paul Bradbury Croatia & Balkan Expert YouTube channel.

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

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Sunday, 8 January 2023

5 Things I Advise New Arrivals Moving to Croatia

January 8, 2023 - Thinking of moving to Croatia? Looking for a little advice from a foreigner who has been here for 20 years? Five things I advise new arrivals coming to live in Croatia.

Croatia is a wonderful place to live, although it is certainly not easy. Having lived here for 20 years, I have made all the mistakes possible - and more - and have been very frustrated by a number of things.

In order to lessen the pain for those coming after more with plans of living in Croatia, here are 5 things I advise people to take into consideration when moving to Croatia, in order to have a better experience. Want to learn more about the realities of living in this flawed but majestic country? Our new book, Croatia, a Survival Guide for Foreigners is now available on Amazon.

And there is a little bonus at the end as well, if - like me - you happen to be a beer drinker.

Many thanks for all your support on my little YouTuber journey so far. I have to admit it is a lot of fun, and I do feel humbled by the level of interest, subscriptions, and comments. Keep them coming. If you have not seen the channel yet, it is called Paul Bradbury Croatia Expert, and we will be posting two videos a week minimum, covering all aspects of life as a foreigner in Croatia, after my last fabulous 20 years here. You can subscribe here

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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.

Subscribe to the Paul Bradbury Croatia & Balkan Expert YouTube channel.

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

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Saturday, 7 January 2023

FIFA Gives Robert Ljubičić Green Light to Play for Croatia

January 7, 2023 - FIFA has given Robert Ljubičić the green light to change his football citizenship. The 23-year-old Dinamo Zagreb midfielder can now play for the Croatia national team!

In November 2022, Robert Ljubičić decided that he wanted to represent the national team of Croatia in the future, after which the process began with FIFA to change his football citizenship from Austrian to Croatian. After months-long efforts, Ljubičić can play for Croatia! 

Ljubičić started his senior career at St. Pölten, after which he played for Rapid Wein and came to Dinamo Zagreb in the summer of 2022.

"We are happy with the decision that Robert can play for the Croatia national team, and we believe that it will strengthen Zlatko Dalić's squad. I thank the management of GNK Dinamo, led by president Vlatka Peras, for supporting Robert and HNS in this process, as well as our technical director Pletikosa and the Federation's administration, who once again did a superb job in communicating with the player and with FIFA. Of course, I am most pleased that Robert and his family chose to play for Croatia, which confirms how strong the cult of our national team is and how much patriotism our people raise their children with abroad. It's up to Robert to impress the coach with his games, and I welcome him to the Croatian football family," said HNS president Marijan Kustić.

"It was not easy to make such a decision considering that I grew up in Austria, where I also developed in football, for which Austria, my coaches, and clubs have my utmost gratitude and respect. However, Croatia is in my blood, it is my family, and I felt a strong desire to represent Croatia as my homeland. I thank HNS and Dinamo for supporting my family and me during this process, and I will continue to work hard to earn a call-up to one of the best national teams in the world, which would fulfill my football dream," said Robert Ljubičić.

"First of all, thank you to Robert and his family for the pleasant communication. Robert proved to be a very serious and intelligent young man who made a decision that made us happy - that he wanted to play for Croatia. I'm glad we formally made it possible and thus got a quality candidate for the national team. Now it is up to Robert to earn coach Dalić's trust with his games. Of course, we in the Federation believe that he can contribute to the national team with his football skills," said the technical director of the Croatia A and U-21 national teams, Stipe Pletikosa.

Source: HNS

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

Saturday, 7 January 2023

Cars Croatia Loved Most in 2022 - Premium Models Did Surprisingly Well

January 7, 2023 - According to data from Promocija plus for 2022, last year was not brilliant for the automotive industry in Croatia. Check out which cars Croatia loved the most in 2022, with a few surprises making the list.

As Poslovni / Večernji write, only 44,088 new passenger cars were sold in Croatia, 1,201 less than in 2021, when 45,289 newly registered cars arrived on the roads.

Last year, Covid-19 did not shake the world or Croatia, so the 2.65 percent lower sales are not due to the pandemic but the halt in the production and deliveries of cars.

It should also be noted that some cars have been sold but have not yet been delivered to customers, so they do not show up in these statistics. The last month of the year with 2,703 cars sold was the second weakest in 2022, just behind November, which recorded only 2,698 newly registered cars.

All brands faced problems, although some more than others. Volkswagen retained the first place, which it has strongly defended for years, selling 5,288 new cars last year. This result allowed them to occupy 11.99 percent of the Croatian market.

In second place is the Czech brand from the same German Group, Škoda, with a total of 4,506 cars sold (10.22 percent of the market). It's no secret that Škoda's strength is supported by the police, to whose ranks more than 500 Octavias were delivered last year, but ordinary customers have also recognised the good value for money for years. The third place in terms of sales in Croatia was taken by Kia, whose cars 3,413 of Croatian customers decided to buy (7.74 percent market share).

Next in the Croatian top 10 are Opel (3291 cars, 7.46% of the market), Dacia (3217, 7.30%), Toyota (2938, 6.66%), Renault (2612, 5.92%), Hyundai (2314, 5.25%), Suzuki (1785, 4.05%) and Peugeot (1636, 3.71%).

Interestingly, there are even three premium brands in the top 15 - Audi in 12th place with 1,578 newly registered units, followed by Mercedes with 1,208 vehicles and BMW in 15th place with 1,156 units newly registered last year.

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

Saturday, 7 January 2023

Omis Bridge Soon to Reach Final Phase, Completing the Impressive Project

January 7, 2023 - After the magnificent feat of modern infrastructure that is the Peljesac bridge, Croatia is soon to join another two pieces of its land with a new impressive, incredibly complex construction, the Omis Bridge, hanging 70 metres above this beautiful karst river Cetina.

As Slobodna Dalmacija writes, at the end of January, we will witness the historic joining of the most impressive bridge over the Cetina river; at 70 metres above sea level, the two ends of the bridge that now "stick out" from the gorge. It will connect the portals of the access tunnels "Omis" and "Komorjak."

The last "push" of the bridge section, 12 metres long, is still missing. The section will complete the crossing over the canyon of the karst beauty above Omis, in a visible length of 152 meters, while 30 meters of supports on both sides are "hidden" in the tunnels.

"On the Cetina bridge, there is only one section left of about 12 metres. The last push is expected at the end of January", Hrvatske Ceste (HC) revealed. They are the investor for the Omis bypass, as part of which the bridge is being built, all so that soon we can finally utilise the long-awaited fast, modern road Split-Omis.

Slobodna Dalmacija was curious and asked the investors why the parts of the bridge are not at the same height, because the difference of almost two metres between the eastern and western parts is visible to the naked eye, even from a greater distance.

"It is true that the currently constructed parts of the Omis bridge are not at the same height. Due to the variable height of the cross-section of the bridge, the structure also moves vertically during each push.

After the final phase, both sides will be at the same height so that they can be connected and the entire structure can finally be fixed on the bearings," Hrvatske Ceste specified.

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

Saturday, 7 January 2023

Euro Croatia: Initial Phase of Transition is Progressing Well, States EC

January 7, 2023 - Euro Croatia: almost a week after Croatia's entry into the euro area, the transition to the euro is progressing well in the initial phase, according to a survey by the European Commission (EC), the executive body of the EU, which assesses this event as an important turning point for Croatia, the euro area and the entire union.

As 24Sata writes, they report that the majority of cash payments (51%) in euros in stores were made on January 5.

"In the majority of transactions, as many as 93%, the change was returned to consumers exclusively in euros, 35% of the surveyed Croatian citizens stated that they only carry euro banknotes, and 36% of them only euro coins", according to a survey carried out by the EC representative office in Croatia.

According to the Eurobarometer survey, on January 5, six percent of the 199 respondents had Croatian kunas in their wallets, five percent mostly kunas, 19 mostly euros, 35 had only euros, 27 percent had half kunas and half euros, and eight percent had no banknotes.

The withdrawal of kuna banknotes and coins from circulation began in December 2022, and by December 31, 55% of kuna banknotes and a third of kuna coins had already been withdrawn from circulation.

The EC states that the Croatian retail sector copes well with the transition process and the parallel use of two currencies.

"No major problems with waiting in lines or problems with the cash registers were reported. Conversion at ATMs also takes place smoothly, with 70% of all ATMs in Croatia already distributing euro banknotes from the first hour of the new year. The commission pointed out that the number and scope of withdrawals remained at levels comparable to those before the transition to the euro".

The commission stated that it will continue to monitor Croatia's transition to the euro and will continue to measure the experience of Croatian citizens in connection with the transition to the European currency in the coming weeks.

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

Saturday, 7 January 2023

Croatian Dialects World Cup Final: Hvar v Forests of Zagorje

January 7, 2023 - Croatian is a logical language, but it is the Croatian dialects that will kill you. How many of you can understand these dialect experts from Hvar and a forest in Zagorje?

As per my YouTube video a few weeks ago, I still maintain that Croatian is a logical language, but those je*eni dialects... 

It is almost a decade since Professor Frank John Dubokovich, Guardian of the Hvar Dialects, stormed the Internet with his iconic Dalmatian Grunt. The Professor's ensuing niche series on Hvar dialects brought him a cult following of (mostly young, attractive, and female) dedicated followers. But the power of his message inspired others.

None more so that Grgo Petrov, who was so taken by the Professor's Dalmatian Grunt that he changed his university course and went on to dedicate himself to capturing Croatian dialects all over the country, as well as branching out with a whole range of dialect ideas and services. A little more about Grgo's dialect efforts (which are quite phenomenal) below, but here is the email he sent me to explain how the Professor had changed his life all those years ago.

Hey Paul!

We haven't met in person but you've had a huge influence on me and what I have been doing the last couple of years. It took me a long time to finally contact you haha.

I want to thank you for the Hvar Dialect Lessons you started posting on YouTube 5-6 years ago. I was in shock, just like the rest of my friends from Zagreb and the area. It was super entertaining but also educational. It made me think (and the rest of us) how our authentic local heritage was fading away. General unawareness of this local universe we have across Croatia.

What happened next is I started recording the "kajkavski lessons of Marija Bistrica" on YouTube with my local native speaker...in the end, I spent most of my University along with my Master's project all about preserving and promoting local dialects and values in Croatia.

I graduated as a visual communications designer, so I wrote and illustrated a tale in Kajkavski idiom, then posters and picture books for children... Following that, I started recording other people along the coast. Just last year spent two weeks on Dugi Otok island recording the locals' stories and their dialects. The project started connecting the locals across Croatia, raising awareness. Schools and parents are calling me for the presentations... it's just crazy.

And all of it kind of started when I saw the first "Hvar Dialect Lesson" you posted. 

Cheers from Zagreb!

You can check out some of Grgo's dialect videos on his channel above - they are excellent. 

We both thought the unthinkable - what about bringing the  Professor to Zagreb to meet Grgo to do a special lesson, perhaps with one of Grgo's own dialect specialist. Someone like the lovely Martina, who Grgo literally discovered living in a forest (ok, in a village in a forest) in Zagorje. 

Below is the result - and I am genuinely interested to hear how many Croats can understand the dialects spoken by Martina and the Professor.

 

You can see the rest of the Professor's iconic language series on the dedicated TCN YouTube playlist.  

And now a little more about Grgo and his projects. If you would like to cooperate with him, you can reach him via his graphic design website.  

Documented short interviews of Čakavski and Kajkavski dialects ... around the coast, islands, and Zagorje...mostly me asking questions in standard, them answering) ... I used to do research on the local dialect, talk to the linguists and local enthusiasts who connected me with interesting local speakers ... camera into my backpack and off we go!

Imbra Houstovnjak - kajkavski fantasy book and a master project at the School of Design, ZG ... the one I hope to publish this year as a bilingual edition...here's the original PDF available for reading. The goal was to give the Kaj-Croats a story in their mother tongue due to lack of the same, and connect the regions as, despite the differences, all of them can understand it. (Got positive feedback from a few schools in Zagorje that children read it with delight)

Imbra Houstovnjak across Croatia (same story in different dialect)

Imbra Houstovnjak Animated Audio book (first part) - a 5-minute video on YouTube with text, illustrations and narration by Martina Premor (the girl with Šumski dijalekt)

Priča o jednom Kaju (A story of Kaj) - illustrated educational picture book about the history and use of Kajkavski language in Northern Croatia. Teamwork with Croatian linguist Bojana Schubert from Ludbreg - approved by the Ministry of Education for the elementary schools. Published last year.

Croatian local Identity through original souvenirs - illustrated and designed popular merch with some of the local Zagreb, Kajkavski and Čakavski phrases with the help of local community...  the webshop and the whole project is partially incognito as it's slowly developing in the background (working on packaging and finding local stores).

Moj prvi abecedar - a first Kajkavski illustrated alphabet for children with words from various dialects. Student project. Also in the line for funding hahaha (but Imbra Houstovnjak is a priority)

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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.

Subscribe to the Paul Bradbury Croatia & Balkan Expert YouTube channel.

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

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