Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Croatia Registers 876 New Coronavirus Cases, 46 Deaths

ZAGREB, 11 May, 2021 - In the past 24 hours 876 coronavirus cases and 46 deaths have been registered in Croatia, the national COVID-19 crisis management team said on Tuesday.

The number of active cases is 7,745 and includes 1,928 hospitalised patients, 217 of whom are on ventilators, while 21,766 people are self-isolating.

To date 1,890,133 people have been tested for the virus, including 8,839 in the past 24 hours, 345,623 have been infected, 7,549 have died, and 330,329 have recovered from COVID-19, including 1,336 in the past 24 hours.

Over one million vaccine doses administered

To date 1,124,319 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered, with 894,881 people receiving the first and 259,438 both doses.

For more about COVID-19 in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Lokrum Reserve Rabits Endangered

May 11, 2021 - The Lokrum Reserve will be open to visitors from May 15. For the first time this year, the people of Dubrovnik have a special benefit - free transportation and a visit to the Reserve throughout the season, regardless of the number of departures.

It is enough to present proof of a place of residence to visit the island for free. The favorite beach and picnic area of ​​the people of Dubrovnik were supposed to open its doors last Saturday. Still, the planned opening was postponed after determining that part of the Lokrum rabbits were infected with the hemorrhagic disease.

As Dubrovački Vjesnik reports, the Lokrum Reserve confirmed that a detailed analysis conducted by the Croatian Veterinary Institute confirmed the disease in rabbits and the findings were notified to the State Inspectorate of the Republic of Croatia, and the veterinary inspector performed the supervision. It was decided to conduct an additional detailed examination of the entire island to identify the presence of infected individuals, said the Lokrum Nature Reserve, and especially point out that this disease can not be transmitted to humans or other animals, but also through indirect contact with pathogens, for example, through clothing or footwear, it can take off the island and endanger other rabbits on the mainland. 

To minimize the risk of disease in rabbits - pets or individuals in commercial breeding, Lokrum Reserve has decided to postpone the opening until May 15. By then, the infectivity and the possibility of contact with the remaining biological material will be significantly reduced. All this was done to protect the people of Dubrovnik who have rabbits at home because the disease for rabbits is highly transmissible and deadly, points out the Public Institution Lokrum Reserve.


Grgo Jelavic

According to veterinary data on rabbit hemorrhagic disease, up to 80% of animals become ill with the first appearance of the virus in the non-immune rabbit population in just a few days, and mortality reaches almost 100 percent. The disease passes in 2-3 days, and the rabbits that survive are resistant to re-infection. Cubs up to two months old are also immune to the disease. The Croatian Veterinary Institute received a finding confirming the presence of this virus in Lokrum rabbits on April 24, so it is not certain how many individuals have been infected and died on the island since then. How many rabbits are still alive could not be confirmed by Nikolina Grković; while she wrote, she did not perform a detailed inspection of the island.

Along with peacocks, tame Lokrum rabbits have been a favorite attraction for all visitors for years, although due to their number and intensive grazing, many plant species in the Reserve have died. Namely, rabbits were brought to the island and released into the wild by an unknown person about ten years ago. They have since multiplied so much that they almost destroyed the island's greenery, so this spring, the Lokrum Reserve decided to hunt rabbits and peacocks and move to different places in Croatia. This has caused numerous controversies among animal lovers, especially on social networks. Still, the fact remains that the Lokrum Reserve must protect forest vegetation for which it was established and protect from extinction endangered and rare habitat types and species and valuable garden heritage on Lokrum.

That is why the Game Protection Program "Lokrum Island" was adopted in 2016, according to which the number of invasive species should be reduced. The relocation plan for rabbits and peacocks was adopted for a ten-year period. Still, judging by the presence of the deadly virus for rabbits, the so-called rabbit plague, the question is how many of them will be greeted by the first visitors to Lokrum at all.

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Two New Ryanair Flights to Zagreb Announced from September!

May 11, 2021 - The latest flight news to Croatia as two new Ryanair flights to Zagreb have been announced from September! 

Croatian Aviation reports that Ryanair released tickets for two more new routes to Zagreb Airport today!

As previously announced, the Irish low-cost airline will open a base at Zagreb Airport from September this year.

In addition to the already announced, 12 new lines, Ryanair will operate directly to two more destinations from Zagreb from September.

From September 4, the Zagreb - Malmo - Zagreb line will be introduced, which will be in traffic twice a week, on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

From the same date, the Zagreb - Dusseldorf Weeze - Zagreb line will be introduced, which will also operate twice a week, on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Tickets for these two new routes are already on sale on the airline's official website, and these lines will also operate in the winter flight schedule. According to the latest announcements, Ryanair will have as many as 14 international routes from Zagreb Airport from the beginning of September, leaving the possibility of introducing additional lines until the start of operations and the opening of the base in September.

Already this autumn, Ryanair will perform weekly flights from Zagreb Airport to the following destinations:

Brussels Charleroi, from June 2, 3 times a week,

Dortmund, from September 3, 2 times a week,

Frankfurt-Hahn, from September 3, 3 times a week,

Gothenburg, from September 3, 3 times a week,

Karlsruhe, from September 2, 2 times a week,

London, from September 1, daily,

Memmingen, from September 3, 2 times a week,

Milan, from July 1, 4 times a week,

Paris, from September 2, 2 times a week,

Podgorica, from September 4, 2 times a week,

Rome, from September 3, 3 times a week,

Torp Sandefjord, from September 1, 2 times a week.

The company has more than 430 B737-800 aircraft in the fleet, with a capacity of 189 seats. The average age of Ryanair aircraft is only 8 years.

Ryanair has been operating in Croatia since 2006. By June 2019, the company had transported 4 million passengers to and from Croatia.

Follow the latest on flights to Croatia HERE and the latest travel updates and COVID-19 news from Croatia HERE.

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Unexpected Twist in Borna Sosa Story Leaves German Football Federation Embarrassed

May 11, 2021 – The Borna Sosa story has stirred quite a bit of commotion with his announcement of switching national teams from Croatia to Germany. The story got a new twist that might complicate things even more.

Even though the football season is almost over the news of the day in Croatia is one about Borna Sosa. This talented 23 years old left-back player is exactly what the national team needs now. His outstanding performances both in his club and Croatia U21 national team made him a young player to watch. But it wasn’t just Croatian officials that were watching him.

German Football Federation was quick to approach the player. They managed to sway him to come to play for the German national team. Borna’s mother was born in Germany and he now has the legal right to claim German citizenship. The decision was a shocking one for the Croatian football public and especially painful given the specific talents and the position Borna Sosa excels at. We have already reported on the details of this story as well as on the interview in which he explained his decision. The case seemed pretty much closed. However, the latest news out of Germany puts another shocking spin on the entire story.

The Final Twist?

In order to have Sosa playing for the German national football team after already playing for the Croatia U21 team, he needs permission from FIFA, football’s global governing body. As index.hr reports, there is a new clause added in FIFA rulebook since September 2020 that states a player switching national teams needed to already have had citizenship of the nation he is switching to before he played for the national team he is switching from. In other words, Borna Sosa needed to already have had dual Croatian and German citizenship at the time when he played for the Croatia youth team. Borna Sosa applied for German citizenship this year, so this is not the case. Because of this, FIFA will most probably decline the German request.

This is quite a shock, not just because of the fact Sosa might not be allowed to play for Germany. It is very unusual for a serious football association to make a mistake like that, not checking basic rules and regulations. If FIFA decides to disallow this change in national teams, this will be quite an embarrassing episode for German officials. Going public with announcements of Sosa’s possible place in the national team might backfire spectacularly.

At the end of the story, Croatia might end up with the left-back player the fans were dreaming of. The question is, will there be bad feelings after the Germany saga.

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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE


Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Aegean Airlines Cancels Athens-Zagreb Flights this Summer

May 11, 2021 - The latest flight news to Croatia as Aegean Airlines' Athens-Zagreb flights will not operate this summer. 

Croatian Aviation reports that Greek national airline, Aegean Airlines, has stopped selling all tickets on the direct route between Athens and Zagreb for this summer season.

Greece's national carrier withdrew ticket sales this weekend on a regular route between Athens and Zagreb Airport. Although in mid-January this year, the company announced the reintroduction of regular lines from Athens to Zagreb, Split, and Dubrovnik, in the meantime, there have been operational changes.

As announced earlier, the line to Split was canceled, while the first flights to Zagreb and Dubrovnik were announced for May. The company has now further reduced its network of destinations for the summer season, with no connection to Zagreb available. 

Aegean Airlines launched a regular flight between Athens and Zagreb in May 2018 and operated on it three times a week with DashQ400 aircraft. The line also operated in the winter flight schedule but reduced, with a short break in January and February 2019.

At the end of 2019, the company announced that it would introduce larger aircraft on the route to Zagreb in the 2020 summer season (A319 and A320 aircraft), but this did not happen due to the global pandemic, and the route was suspended. Although according to the company's announcements, Aegean was expected to operate to Zagreb in the summer of this year, according to the latest information, this will not happen, and the chances that the line will be renewed in the winter flight schedule this year are almost non-existent.

The only destination of the Greek national airline this summer in Croatia is Dubrovnik, according to which Aegean Airlines planes should operate from June 19, initially twice a week, on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Zagreb remains connected to Athens by the regular line of Croatia Airlines (with a stop in Dubrovnik), which should start operating on Thursday, July 1. Flights on this line are announced three times a week; on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, and tickets are on sale on the official website of Croatia Airlines.

Follow the latest on flights to Croatia HERE and the latest travel updates and COVID-19 news from Croatia HERE.

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

AquaWeb Tests Possibility of Getting Water from Air for Agriculture in Zadar

May the 11th, 2021 - One Zadar-based test run by AquaWeb is seeing how much water can be obtained from the air in a bid to help out agriculture and other forms of food production in Croatia.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, the very first biomimetic company in Croatia operates under the name CROdelicious, the director is Ana Yael Prelog, while the co-owner, known for numerous international environmental projects, is Croatian-American scientist Anamarija Frankic, who teaches coastal ecosystem management and biomimicry at the University of Massachusetts.

The American team in which her students participated in the creation of the biomimetic design of AquaWeb, which involves obtaining water from the air for local food production, won two international awards. Back in 2017 it took home first prize at the Global Biomimicry Design Challenge, as well as the Ray of Hope Prize.

Today, AquaWeb design in Croatia is marketed through CROdelicious, and the system will be tested out on the agricultural property of the University of Zadar - Bastica. At this stage, it is still a pilot project, implemented in cooperation with the Zadar County Development Agency Zadar Nova, meaning that the planning, design and construction of AquaWeb has played a key part of the "AdriaClima" project which is worth a total of 8.8 million euros.

"In general, the goal is to strengthen the adaptation and resilience of local communities to climate change, which we're witnessing today," said the director of the aforementioned development agency Marina Dujmovic Vukovic.

This innovative solution by AquaWeb is based on the absorption of water from the air and its subsequent storage, and according to Frankic, AquaWeb wants to show how it is possible to ensure on-site water availability and the proper irrigation of small agricultural areas, especially in periods of water deficit.

''AquaWeb acts as an absorbing infrastructure for atmospheric water, mimicking the way a spider's web collects water, water storage techniques modelled on various succulent plants, then the transportation of the water like mycelium and structural support in the form of honeycombs. In nature, there are hydrophilic and hydrophobic nanostructures in which different species in nature absorb water from the air. Therefore, this project is based on nanotechnologies,'' explained Frankic, adding that she got Fulbright to establish a course in Biomimicry at the Department of Ecology, Agronomy and Aquaculture at the University of Zadar.

In a wave of rapid development, especially over the last 25 years under the pressure of climate change, in parallel with the search for answers to this great threat to the economy, biomimicry is entering into all pores of modern business. It is also present in all scientific disciplines, biomimetic technology, medicine, architecture, design, engineering… It is estimated that about 45 billion US dollars account for investments managed by companies that support bioinspired innovations. Frankic claims that solutions on this basis do exist in Croatia, they're just not typically recognised and many are not even known of.

AquaWeb's new initiative for a greater impact of the principle of biomimicry on the business of entities in various industries is already attracting interest and cooperation. A team of young experts, including Matej Vucic (biology), Naum Kiceec (marketing), Marin Bosnjak and Marko Mataic (IT), is creating the first Croatian startup for agriculture based on biomimetics. They intend to put the projects they are preparing for EU funding into money through cooperation in agricultural production, including the networking of interested family farms (OPGs), as well as the introduction of this approach to other activities in a multidisciplinary way, from the construction sector to that of energy.

''Our idea is to facilitate business processes based on biomimicry and through innovative technologies to gain greater value, not only in business on self-sustainable principles, but for society as a whole, our environment and the entire country,'' stated Kiceec.

Biomimicry is gaining more and more importance, explained Frankic, because there is no waste in nature, everything is efficient, multifunctional and sustainable on the basis of collaboration, and not just in competition as we're taught. In biomimicry, we can learn how to be self-sustaining, thus, based on the results of monitoring in Zadar's Bastica, guidelines will be planned for the further implementation and application of innovative technologies and ''nature based'' biomimetic solutions in agriculture and in self-sustainable local development.

Depending on the results, activities and planning for potential commercial production will continue, and given climate change and the dire need for water, the sky quite literally is the limit for AquaWeb's praiseworthy idea.

For more, follow our lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Zagreb Delt Papir Company's Products Present on Foreign Markets

May the 11th, 2021 - The Zagreb Delt Papir company did well over the last year as the coronavirus pandemic swept through Croatia, Europe and the rest of the world and we needed more... toilet paper.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Sergej Novosel Vuckovic writes, the pandemic which struck during spring last year was a prime time for production for the Zagreb Delt Papir company, and it was necessary for them to work in three shifts at their Jankomir plant, because due to the general shortage of toilet paper throughout Europe, many turned to them to meet their increasing demands.

The Zagreb Delt Papir company sometimes had to reject requests for more of their products, but despite that, the whole of 2020 can be considered successful for this enterprise, not only by the fact that with revenues of 130 million kuna they approached the levels of their record year of pre-pandemic 2019, but also because of the fact that at the end of the year they started working on the conceptual design of their brand new Ola’la products.

Launched only relatively recently, a few years after their last hit, which was lemon-scented kitchen towels, the Zagreb Delt Papir company has marketed new types of rolls of paper towels and toilet paper.

“We started this story by deciding to make a roll of paper towels that is very tall, as tall as 27 centimetres, and the cellulose we use has much stronger absorbent properties and pronounced strength. We focused on gathering the experiences of our customers and designed a product tailored to every modern household - Ola’la Butler paper towels in three packaging variants. The product is for every household, regardless of whether the person spends very little time there or a lot (today a large number of people work from home),'' stated the directors and co-owners of the Zagreb Delt Papir company, Krunoslav Kisak and Alen Krajacic.

The Zagreb Delt Papir products also meet strict environmental certificates, since their so-called ''I’m green foil'' is made from 60 percent green polyethylene derived from sugar cane.

We're paying more and more attention to the materials, so we "wrapped" the entire professional segment in ''I'm green'' foil. In the production process, we recycle all recycled surpluses and reuse them in certain products,'' they explained from Delt Papir. The new paper, Ola’la Premium, is said to be made with new technology.

"We use super soft, but very durable cellulose that leaves a soft touch on the skin. We believe that there can be no room for compromise when it comes to personal hygiene because, as we've been witnessing for more than a year now, it's extremely closely related to health,'' the company's leaders noted.

With cellulose, as an unsustainable raw material in the production of a necessary item, things are becoming more difficult and more expensive.

''The prices of raw materials have been rising sharply for all raw materials, especially when it comes to paper and packaging (cardboard and foil), and accordingly, production prices are rising sharply. The predictions are that it will continue to grow, and we're following the trends with the hope that this disturbance on the market will slowly come back under control,'' they explained. Since they're innovating as a company, at the beginning of last summer they were able to adapt to the conditions of the pandemic and introduce a new product: protective masks, which were also in short supply on the market, even in the case of those produced in China.

"Yes, last year we decided to go with a new production segment practically overnight because we struggled with the purchase of protective masks for our employees. Today, we're present in large retail chains such as Lidl and Kaufland, and more recently on the shelves of Dm, and we also supply various distributors. The market struggle with cheaper Chinese goods is of course present, but given our certifications and Croatian production, we try to be competitive and continue with this segment because the demand for masks is actually increasing. So far, we've produced and sold more than ten million masks,'' stated Kisak and Krajacic.

The Zagreb Delt Papir company currently has 85 employees, with their number growing to 100 in the event of higher demand for their products. The company exports 53 percent of its production to 26 countries, to most of the EU and Switzerland, and their new markets are Finland, Iceland, Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

For more, follow Made in Croatia.

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Justice Ministry Confirms: Brits Can Purchase Croatian Property

May the 11th, 2021 - With Brexit finally over after what seemed like an endless period of news headlines about the 2016 referendum which caused a deep rift for the British public with the question of all questions - mopping up and tying up loose ends has begun. The Justice Ministry has just confirmed that Brits may purchase Croatian property.

As UK in Croatia, the British Embassy in Croatia's platform announced on Twitter, British nationals are free to purchase Croatian property despite no longer being citizens of the EU. 

As the Ministry of Justice writes, if you're a citizen or a legal entity from any of the EU member states, you acquire the right of ownership of property in the Republic of Croatia under the preconditions valid for the acquisition of ownership for Croatian citizens and legal entities based in the Republic of Croatia. In this case, you do not need the consent of the Minister of Justice and Administration in order to acquire Croatian property rights.

If you're a citizen of the Swiss Confederation, you acquire the right of ownership of real estate in the Republic of Croatia under the preconditions that apply to the acquisition of property rights for citizens of the Republic of Croatia and legal entities based in the Republic of Croatia, except in the case of property in what are listed as exempt locations, and again, the consent of the Minister of Justice is not required to purchase Croatian property. When submitting a proposal for registration of ownership to the competent land registry court, you should enclose with other documentation a confirmation of your application for temporary residence.

Foreign nationals from outside the EU and the Swiss Confederation

Giving consent for the acquisition of property rights of foreign persons in the Republic of Croatia is decided in administrative proceedings at the request of a foreign person intending to puchase Croatian property or otherwise acquire ownership of a property, if you're a citizen of a country with which there is reciprocity with Croatia in this regard.

The procedure is conducted in accordance with the provisions of the Law on Property and the Law on General Administrative Procedure. The request (which must be written) must be submitted directly to the competent office or sent by mail to the following address:

Ministry of Justice and Administration of the Republic of Croatia
Directorate for Civil, Commercial and Administrative Law
Ulica grada Vukovara 49, 10000 Zagreb

The written request must be accompanied by:

- The legal basis for the acquisition of ownership (a purchase contract, a gift contract, a maintenance contract, etc.) in the original or a certified copy,

- Proof of ownership of the seller of the property in question, ie an excerpt from the land register,

- A certificate of the administrative body responsible for urban planning and physical planning, according to the place where the property is located, on the legal status of the property (example: whether or not the property is located within the construction area provided by the urban plan), 

- Proof of citizenship of the acquirer (a certified copy of their passport, etc.) or proof of the status of a legal entity (such as an excerpt from the court register), if the acquirer is a foreign legal entity,

- In the case of the applicant being represented by a proxy, it is then necessary to submit proof of the handing over og power of attorney in an original or a certified copy,

- If the applicant hasn't appointed a proxy to represent them, and is located abroad, then they're obliged to appoint a proxy to receive letters of residence in the Republic of Croatia,
proof of a paid administrative fee in the amount of 35.00 kuna in accordance with Tar. no. 88 item 1 of the Regulation on the Tariff of Administrative Fees.

An administrative fee also needs to be paid for the decision on the application for approval to acquire property ownership rights in the Republic of Croatia in the amount of 70.00 kuna, and for any possible supplement to the application (in case certain documents are missing, etc) in the amount of 15.00 kuna.

A quick remark:

The party shall be invited to submit, within a reasonable period of time implied, other documents, if they are deemed necessary in the proceedings.

Administrative fees in the amount of up to 100.00 kuna can end up needing to be paid, and regardless of the amount, fees can be paid through the e-fee system and to the prescribed account, or through a universal payment order to the account of the State Budget of the Republic of Croatia, the details of which are as follows:

IBAN HR1210010051863000160
Enter the number 64 (model) in the first box of the universal order
Enter (in the second field) the universal order number 5002

In the case of the payment being made by a Croatian citizen, their OIB must be entered next to the number 5002, and in the case when the foreseen amount is paid by a foreigner, then the number 721 and their OIB must be entered after the number 5002.

Proof of payment of the administrative fee must be attached by the person submitting the request, or by their proxy, together with all other necessary documentation.

For more, follow our lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

"Rehearsal" Croatian Events Begin, People Will be Divided into 2 Groups

May the 11th, 2021 - As the coronavirus pandemic continues, Croatia is trying to prepare for yet another summer tourist season with large question marks hanging over its head despite the vaccination process picking up both here and in our emitting markets. Croatian events, such as concerts and other such events will be an important topic to look into as the season approaches.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the director of the Croatian Institute of Public Health, Krunoslav Capak, said on Monday that intensively discussed trial-controlled Croatian events with several visitors would be held this week in the style of rehearsals, and expressed confidence that such pilot projects would go well and that there would be no new cases of infection as a result of them.

"It's something that is being discussed intensively at the moment. There was some information recently from the catering industry and the wedding industry about it. There will be rehearsals, in fact a project in which we will gather two different populations of people in two places,'' said Capak at a press conference within the scope of the Zivjeti zdravo/Live healthy project.

There will be 80 people in one place, and 120 in another. It will bring together people who have been vaccinated, those who have a certificate of having overcome the disease caused by the novel coronavirus or those who will be tested for the virus just before the event takes place. After seven days, they will undertake PCR tests to see if there has been any spread of the disease during the trial Croatian events.

"We don't expect that there will be any new cases of infection as a result of this, and some similar activities have already been carried out in other places in world. Some also did PCR tests after such events and they got good results, there were no new cases. We hope that all this will go well together and that we will enter June in a more relaxed atmosphere,'' said Capak.

Since the rehearsal Croatian events idea is a pilot project, the organisers must know exactly who is coming and those individuas must have all the documents needed for epidemiological monitoring following the event, he explained.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including travel, border and quarantine rules, as well as the locations of vaccination points and testing centres across the country, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Monday, 10 May 2021

Best Zagreb Mayor By Historians: Historians Shouldn't Rate, But Većeslav Holjevac Takes Lead

May 11, 2021 - Ahead of the local elections, following the death of Milan Bandić the and troubling issues Zagreb is facing at the moment, TCN reporter Ivor Kruljac wondered who is the best Zagreb mayor by historians.

With the local elections happening in Croatia this Sunday, just as every year, 2021 is no exception, with all eyes directed on Zagreb. This is no surprise, given that, for better or worse, Zagreb is the capital city, the center of politics, culture, science, education, and the spot where Croatians from other smaller towns, villages, etc. come in search of a job and new opportunities. You may not necessarily need to leave the country to leave your dreams, and despite other regions of Croatia slowly but surely developing, Zagreb is still considered by many as the necessary place to go to achieve something.

And this year, the eyes are even watching in even bigger suspense; Milan Bandić, who was the first man of the city for 20 years, passed away in February. The ever-controversial political figure (now replaced by his deputy Jelena Pavičić Vukićević, who also runs in the elections) suspected of corruption, being arrested during his mandate and on several trials, left lots of unresolved issues which the new mayor will have to address in the city's administration. Additionally, the current corona crisis caused some new challenges, and last year's earthquakes and city reconstructions are still a hot political topic among citizens.

Zagreb: History of overcoming the crisis

Challenging circumstances in 2021, no doubt, but certainly nothing Zagreb isn't used to. While settlements on the city's territory date earlier, the first mentions of Zagreb are linked with establishing of Capitol Diocese in 1094. Since then, diseases, earthquakes, floods various wars (WW1 and WW11 included, as well as the 90s war Croatians commonly refer to as the Homeland War), disrupt the peaceful life of Zagreb citizens. The city still stands. But of course, these different troubling contexts were handled not just by citizen's persistence but also by the city's authorities and leaders.

Throughout the turbulent history, Zagreb had, concluding with current deputy Jelena Pavičić Vukičević, a total of 53 mayors. The first one was as, Povijest.hr writes, Janko Kamauf, whose term lasted six years, from May 15, 1851, to 1857. He was a former city judge of Gradec, a title whose authorities basically made him the mayor of Gradec. Following the unification of rival Gradec and Kaptol into one city in 1850, he was elected to be the first leader of a city whose population at the time counted 16,036 people.


Janko Kamauf painted by Bela Čikoš Sesija, showcased in Zagreb City Museum © Unkown author, Wikipedia

He was the first, but was he the best?

I asked several historians if could they rate and pronounce in their opinion, with regards to the specific contexts, who was the best Zagreb mayor, from Kamauf to Vukičević Pavičić.

Two votes for Većeslav Holjevac!

 „I'm not into grading, that's not a historian's task. Our task is to explain and put on the table facts and context of events“, said Ivo Goldstein when I asked him about the best mayor of Zagreb.

Ivo Goldstein may be best known to the Croatian public as a harsh critic of the far-right and the fascist regime of the Independent State of Croatia. As a Historian, he took an interest in various topics related to Croatian history.

At the start of his career, his focus was on Byzantine Empire and Croatian Middle Age History as well as the history of Jews in Croatia. In mid 90's he moved to the various aspects of Croatian history in the 20th century.

He was a professor of various history courses „General History of the Middle Age“ (1984-2003), history of methodology (1991-1996), and many more and today a full-time professor at the Department of History on The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, the University of Zagreb (where he mastered and later completed his Ph.D. thesis at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Belgrade).  

Goldstein's scientific papers received positive acclaim in various countries worldwide, he hosted various projects scientific projects and associations and is very active in Croatian public space when it comes to historical issues that shape the ideas and decisions of current policies in Croatia.

ivo_goldstein_screenshot_HRT_Nedjeljom_u_2.jpgIvo Goldstein / screenshot HRT Nedjeljom u 2

Upon explaining the role of historians, professor Goldstein nevertheless didn't mind giving his personal opinion.

„For me, there is no doubt that the best mayor of Zagreb is Većeslav Holjevac“, said Goldstein.

Većeslav Holjevac was the Mayor of Zagreb from 1952-1963 and his eleven-year mandate saw Zagreb develop and spread as the city.

„At that time, Zagreb was the capital city of Socialist Republic of Croatia, which was part of Yugoslavia. Holjevac saw a boost by liberal politics, it was the time of growth and optimism and Holjevac knew how to use it. He was a man of action and used Yugoslavia's opening to the world to Zagreb's benefit“, explained Goldstein.

He added that Holjevac didn't want to be perceived as some sort of transmission of higher state authorities. He didn't hide behind forums and was an independent, free-minded politician, which made him known and beloved among citizens.

„But it made him unloved among the higher power of authority which ended his mandate, although we historically don't know the real reason why Holjevac stopped being mayor“, Goldstein pointed out the mystery which is yet to be cleared up by historians.

The key term of Holjevac's mandate is the General Urban Plan which saw the development of the Most Slobode (Bridge of Freedom), expansion of Zagreb city to south across Sava river, and what today is Novi Zagreb (New Zagreb), as well as building up Zagreb Airport.

„Holjevac knew how to surround himself with good associates who were both dreamers and experts. Holjevac also engaged himself in the projects and his associates felt safe and that he got their back“, explained Goldstein.

The best example of that boldness and visionary approach can be seen in the Zagreb fair which was at that time located at the place of today's Student Centre in Savska.

„The fair needed expansion but was surrounded by railroad tracks everywhere, and the question was how to expand it. There were several options, but Holjevac decided to take it across the Sava river, and it happened. It was quickly constructed, and the first fair on newly build location was the Autumn fair in 1956. and it was the biggest event of its kind in the world back then“, said Goldstein, gladly adding he even had a chance to meet Holjevac as a 12-year-old since the mayor knew his father, an established Croatian intellectual, and politician, Slavko Goldstein.


Većeslav Holjevac © Udruga Kameleon / Wikipedia

Hrvoje Klasić was professionally most occupied by Većeslav Holjevac, so he also shares Goldstein's opinion about Većeslav Holjevac.

„In a sentence: Zagreb has never been more developed as it was after Holjevac“, summarized Klasić.

Hrvoje Klasić graduated in 1997 from the Department of History, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Zagreb. At the same University, he defended his dissertation entitled “1968 in Yugoslavia. Socio-economic changes in an international context”. Since 2003 he has been employed as a professor at the same Faculty and University.

Today, he holds a number of courses related to the world and national history of the 20th century.

Hrvoje Klasić also won the Annual Award of the Association of University Teachers and other Scholars in Zagreb in 2006. That same year he won the Annual Award of Sisak City for the Book „Croatian Spring in Sisak”. He is the author of 3 more books and the author of two documentary series „Croatian Spring“, and “The Independent State of Croatia” produced by Croatian Television. In 2017 The Serb National Council in Croatia gave him an award for the improvement of Croatian-Serbian relations. In 2019 he won the Award for the promotion of peacebuilding, nonviolence, and human rights.


Hrvoje klasić © Hrvoje Klasić

„Most people don't know that Holjevac technically wasn't a mayor, rather he was a president of the City's National Council“, explained Klasić the precision of the functions in the previous Yugoslavian state. He added that while his term lasted from 1952-1963, that is only partially true because he was first appointed to lead Zagreb in 1945.

„In 1945, he was named the city commander who was a military function but he was also in charge of food, traffic, working with several refugees after World War 2 until he gave the control over to civilian bodies“, describes Klasić.

Holjevac then moved on to be the minister of work and traffic in the Social Federal Republic of Croatia. However, at that time, Yugoslavia was going under a change in its political institutions by the self-governing policy which went under parole „factories to workers, cities to citizens“, and as a result, Holjevac 's ministry was shut down. His return to the top position in Zagreb happened without him even knowing.

„As part of self-governing, the Communist Party in Zagreb searched for someone who isn't just going to execute orders from above but instead is an individual that has quality, creativity and will make its own decisions. Holjevac was elected during a meeting he wasn't even present on, and some members of the party were worried is it smart to give Zagreb to a person who is from Karlovac“, said Klasić.

As Goldstein already mentioned, his term lasted over a decade, and Klasić adds that was a very unusual duration at the time.

While Goldstein already mentioned the traffic connections of Zagreb, Klasić said it is very hard to count everything Holjevac built, but he put focus on the industry. Industrial plants of organic-chemical industry, Zagreb heating plant, industrial plants of Pliva pharmaceuticals, Chromos paint company, Kemika, Zvijezda company, Katran, Badel company for alcohol spirits, an ice rink on Šalata, winter pool and gymnastics gyms on Mladost, Yugoton record company, Jadran Film, TV tower on Sljeme, Zagreb drama theatre, an emergency room in Draškovićeva, various elementary and high-schools, and began construction of Vatroslav Lisinski concert hall and more.

„Before Holjevac, there were 40,000 workers in Zagreb. After Holjevac, there was 110,000“, said Klasnić to illustrate the results which made the city the strongest industrial center in Yugoslavia. Apart from industry, Holjevac put a lot of focus on culture and education, as evident by building Workers University Moša Pijade for adult education (today's Public Open University Zagreb) and culture.

Holjevac's „Jump over Sava“ was done on the one hand to prevent interventions in old Zagreb, and on the other, the organizational construction of Novi (New) Zagreb saw the workers live close to the newly built factories.

As Goldstein already referred to Zagreb Fair as perhaps the most significant project of Holjevac's mandate, Klasić added that the unique geopolitical position of Yugoslavia as the bridge between east and west, thanks to the non-aligned movement, made the fair a key place worldwide.


Southern entrance of Zagreb Fair in 2020 © Zagrebački Velesajam

„The fair was not just important for holding exhibitions, but for making deals and signing contracts as well. Given Belgrade was the capital of Yugoslavia, there were pressures to have such a fair there, and there were even boycotts from Belgrade to Zagreba Fair events. However, Holejvac being both persistent and enjoying support by the Yugoslavian president Marshall Josip Broz Tito, managed to keep this significant place in Zagreb“, explained Klasić.

When asked about resentment of other politicians, and the unclear mystery of concluding his mandate, Klasić said he had a chance to look at archives about Holjevac while working on an exhibition about him, and he feels that the situation is much simpler.

„Holjevac basically left due to the same politics that got him to be the mayor in the first place. The Self-Governing model started descending to the lower levels of the system and started searching for creative people. In 1963, a new constitution was brought that further developed the political system to give City Assembly more power accenting the community governing Zagreb. Holjevac's president of City's National Council title has shut down, and the president of Assembly became the first man of Zagreb.

Rotation of politicians as well as limited mandate time was arranged too“, explained Klasić.

He added, however, that it is problematic that an experienced, capable, brave, and brilliant man like Holjevac wasn't put to better use after he stopped being mayor and played bigger roles in Yugoslavian political life.

There isn't the best, only good and bad mayors

Unfortunately, other historians, I contacted (and of course, I couldn't contact every single one, who knows who else might be interested to participate), didn't respond to my inquiry. While Ivo Goldstein explained rating mayors isn't historian's job, Stevo Đurašković, professor at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Zagreb, further elaborated the problem of my question.

„I'm not a fan of such an approach to the topic like it's a miss pageant. In Zagreb's history (as in good portions of cities around the world). There were several great mayors, again, each in its own historical context“, explained Đurašković.


Stevo Đurašković, screenshot / N1

Stevo Đurašković is an Assistant professor at the Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Zagreb, where he teaches courses in politics of history and Croatian history. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Ljubljana and his MA in Central European History from the History Department at the Central European University, Budapest. His research interests include the politics of history, intellectual history, and national identity-building processes in East-Central and Southeastern Europe. Recently he published the book The Politics of History in Croatia and Slovakia in the 1990s (2016). Participated in several international projects, including “Identity Reader: Regional Identity Discourses in Central and Southeast Europe, 1775-1945” (CAS, Sofia). He is a member of the editorial board of the Cultures of History Forum (Imre Kertész Kolleg, University of Jena). In 2009/2010. He was a Ph.D. research fellow at the Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences, Comenius University, Bratislava (CEEPUS grant, Visegrad Fund grant).

In other words, an expert in his respective field with a valid and knowledgeable opinion.

„Milan Amruš and Većeslav Holjevac were great mayors. How to determine if Amruš's development of pre-war Zagreb is greater than Holjevac's post-war development of Zagreb?“ concluded Đurašković his decline to comment who would be the best mayor of Zagreb.

Speaking of Amruš, he was Zagreb mayor in two separate mandates, the first one lasting from 1890 to 1892 and the second from 1904 to 1910. Lice Grada reports that some of the accomplishments in Maruš terms include electrification of the city, and building up Munjara Power Plant (in 1906 and 1907). Under Amruš's mandate, the website continues, horse trams were replaced by electric trams in 1909 and new tram lines and the expansion of the previous one from Ilica to Topnička Barracks were constructed. In addition, 1890 saw lower and upper Zagreb connected by a funicular.


Milan Amruš © Unknown author Wikipedia

Đurašković also added in his decline that Pero Pirker is often „a forgotten mayor“, and Klasić mentioned him as the Holjevac's successor. Mentions of Pirker are also noted on Nacionalne Manjine (National Minorities) site that declared Pirker as a noted Zagreb mayor. 

"There is no doubt that Pirker is one of the most capable, most successful, and in its time an extremely popular mayor. But it is stunning that for political reason, considering he was one of the established champions of Croatian Spring in 1972, his work was completely silenced not only until the 1990s but also later“, wrote Goran Beus Richembergh for Nacionalne Manjine. 

It's worth noting that the Croatian Spring was a reawakening of national identity which paved the way for the country's independence and the dissolution of Yugoslavia, on which TCN reported on its 50th anniversary earlier this year.

In Pirker's time, the Great flood that sank Zagreb in 1964 was truly the historical challenge of his mandate.

„It was a natural disaster of great extent, and the entire previous state (Yugoslavia) was involved in sanitation and help was arriving from all over the world. But, the biggest responsibility for the coordination of help, sanitation of the damage, taking care of the casualties, and building new homes was carried out by Zagreb's authorities, lead by Pirker who showed to be a skillful manager and successful in various projects“, described Beus Richembergh. 

Amruš had the challenge to electrify Zagreb to keep up with other European capitals, Holjevac had the challenge of restoring and developing the city post WW2, and Pirker had the flood.


Pero Pirker (on the left) © Croatian Journalist Association / Wikipedia

Both corona and earthquake, as well as the mess suspected to find post-Bandić, are all just another challenge in the history of a town that is used to be challenged and always dancing victory laps. 

While Đurašković explained comparisons of what was the most difficult challenge and who was the best mayor make no sense, Goldstein and Klasnić presented their pick. But, as respectable historians they are, they emphasized that it is their opinion and not an empirical fact, even though their arguments are both knowledgable and well explained.

In the end, politics should be about making people's lives better and not about chasing crowns or historical acknowledgments. And as Zagreb really needs a quality leader, the only logical conclusion is: may the best candidate wins, and may purgers recognize the best man or women for Zagreb to once again wave the middle finger to the aftermaths of the recent crisis as it overcomes them.

Learn more about Zagreb on our TC page.

For more about history in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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