Sunday, 24 October 2021

Croatians Save 15% More on Average Than Last Year, Survey Shows

ZAGREB, 24 Oct, 2021 - Croatian citizens set aside HRK 549 in savings a month on average, 15% more than last year, according to the findings of a survey done by the IMAS agency this past July and August.

The survey covered a little over 500 respondents and was commissioned by the Erste Group.

The findings show that men save HRK 593 a month on average and women HRK 507.

Eighty-two percent of men as well as women consider saving important or very important.

One of the aims of the survey was to find out how the long period of low interest impacted people's saving habits. According to the findings, 25% of respondents keep the money saved in their current account, 15% invested by buying real estate, and 37% did not change anything.

As for the reasons for saving, 67% respondents save for unexpected situations, 43% to have financial resources for themselves and their families, 18% for retirement, 16% for major purchases such as a home, car or mobile, 15% for travel, and 10% for education.

Forty percent of respondents save using savings accounts, while 3% invest in real estate.

In central and east Europe, Austrians save the most per month with €344 on average, €72 more than last year, followed by Slovaks with €123 and the Czech with €119, both €10 more than in 2020.

Besides Austrians, Hungarians had the highest annual increase in monthly savings, by €19 to €82.

Croats save €72 on average, Romanians €58 and Serbs €47. In all countries most respondents save for a rainy day, including 94% of Slovaks.

The findings show that the pandemic has not significantly impacted saving habits, with 77% of respondents saying they save about as much as before COVID-19, including 87% of those aged 15-34.

As to the impact of the pandemic on their general financial situation, 50% of respondents said it was mildly negative, 35% said it had no impact, and 10% said the impact was strong.

Seventy-one percent of Austrians and 67% of Czechs believe the pandemic had no impact on them, while 18% of Hungarians and Serbians as well as 13% of Romanians said it had a strong negative impact.

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For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, 24 October 2021

President Calls on Makarska Citizens to Absorb As Much EU Money As Possible

ZAGREB, 24 Oct, 2021 - President Zoran Milanović on Sunday attended the special session of the city assembly of Makarska on the occasion of the day of that Adriatic city, and commended local residents for having done a lot for their community.

Addressing the session, the president called on the local authorities and citizens to make use of the funds available under the EU funding schemes as much as possible.

"Take the money from the EU funds and be greedy within the rules," he said.

He presented that data showing that since Croatia's admission to the EU eight years ago, the money disbursed to Croatia exceeded Zagreb's contributions to the EU budget by HRK 43 billion.

This means that the payments to Croatia were by 5 billion kuna higher than Croatia's contributions annually, he said elaborating that of those 5 billion per year, three billion were earmarked for agriculture, and "you have nothing of that", he said.

He praised the current generation of Makarska citizens of being on the right track.

You live in a small and relatively wealthy community with the resources that are not unlimited, he said, among other things, urging them to rely on their own resources to upgrade their community.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, 24 October 2021

Experts at Catholic Social Week Warn About Croatia’s Demographic Crisis

ZAGREB, 24 Oct, 2021- The Sixth Croatian Social Week, which was organised by the Catholic Church in the country, on Saturday adopted a declaration which underscores that Croatia is in a deep demographic crisis and calls on the authorities to take measures to halt negative trends.

The declaration, adopted at the end of the event that brought together about 200 participants, warns about a demographic failure in Croatia due to the intensive decrease in the number of newborns and demographic ageing.

The document says that the country lacks a long-term strategy and a supra-party policy to address the issue.

The declaration recommends that the population strategies should encompass pro-natalist and moderate migration policies.

The participants in the event concluded that in the future Croatia would have to cope to a greater extent with the issues regarding migrations.

They also call for more attention to be paid to expats coming back to Croatia.

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For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, 24 October 2021

Dubrovnik Among Best Meeting Destinations in Region

ZAGREB, 24 Oct, 2021 - Dubrovnik is the best meeting destination in Central and Southeast Europe for 2021 in the category of destinations that can host up to 1,200 congress attendees, according to a regional magazine specialised in business tourism, Kongres Magazine.

The Croatian National Tourism Board (HTZ) reported on this success and Dubrovnik's congress offer last Monday, and HTZ director Kristjan Staničić underscored the importance of such recognition, especially during a pandemic, when business tourism was one of the segments that suffered the most.

He believes that the fact that Dubrovnik and some other Croatian destinations are on Kongres Magazine's list of best regional meeting destinations would greatly help efforts to further position Croatia as a destination for business travel.

The Dubrovnik Tourist Board considers this prestigious recognition important and a prize to everyone in business tourism.

Kongres Magazine published a list of the best meeting destinations in Central and Southeast Europe for this year "Meeting Experience Index 2021", which in addition to Dubrovnik, includes the Croatian cities of Split, Opatija, Rovinj and Šibenik.

In the other categories, Vienna was named the best meeting destination that can host more than 2,000 attendees, Tallinn was the best in the category of up to 2,000 attendees and was followed by Ljubljana and Zagreb, the Slovenian seaside resort of Bohinj in the category of up to 700 attendees, and Prague was the best destination of the New Europe region.

According to the HTZ, the list of the best meeting destinations is based on a complex rating system and in-depth analysis of key segments of the business travel industry, which includes 75 evaluation criteria.

This year Dubrovnik started with business meeting after last year's break due to the pandemic, so the first large international meeting was in June, the ASTA conference with 150 US travel agents, the HTZ recalled.

By the end of the year, many more conferences, corporate events and meeting will take place in Dubrovnik, and in October 2022 the M&I Forum for professionals in the congress industry will take place, the HTZ said.

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

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, 24 October 2021

How Difficult Is It to Learn the Croatian Language?

October 24, 2021 - I don't consider myself halfway to being able to speak the Croatian language fluently, but I think there are definitely some factors that have helped me streamline the process and that can help you as well, and they are worth sharing.

It is unlikely, but not impossible, to find someone who wants to study the Croatian language without a particular reason, that is, for the simple fact of learning Croatian. Especially if you are someone with no background in Slavic language learning, it can be quite challenging, and for many even demotivating. Among those who studied the Croatian language out of curiosity, I found Erasmus students from countries such as Poland, Ukraine, or the Czech Republic, and I have also met people from Bosnia, Slovenia, and Macedonia, who despite speaking different languages, studied Croatian without problems or spoke it very fluently in very little time.

It was not the case of my colleagues from countries like Italy, Spain, Portugal, England, or France. Neither was it for me, from Peru, nor my friends from Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, or Colombia, of which the vast majority studied the language as part of the scholarship offered by the Central Office of the State for Croats outside the Republic of Croatia, with the intention of learning more about the country of their ancestors or taking the first steps within their new life project in Croatia. Our vocabularies, grammar rules, and even alphabets may be relatively similar, but they are very different from those of the Slavic languages. Along the way, one notices that certain words can be shared and thus help to understand in a certain way the context of what is heard or read, but by no means reveal their full meaning.

Some examples are:

  • situation (English) - situación (Spanish) - situacija (Croatian)
  • politician - político - političar
  • museum - museo - muzej
  • linguistics - linguística - lingvistika

On the other hand, as in Croatian, we also conjugate verbs almost exclusively for each noun according to whether it is first, second or third person, or if it is singular or plural. While in English it is possible that verbs change very little under these same considerations.

For example, with the verb eat:

In English (to eat):

  • I eat.
  • You eat.
  • (He/she/it) eats.
  • We eat.
  • You eat.
  • They eat.

In Spanish (comer):

  • Yo como.
  • Tú comes.
  • (Él/ella) come.
  • Nosotros comemos.
  • Ustedes comen.
  • Ellos comen.

In Croatian (jesti):

  • Ja jedem.
  • Ti jedeš.
  • On/ona/ono jede.
  • Mi jedemo.
  • Vi jedete.
  • Oni/one/ona jedu.

Those of us who speak Spanish could say that, in a certain way, there are reasons to accommodate ourselves to the study of the Croatian language from certain angles, such as the fact that our language also has a large number of grammatical rules and conjugations, as well as the presence of the genres. However, the Croatian language has declensions, which do not happen in Spanish. For instance:

  • La ciudad. (The city) - Grad (Case: Nominativ)
  • Me voy a la ciudad. (I'm going to the city) - Idem u grad. (Case: Akuzativ)
  • Vivo en la ciudad. (I live in the city) - Živim u gradu. (Case: Lokativ)
  • Junto a la ciudad. (Next to the city) - Pored grade. (Case: Genitiv)
  • Él debatirá con la ciudad. (He will debate with the city) - Raspravljat će s gradom. (Instrumental)

As you can see, in Spanish, the noun city does not change in its form while the case does, but in Croatian, the noun changes its form according to declension. Although I mentioned earlier that in Spanish, as in Croatian, nouns can also be classified by gender, this does not affect the way the verbs that accompany them are conjugated. For instance:

  • Él fue a la ciudad. (He went to the city) / Ella fue a la ciudad. (She went to the city) - Otišao je u grad. / Otišla je u grad.

Also, we are not very used to putting together sentences where nouns are not accompanied by articles. For example:

  • A ellos les gusta la pizza. (They like pizza) - Vole pizzu.

However, some things may be familiar to those who speak English, as the articles next to the nouns are in many cases dispensable, as in the example above. But even if a few little things may favor those who speak English, in the end, they will find themselves entangled in a language laden with declensions and gender, contrary to the neutral language they possess.

Now, I am not a linguistics student, much less an expert, so I do not dare to analyze or delve further into the history and rules of each language. However, and taking into account the advantages and obstacles that can arise when learning a language as challenging as Croatian, I think there are five ways in which you can learn it not only faster and with greater ease, but also in an entertaining way.

1. Enroll in a course to learn the Croatian language

Probably the best alternative, enrolling in a course to learn the Croatian language has many advantages. For example, as you progress through the topics and levels, you will have the opportunity to consult with your teacher, usually someone born in Croatia, about something that you have not understood well or something about which you need more information regarding the Croatian language. Also, the homework assignments and tests that you have to take throughout the course will help you put your learning to the test. You will also have study material that you may not find elsewhere, and you will study with colleagues who probably have the same level as you and in whom you will find support. If you are interested in studying the Croatian language in Croatia, you can review the bases to apply for the Croatian language course scholarship in the Republic of Croatia, or you can also review the courses offered by the Croaticum in Zagreb.

2. Practice with your friends or partner from Croatia

The good thing about having a Croatian-born partner, or Croatian friends, is that you don't need to live in Croatia to practice or continue learning the language. If that person is willing to teach you, and you commit to studying, you will notice that it can be very easy and entertaining. Since they were born in Croatia, you will not only learn grammar rules and declensions, but you will also be able to learn pronunciation. Chances are that they will surely appreciate your interest in learning the language!

3. Be encouraged to speak Croatian in everyday situations

If you live in Croatia, or even if you study the Croatian language there, I can tell you that it is probably not enough to do summaries in your notebook, assignments, exams or many hours of study. In the end, if you are studying a language it is precisely so that you can speak it. It is best to avoid intermediary languages as much as possible. Although in Croatia you will realize that English is spoken by a large part of the population, encourage yourself to practice what you know of Croatian when shopping, at the post office, in a cafe, in the bar, or even with strangers on the street! And there are two reasons why you will love this option. The first reason is that you will gain more confidence to speak Croatian, and the second is because Croatians are aware that their language can be complicated, so they will help you with what you do not know well and will motivate you to continue improving.

4. Watch movies or series with Croatian audio or subtitles

When I arrived in Croatia, several of my Croatian friends recommended me to watch Croatian movies or series, and at first, I thought that it could be a bit cliché and that it might not help me much to learn the language. Yes, it is true that when watching a Croatian movie or series you will not be able to decipher the declensions or understand the grammar rules, but it will help you to associate some expressions, phrases, or common words used by Croats. I would recommend that you first watch movies with audio in your native language or in English, but with Croatian subtitles. Then, try watching movies or series with Croatian audio, and with subtitles in your native language or in English. This way you will practice not only your vocabulary but also your pronunciation and the contexts in which you can use new expressions in Croatian.

5. Change the language of any of your electronic devices

Today, smartphones and other electronic devices have become essential tools to learn a new language or function during a trip abroad. For example, Google Translate works very well for translating from English to Croatian and vice versa, and it continues to improve over time. Nowadays, it allows you not only to translate words or sentences that you write yourself, but you can also upload photos or scan a text in Croatian, and the application will translate it for you very effectively. On the other hand, the latest iPhone and its operating system allow you to detect texts through your camera and even in your photographs, and that way you can achieve results very quickly.

However, my main advice is to change the main language of your phone, at least from time to time. As we are very aware of our phones through social networks or work, it is likely that we have already become accustomed to frequent texts and messages that we see on different platforms: ''send message'', ''log out'', ''update'', ''download video'', ''share image'', ''like'', ''comment'', etc. Once your phone is in another language, you will find the same messages, but this time in Croatian, and with time you can get used to it!

The Croatian language is difficult, but not impossible. Once you find the trick, you will realize that it is a language very rich in history and you will find pleasure and motivation to learn it. Do not be discouraged!

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

Sunday, 24 October 2021

Croatia Underrated: Podcast, Games, Quizzes of Authentic Hidden Gems

October 24, 2021 - From the founder of the innovative Secret Zagreb, a fabulous new journey into the hidden gems of this amazing country - meet Croatia Underrated, a combination of podcast, games and quizzes.

One of the things I love about covering Croatian tourism is meeting so many inspiring and innovative individuals from the private tourism sector. The ideas, knowledge and delivery of these individuals promote the true jewels of authentic Croatia, and they are a refreshing breath of fresh air from the fairly predictable and one dimensional approach of the Kings of Accidental Tourism. 

One young lady whose mind is always ahead of the rest of us with her tourism ideas is Iva Silla, of the award-winning Secret Zagreb. Iva has already done much to develop tourism in the capital with truly unique tours such as the Badass Women of Zagreb, celebrating some of the amazing women who have put their stamp on Zagreb's development throughout history. 

 

Iva is back with a wonderful (and VERY educational) project called Croatia Underrated. Rather than me try and explain it, her she is in her words explaining the Croatia Underrated project:

In recent years, I stopped bothering with the must-sees during my travels. I still make obsessive plans, but I don’t feel like I missed out on something if I don’t do it all. I much rather take a detour and see something less attractive, but far more genuine. I dare you to try a different Croatia. To spice up your must-sees with the unseen. To go places that even the locals often miss. To find your perfect Croatian memory. Croatia Underrated podcast is here to help.

I started Croatia Underrated because there’s so much to do and see all around the country, so many hidden corners to be explored and curious tales to be told… I wanted to share at least some of them. On the other hand, the project started quite spontaneously, when I came upon many poor reviews of Croatian attractions over and over again. Of places that I personally found striking and very special. You can now enjoy my curated list of terrible reviews of Croatian heritage, together with the fun comments as a part of the blog. If you feel those are a bit unfair, you might like the way I see Croatia: as a place of never ending discoveries.

Oh, and when you visit Croatia, make sure to join me on one of my Secret Zagreb tours.

Iva Silla

 croatia-underrated-halloween.JPG

To learn more about the Croatia you never knew, visit the Croatia Underrated website and podcast.

To learn more about the Croatian capital, check out the TC Zagreb in a Page guide.

Sunday, 24 October 2021

Croatia's Coronavirus Update: 2,293 New Cases, 28 Deaths, 1,743 Recoveries

ZAGREB, 24 Oct, 2021 - In the last 24 hours, Croatia has conducted 8,652 coronavirus tests and of them 2,293 (26.5%)  have turned out to be positive, and 28 COVID patients have died, the country's COVID-19 crisis management team reported on Sunday.

Currently, there are 17,841 active cases, and of them 1,091 are hospitalised patients, including 131 placed on ventilators.

Since the first registered case of the infection with the virus on 25 February 2020, 445,325 people have caught it, and of them 9,038 have died and 418,446 have recovered, including 1,743 in the last 24 hours.

To date, over 3.03 million coronavirus tests have been conducted in the country

In Croatia, 55.72% of the adult citizens have fully been vaccinated against this infectious disease.

For more on COVID-19, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, 24 October 2021

Ministry Proposes €4m Aid Scheme for Sugar Beet Farmers

ZAGREB, 24 Oct, 2021 - The Croatian Ministry of Agriculture put a HRK 30 million (€4m) aid scheme for sugar beet producers to public consultation earlier this week.

The scheme will provide financial support to sugar beet farmers facing a slowdown or complete suspension of economic activity caused by the coronavirus pandemic. It should help them recover from losses, provide liquidity, restore the pre-pandemic level of primary production, maintain the present level of employment and prevent disruptions to the food supply chain. 

The ministry said that the pandemic has hit hard nearly all sectors of the economy, including agriculture, and that in the case of cropland it has resulted in a strong decrease in areas sown with sugar beet.

Only 10,200 hectares of land was sown with sugar beet in the pandemic years 2020 and 2021, down by 20.3 percent compared with the pre-pandemic average for 2018-2019 and by nearly 48 percent compared with 2017.

The value of the scheme is HRK 30 million (€4m) and the entire amount will be provided from the state budget. The aid will be allocated in accordance with the Temporary COVID-19 Framework, the ministry said.

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For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, 24 October 2021

Croatia and Bulgaria Declared by Germany as Covid High-risk Areas

ZAGREB, 24 Oct, 2021 - Germany added Croatia and Bulgaria to areas high-risk for Covid-19 on Sunday, triggering a minimum five-day quarantine for unvaccinated or unrecovered travellers arriving from the two countries, the dpa news agency reported on Sunday.

On Friday the Robert Koch Institute announced that Germany had decided to add Croatia to its list of COVID-19 high-risk countries, which means that people who have not been vaccinated or have not recovered from COVID-19 will have to self-isolate for 10 days on arrival from Croatia. Travellers arriving from high-risk countries will be allowed to end their self-isolation after five days if they present a negative test or a vaccination certificate.

 The institute also noted that the decision came into effect on Sunday.

"Three other European Union members - Romania, Lithuania and Slovenia - were already on the list overseen by Germany's Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for disease control," the dpa news agency reported today..

"Globally, some 70 countries are classified high-risk Covid-19 areas by Germany. Anyone who has not recovered or been fully vaccinated and returns to Germany must go into quarantine for 10 days. This period can be shortened if they test negative after five days," dpa says.

In addition to Croatia and Bulgaria, Cameroon, Singapore and the Republic of the Congo were added on Sunday. Kenya, Kosovo, Iraq and Honduras were removed.

For more on COVID-19, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, 24 October 2021

Croatian Tree of 2021 Has Been Chosen Among 13 Candidates

October 24, 2021 - The Croatian Tree of 2021, and which will also represent the country in the European Tree of the Year competition, has been chosen and is the giant sequoia of Slatina, in Slavonia.

The tree of the giant sequoia, also called ''mammoth'', located within the EPIcentre Sequoia Slatina, is about 130 years old and was chosen as the Croatian tree in 2021. This Centennial Giant was protected in 1967 as a monument of park architecture, and today it has been chosen as the Croatian Tree of 2021, reports Turističke Priče.

The story of the giant mammoth in Slatina tells us about this tree as the only protected specimen of this species in the Republic of Croatia and one of the oldest specimens of this species in Europe. Following the horticultural trends of the 19th century, it was planted by the noble Schaumburg-Lippe family, at the same time as the oldest redwoods were planted in England, outside their natural habitat.

These are trees that are naturally distributed in the western part of North America, more precisely in the central part of California (Sierra Nevada) above 1,500 meters above sea level. In Croatia, as in the rest of Europe, redwoods were planted as an ornamental species, but European trees are much smaller than American ones.

Croatian tree in 2021, a candidate for the European tree

In 2021, the Croatian Tree was chosen by as many as 67,231 voters, and the Century Giant in the heart of Slavonia won with 11,042 votes. The second-placed Last Lady of the Podgorica Park had only 99 votes less, and the Brijuni Old Olive and Bricin Hrast from the Lonjsko Polje Nature Park took more than 10,000 votes.

The winner of the national competition Croatian Tree 2021, Public Institution for Management of Protected Areas of Dubrovnik-Neretva County, on behalf of the Republic of Croatia will run for the finals of the European Tree 2022, composed of winners of national competitions of partner countries in the Tree of the Year project.

The organizers of the competition invite all citizens throughout the Republic of Croatia and beyond to get involved in the promotion of biodiversity of the Republic of Croatia, participating in the vote for the European Tree of the Year to be held in early 2022, on World Forest Day (March 21), to declare the winner of the European competition.

So far, the Republic of Croatia has been represented at the European Tree of the Year competition by Platana in Trsteno na trg (2018) with seventh place, Gupčeva lipa (2019) with the eleventh place, Zaljubljeni Ginko from Daruvar (2020) with second place and the oldest Medulinka - Chocolate tree of our memories (2021) with tenth place.

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

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