Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Work Begins on HRK 1.7bn Project to Improve Rijeka's Water Management Infrastructure

ZAGREB, 1 Deceember, 2021 - Work on the project to improve municipal water management infrastructure in the Rijeka area, worth HRK 1.7 billion, will begin this month, a press conference in this northern Adriatic city announced on Wednesday.

The project is co-financed with HRK 1.2 billion (71.33%) from the Operational Programme Competitiveness and Cohesion 2014-2020, and the remaining HRK 505 million (28.67%) will come from national sources, namely 185.1 million from the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development and the state-owned water management company Hrvatske Vode, and 134.6 million from the municipal water and sewage management company.

The project provides for the construction of a waste-water treatment plant, the reconstruction of about 217 kilometres of the sewerage network and 125 pumping stations, and work on about 100 kilometres of the public water supply network in the city of Rijeka and the nearby communities of Kastav, Viškovo, Čavle and Jelenje.

The project is expected to increase connection to the public waste-water drainage system, improve the operation of the existing system and increase the quality of water supply. Connection to the public sewerage system will be increased from the present 75 per cent to about 92 per cent.

The project has been under preparation since 2012 and will be carried out over the next five years.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

145 Lives Saved Thanks to Ana Rukavina Foundation's "I Want Life" Drive

ZAGREB, 1 December, 2021 - This month, as every December, the Ana Rukavina Foundation is organising the "I want life" campaign to raise funds for the enlargement of the Croatian Registry of Haematopoietic Stem Cell Donors, thanks to which 145 lives have been saved to date.

Throughout December, by calling 060 9000, citizens can donate HRK 5 plus VAT to support this noble drive, the Foundation said on Wednesday, adding that its work and advocacy has helped to enlarge the Registry and establish the Ana Rukavina Umbilical Cord Blood Bank as part of the KBC Zagreb hospital.

Over 61,500 potential haematopoietic stem cell donors

The Registry has more than 61,500 potential donors, and to date more than 440 registration drives have been organised in 150 towns.

According to 2014 data, Croatia ranked 11th in the world according to the number of potential haematopoietic stem cell donors per 10,000 population and 8th according to the number of cord blood donations per 10,000.

This year the Ana Rukavina Foundation has donated some HRK 1.3 million to Croatia's healthcare system for equipment and projects, including almost HRK 135,000 worth of human leukocyte antigen typing tests to the KBC Zagreb hospital, and HRK 1 million for equipping one sterile unit at this hospital's pediatric hematology, oncology and stem cell transplantation institute.

The Foundation has also donated HRK 183,000 to a home for children aged 5-17 without parental care which was damaged in last year's earthquakes.

It has also facilitated the specialisation of young Croatian doctors at the world's best hospitals for hematology and pediatrics.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Draft Civic Education Curriculum for High Schools Presented in Rijeka

ZAGREB, 1 December, 2021 - A draft Civic Education curriculum for secondary schools, a pilot project that is being implemented in Rijeka's 1st High School, was presented in that northern Adriatic city on Wednesday and it will be put forward to the Education and Teacher Training Agency to make it an elective subject.

The curriculum "School and community" is intended for second and third-year secondary school students.

The curriculum was devised by Rijeka University, the Zagreb-based Institute for Social Research and the high school from Rijeka participating in the pilot project.

Rijeka University Rector Snježana Prijić Samaržija said that the initiative for Civic Education and the relevant curriculum originated in Rijeka, with the university having launched work on a concept of civic education for secondary school students, aware of an evident deficit of democratic competencies among young people.

She said that in defining the concept, experts followed the best examples in Europe and the rest of the world.

The Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies participated in creating the concept on behalf of Rijeka University.

The pilot project covers 14 third-year students of Rijeka's 1st High School. Its principal, Jane Sclaunich, said students participated in creating the curriculum, choosing topics they were interested in and researching them.

"There is no alternative to democratic citizenship," she said.

Civic Education as elective subject

Since the curriculum was presented to representatives of other high schools from Rijeka and Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, the organisers said they expected several more secondary schools to show interest in participating in the project as of the next school year.

After an additional academic year, the three institutions working on formulating the Civic Education curriculum will propose the curriculum to the Education and Teacher Training Agency to make it an elective subject.

Students to become active in community, learn to accept differences

The director of the Institute for Social Research, Boris Jokić, said that the curriculum would be taught for 70 classes per school year or two classes weekly.

The goal is for students to become active in their community, develop social skills, empathy and tolerance for differences, he said.

At the start of the school year, students will be able to choose a problem in their community to deal with, from the fields of culture and media, physical activity and sports, health, democracy and civil society, migrations, urban development and housing, social equality, economy, environment, or human rights.

After they think about the problem, students will research as many of its aspects as possible, gain a personal experience and put forward solutions, said Jokić.

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Exhibition Dedicated to Istro-Romanians Staged at Klovićevi Dvori Gallery

ZAGREB, 1 December, 2021 - On the occasion of Romanian Statehood Day, 1 December, an exhibition of photos on Istro-Romanians, a language community which today numbers only a few hundred, was staged at Zagreb's Klovićevi Dvori gallery on Wednesday.

On display are works by art photographers Constantin Demeter, Gheorghe Petrila and Ovidiu Gabor that pay tribute to the Istro-Romanian language community, which despite being small has managed to preserve its language after more than 1,000 years since their ancestors settled on the peninsula of Istria.

The exhibition, to which admission is free, was organised by the Romanian Embassy in Zagreb, the Association of Romanians in Croatia and the Romanian Cultural Institute.

The event will be open until 5 December.

"Romania and Croatia cooperate closely in preserving this common cultural good, a part of the European cultural heritage," the organisers said.

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Croatia Assumes Chairmanship of UNWTO Committee on Tourism and Sustainability

ZAGREB, 1 December, 2021 - Croatia has assumed the chairmanship of the Committee on Tourism and Sustainability during the meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in Madrid, which ends on 3 December.

Croatia will chair the Committee on Tourism and Development until the end of 2023. For the third time since 1993, when it joined UNWTO, it will also become a member of the organisation's Executive Council, the Ministry of Tourism and Sport said in a statement on Wednesday.

The main topics which the Committee on Tourism and Sustainability deals with concern the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on current tourism trends, with special emphasis on the necessity of response that will lead to recovery of the tourism sector.

The Committee also makes recommendations for a transition to green and sustainable tourism, focusing on global initiatives such as the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative and the Glasgow Declaration with a view to adjusting the tourism sector to new trends and measures that are being undertaken to protect the environment.

The Minister of Tourism and Sport, Nikolina Brnjac, attended the plenary session on Wednesday and spoke about current trends in international tourism.

She stressed the importance of building a responsible, inclusive and sustainable tourism model at national, regional and global level, and said that Croatia was looking forward to making its contribution to this important task through the chairmanship of the Committee on Tourism and Sustainability.

On the second day, a thematic session on innovation, education and rural development will discuss ways of using input from young people, entrepreneurs and policy makers to boost sustainable tourism. The best tourism villages will be chosen as part of an initiative involving three Croatian villages - Motovun, Kaštelir Labinci and Veliko Trojstvo.

At the third plenary session, Croatia will become a member of the Executive Council for the period 2021-2025, to which it was elected in Athens in June. The Executive Council consists of 35 UNWTO member states. The present chair is Chile and vice-chairs are Senegal and Saudi Arabia.

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Croatia Among Top 3 'Close Destinations' by National Geographic Traveller Readers

December 1, 2021 - Croatia has been voted among the top three 'close' destinations by National Geographic Traveller readers in the latest Reader Awards. 

This year, for the sixth time, National Geographic Traveller (UK) organized the "Reader Awards", as part of which readers ranked Croatia among the top three countries in the "best close destination" category, reports HTZ.

Italy was declared the best destination in this category, while Greece was also a finalist in this category.

"At a time when travel is still uncertain, Brits are constantly looking for inspiration for future travel. In doing so, they rely on reliable media such as National Geographic, which has been dominating the UK media space in the travel magazine segment for more than a decade with its content and quality. We are extremely pleased and glad that the readers of such a large media paid tribute to the uniqueness of Croatia and thus highlighted our country as one of the destinations that the British are always happy to visit, " said Darija Reic, director of the CNTB Representation in the UK.

The awards were also given in other categories, such as the "best city" category, with Barcelona and the finalists Amsterdam and New York City, while the "best distant destinations" category was won by Japan, followed by New Zealand and the United States. This is a list of the best destinations, tour operators, airlines, and experiences, which was created according to a shortlist of readers of this prestigious magazine.

"This is another in a series of awards to all my colleagues and the entire Croatian tourism for a job well done in a year marked by the global coronavirus pandemic, especially if we know that National Geographic awards are given by readers, i.e., British travel enthusiasts," said the Croatian Tourist Board director Kristjan Staničić.

The National Geographic Traveller (UK) magazine is printed in almost 60,000 copies in Britain alone, while their websites generate more than 10 million unique visitors a year.

A list of all winners is available HERE

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

Is It Really True That All Foreigners Living in Croatia are Really Rich?

December 1, 2021 - An article I have wanted to write for a very long time and the perceptions about - and realities of - the wealth of foreigners living in Croatia.

Shortly after I returned from our epic trip to eastern Croatia last month, I posted this on Facebook:

I am genuinely and honestly shocked at how many of my Croatian friends tell me that they have never been to Slavonia. Guys, you are missing out big time. Osijek is the most fun place to be at this time of year.

It didn't take long for the predictable reaction to take over.

It's hard to travel as a local when avg salaries are 4-6000 kunas a month ( $600-1000)

I agree. It is also hard to travel as a foreigner when salaries are 4-6000 kuna a month. 

But of course, all foreigners who live in Croatia are millionaires, and all locals earn almost nothing, isn't that the truth?

I decided to rephrase my Facebook post:

Ok, then let's reframe my sentence to suit this narrative. I am genuinely and honestly shocked at how many of my Croatian friends among the 200,000 Croats who go skiing abroad each year tell me that they have never been to Slavonia. Guys, you are missing out big time. Osijek is the most fun place to be at this time of year. How does that sound?

The conversation ended. 

And just as there are plenty of rich Croats living in Croatia, so too there are a good number of foreigners living here who struggle to make ends meet each month. 

In fact, I would go as far as to say that I probably know more foreigners here who live on or around a Croatian wage than rich expats. 

I used to show my bank manager some of the things published on social media by people who had never met me but clearly had an opinion about me. As we finalised the details of a temporary overdraft one time, we laughed at the online claim on some expat forum that I was a millionaire who had retired early and was doing TCN as a hobby. 

Life in Croatia is fantastic if you have money, and it is fantastic as a tourist.

Life in Croatia on a Croatian salary is tough.

But for foreigners too. 

When I started the Total Project back in October 2011, I had 100 euro in my bank account, as well as two young kids to feed. I have never worked harder or longer hours (or had so much fun with work) as the last ten years. And while life is certainly a little more comfortable now than it was a decade ago, that comfort was generated by a start of 100 euro plus 10 years of hard work. 

Unlike the 200,000 Croats who go skiing each year, I could not afford to do that every year, and neither could most of the foreigners living here that I know. 

Despite this, my answer to the question Is It Really True That All Foreigners Living in Croatia are Really Rich? would be an emphatic Yes. 

For they have discovered paradise and appreciate what they have. 

There is a lot more to being rich than having money in the bank. 

All the money in the world cannot buy you the safety and lifestyle and incredible experiences available in Croatia if you do not live in Croatia. 

And if you have a mindset shift, as many of the foreigners who live here have, the daily struggle to make ends meet is more than compensated by the safety and lifestyle. 

I was a lot richer before I came to Croatia, and I also earned a lot more money as a 25-year-old than I do now as a 52-year-old. Do I yearn for that salary and way of life of 27 years ago? Never. 

A few years ago, a school friend I had not seen for 25 years came to visit me on Hvar on a family sailing holiday. It was great to catch up, and we traded stories about life and where we had got to in life. He was a hugely successful chartered accountant, a partner in one of the biggest firms. He lived in a large house an hour from London by train, earned a very nice sum. Far, far more than me.

But he also left the house at 6am Monday to Friday, returning home at 9pm, when the kids were already in bed. The babysitter at the weekend cost over £100, and the restaurants and bars with his wife were not cheap. But it was a good life, he reflected.

"And of course, I can take the family on a holiday to Hvar each year," he added. 

Yes, he could I reflected, after he sailed back to Split to catch the flight home, and I to my beloved bench in Jelsa to watch the changing colours on the beautiful Biokovo mountain through the Jelsa palm trees across the Adriatic, an experience I could have for free, 365 days of the year.

It is true what they say - all foreigners living in Croatia are really rich. 

It is all in the mindset. 

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

How to Feed a Michelin Star Restaurant Owner Visiting Zagreb?

December 1, 2021 - Where to take the owner of a Michelin Star restaurant in Zagreb who knows the culinary scene well in the Croatian capital? Restoran Matrix, perhaps.  

One of my favourite people in the world is visiting Zagreb. A hugely successful businessman, whose many accomplishments includes having his own restaurant with a Michelin Star, our occasional lunches are always fun, with interesting food, fantastic wine, and outstanding stories. 

He called the other day to say he was in town with his wife and invited my wife and I for lunch. 

It was more than my turn to organise lunch. The problem was, he knows the gourmet scene in Zagreb much better than me. What could I possibly do to impress him and his lovely wife?

There was only one option I could come up with - the recently opened Restoran Matrix, located in Matrix Office Park. He would certainly not have tried it yet, and possibly not have evn heard of it. 

I extended the invite, and he gratefully accepted, confirming that he had never heard of the place and was always keen to try something new. 

Next, I contacted Manuela Maras, who runs Matrix. 

The instructions were simple. Table for 4 at 13:00. A special foodie friend coming for lunch. A special 5-course meal with wine pairing - dishes to be decided by the chef. 

This is what happened next.  

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The most famous egg in the world, the famous Alain passard egg. 

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Butter flavored with caramelized onions and Kajmak from Užice (Serbia) 

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Mackerel, 2 types of beets, shizo leaf 

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Tataki Tuna, Kimchi And horseradish ice cream 

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Ramsteak tartare And homemade brioche bread 

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Celery puree, Jacobs cap, trout roe, black autumn truffle

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Pigeon, fig cooked in syrup, rhubarb cream 

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Black Slavonian pig in 3 segments, potato sauce, sarma 

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Basil and olive oil ice cream on a bed of deehydrated butter flakes

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Pumpkin in 4 segments .. Crumble, biscuit, ice cream and Pumpkin cooked in syrup 

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Our afternoon was accompanied every stretch of the way by Alessandra Vekić, Mate oil, one of the 2 best Croatian oil in the world .. Flos Olei 99 points for last year's harvest .. 

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Each dish was personally paired by Matrix sommelier Manuela Maras. It is beyond the scope of this fat blogger to recall and write about them all, but this wine, paired with the pigeon, will give some indication. Brkic is one of the top producers in Herzegovina, and there are only 242 bottles of this label produced, with only one place in Croatia that serves it - Matrix. And rather a fine drop it was. 

It had been quite a culinary journey, and my visiting friends deemed the lunch a great success. So much so in fact that they went in to congratulate young chef, Marko Jantolek, and to make arrangments for both chefs to meet and swap experiences. 

I went over to settle the bill with a little bit of foreboding. How much would such hedonisticfun for four actually cost? And that was the final surprise of an excellent afternoon. A little more expensive than my usual mixed grill for sure, but far less than I was expecting. 

Learn more about Restoran Matrix on the official website

I was fortunate enough to be invited to the official opening of Restaurant Matrix a few weeks ago (see the video below) - Restoran Matrix, an Innovative Addition to the Zagreb Dining Scene

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Croatia's Coronavirus Update: 5,709 New Cases, 68 Deaths

ZAGREB, 1 December, 2021 - In the last 24 hours, 14,252 coronavirus tests have been conducted and 40% of them, that is 5,709, have turned out to be positive, while 68 COVID patients have died, raising the death toll to 10,967, Croatia's CCOVID-19 crisis management team reported on Wednesday.

There are currently, 32,014 active cases  in the country, and 2,454 of them are receiving hospital treatment, including 312 COVID patients placed on ventilators.

Since the first registered case of the infection with the novel virus in Croatia on 25 February 2020, over 3.46  million tests have been conducted, and they have showed that 613,914 people have caught the virus. Of them, 570,933 have recovered, including 3,064 recoveries in the last 24 hours.

To date, 53.90% of the total population, or 64.32% of the adult population have got vaccinated against this infection.

Also, 57.41% of adult Croatians have fully been vaccinated.

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

First Korean-Croatian Film Selected for Two Film Festivals

December 1, 2021 - With Seck Zeen Hong in the leading role, "Crisis" is the first Korean-Croatian film and first Croatian film starring an Asian actor in the main role. Shot in Zagreb during the pandemic, the coming of age drama about a young Korean man seeking to adapt to a new society has already been selected at two film festivals.

In a year where Croatian cinema has not gone unnoticed at international festivals, a short fiction film arrives to join the celebrations and mark a couple of historical milestones along the way. Crisis (Kriza in Croatian, 위기 in Korean), was created and produced by Benjamin Noah Maričak, directed by Boris Vuković, and written by Karla Leko; as part of their graduate work at the University of Zagreb - Academy of Dramatic Art, and it is the first Croatian-Korean film and the first Croatian film starring an Asian actor in the main role. The film was shot in the city of Zagreb during the current pandemic, and it was completed on June 23 of this year.

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Official English Poster for Crisis

With a runtime of 14 minutes and 58 seconds, and featuring both Croatian and Korean languages, Crisis follows the day in the life of 20 something-year-old Ji-Hu (Zeen Hong) who is working for his father's Korean restaurant in the heart of Zagreb, as the delivery boy, during the beginning stages of the worldwide lockdown caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic. Throughout his delivery runs across Zagreb, he will not only have to deal with the constant pressure from his father and an odd variety of customers but also trying to adjust in a world where he still hasn’t found his place yet.

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Seck Zeen Hong stars as Ji-Hu, a young Korean in his twenties, trying to adjust in the Croatian capital of Zagreb and dealing with pressure from his father, played by You Kwang Kim. Seck Zeen Hong becomes the first Asian actor to play a leading role in a Croatian film.

Everything seems to indicate that the coming of age family drama filmed in the Croatian capital has been well received, since to date the short film has been selected in the official program of two film festivals, confirms the producer and creator of Crisis, Benjamin Noah Maričak. The Asian premiere of the first Korean-Croatian film will be at the Dhaka International Film Festival (DIFF), the largest film festival in Bangladesh. The short film, which features photography by Marko Milohnić and editing by Marta Bregeš, will be part of the festival's official program in the Short & Independent Film Section. The DIFF will be held from January 15th to 22nd, 2022.

In addition, for the local public, Crisis was also accepted in the official program of the CIiklop Film Festival, which will take place in Benkovac, near the city of Zadar. The dates of the Ciklop Film Festival will be from December 18th to 22nd of this year. The official program with the full list of selected films will be published very soon.

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Crisis is the first Korean-Croatian film, and it was shot entirely in Zagreb. In this still from the film, you can see the famous brutalist residential buildings known as Rakete, built in 1968.

Here are the names of the cast and team behind the making of the first Korean-Croatian film, Crisis:

Cast

  • Ji-Hu: Seck Zeen Hong (홍 석진)
  • Father: You Kwang Kim (김 유광)
  • Party Girl: Lara Nekić
  • Slaven: Igor Jurinić
  • Girls at Party: Lucia Luque Akrap, Laura Anić-Kaliger, Laura Bošnjak, and Dora Dimić Rakar
  • Man in Tracksuit: Fabijan Pavao Medvešek
  • Woman in Apartment: Alemka Sappe
  • Teenager 1: Tara Dorotić
  • Teenager 2: Klara Fiolić
  • Man in Tram: Željimir Sappe
  • Postman: Anđelko Katanec
  • Bike Thief: Noa Nikolić

Crew

  • Director: Boris Vuković
  • Screenwriter: Karla Leko
  • Producer and Creator: Benjamin Noah Maričak
  • Cinematographer: Marko Milohnić
  • Editor: Marta Bregeš
  • Production Designer: Cinita Macuka
  • Costume Designers: Jana Friščić and Ela Leko
  • 1st AD: Filip Dizdar
  • Hair and Make-up: Tea Pavec and Mia Popovska
  • 1st AC: Urh Pirc
  • 2nd AC / Best Boy: Tin Ostrošić, and Rene Recek
  • Gaffer: Domen Martinčič
  • Sound Recordist: Jan Kapetanović
  • Boom Operators: Juraj Franolić, and Stjepan Hren
  • Script Supervisors: Rudolf Ravbar, and Noa Nikolić
  • Sound Mixer: Marko Klajić
  • Color Grading: Marko Milohnić
  • VFX: Marino Vuletić
  • Assistant Editor: Stjepan Hren
  • Title Designer: Tamara Milošević
  • Production Assistants: Noa Nikolić, and Vedran Bošnjak

Thus begins the festival circuit for a project carried out by young filmmakers and artists, which explores existentialist and very human themes in a very complicated period of our history. We wish them the best and much success!

For everything you need to know about filming in Croatia, in your language, be sure to check Total Croatia's page.

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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