Tuesday, 13 September 2022

Croatian Immunologist Zlatko Trobonjaca Talks Coronavirus this Autumn

September the 13th, 2022 - Croatian immunologist Zlatko Trobonjaca has warned of precautions we should take in the upcoming cooler weather as we enter the third autumn with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, we're soon set to enter our third autumn spent with the spread of the novel coronavirus, but also with a new vaccine adapted against the highly infectious Omicron variant. As we've already written, vaccination with the new vaccine against the Omicron variant has now begun across the country. Croatian immunologist Zlatko Trobonjaca commented for HRT what could await us this autumn.

The new Omicron adapted vaccine is one of which covers the BA1 subvariant and the other variant called BA5. Croatian immunologist Zlatko Trobonjaca explained to HRT what kind of vaccine it is: "These are what are known as bivalent vaccines, which means they have antigens that protect us from two different strains of the Wuhan virus, as well as from the Omicron subvariant,'' he also added that this need arose because the immunity we acquired through vaccination or through recovery could now be waiting. At the same time, the Omicron variant itself has changed so much through its various mutations that the immunity we've acquired is now less effective.

You can find out more about the new Omicron adapted vaccine and how to get it by clicking here.

He added that the new Omicron adapted vaccine is being recommended for people over the age of 60 to 65, people who suffer from chronic diseases, and people who are undergoing special therapies, particularly those which could harm their immune system. "People who have generally weakened immunity should take an additional booster dose to strengthen it," he said, and then referred to the current epidemiological situation across the Republic of Croatia.

"We had a wave of infection that wasn't so intense in terms of the number of detected cases, but it's more than likely that the number of total undetected cases was higher than we think it was. That wave is now calming down, but in autumn we can expect an increase in the number of infections because children have returned to school and people are going back to work, and we'll also be spending more time indoors, he said.

He pointed out that he doesn't believe that the consequences of the epidemic will be as they were back during the Delta wave we once saw, because we have acquired a certain level of collective immunity.

"We'll have come into contact with multiple antigens on many occasions now, either through vaccination or by recovering from an active coronavirus infection, and I think that we have a level of immunity now that will protect us from more severe forms of the disease developing, and on the other hand,'' concluded Croatian immunologist Zlatko Trobonjaca.

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

Tuesday, 13 September 2022

Croatian Company Notitia Prepares Country's Industrial Strategy

September the 13th, 2022 - Almost all large consulting firms which are currently active in the Republic of Croatia, from KPMG, PwC to Ernst&Young, wanted to prepare a new industrial strategy for the country, but that work was entrusted to the small Croatian company Notitia, which is otherwise not very well known to the public.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Croatian company Notitia is a decade-old company from the City of Zagreb, whose founder is a professor at the Zagreb Faculty of Economics, Vlatka Bilas.

Just several ago, the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development concluded an agreement with the aforementioned Zagreb company on the creation of the National Plan for Industrial Development and Entrepreneurship for the period 2021-2027, an umbrella document for the creation of a future policy of support and moderation for economic development.

Notitia's references

The tender was announced during the mandate of the former Minister of Economy Tomislav Coric, and the bids were submitted back in April, just before Davor Filipovic took over that role and that department. The evaluation and selection between the offers of nine candidates took some time, and the offer with the lowest price was finally selected.

The estimated value that the competent ministry highlighted and was ready to pay for that project stood at 1.2 million kuna without VAT, and the Croatian company Notitia offered its services for a price of 325,000 kuna, just half of what the other bidders were willing to charge.

The lowest price offered wasn't the only criterion sought, points were also awarded for experience and the ability to be equipped for this type of work. These were equally important factors in the evaluation process. Among the five members of the Notitia team is Sanja Franc, an associate professor at the Faculty of Economics.

The Croatian company Notitia has otherwise already collaborated with the Ministry of Economy and some other ministries and state institutions, and one of its most recent engagements was consulting on the establishment of the Innovation Network for Industry and Thematic Innovation Platforms, as well as consulting on the establishment and development of the innovation system across the Republic of Croatia.

This team also has vast experience in strategic planning projects for no less than the World Bank, and among the references cited by Notitia are the smart specialisation strategy from back in 2016, and the creation of an operational plan for the implementation of the previous industrial strategy, the one for the period from 2014 to 2020.

The new development policy of Croatian industry will, therefore, be carved by the hands of the professors of the Faculty of Economics in Zagreb, and as foreseen in the public tender, they will have a total of seven months at their disposal to prepare the document that has been being waited on for two years already. The first argument for stalling the preparation of Croatia's seven-year industrial development plan was the outbreak of the global coronavirus pandemic, which put a halt to normal life and business as we knew it. It then coincided that an umbrella document for the development of the industry was also being adopted at the EU level, as well as at the national level, and work was then being done on the preparation and adoption of the National Development Strategy of Croatia until 2023.

At the end of last year, former Economy Minister Tomislav Coric concluded that with the adoption of these documents, a basis had finally been created in which the consideration of industrial policy could be properly integrated. Now new moments and changes have arisen again with inflation and the spiralling energy crisis, which will change a lot in the European economy. Looking at it this way, Croatia's brand new industrial strategy will be even more relevant.

Key changes

At the moment when the Ministry of Economy finally started looking for consultants for this document at the beginning of this year, three changes that will transform Croatian industry by the end of this decade were perceived as key - the green and digital transition, and improving the position of the Croatian economy in global value chains.

In other words, in the deliberation of the plan, emphasis was to be placed on production sectors that create higher and higher added value, those which are based on knowledge, with the inevitable postulate of a circular and decarbonised economy.

The Economy Ministry has made it clear that designing the recovery and development of the domestic economy couldn't simply be based solely on standard theses about competitive advantages and preserving jobs and simply detecting negative facts about the Croatian industry that need to be fixed. The challenge was to define "game changers" and create conditions for their encouragement. In addition to defining the industrial activities that have the greatest perspective, the ministry also expects from the consultants a proposal for an appropriate set of measures that will further stimulate their growth, and among others, small and medium-sized enterprises are key to the competitiveness and prosperity of the Croatian economy as a whole.

The modernisation and decarbonisation of energy-intensive industries has also been "inserted" as one of the priority goals, in which the ministry recognises the opportunity to improve and introduce advanced technologies and stimulate structural changes and investments. The preparation of the National Plan should also result in a detailed elaboration of measures, activities and expected results and projects.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business and politics sections.

Monday, 12 September 2022

Croatian Returnee Reflections: Eugene Brcic Jones, from Sydney to Zagreb

September 13, 2022 - Whisper it quietly, but more and more people are relocating to Croatia from the diaspora. In a new TCN series, we meet them to find out how they are faring, and what advice they have for others thinking of making the switch. Next up Eugene Brcic Jones, who moved from Sydney to Zagreb.

My name is Eugene Brcic Jones, my parents migrated to Australia in 1969 and I was born in Sydney. I’m probably an entrepreneur, but I’m still waiting to cash in on some ventures like a hotel and resort ordering and payments app RoomOrders, or a self-diagnostic kit for viruses, VIBAC. I’m also going to try and build prefab villas on the island of Ugljan if I don’t get ripped off by the Chinese. Prior to doing all these lofty pursuits, I was a business consultant and longtime journalist.

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1. You made the switch to Croatia. Tell us a little about the decision process and how long it took for you to get on the plane?

I moved back to Zagreb, Croatia in 2017 with my Aussie wife Michelle, who has a Ukrainian and British background, and two little girls Eden and Emerson. I had previously lived in Croatia during the 90’s war and early 2000s, so it was a return to the old haunts.

We grew tired of the mortgage rat race and wanted to buy back time and a more substantial social life for our young family. We went on a long holiday two years before making the move, travelling all over the place to fall in love with the idea, so there was some leg-work, before coming. However, the main ingredient was developing an infatuation with what we saw and wanting to experiment with a new life.

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2. What did your family and community back home think of your decision at the time?

They thought we were bonkers and would be back in less than a year. It’s now over 5 years and we seem to be adjusted to this extraordinary place. Luckily, other nutters felt the same and the community of fruitcakes is growing fast. I’m clinging to the notion that over time, we will be declared visionaries or at least pioneers.

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3. Where did you get your information about the realities of Croatia prior to coming?

I had previously lived here, I was a foreign correspondent for the Associated Press for many years, so I got to know and understand the harsh, yet quirky mentality. I had a fair idea of the pitfalls.

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4. What were you most nervous about making the switch? What was your biggest fear, and what was the reality of what you found?

Money. We didn’t want our adventure to make us bankrupt and starve to death. We know work is hard to come by in Croatia, so we had to devise a better plan than a 9 to 5 job. The kids are small, so we knew they would fit in easily, but we needed to be financially secure and that was a major concern that grated on our nerves.

Our biggest fear was that we would not find out footing with finances and that we would bleed money. Of course, that’s exactly what happened. Our tenant in Australia left prematurely and we were vacant for five months, making us sh#t our pants with mortgage repayments from our savings rather than from rental income. To make matters worse, I planned some remote work before slipping into a role with potential business partners and all those opportunities also went pear-shaped.

The reality is that Croatia is a tough place to wing it and even well-laid-out plans can easily go up in smoke. On the other hand, it teaches you to live spontaneously, day-by-day, like the rest of the folk. I still don’t understand how they survive or where their money comes from, especially loads of people driving fancy cars and trendy labels.

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5. Think back to the time before you arrived. What were your perceptions about Croatia and how were they different from the reality you encountered?

My perception was that everybody here really knows how to live, while we from abroad only really know how to work. My reality was exactly that. They make the most of what they got, which usually comes down to sitting down for a coffee and relaxing, having a smoke or two.

Sure, nobody in the world whinges and whines like Croatians, but the mystery remains, how the bloody hell do they live off their meager incomes? It’s almost a form of art – making just enough money to enjoy the simple pleasures of life.

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6. You are still here, so obviously the pros outweigh the cons. Tell us about some of the things that you love about being in Croatia, as well as some of the things you don't like.

 I love that Croatia is moving forward despite all the corruption and complaining. It’s the perfect place to raise a family and socialize often with friends. It’s safe and has the ideal amount of tradition and contemporary sophistication. I personally love spending winter in Zagreb and skiing with friends and then spending summer again with friends at the seaside. In between there are little getaways, to break the routine. The weather is stable, cold in winter, hot in summer, warm in spring, cool in autumn. The ultimate feeling is the daily relaxation with coffee and conversation. No stress.

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7. What advice do you have for others thinking about making the move from the diaspora?

Don’t be a tight-arse, chicken. Take the plunge. Take a sabbatical. If it doesn’t work out after a year, just go back, you will lose nothing, and gain everything. People should take a lesson out of the pandemic, don’t just be alive, live.

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8. How do you think Croatia can better assist those who are looking to return to the Homeland?

Forget about such illusions. Croatia cannot even help itself. It’s a basket case. There are some initiatives like remote working visas for digital nomads that stand out from the malaise. Regretfully, the country and its bureaucracy are still too corrupt and inept to formulate campaigns to benefit everyone with Western money and people. The EU is helping develop structure and functional institutions through various programs and funding, but I would focus on keeping your pants on because the government and crooks will try and take your shirt off if you come here like a naïve deer stuck in the headlights. 

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Thanks Eugene, and good luck with venatusjones.com roomorders.com

You can follow more stories in the Croatian Returnee Reflections series in our dedicated TCN section.

Would you like your returnee story - positive or negative - to be featured in this series? Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Returnee.

****

What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners will be out by Christmas. If you would like to reserve a copy, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject 20 Years Book

Monday, 12 September 2022

Highly Entertaining Croatia: Days of Slavonian Forests Festival

September 12, 2022 - Last weekend, the most significant event dedicated to the promotion of forestry and the forestry profession, but also small entrepreneurship, crafts, and OPGs, as well as numerous associations, was held in Našice - the 22nd Days of Slavonian Forests festival.

As Glas Slavonije writes, Našice celebrated the riches of the forest in full splendor with numerous festival events that were excellently prepared and organised this year by the City of Našice, the Našice Branch of Forest Administration, the Našice Branch of Matica Hrvatska and the Tourist Board of the City of Našice.

The most interesting and dynamic was on Saturday, when after the ceremonial opening in the park, a forest workers' competition, a shepherd's cooking competition, a crafts fair, and a fair of products and services of rural Slavonia were held.

The event was opened by the envoy of the Croatian Prime Minister and State Secretary of the Ministry of Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy, Dragan Jelić, emphasising the importance of forests and forestry. #What should be emphasised is that forests are a huge natural resource. In our country, forests and forest land occupy 47 percent of the national land area, of which 78 percent is owned by the state, and 22 percent is owned by private forest owners. In addition to 8,000 people who work directly in Croatian forests, another 25,000 of them work in the wood industry", State Secretary Jelić pointed out.

The director of the Forestry Sector of Croatian Forests, Krešimir Žagar, also attended the event, pointing out that the backbone of the festival is the foresters' competition, which is extremely interesting for visitors, and that this year the best forest workers from six Slavonian forest administrations would compete and demonstrate their skills.

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Deputy Prefect Josip Miletić also spoke, who said that the Days of Slavonian Forests are the pride of the City of Našice and Slavonia.

"The festival has become a valuable event for the gathering of our citizens. It is not only important for the town of Našice, but for the whole of Slavonia" said Miletić, deputy prefect of Osijek-Baranja.

The mayor of Našice, Krešimir Kašuba, extended a warm welcome. "Našice is celebrating 793 years of its existence with a series of events, and the Days of Slavonian Forests festival is the central event. This event is extremely important for our city because it has an economic and promotional feature. The event promotes the heritage of our region, forestry, but it also has a cultural, sports, entertainment, and gastronomic character", said mayor Kašuba.

After the official opening, there was a competition of professional woodcutters from six Slavonian forest administrations - Nova Gradiška, Požega, Vinkovci, Osijek, Slatina, and Našice. Foresters competed in handling a chainsaw (turning the guide bar), felling a tree with a chainsaw, and felling a tree with an axe, while cutting with a two-handed saw was organised for the citizens. In the discipline of turning the guide bar, the fastest was Ante Zadro (UŠ Vinkovci), the second Mihael Dobenko (UŠ Nova Gradiška), and the third Đuro Korman (UŠ Požega). When it comes to felling a tree with a balloon saw, the best was Božidar Stipčević (UŠ Osijek), followed by Ivica Kovčević (UŠ Nova Gradiška), and third place went to Šime Beštek (UŠ Slatina). Marija Cingel (Orahovica Forestry) was the most successful in felling a tree, Miran Kiseljak (Donji Miholjac Forestry) won second place, and Josip Mihaljević (Đurđenovac Forestry) took third place.

Recognitions and awards were presented by the director of the Forestry Sector of Croatian Forests, Krešimir Žagar, the head of the Našice Forest Management Vlado Keglević, and the mayor Krešimir Žagar. As Vlado Keglević, head of UŠ Našice, said at the end, this is a joint festival of foresters and citizens who are an inseparable symbiosis of tradition, and that is priceless.

The director of the Našice Tourist Board, Ines Resler, also expressed her satisfaction with the attendance of the event, who said that at the festival, one could see a colorful range of products, along with essential socializing and fellowship.

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

Monday, 12 September 2022

Valdas Dambrauskas No Longer Coach of Hajduk Split

September 12, 2022 - Valdas Dambrauskas is no longer the coach of the HNK Hajduk. 

As of today, Valdas Dambrauskas is no longer the coach of the HNK Hajduk first team. Mutual termination of cooperation was agreed upon. As a result, his assistants Marius Skinderis and Justinas Gasiunas are leaving with him, announced Hajduk

In the coming period, the team will be led by coach Mislav Karoglan, who, as an assistant coach, participated in the work of the past two professional coaching staff. The Club will inform the public about his assistants.

Coach Dambrauskas took over the first team on November 2, 2021, and Hajduk played 38 official matches under his leadership, achieving 23 wins, eight draws, and seven losses. In total, he recorded 60.5% of victories, and if we look exclusively at league games, he won 71.1% of points. In his debut match, he won against Hrvatski Dragovoljac at Poljud 2:0, and his most significant victory was achieved recently in the championship match against Slaven Belupo, which Hajduk won 5:1.

He will be remembered as the coach who brought the first trophy to Poljud after nine years, defeating Rijeka in the SuperSport Croatian Football Cup final. Until the end of last season, his team fought for both national trophies. The last time he led the team was in Šubićevac, where Hajduk drew 1:1 against Šibenik.

"We would like to thank coach Dambrauskas from the bottom of our hearts for the cooperation so far, and especially for the passion, knowledge, and energy shown by leading Hajduk, and we wish him the best of luck and success in the continuation of his coaching career," said Hajduk. 

Hajduk President Lukša Jakobušić publicly thanked the former coach and explained the reasons for this decision:

"Valdas Dambrauskas is no longer the coach of the first team, and in the coming period, the first team will be led by his former assistant Mislav Karoglan. Since his arrival, Valdas has brought energy and passion to the Club, and he subordinated his knowledge to Hajduk and created the atmosphere, and thus the game and the result. After a long time, Hajduk fought for trophies in the Cup and the championship. In the end, he succeeded. True, we finished in second place in the championship, but we won the Cup at Poljud. We all know what that means, and we've seen what it means to him. It is almost unimaginable for us that someone who was not born in this climate assimilates and connects with the Club in this way. Unfortunately, the atmosphere and energy we had at the end of last season did not translate into this season, and we were unable to follow the atmosphere and energy we have around the Club with performances and results on the pitch. 

Most of the public knows what kind of relationship the sports director and I have with the coach. A relationship full of sincerity and respect. That alone made this decision more difficult for us. All three of us have always been guided by the Club's interests, and this decision should be seen in that context.

The public has created an image that second place is a reality for us this season. Maybe that is true, but we will not and cannot be satisfied with that. Second place has yet to be won, and the Club must strive for the highest goals. I repeat, this decision should be viewed in that context because ours is not only to solve but also to anticipate problems.

I wish Valdas Dambrauskas all the luck in life, with the statistics that are almost impossible, the trophy he brought after many years, and his positive attitude, he showed that he loves this Club. Hajduk's doors are always open to him."

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

Monday, 12 September 2022

Croatian Returnee Reflections: Toni Bakovic, from Derby UK to Split

September 12, 2022 - Whisper it quietly, but more and more people are relocating to Croatia from the diaspora. In a new TCN series, we meet them to find out how they are faring, and what advice they have for others thinking of making the switch. We start with Toni Bakovic, who moved from Derby to Split.

My name is Toni Bakovic, I'm 24, born and raised in Split, Croatia; previously living for 5 years in Buxton/Manchester/Derby in England, I have decided to voluntarily take "the short end of the stick," as many would see it, and move back to Croatia from the UK. Since then I shifted from the Tourism Industry and odd jobs in England, into Entrepreneurship in Croatia and currently am at the cusp of my first webshop launch Textor.hr

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1. You made the switch to Croatia. Tell us a little about the decision process and how long it took for you to get on the plane?

I think this was the most difficult part, to start, after finishing my BA in Tourism Management at the University of Derby, I continued right after for my Master's degree in Business Management (2020) while working odd jobs, and by doing so, I was getting a couple of interesting job offers from abroad to build on and jump-start my career. This path felt correct, just finished Uni, got a job waiting in my field, and everyone else is following those steps, but... something was missing, I can't put my finger on it, maybe it was the Corona crisis, maybe I didn't like the process being logical and straight-forward, maybe I was bad at decision making, but I decided to go back and see what was waiting for me business-wise back home. After I booked it, I did have second thoughts, especially financial thoughts, every price of every item around me is blowing up (due to Covid), and I am moving back to a country where I will be earning a lot less than I would be somewhere else, but as I said, I had a pull back home and wanted to try it, so I didn't linger on my thoughts that much.

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2. What did your family and community back home think of your decision at the time?

I'm glad this wasn't a pressure point since it would have been a lot more difficult on me if I had serious concerns from my family and friends back home. They fully supported my decision but they knew it could be thought of as "controversial" and most of our talks before I first left to study and work were about how I am planning to stay for a bit longer to see how I'd do and to explore my job opportunities much better than I could back home. 

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3. Where did you get your information about the realities of Croatia prior to coming?

Well, I've kept up with the news, but you never fully understand until you feel it on your own skin, I've heard stories from family and friends about the good and the bad, but my own experience has taught me most of all. 

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4. What were you most nervous about making the switch? What was your biggest fear, and how was the reality of what you found?

My biggest fear was being stuck, both psychologically, career-wise, and financially. The last thing you want to do as a 20-year-old is to get stuck in a job, city, or debt you really don't want to be in, so I guess running away from that kept me working harder. Reality is often more boring than you think, the fun lies in how you deal with it. Yes, the money is bad, yes I can't buy a house in Split, yes I probably am more limited in traveling, but at least I am home, I can work with that. I fought more than I thought I would for my car, for my hobbies, and for my future, money is a struggle, but it isn't a priority anymore. I wish I knew this before, but people always fully live with however much they are given, I've learned of families living on 1000 Euro (8000kn) a month who are happier than I am. Living in England provided a perspective of people who had more money than they needed and were extremely unhappy. This has helped my mentality a lot. The fear of my career failing is unfortunately still with me, but more on that in the next chapters.

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5. Think back to the time before you arrived. What were your perceptions about Croatia and how were they different from the reality you encountered?

Prepare for the worst and hope for the best, a cheesy line, but it did do wonders for me. I just expected I will have no car, no good job, and no opportunity to move out and work from there. That pretty much happened in the beginning, I was refused in loads of hotels I wanted to start, and due to my lack of experience, I worked as an assistant manager (the guy who does everything other people don't want to do) in Svpetrvs Resort Village to start and everything was as I expected, I drove my grandma's old car, my wage was around Net 6000kn + overtime, and was staying in a worker's accommodation. Following that summer I decided that try to use my book knowledge (while I still had it) and to work on some projects of my own, my father was a director of a Textile company that I didn't really care for much... but it did give me something to work off, I knew what I liked, which was design and marketing, everything colorful, so I started to work on a webshop and modernization project to make something I liked out of something I had no interest in. I have been working on this for the past two years while helping out my father "in return". Croatia definitely didn't help with my decision, I don't have any good courses to attend for my development, little to no financial help for new entrepreneurs, the competition is behind and selling usually with traditional marketing, and huge companies with millions in marketing budget are running rampant. So I feel it's kind of me against the world, but, lucky for me, this is exactly how I already felt moving to a different country with no one I knew, so I guess in a weird way, I was experienced in this situation.

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6. You are still here, so obviously the pros outweigh the cons. Tell us about some of the things that you love about being in Croatia, as well as some of the things you don't like.

The people and the beauty of the country versus everything else, the medical, public transportation, political, and education departments are horrid, almost laughably so. As a recent student myself, I feel that no student should feel this lost after finishing University as much as they do here, the path of a young person in Croatia from the beginning of their education to the end leaves a lot to desire. And especially in Split, starting a family is so financially damning that I am surprised so many decided to go for it anyways, a square meter in Split is getting up to 4000 Euro average in the next 5 years, not even mentioning the lack of support from Croatia for young families. I have worked on obtaining an APN  Loan for "young families" and honestly I had more trouble with that than with actually getting enough money for it. The only thing I can say to young people is good luck and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. 

Still, it always helps to put things in perspective; I still think it is one of the greatest countries to live in, people do fight for it, and I am not the first one to bring out these statements, which makes me happy, the people do have a big heart but it will take more than that to fix the state, it does give hope though.

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7. What advice do you have for others thinking about making the move from the diaspora?

I think they know as much as I do, especially people who worked a lot in multiple countries, it's all about balance. What makes you happy? What is your goal in life? I know these are difficult questions, but living in certain countries pushes you towards different goals. I've met people who live their hobbies and moved to countries where that hobby is highly developed, I know people who are very attached to their family, so they go where they go, who are workaholics and moved to huge cities with great opportunities. I think those differences are beautiful. If Croatia can offer you a solution to your goals/happiness try it out, you people in the diaspora are more flexible by nature so use that flexibility to try more than one country if you already didn't do so, more points of view often point to a more precise answer. Croatia isn't a wonderland and so aren't the countries you live in, but trying more than 2-3 countries is the best advice I can give you for your long-term living decisions.

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8. How do you think Croatia can better assist those who are looking to return to the Homeland?

I think safety nets are a very important missing part of Croatia, you don't have a safety net if your business starts failing, if you need medical help, if you have special needs, if you end up homeless, if you failed the schooling system, there are no structured and developed ways to have people bounce back from situations that can happen to most. For the people moving back, I'd say the laws around Croatian entrepreneurs from abroad wanting to move their HQ back home should be highly supported (even fully funded), or on the other hand, if you can prove to be an asset to the country (highly performing worker) you should be rewarded for staying by being offered bonuses from a government level. But none of this can happen while the top of the state is ready to exploit these opportunities as quickly as they can. So I'd say this has to be done very transparently and maybe even from a government-funded private organization to help with that.

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Thanks Toni, and good luck with the launch of Textor.hr

You can follow more stories in the Croatian Returnee Reflections series in our dedicated TCN section.

Would you like your returnee story - positive or negative - to be featured in this series? Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Returnee.

****

What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners will be out by Christmas. If you would like to reserve a copy, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject 20 Years Book

Monday, 12 September 2022

SuperSport HNL Round 9: Osijek Brings Rijeka Another Defeat, Dinamo Comfortably in 1st

September 12, 2022 - The 9th round of the SuperSport HNL was played from September 9 to 11, 2022. The biggest match of the 9th round was played between Rijeka and Osijek, resulting in a 0:3 loss for Rijeka at home. Here is our SuperSport HNL round 9 recap. 

Sibenik v. Hajduk (1:1)

Sibenik and Hajduk opened the 9th round on Friday, September 9, 2022, in Sibenik. 

Mlakar was the first to score for Hajduk in the 20th minute though it was called offside after consulting VAR. Mlakar got his chance again in the 49th minute off a Livaja assist for 0:1 Hajduk. It looked like Hajduk was going to win it until Dolcek had other plans, scoring in the 7th minute of stoppage time for 1:1. 

 

Sibenik is currently in 7th place with 9 points, while Hajduk is in 4th with 13 points and two games in hand. 

Rijeka v. Osijek (0:3)

Rijeka and Osijek met on Saturday, September 10, at Rujevica Stadium. 

Osijek scored first in the 25th minute, but it was disallowed for a handball after VAR. Mierez scored for 0:1 Osijek just 10 minutes later, and Caktas made it 0:2 another 10 minutes after that. Caktas completed the result in the 63rd minute for the final 0:3. 

 

Rijeka is in 10th place with 5 points and a game in hand, while Osijek is in 5th with 12 points. 

Gorica v. Dinamo (0:1)

Gorica and Dinamo met on Saturday, September 10, 2022, in Velika Gorica. 

After a scoreless first half and most of the second, it looked as if the two teams would draw. Dinamo, however, found a way to score, with Orsic finding the back of the net in the 2nd minute of stoppage time for 0:1. 

 

Gorica is currently in 9th place with 8 points and a match in hand, while Dinamo is in first with 25 points. 

Slaven Belupo v. Istra 1961 (0:3)

Belupo and Istra met on Sunday, September 11, in Koprivnica. 

Belupo suffered their second consecutive defeat after an impressive run in the first 7 rounds. Petkovic scored for 0:1 Istra in the 10th minute and Erceg for 0:2 in the 29th. Boultam made it 0:3 in the 67th minute, which was the final score.  

 

Belupo is currently in 3rd place with 14 points, while Istra is in 6th with 11. 

Lokomotiva v. Varazdin (1:2)

Lokomotiva and Varazdin closed out the 9th round on Sunday, September 11, in Zagreb. 

Teklic missed a penalty or Varazdin in the 29th minute keeping the match at 0:0 at the half. Teklic did score for 0:1 in the 51st minute before Maric made it 1:1 in the first minute of stoppage time. Teklic scored in the 5th minute of stoppage time to give Varazdin the win. 

 

Lokomotiva is currently in 8th place with 9 points, while Varazdin is in 2nd with 15 points. 

You can see the full HNL table HERE.

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

Monday, 12 September 2022

Waterfalls, Cheese and TV Shows - How Do Foreigners Recognise Croatia?

September the 12th, 2022 - Just what is it that makes Croatia so recognisable to foreign visitors? From Game of Thrones to waterfalls and Christmas events, the list is varied.

As Morski writes, the well known travel blog Travel Drafts Croatia has stated that ''Croatia is a beautiful country in the Western Balkans, which is actually a part of the former Yugoslavia... Although it is a very popular destination among newlyweds, families with children and backpack tourists, this country has recently experienced a small renaissance".

Game of Thrones

One of the most watched series ever to be produced used the Croatian city of Dubrovnik as King's Landing, the fictional capital of the seven kingdoms in the series. Because of this, among other things, word spread about how beautiful this city is. Tourists flock there to see where Cersei had her Walk of Shame, and to tour the sets of the hit series.

The blog then goes on to state that would-be visitord should know that the city is full of tourists during the hot summer months and is much easier to explore during the off-season.

Beautiful waterfalls

Krka National Park is home to the most famous waterfall in all of Croatia, known as Skradinski buk. Plitvice Lakes are also home to numerous beautiful waterfalls. Although they are not so well known individually, this is one of the ten world heritage sites located in Croatia which is under UNESCO protection and one of two natural sites under UNESCO protection.

Red tourism (so-called)

Red tourism is travel to communist, socialist or ex-communist/socialist countries, usually by people originating from non-communist/socialist countries to learn about the heritage of those forms of government. Tours of communist monuments are a great way to learn about what life was like in Yugoslavia. The blog recommends people to start with the Podgaric monument, which is one of the most striking examples of all of this form of ex-Yugoslav public art.

Even traditionally beautiful places like Dubrovnik offer opportunities for people seeking red tourism. Here, you can tour the Red History Museum, which is the first interactive museum in all of the Republic of Croatia dedicated to educating visitors about what life was like during communism.

The World Cup and football

Croatia made it all the way to the finals of the 2018 World Cup. Although they ended up losing to France, they were the pride of Europe and showed the world exactly how outstanding and passionate Croatia is when it comes to the most popular sport in the world. The blog notes that the footballing tradition in Croatia is strong, explaining how the country has actually competed in the World Cup five times as an independent nation. Croatia had its very first performance back in 1998, when it came third! Of course, before that, the Croats competed in the larger Yugoslav team.

Beautiful islands

The Greek islands may be more famous, but the Croatian Adriatic islands are just as (if not more) beautiful. From Pag to Hvar, each one is a small perfect gem located in the middle of the Adriatic Sea. One of the most popular ways to experience the Croatian islands is to go on a sailing adventure and visit the most beautiful islands in the country/ Different islands have different reputations. There are islands known for their nightlife and parties, while others are known as real family-oriented places. Others have a more romantic atmosphere.

There are over one thousand two hundred islands dotted along the Croatian mainland, and almost fifty of them are inhabited. The blog tells its readers to be sure to do their research beforehand and choose the right island (or combination of islands) to suit the type of trip they might want to take.

Ancient Roman ruins

The blog says that if its readers enjoy visiting ancient Roman ruins, then they'll absolutely love visiting Croatia. In Split, you'll very easily find the Diocletian's Palace which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Diocletian, one of the most famous Eastern Roman emperors, ruled from the year 284 to the year 305. Back during that time, his palace was built in the very heart of the City of Split (Spalato), which was his main residence. Other important historical landmarks in Split that are part of this UNESCO World Heritage List include churches from the twelfth century and palaces from the fifteenth century.

The cravat

Considered an original Croatian product, it spread throughout Europe during the seventeenth century thanks to Croatian soldiers serving in the Thirty Years' War, where it became a recognisable fashion detail. The French were among the first to adopt it, and it entered their language under the name cravate, and later also in other European languages ​​under similar names. Croatian ties, or cravats, are slightly wider than modern ties and are an extremely popular Croatian souvenir, especially in Zagreb, the country's charming capital.

Croatian honey

The Balkans is a region famous for homemade honey. While all countries in the region produce honey and claim that theirs is the best, you really don't want to miss trying it in Croatia. Or buying it as a souvenir.

Christmas markets

While many people think of Croatia as a summer destination, it is actually a fantastic place to go in the winter too! The Zagreb Christmas Market has been awarded the title of "Best European Christmas Market" for three years in a row. The people of Zagreb really turn their city into a winter wonderland, with an ice rink, amazing lights, traditional food and drink, and festive shows.

While Zagreb gets the most attention, Dubrovnik and Split also have great Christmas markets that are worth seeing, the blog adds.

Pag cheese

This hard cheese with an extremely distinctive and strong taste comes from the island of Pag and is made from sheep's milk. It is considered the most famous specialised cheese in all of Croatia, and can be found in many markets outside the country.

Lavender fields

The blog lets its readers know that the most famous lavender fields are located on the stunning Central Dalmatian island of Hvar. This island has been growing lavender for centuries, and during the months of July and August the fields become beautiful, and the air is permeated with the distinct smell of lavender.

''Croatia is an absolutely amazing country and I strongly encourage you to plan your own Croatian adventure! The top five destinations that you should not miss are Dubrovnik, Split, Plitvice Lakes, Zagreb and the island of Hvar. However, Rijeka is currently famous for its role as the European capital of culture, so you should put it on your itinerary for Croatia,'' Travel Drafts tells its readers.

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

Monday, 12 September 2022

GinIstra: First Rovinj Gin Festival Set to Take Place This Month

September the 12th, 2022 - The first gin festival is set to be held in the gorgeous Istrian city of Rovinj at the end of this month. GinIstra will more than likely prove a hit among visitors and locals alike.

As Morski writes, over more recent years, and speaking on a global level, there has been an increasingly present trend of people drinking gin. The creation of new, special, more diverse and even more specific flavours has naturally led to an increase in the production activity in the field of distillates. This is also the situation here in the Republic of Croatia, where there are currently around 40 active gin producers, eleven of which are located in Istria County.

In order to valorise local producers and introduce them to the production and the distillates themselves, on September the 30th, the first gin festival appropriately named "GinIstra" will be held in beautiful Rovinj, which will aim to gather producers and the profession in one place.

Nine producers from the area of ​​Istria have confirmed their participation in the upcoming GinIstra festival, and these are the distilleries AurA, Damijanic, Imagine spirits, Istarska kaptilpa, Martesi, Old school distillery, OPG Cehic, Rossi and Sempervivum. In addition to the presentation of almost twenty different types of gin, visitors will have the opportunity to listen to panel workshops, and on top of the rich entertainment programme which will be put on during the very first GinIstra festival, awards will be given for the best gin according to the evaluations of the profession, i.e. the Commission for evaluating all of the submitted samples.

The first GinIstra festival will be held in the white hall of the Academia Banquet in Rovinj, on Friday, September the 30th, from 16:00 until midnight, as reported by local portal Glas Istre (The Voice of Istria).

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

Monday, 12 September 2022

Driver of Dubrovnik Newlyweds Fined for Parking in Heart of Old City

September the 12th, 2022 - A pair of Dubrovnik newlyweds were fined in the amount of 2000 kuna due to their driver's behaviour behind the wheel and his disrespect to the UNESCO-protected city itself.

As Morski writes, a driver of two Dubrovnik newlyweds who completely nonchalantly parked his car next to the Small Onofrio fountain in the very heart of the ancient old city last week did not get permission to do so from the Dubrovnik city utilities. Because of him deciding to park his car carrying the Dubrovnik newlyweds inside the walls, no more and no less than on Stradun itself, he was forced to pay 2000 kuna out of his own pocket as a fine.

As local Dubrovnik portal DUlist found out from the Dubrovnik City Administration, the car entered the heart of the walled city with a permit for wedding purposes, but that permit didn't include parking the car there under any circumstances.

This type of permit only applies to cars physically entering the historic core and letting the newlyweds exit the vehicle, after which the car may no longer remain within the walls and must leave, let alone park. This time, that didn't occur, and the car remained parked near the Small Onofrio fountain during the church wedding ceremony, which took place in the church of St. Blaise (Sv. Vlaho).

From the Dubrovnik City Administration, thoughts about the complete abolition of permits to enter the historic core of the city for wedding purposes can be heard more and more loudly. Many people are of the firm opinion that there is nothing more beautiful than walking from Pile Gate or Ploce Gate to the Church of St. Blaise, and that this practice of entering the city's core with a car for newlyweds is actually unnecessary, and is often abused.

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

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