Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Finnish Embassy in Zagreb Shares Santa's Message to Croatia

December 23, 2020 - The Finnish Embassy in Zagreb has been in touch - Santa Claus sends a message to Croatia

Good news from Croatia has reached the Arctic Circle. The Ambassador of Christmas has heard that Croatia is breaking records in the # AIChallenge, a sustainable gift from Finnish friends. In just one month, over 13,000 people have signed up for a free online education hr that explains the basics of artificial intelligence (AI) in the Croatian language. There is a lot of talk about AI but there is not enough knowledge about it. This course aims to change that.

In his video greeting to Croatia, Santa says the world is constantly changing and it is important to keep up with this change. Santa believes that new technology, for example, is nothing to be afraid of. “It is not our future, it is already here.” At the end of the video greeting, Santa wishes everyone a Merry Christmas from his office in Rovaniemi, Finland.

“In the age of digital transformation, we all need new skills. Together, countries like Finland and Croatia can be at the forefront of change if we continue to educate ourselves”, says Ambassador of Finland to Croatia, Risto Piipponen. A year ago, at the end of Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the Finnish Government gave a sustainable Christmas gift to all European citizens – the Elements of AI, a free online course in artificial intelligence designed by the University of Helsinki and Reaktor, a Finnish technology company. The aim is to encourage everyone, regardless of age or educational background, to learn the basics of AI and strengthen the digital competence of EU citizens.

The Croatian language version was launched a month ago and today, over 13,000 Croatian citizens have already signed up. ”The Embassy of Finland in Zagreb wants to thank the dynamic and future-driven partners that contributed to this project's success: CroAI, University of Zagreb, 404 agency – and Croatian public for accepting the gift with such enthusiasm, interest and joy”, said Ambassador Piipponen.

Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Finland DOESN'T Introduce Mandatory Quarantine upon Return from Croatia (Update: Aug 17)

Latest update, August 17, 2020: Today, we've received confirmation from the Embassy of Finland that the changes announced last week will, in fact, not be happening: 

August 11, 2020 - In a totally unexpected and somewhat weird twist, the Embassy of Finland to Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Holy See announced today that Finland will introduce a mandatory 14-day quarantine and obligatory COVID-19 testing for travelers coming to Finland from Croatia. 

In a tweet post an hour or so ago, the Embassy explains the decision just a little bit further (see below): 

It is unclear how or why the decision has been made now, as Croatia is decidedly not on high-risk lists created by most European countries (and we've extensively written about the epidemiological situation in Croatia being quite good and improving in the last weeks). No further detail on the decision are currently available, so we don't know much more. One thing we can tell you is that, if you're planning on going to Finland soon, and you're currently in Croatia or Bosnia and Herzegovina (we can't confirm at this moment which additional countries will be placed on the Finnish high-risk list), you should consider that move as soon as possible. The Embassy said in their vague tweet that more information should be known before the end of this week. 

Before this decision, Croatia was listed as one of the non-Schengen countries, for which "Self-quarantine is recommended for those arriving in Finland."

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Monday, 10 December 2018

Croatian Dome Producers Export to Finland, Czech Republic, Japan

As Trstenjak writes on the 9th of December, 2018, two Croatian dome producers have managed to conquer the often overlooked world of domes. Yes, domes. From very humble beginnings, they now export their products to countries including Finland, the Czech Republic, and even Japan.

ever noticed that most large events nowadays use some type of dome shaped structures, and not tents? If you've not paid attention to that, you're probably wondering what domes we're talking about. You know those structures that look a bit like oddly shaped balloons? You may have noticed them at Advent in Zagreb or at some concert. Well, they're the domes in question.

Specifically, those currently being used at Advent in Zagreb, eight of them to be more precise, are original domestic products, made by Croatian dome producers. It may come as a surprise, but Croatia boasts one of a dozen serious dome producers in the whole of Europe, and this type of typically entirely overlooked genius exists in a form which allows for easy adaptation to all roles and different event-like circumstances. These domes, as adaptable as they are, can play the role of a concert roof, a bar, an advent stand, and they can also be used for exhibitions at fairs or for glamping among other similar things.

Behind the innovative and interesting product stands the Croatian dome producers, more specifically their company - Domes (Kupole) better than a tent, and the story of the company's name is a short and rather charming one. Marko Matošić and Jakša Borić, the two Croatian dome producers, say that the company should have just been called Domes (Kupole), but they received a rejection to that name, a rather common occurrence on the long and ridiculous road of opening any type of company in Croatia. As they told, they sat across the street from the Commercial Court itself upon rejection and had to quickly think of a new name.

"We wondered what we were, actually, and we concluded that we were better than the tent, and so, that's the name. We figured it sounded a bit stupid and ungainly, but I'm convinced that out of the ten people who noticed it, at least four of them went on Google to search for what it is,'' joked Borić, who ended up as one of two Croatian dome producers from the advertising industry, while Matošić came from the club scene.

That's probably not too far from the truth because being unusual and unique isn't a bad tactic, and both of those words could easily be used to describe their domes. As they describe themselves on their web site, "the geodesic dome is the most stable structure ever imagined, at the same time, the most moderate and the strongest." And definitely better than a tent!

Domes like these are a luxury niche on an otherwise big marketplace, and it isn't that much of a cheap business. There is definitely a future for it despite any obstacles, however, as over the last couple of years, these domes have managed to become the "industry standard".

It's interesting to know just how the two succeeded in recognising the value of that niche at the right time, how they entered into it, how much capital they needed, and are they able to make a real living from it all.

"We worked on a festival at Bundek (popular park in Zagreb), where a dance group from Israel had a gig, they used a similar construction as part of the scenography, but it was made from wood. That's when we saw it for the first time.

The gig they had before coming to Zagreb was somewhere far away and they needed to bring that construction to Croatia, which cost a lot. Their technical director then suggested that he would give us a draft for us to make it [a dome] for them in Zagreb because it would be cheaper than to obtain one from far away. We did this and agreed to it. It was a construction made of wooden sticks that had to be cut and then tied together. But on the day of the show, it started to rain, so we had to cover it up and wrap that structure with the foil. It looked awful, but it worked. They danced and didn't get soaked by the rain, we stood at the side, watched them dancing and that structure, and concluded that it would be nice when done as a type of a tent,'' Borić recounts.

They began to explore and discover that some people are already engaged such business in a pretty serious manner. Then the game started, Matošić added, in which he was initially helped by the knowledge of a now retired professor from the Zagreb Faculty of Civil Engineering, Zvonimir Žagar, who is a great fan of geodesic domes. He helped them with advice on the first dome, as well as the first prototype. At that time, they did not have nine employees or their own designer like they have today, and they were helped by the professor, and the first dome, named 3v14, left the confines of ideas on paper and became a reality back in 2008.

"The initial investment was about 40,000 kuna, that was all we had and spent it all on the prototype, but that's completely irrelevant in this type of business. That was money we literally took and then threw out of the window. We used it all up on making mistakes, to figure out how it all works. We didn't get any loans, but we made the first dome, we rented out it for a while, and we did it all with great abdication. We didn't pay out any wages, we just always invested in new products. The more there were, the more we made, and then we started to hire the first people. We've grown organically, bit by bit,'' explains Borić.

Matošić added that all of that work was put to good use at the Gričevanje festival during the advent period back in 2011, when Advent in Zagreb was far from developed, which was organised in Zagreb's Upper Town (Gornji Grad) to promote their product. They wanted the main star to be the dome, of course.

"We invested a huge amount, set three domes up, got exhausted and frozen, but people saw the domes. They'd heard of them. Then we got our first clients,'' says Matošić.

"In fact, every gig in which our products appear is worth more than 100 ads, because our customers don't bother with it unless they've seen and felt what it's all about. Nobody is going to spend one hundred thousand kuna because they've seen a picture of a dome,'' adds Borić.

Up until this very day, these two Croatian dome producers have continued to develop new domes of varying dimensions which can be used for a variety of purposes.

One of them on offer is the 2v5 bar, a semi-open dome of 18 square metres with a bar, total length of 17.5 metres, and a dome that can easily be turned into a stage, a bar, a store... The Croatian company have specific domes on offer for various festivals, both the corporate and promotional type, and in its portfolio today, there are more than 20 in different sizes of five, seven, nine, twelve and fourteen metres.

Their selling prices vary depending on the model: some are 50,000 kuna, some 60,000, some are 250,000, some are 280,000. Rent, however, is invoiced per term, and one term consists of four days: from five thousand to thirty thousand kuna, depending also on the dome model in question.

The monthly costs for the Croatian dome producers are extremely high, usually above 100,000 kuna, but they are okay, although sometimes they themselves admit things can be a bit tight. They live well, and their top priority is to reinvest everything they make back into the company to continue on its already very successful path.

Make sure to follow our dedicated Made in Croatia and business pages for more on Croatian companies, products and services, as well as info on the business and investment climate in Croatia.


Click here for the original article by Jasmina Trstenjak for

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Finnish Startup Director ''Surprised at Ease of Creating Startup in Croatia''

It's not often you hear such a statement...

Monday, 14 August 2017

Artist of the Season: Coffee! Fortune Telling Cups Travel from Dubrovnik to Finland

Meet Vinko, he will tell you the rest himself!

Monday, 10 October 2016

Croatia Takes Another Three Points In Finland

Croatia beat Finland 1-0 and is heading the Group I of the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers

Monday, 8 February 2016

Zadar Airport Ready for a Record Year With Flights to 10 New European Destinations

7 new direct flights to and from Finland will be introduced in May