Monday, 21 September 2020

Madjerka Hill: A Mystery of Medjimurje

September 21, 2020 - Madjerka Hill is better known as the mystery of Medjimurje. From up there, you can see 4 countries, taste the most delicious wines, and enjoy breathtaking views.

Mađerkin breg (Madjerka Hill) stands 341 meters above sea level, only three and a half meters lower than Mohokos, which is the highest point of Medjimurje. The view extends to 4 countries - Austria, Slovenia, Hungary, and Slovakia. You can see Zagorje, and in clear weather, you can also see Sljeme. It was named after Emilia Krauthaker, better known as Mađerka (Madjerka). Emilia was born on July 22, 1889, on St. Mary Magdalene in Budapest. Symbolically, the Municipality and Parish of Strigova celebrate their day on July 22. Nives Kutnjak told Matej Scavnicar for eMedjimurje about the history of Madjerka Hill, as she wrote her thesis on this topic back in 2018.


Madjerka Hill | Photo by eMedjimurje

"Emilia Krauthaker moved to this area around 1940. She came for her husband, a Hungarian soldier, i.e., an officer and a major, Albin Krauthaker. The communists killed him in 1945, and she was left alone. Madjerka's husband, Albin, also had a sister who married a rich trading family Strahonja from Cakovec. The whole street around the health institution in Cakovec was theirs. Strahonja and his wife Rozika, Albin's sister, lived on the first part of the hill while Emilija, better known as Madjerka, lived on the second part of the hill. Around 1958, when nationalization arrived in this area, everything was taken away from these two families. They left them only a space of 10 acres. All the surrounding local population came to Madjerka hill to work for Emilia; they even came from neighboring Slovenia. Emilia had a large vineyard, but poverty was growing. From the beginning, she could still pay the workers with the wine she sold and the chickens she had. She was selling eggs in Strigova, and when asked: "How does she live", she would respond that she lives from those few eggs and is nourished by the beauty of the nature that surrounds her.


Madjerka Hill | Photo by eMedjimurje

The vineyards failed, but she did not want to sell her land even though she had buyers long ago. It slowly began to decay.

Emilia was accustomed to a gentleman's life. For the time when women in the countryside did not know how to bake even an ordinary cake, she baked top-quality cakes, cream puffs, etc. Besides, she was a famous dancer, a ballerina in Budapest. Emilija had no descendants, but the Krauthaker family, the descendants of her husband who inherited Madjerka Hill, sold the land in 2014 to the current owners, the wine-making families - Cmrecnjak and Stampar."

The founder and owner of the Cmrecnjak Winery, Rajko Cmrecnjak, fondly remembers his childhood memories about Madjerka Hill.


Rajko Cmrecnjak | Photo by eMedjimurje

"All my life, I have been connected to Madjerka Hill. Even as a child, my window looked into the distance at the terraces of Madjerka Hill. The sun is setting behind Madjerka Hill, and I remember watching the sunsets through my house's broken window. At the beginning of the nineties, we started to be more serious about viticulture. Even then, I dreamed of having our vineyard on Madjerka and that one day, we could take casual or intentional travelers there and show the best position for growing vines in Medjimurje. I would dare to say that the biggest step forward of our winery in recent times was when we bought the so-called Madjerka Hill. This area is undoubtedly the highest quality wine-growing position in Medjimurje and beyond. The condition in which we found Madjerka Hill after the purchase was not desirable at all. It was overgrown with thorns and bushes; it was a state of thickets, the forest's initial degradation stage with difficult access or extreme inability to access in some parts. It was a great challenge for our winery," says Rajko Cmrecnjak and proudly concludes that the wine produced from Madjerka Hill has already won a gold medal in wine evaluation.

Fifty meters below, driving through the terraces of Madjerka Hill, eMedjimurje meets David Stampar, the successor of the Stampar Winery, who planted 14,000 Pushipel vines a few months ago.


David Štampar | Photo by eMedjimurje

"Madjerka Hill is a special place for me; I have known about that hill since I was a child. At that time, I never dreamed that I would be a co-owner of this beautiful lookout together with my family one day. So far, we have planted 25,000 vines of Pushipel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franca. Next year we plan to plant another 15,000 vines of Pushipel and Sauvignon," says David.

Not so long ago, Art Colonies were held on Madjerka Hill

"Art colonies were held from 2000 until 2005. These colonies were attended by amateur artists - amateur art associations from Medjimurje, Varazdin, and Slovenia. The idea of TZO Strigova was to slowly start branding this beautiful, natural lookout point that could become an important point of the tourist offer of our region in some future times. Other events used to be held - the celebration of May 1 and various bicycle tours," says Josip Mikec from the local tourist board.


Josip Mikec | Photo by eMedjimurje

Madjerka Hill experienced its most significant popularity in 2015 when Sime Strikoman took a millennial photo in the shape of a cluster on Sunday, July 19, at the Days of the Strigova Municipality. Then a record was set in drinking gemišt (wine+sparkling water). At the same time, 1,034 gemišt drinks were consumed.

"Madjerka Hill was known before, but only the hosts from nearby villages and a few nature and hiking lovers. Some targeted introduction and presentation of Madjerka began with the Art Colonies to expand millennial photography to the whole of Croatia and Slovenia. Since then, Madjerka has been practically an indispensable point of various events from Urbans, Strigova Nights, First Day of Summer, New Year's Eve... Today, no Medjimurje resident has not heard of Madjerka Hill," says the expert associate of TZO Strigova, Josip Mikec.

In agreement with the owners, the Municipality of Strigova has registered the project of Vidikovac "Goričko sviralo" to the INTERREG Hungary Croatia EU fund, and a positive solution is expected. The value of the project is 1,698,366.46 euros. The project aims to maintain and develop the tourist and historical significance of this unique hill. In addition to the construction of a lookout point run by the Municipality of Strigova and the Strigova Tourist Board, the construction of a camp, souvenir shop, wine tasting room, and cellar is also planned.


Madjerka Hill | Photo by Stampar Winery

What exactly is the secret of Madjerka Hill?

Maybe a beautiful natural lookout, terraced vineyards, a view, fresh air, peace, quiet, the chirping of birds, or the smell of grapes?

Let the secret remain hidden.

Discover for yourself what inspires many photographers to make the pilgrimage to Madjerka Hill, wanting to capture that perfect moment of sunset or sunrise. This is what the hardworking people from Štigova, led by Cmrecnjak and Stampar, who nurture this hill and keep its secret, want.

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Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Medjimurje: Small Croatian Municipality Beating Tourist Records

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 20th of July, 2020, in the heart of upper Medjimurje lies picturesque Sveti Martin. Over the years, Sveti Martin has become a well known tourism generator for that particular inland county. Today, private renters, family farms and numerous attractions such as walks with deer take place there, according to

They're all calling Medjimurje ''coronavirus free'' and so far in July, when the rest of Croatia is typically recording just 50 percent of last year's results, they recorded 12 percent more arrivals and the same number of overnight stays. Of that, 58 percent are Croatian guests who are encouraged to holiday here at home. Foreigners on the other hand, are increasingly choosing luxury holiday villas.

"I'm extremely glad, they're very dear guests. They decided essentially to be here given the fact that Spain had such a situation as it did, as did Italy. As far as coronavirus is concerned, we've done really well here, we have practically not had a single infected person for months,'' said Antonija Nesik from Sveti Martin, who rents out private accommodation to tourists.

In order to make more money from tourism, the county shares a coupon for every 250 kuna spent, which can be used for 100 different tourist experiences or services. For example for a wine tasting experience or a lunch discount.

"What is typical in Medjimurje is our meat from Tiblica for which we're well known, it's our traditional dish. There's a dessert that I think everyone knows about, which is Medjimurje gibanica, it's a dessert people come to Međimurje to eat,'' said restaurant owner, Branimir Jakopic.

So far, more than 15,000 coupons have been distributed, and as such, in the last month alone, tourism in the area has generated about four million kuna. "It just shows that it's the right decision and the strengthening of our tourism in enogastronomy, the identity of Medjimurje, the cultural heritage, active and sustainable tourism, is the right thing to do," said Medjimurje County Prefect, Matija Posavec.

They hope that this formula will not only save 2020's coronavirus-dominated tourist season, but also persuade guests to return.

For more, follow our travel page.

Monday, 6 July 2020

8th Forestland Readies to Open Festival Season in Croatia

July 6, 2020 - The 8th edition of Forestland readies to open the festival season in Croatia with music workshops, club programs, activities and performances that culminate from July 17 to 19 in the forest of Brezje. In a slightly modified form adapted to the 'new normal', Forestland will be held this year for 48 hours, from Friday to Sunday, on three stages with over 60 different musicians.

Live performances, trap and hip hop

The young Croatian forces of the new wave of rap, trap and hip hop will have their opportunity on Saturday, July 18, on the main stage. Zembo Latifa, Swen and Tikach, 30zona, Kuku$ and Dino Blunt & Swana are some of the names that will bravely enter the first open-air festival of the new age. 

Techno - renaissance wave of electronic music

A new wave of techno has re-emerged on the wings of electronic music's popularization. Slovenian great Uroš Umek is a legend of the scene, with performances that date back to the Kuršanec club Ex. From former semi-illegal raves, today, the best Slovenian electronic brand was born. Festival-goers will also enjoy Tea Vučković, a DJ whose name is synonymous with strong and energetic techno sets. The Slovenian has a lot of experience, and after her native Slovenia, she honed her craft on regional and world club and festival stages. Tea releases music for respectable techno labels Techburst Records, Eclipse Recordings Funk’n’Deep, DSR Digital, Blue Monkey Records, Moonlogic Records. She is involved in the organization of parties, club evenings and festivals (ECO Fest), as well as education on stage. 


From Croatia, on the other hand, Forestland presents Kraundler and Felver, Eleven and Yakka. ELEVEN, the independent live act of ABOP drummer Ivan Levačić, is characterized by the sound of electronics, IDM, electro and other genres of electronic music. Solid, dance groove and bass sections intertwine with emotional, film themes and upbeat sequences of analog synthesizers. He has already left a deep mark on the domestic music scene as the author and active member of the bands ABOP, Chui and Kries, and is the former drummer of Pridjevi, Lollobrigida, Pips, Chips & Videoclips and Mayales and backing drummer Natali Dizdar and Dino Dvornik.

ELEVEN performs his music live with the help of synthesizers, sequencers, samplers and rhythm machines. He was nominated for this year's Ambassador Award for "The most promising band/songwriter's electronic music project".

And the winner of the Ambassador 2018 award for the Croatian DJ of the Year, chosen by the audience, and one of the most current house DJs on the regional scene is YAKKA, the owner of the Beatality Records label, which includes releases for foreign publishers (Pacha, King Street, Deeperfect, Casa Rossa Cruise Music and many others). All techno fans know about the Koprivnica DJ and producer Kraundler. Fully committed to producing his own music, Kraundler is ranked among the very top regional producers.

48 hours of Forestland

Since the third year of the festival, Forestland is a multi-day event, the culmination of summer in Međimurje, which is attended by hundreds and thousands of visitors, tourists, young and old. Musical performances by dozens of artists, an adrenaline park and the beautiful Međimurje are a guarantee of a great time.

"We haven't slept in the past months, we won't lie to you," said Krešo Biškup, the festival's spokesman. "From the whole situation with this pandemic, we have decided to wait, be persistent and keep hope. We knew we were going to have to change the story, we canceled the big foreign DJs and focused on the region, the neighborhood, our “home”. In February, we had the entire construction of the festival closed, all the concepts, we worked on dozens, and maybe even hundreds of hours of meetings, preparations, conceptual solutions to make everything fall into place."


The Forestland festival is the only festival of this size in northern Zagreb and almost the only festival in Croatia to be held this summer. "The trust of the partners was not lacking, it was difficult, but we broke through. As there are no activities, no events, everyone cut their marketing budgets first, but we can readily say - our partners are loyal to us, we have confidence and we will continue to work. We are followed in 2020 by HEP, one of the main partners is Zagrebačka pivovara with which we have excellent, long-term cooperation, which will continue, then Coca Cola and a number of accompanying assortments, Jagermeister, Red Bull, but also our local community.

The Tourist Board of Međimurje follows in our footsteps, and we return with an excellent promotion of Međimurje, the destinations and activities we create. The official vehicle of the festival is the new Suzuki hybrid, a Vitara SUV provided to us by AC Baumgartner, which has been supporting us for many years," says Biškup.

"Local municipalities, the County, we are partners with all institutions that support us, and our favorite is when we place a beautiful story in the world. The photo and image that Croatia Full of Life shares and is proud of these days - the Croatian National Tourist Board gives us the wind in our backs and helps us to create the best festival so far. Of course, media coverage is extremely important, and this is where we come to mutual cooperation, storytelling and relevance of the content."

What's next? Forestland's multi-year plan:

"The story of the Forestland festival has its own multi-year plan. We never just work on the current project, but plan, look to the future and think about what we can improve, fix, change and make attractive. We are in negotiations with big production companies, they are coming to accompany one artist to Forestland where they will record a video for his new single, agencies are following their performers and pictures from the 'Forest' will tour the world. In 2021, we continue to hope to become part of another larger, global story, because northern Croatia deserves such a focus, attraction and quality that foreigners and tourists already recognize,"adds Biškup.


Forestland takes place from 17 to 19 July in Brezje, from noon on Friday to Sunday at noon when the afterparty moves to the pools in Toplice Sveti Martin where all visitors with bracelets have free admission all day.

Tickets for the festival are 100 kuna, valid for both days of the festival, and you can find them online, at or at the entrance to the festival from July 17 at 12:00 pm. More info about Forestland can be found here.

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

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Medjimurje Gives More: New Tourist Board Campaign Focused on Domestic Tourists

June 18, 2020 - The Tourist Board of Medjimurje County, in cooperation with Terme Sveti Martin and about 50 partners from the public and commercial sector, has launched a tourist campaign under the slogan "Medjimurje gives more!".

Finally, a campaign focused on domestic guests!

Namely, HRTurizam reports that the 'Medjimurje Gives More' campaign lasts from June 15 to September 15, 2020, and was launched to achieve the best possible tourist traffic in the coming months, which has been greatly reduced. The main idea of ​​the campaign is to offer the market a free bonus based on the realized consumption instead of competing in lowering prices, thus stimulating potential guests to decide to vacation in Medjimurje.

Instead of the classic discounts, Medjimurje decided on a different approach - with overnight stays or consumption, the guest gets added value through free content in the form of a bonus coupon.

Guests will thus receive a bonus coupon from accommodation, catering or other commercial service providers, provided that the guest has spent at least HRK 250 (once) in any of the commercial providers of catering and tourist services in Medjimurje.

Commercial partners hand over the coupon upon realization of the service, i.e., upon arrival at the accommodation facility, and with catering services after paying the bill. With the obtained coupon, the guest can visit one of the public tourist facilities and sites once or use one of the tourist services donated by public or commercial partners in the project.

The conditions and manner of using the coupon are published on a special website ( www.visitmeđ ) where you can follow the course of the entire action, as well as on the promotional leaflet that will be distributed with the coupons.


For the needs of the campaign, a prize game was made, along with a special web page, and a video and visuals that follow the entire campaign. The campaign is also advertised through online and offline media.

With the campaign, tourist entities in Medjimurje County have clearly defined what they want to achieve, as the President of the Medjimurje County Tourist Board Rudi Grula pointed out, and that is to convey to markets the message that it is a safe, quality, interesting and meaningful holiday destination year-round, which offers a quality service for a "fair" price, and rewards guests with added value.

“The goal is to achieve as many guest arrivals and overnight stays in Medjimurje as the rest of the year, to extend the average length of stay of guests, to encourage higher consumption of guests who will choose Medjimurje for their vacation, but also to encourage the local population in catering and other tourist facilities in the area,” Grula points out.

The project involves about 50 partners who offer more than 100 free experiences that include sports activities and yoga, tickets for visits to museums and collections, guided tours, tastings of fine wines and delicious dishes, the use of e-bikes, event tickets, and fun adrenaline adventures.

"Medjimurje, with all its potentials, contents and awards, does not allow us to be average, but to give more in service and quality continuously. Such a positive project, with our standard and quality service to guests, gives even more content for free, which will make us stand out from the rest of the competition and show that we are a significant factor in tourism in Croatia," said LifeClass Terme Sveti Martin, a partner that is involved in the project with a special offer.

Also, to mitigate the negative consequences of the coronavirus, Medjimurje County has announced a public call for grants to co-finance the work of travel agencies/tour operators.

With these grants, the County wants to encourage the growth of tourist traffic and consumption in the area, and for the implementation of the project, HRK 50,000 has been provided from the County budget. The support of the County amounts to HRK 50 per tourist overnight stay in the area, and the support will be paid based on the applications of the travel organizers until the end of 2020 or until the planned funds are used.

“Come to Medjimurje because Medjimurje gives you more - more nature, more health, more songs, more delicious dishes and wines, more quality and more security!" reads the message of the campaign that invites everyone to the region.

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

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Forestland to be First Festival held in Croatia this Summer

June 2, 2020 - Forestland Electronic Music Festival will be officially held this summer in Međimurje, from July 17 to 19, in the idyllic Brezje. For the eighth time, Forestland becomes the center of summer in the northernmost part of Croatia.

It has been almost ten years since the idea came to fruition, and even the most difficult circumstances cannot stop the Forestland team, who have spent many sleepless nights and thousands of working hours to hold 48 hours of electronic music in the woods.


"We have been fighting for months and went through dozens of options just to decide - Forestland will take place!" said festival spokesman Krešimir Biškup. "Forestland is an idea, a rebellion, a desire and a dream in one, and this year we will maintain it and do it in the best possible way in this difficult situation. We respect all the measures prescribed by the CNIPH, we have disinfection points, running drinking water in several places, and more than 4m2 of space will be provided for each visitor."

Forestland has been held for several years in Brezje, in an idyllic field surrounded by oak, beech, and hornbeam forests, a lake and streams, with over four hectares of festival space.

There have been some changes in the list of performers, but all those announced will play at the festival either this year or next: "We have been planning and watching for months, but in the end, we agreed that due to the Covid-19 situation we were forced to postpone foreign contractors for the winter of 2020, or the summer of 2021," said Biškup and added: "Kiril Djaikovski, Mark Sixma and Moguai have been moved to future dates due to long travel, but 2020 will still be remembered by the biggest regional names."


Forestland is convinced that the festival will attract a large number of local and Slovenian audiences:

"We have had a close relationship with our neighbors for years, a large number of Slovenian DJs perform at the festival, this summer we are doing hip-hop and graffiti jam, we are building an entire small town at the festival site. Due to the destination itself, we are extremely pleased to attract that number of tourists and work on the promotion of Međimurje as a party center of continental Croatia. Our goal in the next period is to connect even more with various musicians, DJs and bands in Croatia and Slovenia and unite them all at the festival, to become a kind of meeting point for electronic music," concludes Biškup and adds:" We will always give the advantage to local and regional artists, and the announcements of this year's artists will show that."

Tickets for Forestland can be purchased exclusively online through the start-up ticketing system at a price of 100 kuna for a festival ticket, or 160 for a camping ticket.

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

Monday, 30 March 2020

Međimurje Farmers Will Be Able to Tend to Their Vineyards in Hungary

ZAGREB, March 30, 2020- Grape farmers from the northern Croatian region of Međimurje will be able to cross the border into Hungary to tend to their vineyards there despite the border restrictions Hungary has introduced to fight the coronavirus epidemic, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Sunday.

Szijjarto said that he and his Croatian counterpart Gordan Grlić Radman had agreed on cross-border commuting in areas near the border, according to the Hungarian news agency MTI.

The Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Ministry did not respond to Hina's query about the agreement.

Szijjarto says that Croatian grape farmers from Međimurje recently contacted him about the border restrictions preventing them from crossing over to Hungary to farm their grapes.

"And if they do not finish the work now then there certainly won't be any harvest," he said on Facebook.

The Hungarian minister said that he had phoned his counterpart Gordan Grlić Radman and they quickly agreed to enable commuting over the border.

"The two police captains will work out the details and spring work can start," Szijjarto said.

More news about relations between Croatia and Hungary can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 9 January 2020

Day Remembering Međimurje's Unification with Croatia Marked in Čakovec

ZAGREB, January 9, 2020 - The day commemorating the unification of the region of Međimurje with the parent country Croatia was marked at a ceremony in the northern town of Čakovec on Thursday.

An envoy of the Croatian state leadership, Mursko Središće Mayor Dražen Srpak, said that on 9 January 1919 Međimurje had actually reunited with Croatia, its parent country, to which it had always belonged, and with the Croat people.

Međimurje County remembers today an important date in its history, when at a large national assembly in Čakovec on 9 January 1919 a resolution was adopted on Međimurje's secession from the Kingdom of Hungary.

Wreaths were laid at the Čakovec cemetery at a monument to Ivan Novak, the organiser of a military campaign for liberation from Hungarians, and the graves of all those who had contributed to the adoption of the decision on Međimurje's unification with the parent country were visited as well.

Srpak, a member of the ruling HDZ party, said that Međimurje had always belonged to the Croatian homeland. It was never really a part of Hungary and the people of Međimurje never started speaking the Hungarian language, he said.

Asked about Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's policy and his having photos of himself taken by a historical map showing Međimurje as part of Hungary, Međimurje County Assembly head Mladen Novak said that Hungary's policy had not changed for a hundred years and would probably never change, and that the residents of Međimurje always had to be prepared for the challenges of such a policy.

"We are quiet but when we raise our voice, we are pretty fierce and we know how to fight for our interests," said Novak.

Attending the ceremonies was also county head Matija Posavec.

The day commemorating Međimurje's unification with the parent country Croatia is observed as a memorial day in line with a Croatian parliament decision of 2005.

The adoption of the resolution on the secession of Međimurje from the Hungarian state is important because of its relevance for the historic aspiration to preserve the integrity of Croatian territory.

After the military liberation of Međimurje, a large national assembly was held in Čakovec on January 9, 1919, at which a resolution was adopted on the secession of Međimurje from the Hungarian state and a wish was expressed to join the then Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.

Even though Hungarians gave up on Međimurje only in 1920, after the Treaty of Trianon, the national assembly in Čakovec was one of the most important decisions for the Croatian population of Međimurje and was attended by more than 10,000 people. Dr Ivan Novak is considered as the person who deserves most credit for secession from Hungary.

More Međimurje news can be found in the Politics section.

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

12 Roma Children Expelled from Kotoriba Kindergarten, says MP

ZAGREB, November 13, 2019 - The Roma minority member of parliament, Veljko Kajtazi, said on Wednesday that 12 Roma children had been expelled from a kindergarten in Kotoriba, Međimurje County, calling on all those involved to solve the problem as soon as possible so that children could continue attending kindergarten.

Expelling Roma children, even for a short period of time, will have long-term negative consequences, Kajtazi said at a news conference in the parliament.

The November 5 decision whereby the kindergarten management expelled the Roma children reads that a child stops attending kindergarten if its parents do not pay the kindergarten fee for two consecutive months, with the final deadline for due payments being November 9.

The children were expelled because the Science and Education Ministry was late with payments even though the kindergarten is aware that it will obtain the money, Kajtazi said.

Since 2009 the Science and Education Ministry has been co-funding preschool education and it has been covering the share of the kindergarten fee paid by parents for all members of the Roma minority.

This, along with the financing of the rest of the membership fee from local budgets, has made it possible for kindergarten care for members of the Roma minority to be free, Kajtazi said.

The children were expelled because the kindergarten holds their parents responsible for the payment of the membership fee share that is paid by the ministry, he said.

Kajtazi said that he received information from the ministry on Tuesday saying that it met its obligations regularly and that the request for payment from September was being processed as well as that it would soon pay the 28,000 kuna that it was required to pay.

He said that the ministry paid funds at the kindergarten's request twice during a school year and that since 2015 almost 113,000 kuna had been paid into the Kotoriba kindergarten's account.

The MP also said that his office had tried to contact Kotoriba municipality about the problem but was referred to "the kindergarten whose manager is on sick leave."

More news about the status of Roma in Croatia can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Varazdin, Medjimurje, Koprivnica-Krizevci Counties to Introduce Integrated Passenger Transport

October 2, 2019 - Medjimurje, Varazdin, and Koprivnica-Krizevci Counties will be the leaders of integrated passenger transport in Croatia. 

HRTurizam reports that in cooperation with the Varazdin, Medjimurje and Koprivnica-Krizevci counties and Croatian Railroads (HZ), and as part of the "Integrated Passenger Transport (IPP)" project by the Railway Association, an agreement was signed at the beginning of the year for the "Integrated Passenger Transport Master Plan".

With this agreement, HZ Passenger Transport and the three northern counties begin active cooperation in the implementation of measures that will, in the long run, result in establishing integrated passenger transport throughout the three counties. This means that in a few years, we will have a public transport system where the passenger will be able to easily combine train and bus lines with a single transport ticket and arrive at almost any location in the three counties throughout the day.

It is important to note that Integrated Passenger Transport is applied by all developed regions of Europe and the world. Experts are unique in assessing that such a system provides quality access to the entire urban, suburban and rural areas in a region, and it significantly improves the quality of life and competitiveness of the economy, since workers can easily and conveniently reach their jobs and meet many other needs without using a car. This means that there is less traffic congestion, that no parking is required, the environment is less polluted and the transport system as a whole is safer.

"For the past five years, we have seen a 10 percent drop in public transport, while the European Union has grown steadily. A small number of lines, inefficient systems, and obsolete rolling stock are a major problem for the rail and bus systems, and a transformation of the entire system is needed that will only come to life if we start thinking about traffic and the way these three counties think. We are entering a period where more than ever will be invested in railway infrastructure and the development of railway transport, and I am glad that it is precisely Medjimurje, Varazdin and Koprivnica-Krizevci County that will be the first and the leaders of integrated transport in Croatia for the benefit of our citizens and economy,” stated Nikolina Brnjac, State Secretary for Transport at the Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure.

"In the area of Medjimurje County, we carry about 2 million passengers a year, and because of these passengers it is important to improve the functionality of transport and contribute to their mobility," concluded the President of the Board of HZ Passenger Transport, Zeljko Ukic.

The total value of the project is 5.2 million kuna - each of the counties has set aside around 260,000 kuna, and EU funds cover the rest. The project also plans to build and modernize a new high-efficiency line between Cakovec-Varazdin-Lepoglava-Zabok, and a feasibility study is underway, with plans to complete the works by September 2020, said Varazdin County prefect Radimir Cacic.

Also, a study on a new network of bus lines for these three counties is being prepared, and the plan is to establish a so-called "pilot line" consisting of trains and buses and introduce a single map for both modes of transport. The pilot line, for which only one ticket will be sufficient, should cross the route Varazdin - Lepoglava - Bednja - Trakoscan, with a changeover in Lepoglava, and Varazdin - Ludbreg - Mali Bukovec, with a changeover in Ludbreg. 

"In three counties, the train and bus routes will be harmonized, there will be about 20 departures in the main routes from morning to late at night, all of which can be used by purchasing a single transport ticket," said Cacic.

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

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Međimurje County Prefect Resigns from HNS Party

ZAGREB, October 1, 2019 - The head of Međimurje County and leader of the county branch of the Croatian People's Party (HNS), Matija Posavec, announced at a special press conference in Čakovec on Tuesday that he had resigned from the party after being a member for 15 years.

He said that the reasons for his departure were substantial differences in views between him and the party, which is a junior partner in the ruling coalition.

"Realising where things are going, I have decided to leave after months of attempts and warnings that things should go in a different direction, that we should introduce new values into Croatian politics, but there was not enough will for that. I gave it a lot of chances, but this is not the political path I think both Međimurje and Croatia should follow," Posavec said.

He said that two years ago, when the HNS entered into the coalition with the HDZ, he had decided to stay although he was opposed to that decision and wanted to change things from within.

"I was trying for these two years. Things came to a head at the European Parliament election after which I made it clear in public that we have to build a new party on a new political paradigm, that we need to change both our leadership and our direction if we want a better future. Unfortunately, my pleas fell on deaf ears," Posavec said.

He said that he wanted to bring new values into Croatian politics and wanted to fight for a better future. He was not specific about his political future after his term as county head expires, but stressed that he was not going to join any other party.

Posavec said he would focus on his work in Međimurje County and on building a platform for a strong regional policy in northern Croatia.

Asked who would take over the leadership of the party's county organisation, he said that this would be decided by the party and that his duties could be assumed by his deputies.

More HNS news can be found in the Politics section.

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