Saturday, 20 August 2022

24th Špancirfest Varaždin Kicks off Expecting 300 Thousand Visitors

August 20, 2022 - Another Špancirfest in Varaždin has kicked off. This year's is the festival's 24th edition, and the organisers are expecting three hundred thousand visitors.

As Poslovni reports, On Friday 19th August, the 24th Špancirfest began in Varaždin, which is one of the longest-running Croatian summer events. Over the space of ten days, it brings more than five hundred programs, concerts, street performances, plays, dance and other contents, reports HRT.

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Photo: Matija Habljak (Pixsell)

The soul of Špancirfest, which will last until August 28, are the street performers who will come to Varaždin this year from all over Europe. The street performer list is made up of mobile performers, among whom there will be drummers, costumed performers, stilt walkers, etc.

The musical part of Špancirfest will offer its audience a diverse program on four main and several smaller stages on the streets and squares of the historic core of the city. An essential part of the Festival is the theater program at Villa Bedeković.

Director of the Varaždin Tourist Board, Jelena Toth, told Hina that more than 500 different programs will be held as part of Špancirfest in the next ten days on the outdoor stage of Varaždin's historic city center. The program is diverse and expects a large number of visitors. Toth reminded that last year the official number of visitors was 230 thousand, and in 2019, before the pandemic, it was 300 thousand.

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Photo: Matija Habljak (Pixsell)

"We hope that this year we can approach the figure of 300 thousand again. Of course, a lot depends on the weather. We really did our best to organise Špancirfest, to equip the space, and to design quality content", said the director of the Varaždin Tourist Board, noting that the only thing that is not within their control is the weather.

All festival programs will be held outdoors, while tickets only need to be booked for the programs at Villa Bedeković.

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

Wednesday, 27 April 2022

Varaždin County Delivered 10 Tons of Humanitarian Aid to Chernivtsi Region

April 27, 2022 - About 10 tons of humanitarian aid, food, and hygiene supplies were delivered to the residents of the Chernivtsi region of Ukraine, with which Varaždin County has friendly relations.

Varaždin County said that on the eve of Easter, according to the Julian calendar, humanitarian aid was delivered through the border crossing at the Romanian-Ukrainian border, to the Olimpia humanitarian aid depot in the city of Chernivtsi, reports HRT News.

Groceries and supplies were delivered thanks to citizens, local governments, and companies that, after the appeal of Varaždin County Prefect Anđelko Stričak, in just a few days, donated ten tons of groceries with a longer shelf life and hygiene supplies.

In addition to Varaždin County, aid was collected by: Varaždin, Varaždinske Toplice and Lepoglava and the municipalities of Petrijanec, Trnovec Bartolovečki, Cestica, Sračinec, Beretinec, Gornji Kneginec, Breznica, Breznički Hum, Mali Bukovec and Veliki Bukovec. The companies Ivančica, Hudek-Trgotrans, Siga, Krešimir Futura, Helcom Trade, Trgograd - BP Šilec and Nika konstrukcije also joined the initiative.

The city of Chernivtsi is the capital and largest city in the Chernivtsi region of Ukraine, the region with which Varaždin County signed a Cooperation Agreement in 2013.

Prefect Anđelko Stričak thanked everyone who responded to brighten up the Easter holidays to friends in Ukraine.

- As the Ambassador of Ukraine to the Republic of Croatia Vasil Kirilich informed us, who asked for help, today the region is a temporary residence of many Ukrainians from war parts of that country, so they urgently needed help, primarily in the form of long-term food duration, stressed Uncle.

As the devastation of the war in Ukraine does not stop, the Varaždin prefect announced that he would organize the collection of humanitarian aid for a friendly region in Ukraine in cooperation with cities and municipalities, and companies in the coming months.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Thursday, 7 April 2022

Foreign Entrepreneurs Interested in Investing in Varaždin County

ZAGREB, 7 April 2022 - Foreign entrepreneurs are interested in investing in Varaždin County, it was said in Varaždin on Thursday at a meeting of economic advisors accredited to diplomatic missions and representatives of foreign trade offices with county head Anđelko Stričak and mayor Neven Bosilj.

The meeting was organised by the Foreign Ministry's directorate for economic affairs and development cooperation.

Such meetings are an excellent opportunity to show foreign representatives each county's potential and investment possibilities, said Rina Eterović Goreta, head of the directorate.

She said more than 35 economic advisors from more than 25 countries were at today's meeting and that they had shown "big interest" in Varaždin County.

This was the first visit by such a large delegation. Prefect Stričak said the county could offer foreign investors space in business zones and that the its excellence centres were exemplary.

He said there were numerous business zone around the City of Varaždin and that foreign investors were welcome.

Mayor Bosilj said the city had one of the lowest unemployment rates in Croatia, under 2%, and that the economic diplomacy representatives could be shown the potential of the Brezje Zone.

He said there were many letters of intent, the latest coming from Germany. "We also have Swiss and Austrian investors. We want as many quality investors as possible, that they compete with salaries so as to get the best workers."

Representatives of the Austrian ad Hungarian embassies confirmed the usefulness of the information and the potential to develop economic cooperation, saying today's meeting was positive.

For more, check out our business section.

Thursday, 2 December 2021

Festive December Holidays Fun at 2021 Christmas in Ludbreg

December 02, 2021 – From winter walks and cycling to festive lights, farmers markets and the arrival of Saint Nicholas, there's a full calendar of activity and fun at Christmas in Ludbreg

Sitting just an hour's drive northeast of the Croatian capital, the town of Ludbreg is easily among one of the most appealing day trips you can take from Zagreb. And, no more true is that than in the December holiday season.

IMG_20211202_111110_1.jpgBatthyany castle, Ludbreg, December 2021 © Nikolina Breber

The fields and hills surrounding Ludbreg are today still home to traditional agriculture and winemaking. In the winter season, the families of these farms and vineyards bring the best produce to sell in town. Sparkling with Christmas lights and with seasonal music events adding to the atmosphere, Ludbreg is a great place to pick up a Christmas gift.

But, the nature surrounding the town is not only loved for its produce. Winter and Christmas in Ludbreg is a great time for active events and keeping fit. You can here challenge yourself on a cross country trek or bike race this season.

There are events at Christmas in Ludbreg for everyone. From the youngest family members and their teenage siblings to mom, dad and grandparents too. Here's a look at December's seasonal calendar for Christmas in Ludbreg.

St. Nicholas Day - 5 December - Ciklokros League Ludbreg

Ciklokros_Liga.jpg© Ciklokros

Following a successful tour in spring, the second round of 2021's Ciklokros League is here. This time, it's a series of seven Sunday races that journey through the stunning Autumn/Winter landscapes of northwest Croatia. And, on 5th December, it's the Ludbreg race.

Ciklokros_Liga2.jpg© Ciklokros

Cyclists will race successive laps of a 2000 metre course past the waters, lawns and trees of Ludbreg's Otok Mladosti. The fun trail is a mixture of dirt track, grass and course gravel path, unchallenging and perfect for any kind of bmx, mountain bike or cross country racer (more fragile, traditional road racing bikes perhaps wouldn't be so suitable and electric bikes are not permitted). Although keep an eye out – race organisers have placed some obstacles on the route for you to go around.

The event welcomes competitors all ages and abilities, with an initial race starting at 1pm and the second at 1.20pm. You can get more info here and apply to take part here, with the entry fee being just 50 kuna.

St. Nicholas Day - 6 December - Arrival of Saint Nicholas by Horse Drawn Carriage

E0A9695-min-scaled.jpg© Matea Maltarić

Many children have to wait until Christmas Eve for a visit from Santa Claus. But, not the youngsters of Ludbreg. In Croatia, the celebration of Saint Nicholas Day is still observed traditionally on December 5/6th. Often, it's a time of gift-giving. Always, it's a time loved by the young people of Ludbreg.

Of course, Santa usually arrives on a sleigh pulled by reindeer. But, there's simply no guarantee of the necessary snow so early in winter. So, in Ludbreg, Saint Nicholas arrives by horse-drawn carriage. Horses are a much-loved feature of sporting and social events in Ludbreg, with the town's summertime equestrian games now being a decade old.

E0A9729-min-scaled.jpg© Matea Maltarić

Because it's his day, Saint Nicholas gets the first ride with the horses. But, after he arrives to greet everyone, his carriage and horses will take youngsters for a ride around Ludbreg. Children and families can arrange horse riding or a tour in a horse-drawn carriage around Ludbreg throughout the year.

Ivana Galić concert at Batthyany castle - 17 December

Ludbreg_castle.jpgBatthyany castle, one of the venues for Christmas in Ludbreg © Siniša Sović

Despite her young years, singer Ivana Galić already has a performance career that stretches back some 20 years. She has appeared as part of choirs and ensembles and as a soloist at concerts across Europe. In her native Croatia, she is particularly well known for the vocals she lends to black music genres – jazz, soul and gospel. Indeed, she has performed in the UK as a guest of the renowned Birmingham Community Gospel Choir. It is to this gospel genre that Ivana Galić and her quartet return at this special Yuletide concert.

The venue for the concert is Batthyany castle. The focal point of Ludbreg Old Town, the castle today is a fully refurbished version of the opulent residence fashioned here in the 18th century (although, the original castle that stood on this spot is significantly older). What more spectacular setting could you ask for this special seasonal concert? The concert starts at 6pm.

Advent at Christmas in Ludbreg - 19 December

sqiuygfcdvgbhj1.jpgChristmas in Ludbreg 2021 © Nikolina Breber

Ludbreg is a wonderful town to visit at any time of year. But, during Advent, Ludbreg is particularly quaint and romantic. The town is dressed in flickering, seasonal lights and nowhere is the seasonal spirit better felt than on the parade of huts and stalls of the Christmas market.

80235931_604137397064960_8023206016545980416_n-scaled-1.jpgChristmas in Ludbreg © Visit Ludbreg

This year, scents and flavours of the Christmas season will waft through the Ludbreg air on Sunday 19 December. On the occasion, folks from the surrounding family farms will come to town to show off the best of their seasonal produce. Looking for some authentic, tasty or traditional gifts? This is the place to come.

The Christmas market will start at 13.00 and run until 20.00. In 2021, it takes place in the newly renovated Zanatski trg (Craft square) and on the promenade.

Crazy Hill Trekk 2021 - 19 December

ŠRD_BSV_Ludbreg2.jpg© ŠRD BSV Ludbreg

Some will wait until January before trying to shift the extra kilograms you gain eating rich Christmas food. Not in Ludbreg, where folks balance fine living with a healthy lifestyle. The cooler winter temperatures are perfect for a little exercise and exertion. That's exactly what you'll get at the second annual Crazy Hill Trekk.

ŠRD_BSV_Ludbreg3.jpg© ŠRD BSV Ludbreg

This orienteering trek race will take you through the magical hills and forests that lie on the outskirts of Ludbreg - Vinogradi Ludbreški and Kalničko gorje. As the name suggests, the terrain around Vinogradi Ludbreški is a pretty landscape filled with neat rows of grapevines. Just to the south of Ludbreg a more rugged topography begins to emerge. The peaks of the Kalnik mountains form a natural border between the historic Croatian regions of Zagorje, Prigorje and Podravina. To their west is Zagreb County, to the south and east is Koprivnica- Križevci County and to their north is Varaždin County and Ludbreg. This is an incredible setting for a wintertime expedition.

ŠRD_BSV_Ludbreg.jpg© ŠRD BSV Ludbreg

The trek welcomes entrants of all abilities and experience. For trekkers who are more prepared and more experienced, there's the 18-20km trail, with a slightly more demanding orientation aspect. For lighter runners and those simply looking for some fun recreation in a fantastic winter setting, there's a 8-10km trail. The former should take much less than the maximum 6 hours set as a time limit, with an equally generous 4 hours set for the latter.

You can find out more about the trek races and apply to enter via here.

Tuesday, 5 October 2021

Varaždin County Gets 3 Non-Emergency Medical Transport Vehicles Worth HRK1M

ZAGREB, 5 Oct, 2021 - Varaždin County's department of emergency medicine on Tuesday was provided with three new vehicles for non-emergency patient transport, and this procurement was worth about a million kuna (€133,000).

During the vehicle takeover ceremony, County Prefect Anđelko Stričak said that emergency medicine, fire-fighters, the police, the army, the civil protection units and mountain rescue service were the essential elements of homeland security.

Stričak said that the county's department of emergency medicine had 41 vans in its fleet, and 32 of those vehicles were for non-emergency medical transport while nine were ambulances.

Annually, 65,000 patients use the services of this transport, and the vehicles in this department's fleet cover 1.3 million kilometres. The department registers about 10,500 emergency interventions and cover some 230,000 kilometres during the provision of urgent medical aid.

For more about health in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

 

Thursday, 9 September 2021

Varaždin County Businesses See Higher Net Profit, More Employees in 2020 Than in 2019

ZAGREB, 9 Sept 2021 - The businesses registered in Varaždin County recorded the consolidated net profit of HRK 1.3 billion in 2020, up 22.3% from 2019, and had also 1.6% more employees last year than in 2019, according to an analysis of the Financial Agency (FINA).

Last year, the total revenues of the 4,276 businesses that had their main offices registered in that northern Croatian county stood at HRK 27.5 billion, down by 0.3% on the year, and their total expenditures were cut by one percent to HRK 26 billion.

In terms of revenues, the food company Vindija topped the ranking, HRK 3 billion.

WE-KR, a company specialized in manufacturing metal structures, saw the highest profit.

The net profit for the period of all the enterprises in the county came to HRK 1.5 billion, rising by 26.5% from 2019, the loss for the period jumped by 49.1% to HRK 290.2 million. As a result, the consolidated financial outcome of the profit was HRK 1.3 billion, or 23.3% more than in 2019.

Gross fixed capital formation increased by 5.5% in 2020.

The exports of the businesses registered in Varaždin County declined by 4.5% to HRK 9.2 billion, and imports shrank 11.5% to HRK 5.1 billion.

The biggest exporter, based in Varaždin County, was Boxmark Leather, whose exports totaled HRK 934.6 million, and it had the highest number of employees, 2,234.

Last year, the number of people on the payroll of all those 4,276 businesses increased by 701 or 1.6% to 43,889 on the year.

Last year's average monthly wage in county businesses was 12% lower than Croatia's average

The average monthly net wage paid to workers in Varaždin County-based businesses totaled HRK 5,257, or 2.3% more than in 2019. However, the comparison of the average net monthly wage paid by enterprises in the whole of Croatia, (HRK 5,971), and by this county's enterprises in 2020 shows that workers in this northern county received the monthly salary lower by 12% than the country's average.

(€1 = HRK 7.476883)

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

Saturday, 5 June 2021

Highlights of the Week: 5 Big Events in Croatia from May 31- June 6, 2021

 June 6, 2021 - TCN's highlights of the week. A look at the events in Croatia from May 31 through the selection of TCN's reporter Ivor Kruljac. 

From significant political changes after the local elections to the losses and preparations in sport, the week was hyped by a strive for hope in Croatia. But, the tragic murder of Nino Čengić in Varaždin was a painful kick to the stomach. Here is another weekly selection of the news depicting the bittersweet life in Croatia. 

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© Patrik Macek / PIXSELL

Highlights of the week: Tomislav Tomašević officially. becomes the new mayor of Zagreb

Zagreb local elections winner Tomislav Tomašević met with Jelena Pavičić Vukičević for an official ceremony of transferring power on Friday, which makes Tomašević officially the new mayor of Zagreb.

Media attention was also caught for the fact that Tomašević was four minutes late to the ceremony because he was waiting for the ambulance on Cibona because a woman fell ill in the middle of the street. But, for the bigger public interest, it's important to note today was the first time for Tomašević to have a detailed view on the financial situation of the City of Zagreb, giving him a clear picture of the debt problem Zagreb has. 

As TCN reported earlier, Tomašević told the press after the ceremony that the situation is not good, but there are solutions. Still, so far, no more details were given on the two-thousand-odd-page reports on the 2020 budget execution and preliminary figures. Additionally, the new city assembly would hold the founding meeting on 17 June.  

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© Slavko Midzor / PIXSELL

Highlights of the week: Zlatko Dalić on Croatian National Football Team

The Croatian National Football Team is preparing for the friendly clash with Belgium. As reported by TCN, Zlatko Dalić faced the press on Friday ahead of the match. 

„I am satisfied with everything except the result. We had minor injury problems. We did the rest as expected, but the draw with Armenia left a bitter taste. In that game, we had to win 4-0 or 5-0, not draw 1-1. I am dissatisfied with this result. Plus, we created 5-6 percent chances, and we didn't do that in three games in a row at the beginning of the World Cup qualifiers against Slovenia, Cyprus, and Malta. We were nonchalant and irresponsible and did not realize them. We were not specific, and that is a minus“, said Dalić to the press. 

Dalić also pointed out that the national team is aware of its obligation to the Croatian people. He spoke about the problems in the national team, the pros and cons of the draw against Armenia, and the expectations from players who are dissatisfied with their status. One of them is Andrej Kramarić, who, after 20 goals scored in the Bundesliga this season, is not safe among Dalić's starters. A few days ago, he advised the media to ask Davor Šuker what he would say after such a season. 

Expectionsare big ahead of the EURO championship, and no doubt fans will pay attention with close interest. 

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© Vjeran Zganec Rogulja / PIXSELL

Highlights of the week: Anđelko Stričak, new prefect

The power transfer ceremony on Friday also took place in Varaždin where Anđelko Stričak defeated current Varaždin prefect Radimir Čačić. 

„The victory is well deserved. In the past nine years as the president of Varaždin county organization of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), and in six years as a member of the parliament, I've been to every corner of Varaždin county and talked to everybody. I heard the needs of our citizens, and I tried to solve them by cooperating with coalition partners on every level. Of course, I'm not the best, most capable or most perfect, but I will try with my team to give my best that everybody in the county feel changes for the better“, said the new Varaždin County prefect Stričak, as reported by Varaždin county's official website

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© Sanjin Strukic / PIXSELL

Highlights of the week: Croatia Loses to Spain in the Under-21 European Championship

Spain was better than Croatia after extra time in the Under-21 European Championship quarter-final in Maribor on Monday. The match ended 2:1. As reported by TCN, Croatia was solid in the first half and threatened the Spain goal on a few occasions. Despite Spain's high pressure, Ivanušec had a chance from 20 meters in the 7th minute, and in the 23rd, Bradarić's shot was blocked by the Spain defense. Spain retaliated with a Diaz shot from 20 meters, but Croatia's defense made it difficult for them to do much more. 

The young Croatia national team fought against Spain for a spot in the semifinals. 

Igor Bišćan's side met Spain at Ljudski Vrt stadium in Maribor. 

"The guys are aware that we have a great chance, they are motivated to do something, and we are all around them to give them that chance and be supportive. They have quality," Bišćan announced before the match.  

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© Vjeran Zganec Rogulja/ PIXSELL

Highlights of the week: Nino Čengić funeral in Varaždin

The Funeral of the English professor Nino Čengić who passed away last Sunday, was held on Wednesday. Nino Gengić, a substitute English professor in one Varaždin school, was brutally beaten with bats and chains in front of the local club in Varaždin called Kulturana. He was 35 years old.

As Jutarnji List reports, four suspects aged 24-29 are currently in custody while the investigation is ongoing as to what lead to this attack. Suspect's apartments were searched, and one suspect illegally possessed a considerable amount of ammo and fire weapons to match. All suspects were previously known to the police for troubling behavior, and the most tragic was the fact that 15 people witnessed the beating, but nobody stopped it.

To learn more about Croatia, have a look at our TC website.

For more about news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Discover Active Ludbreg: Canoeing, Kayaking, Cycling, Hiking, Walking

May 12, 2021 – From canoeing and kayaking on the Bednja to cycling and hiking through the forests and foothills of the Kalnik Mountains, Active Ludbreg is the best way to see the countryside in this particular part of Varaždin County.

The pretty town of Ludbreg is used to hosting visitors. Site of the only Vatican-recognised miracle in the Balkans, in regular years Ludbreg usually welcomes more than a million followers of faith. However, many come just for the day.

Pilgrimage is certainly one good way to see a specific side to Ludbreg. But, there are several different facets to this charming little town. And, there are good reasons to stay for a couple of days or so. Not least, Ludbreg's active options - canoeing, kayaking, cycling, hiking, walking.

RE09f7f61c87fd55e0794b26bfd64c367a_XL.jpgLudbreg's Youth Island (Otok Mladosti) - the perfect place for walking and recreation - is fully accessible to all, including wheelchair users © Ludbreg Town

Active Ludbreg is a great way you can better experience what the town has to offer. You'll see so much more of the countryside that surrounds. When you take on Active Ludbreg, each day can be different. Active Ludbreg options are the perfect reason for you to stick around for more than just a day.

Active Ludbreg: Cycling


RE167022019_3800997676663245_5154362747282020553_n.jpgCyclists taking on the routes of Ludbreg during 2021 Welcome Spring event @ Terca Art / Grad Ludbreg / TZ Ludbreg.

A diverse scenery of forests, fields, hills, flat plains and river valleys will fill your eyes as you cycle around Ludbreg. Furthermore, there are several Active Ludbreg cycle routes to suit your mood, group or ability. With the family, you can leisurely tour all the sights of the town on the traffic-free City Route. Heading out of town and into the countryside, the Trekking Route gives a fuller picture of Ludbreg greenery. It won't make much of a demand on you.

RE166715448_3800992799997066_7370923313728976288_n.jpgCyclists taking on the routes of Ludbreg during 2021 Welcome Spring event @ Terca Art / Grad Ludbreg / TZ Ludbreg.

Stepping up a gear, the Gravel Route is aimed at recreational riders who like to keep fit and get off-road. Perfect for mountain bikes, the rises on the route will open up some great scenery as well as challenging your legs. Lastly, the Road Route offers a physical challenge for serious cycling enthusiasts. Good for speed cyclists and racers, the higher gradients here demand at times you fully exert yourself on the asphalt.

RE166904625_3800992213330458_9221334015058037297_n.jpgCyclists taking on the routes of Ludbreg during 2021 Welcome Spring event @ Terca Art / Grad Ludbreg / TZ Ludbreg.

Additionally, Ludbreg is located on several recognised international cycling routes. the cross-border Happy Bike route will take you across the Hungarian border, as does the Mura-Drava route. Ludbreg is also very close to the Croatian section of the EuroVelo 13 route. This epic 9,950 km cycling tour retraces the old 'Iron Curtain', from the Barents Sea to the Black Sea. Why not stop off in Ludbreg if you're taking on part of this challenge?

If you want to learn more about the cycling routes of Active Ludbreg, then look here.

Active Ludbreg: Hiking and Walking


REludbreg-kalnik-2.jpgWinter 2021 trip into the nearby Kalnik mountains by Mountaineering Association Ludbreg @ Planinarsko društvo Ludbreg.

Forming a partial natural border between Varaždin County and Koprivnica-Križevci County, the northern edge of the Kalnik Mountains gently stretches down to Ludbreg in the form of wood and forest-covered hills. This beautiful and fresh landscape is perfect for walkers, hikers and runners.

RE20150510_132509.jpgThe good people of Mountaineering Association Ludbreg in the forest-covered foothills of the Kalnik Mountains near Ludbreg @ Planinarsko društvo Ludbreg.

Active Ludbreg's Crazy Hill Green Trail is an untaxing 10-kilometre route through the fresh and peaceful wooded hills south of the town. You can take this on as a run or simply just a pleasant two-hour walk. At 16 kilometres in length, the Crazy Hill Blue Trail passes through a similar topography. Again, it is not demanding and so can also be walked. The payoff of taking on the trail's final rise is a beautiful view of the woods stretching all the way into the Kalnik mountains. Want to make a day of it or give yourself a serious challenge? Ludbreg's Crazy Hill Red Trail throws down the gauntlet in the form of a 34-kilometre route for the physically fit.

RE20200315_134701.jpgWinter 2021 trip into the nearby Kalnik mountains by Mountaineering Association Ludbreg @ Planinarsko društvo Ludbreg.

Of course, not all of the footfall through Ludbreg needs to be physically exerting. You can take most routes at whatever pace you like, including the 23-kilometre Kalnik Hiking Trail. And, for a more recreational time in the fresh air, a trip around Ludbreg's Youth Island (Otok Mladosti) is immediately accessible, including wheelchair users.

If you want to learn more about the hiking and walking routes of Active Ludbreg, then look here.

Active Ludbreg: Kayaking and canoeing


REIMG_20200924_131447-01.jpegCanoe and kayak on the Bednja in Ludbreg @ Nikolina Breber

The latest offer of Active Ludbreg is kayaking and canoeing on the Bednja river. Starting its journey way to the west, near the Slovenian border, in truth, the Bednja has already run 100 kilometres by the time it reaches Ludbreg. In spring and autumn particularly (but, sometimes also in summer), the water level is high enough for you to take a canoe or kayak down the river's final run towards the Drava river. Here, you get to see wild nature up close. On the river banks, low bushes overhang the water's edge. Behind them, an avenue of shading trees along the river's length.

REIMG_20200924_120804-01.jpegCanoe and kayak on the Bednja in Ludbreg @ Nikolina Breber

Friday, 12 February 2021

Varazdin Cabbage Queen on Most Innovative Woman in EU Agriculture Shortlist

February 12, 2021 – Marija Cafuk, who successfully lead the campaign to have Varazdin cabbage protected by the EU, has been shortlisted for the award of Most Innovative Woman in European Agriculture. She used the opportunity to voice her concerns for Croatia's small producers under proposed new changes in the laws on seeds

Inexpensive and packed with nutrients and vitamins C + K, the humble cabbage is a staple part of the Croatian diet. One of its most famous varieties is Varazdin cabbage (Varaždinsko zelje), which is protected at a European level as distinct in coming from its point of origin.

Varazdin cabbage's successful entry into European protection is in no way thanks to the efforts of Varazdin resident Marija Cafuk, who is the custodian of Varazdin cabbage seeds and the only person in Croatia who is licensed to sell them. For her efforts, she has now been shortlisted by the European Association of Agricultural Producers Copa Cogeca for the award of Most Innovative Woman in European agriculture.

According to Copa Cogeca, the award aims to highlight the contribution that women make to rural development and the development of new models of food production in the context of climate change and environmental protection.

“Of course, I was pleasantly surprised by the nomination, which I think is a recognition of the long struggle to preserve our Varazdin cabbage seeds in conditions when we lost the last companies that were engaged in seed production and (had to) depend on imports,” Mrs. Cafuk told journalist Zlatko Simic in a recent interview with Jutarnji List. “You know how many conditions we had to meet in order for our seeds to be on the variety list! Let the EU see that there are people in our country who want to preserve their indigenous varieties for future generations.”

The latter part of her comment to the journalist refers to the proposed changes in seed registration laws that are looming on the horizon at both a national and an EU level. Small producers and family farms in Croatia are concerned about the loss of traditional seed varieties and their abilities to grow from them under the conditions of the changes in legislation.

f7abac252ae5ed68121b92ba7a669d87_XLcabbbbb.jpgVarazdin cabbage (Varaždinsko zelje) and its seeds © Varazdin County Tourist Board

“The problem is not only in paying the large costs we have in controlling the sowing of our certified seeds,” Mrs. Cafuk told the journalist, expanding on the matter of the changing seed laws, “but also in increasing the costs we may have if we had to deliver all the seeds we produce for processing, as (will be) required by law.”

Mrs. Cafuk told the journalist she hopes that the ongoing and popular protests and petitions of associations that keep domestic seeds will lead to a positive outcome in regards to the proposed national changes. Of course, she was speaking on behalf of seed custodians and small producers all over Croatia. Having attained its European protection already, Varazdin cabbage and Mrs Cafuk's enterprises are already safe.

Varazdin cabbage is one of two kinds of Croatian cabbage protected by the EU

There are in fact two types of Croatian cabbage protected at the European level – Varazdin cabbage and cabbage from Ogulin. But, whereas Varazdin cabbage is protected in its raw, unprocessed form, the cabbage from Ogulin is protected as a product after its fermentation (it is made into what is sometimes called sauerkraut).

In 2015, when the application was made to European authorities to protect Varazdin cabbage, a notice of opposition was lodged from nearby Slovenia. Slovenia had added new cabbage varieties to its national variety register in 2012 under the names ‘Varazdinsko 2’ and ‘Varazdinsko 3'. Varazdin is a centuries-old town in northern Croatia.

The notice of opposition was discounted. The EU office responsible for protecting new varieties did not consider Varazdinsko 2 and Varazdinsko 3 to be appropriate names, as they suggested a link to a geographical area with which they had no direct connection and to that extent were confusing to consumers. With this impasse of international cabbage recognition finally overcome, Varazdin cabbage was granted its European protection.

Thursday, 11 February 2021

PHOTOS: Outstanding Contemporary Croatian Architecture of the Year

February 10, 2021 – 10 of the most outstanding examples of contemporary Croatian architecture have been selected by the Association of Croatian Architects to compete in the extremely prestigious Mies van der Rohe Awards. Held only once every two years, they are the European equivalent of the Pritzker Prize for Architecture.

The Mies van der Rohe Awards are a really big deal. The greatest works of European architecture compete for recognition in the competition. The greatest success of Croatian architecture in the awards was attained by UP studios' Toma Plejić and Lea Pelivan, who received a special award for upcoming architects and had their high school in Koprivnica named the best building in that category in 2009. The success has had a considerable impact on their careers since.

Being held only once every two years, Croatian architecture projects completed since the closure of entries for the 2019 awards are eligible to be submitted. Here are the outstanding examples of contemporary Croatian architecture that will represent the country in 2022.

Cinema Urania Zagreb
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An old neighbourhood cinema built into the back streets near Kvatric. In their redesign, 3LHD preserved the best features from this early example of concrete engineering in Croatian architecture. They added a glass pavilion at the entrance, atriums and skylights, flooding the former darkness with the natural light needed for its new purpose as an event and work space.

3LHD_264_Urania_photo_by_Jure_Zivkovic_622355555555.jpg© Jure Živković

Grand Park Hotel, Rovinj
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Sprawling widely across six stepped levels, the new luxury Grand Park Hotel and spa could easily have looked a long swipe of concrete. But, by places greenery on each of its staged roofs, architects 3LHD have ensured that no matter where you are in the 500-guest-capacity building, your view places you within a garden, looking out onto Rovinj Old Town and the expanse of the Adriatic. Croatian architecture at its most breathtaking.

Grand_Park_Hotel_Rovinj43333.jpg© Alukoenigstahl hr
Ivanja Reka Elementary School, south Sesvete, east Zagreb
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If every elementary school looked as pretty and was as well equipped as Ivanja Reka Elementary School in the south of Sesvete, eastern Zagreb, you could well believe daily attendance would never drop below 100%. Designed by a team of architectural authors (SUBMAP studios Marija Burmas and Ivo-Lola Petrić, and Jakša Kalajžić from JKA Arhitekti), the multi-level main building sits centrally, surrounded by sports, recreation and other facilities creating an impressive view for both those outside and within.

a3a8dd73fd11ef837e65386313eb8c6529c4b842blaz.jpeg© Ivanja Reka Elementary School / Domagoj Blažević

Roxanich Wine & Heritage Hotel, Motovun, Istria
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The view is unmistakably Istria. Vineyards carpet the land below and - rising above - the picturesque hilltop town of Motovun. Helmed architecturally by consistently bold Rijeka designer Idis Turato, this multi-level, multi-purpose redesign retains the traditional feel of its existing stone building and its purpose – there's a huge wine cellar beneath – but has opened up the space to give stunning views, not least over a sun deck that spectacularly reflects the sunrise and sunset. This is an active winery, with works and equipment all housed within its lower floors, not that you could tell from the 25 person capacity boutique hotel, restaurant and wine shop upstairs.

317b6f_Wine-and-Heritage-Hotel-Roxanich---Motovun5.jpg© Roxanich.hr

Four Houses for Four Brothers, Diklo, Zadar
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Judging from a theme of project titles used by architects Iva Letilović and Igor Pedišić, we're not sure that Four Houses for Four Brothers was actually commissioned by four brothers or that four live there. But, you could well believe they could. The ultra-modern set of independent houses, located next to a beautiful stretch of coast in a north Zadar neighbourhood, was specifically designed to address a distinctly Croatian reality – how to open up some of your dwelling to seasonal guests while you remain at home. The design separates the buildings clearly into separate quarters which allow privacy, comfort and minimal encroachment for both visitors and residents.

bazencetiri.jpg© Igor Pedišić

Galić Winery, Kutjevo
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Award-winning outfit Zagreb-based studio Dva arhitekta have an existing, jaw-dropping design for a rural winery commissioned by famous makers Galic. However, that project, as yet, remains unrealised. But, their winery for Galic in the centre of Kutjevo town is complete. Melding the traditional and the contemporary, the upper section of the building is a bold and unblemished red brick, adorned with the winemaker's unmistakable logo. Beneath, concrete arches invite your eyes into the actual wine cellar – neat rows of barrels, protected behind glass walls that are set back from the facade. Brilliant!

8dammy.jpg© Damir Fabijanić

Seecel Centre, Zagreb
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Designed as a regional centre for the development of entrepreneurs and its construction costs generously part-funded by European money, the Seecel Centre arrived long overdue and does not house its intended inhabitants. Such matters are best left for different articles as, here, we're concerned with the undeniable finery of this building's architecture and appearance. Holding space for accommodation, offices, communal collaboration, education and presentations, the five-floored building uses ultra-modern building materials and construction methods to make it low-energy, its great blocks of covered concrete, with glass windows set further back, echoing old fortifications. It was designed by Igor Franić who, in Croatia, is perhaps best known for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb and completed by him and his team at SZA / Studio za arhitekturu d.o.o.

endGV7_1096-mindarklav.jpg© Site Project d.o.o.

Trg Poljana, Šibenik
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Not a small amount was asked of project architects Atelier Minerva from Dubrovnik in the task to create Trg Poljana in Šibenik. The site had long been earmarked for a much-needed, official town square – a place for events and public gatherings. But, the town was also woefully short on parking. By burying a multi-level car park beneath the open space, the architects successfully met both demands. Triangular shapes sit at an angle above shaded seating, echoing the inclines on the roof of the Juraj Šižgorić City Library opposite. Clever.

Poljana-Sibenik-Eccos-inzenjering-1-compressed-scaled.jpg© Ervin Husedžinović / Eccos-inzenjering

Homestead on Hartovski vrh, Žumberak, Zagreb County
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A collection of multi-purpose rural buildings, Homestead and Meditation Centre on Hartovski vrh was commissioned and designed for use by the Buddhist Center Zagreb. Their aim was to relocate activities such as chan, yoga, meditation, healthy living and teaching to a peaceful retreat outside of the city. Architects Branimir Rajčić and Mariela Žinić began the project in 2015, with the completed site arriving in 2019. Modern building materials are used, but not so the striking collection seems out of place within a partially agricultural setting. The set of buildings includes a residential dwelling and a larger hall for meetings and activities, both of which use large windows to allow the light and nature to flood in.

6_3BERCFUINAL.jpg© Robert Leš

Square of Traditional Crafts, Varaždin
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A tricky task was given to architects Studio Konntra – how to enliven and modernise a traditional old square in the centre of one of Europe's best-preserved Baroque Old Towns. They did this by constructing transportable kiosks to house small outlets for local artists and craftsmen that cater to visiting tourists who come to the square. When occupied during the day, the plain wooden interiors allows the crafts to take centre stage. But, after closing time, the outsides of the wooden doors are brightly coloured and adorned with paintings, a welcoming environment for residents to use at night.

sqaureee23455.jpeg© Studio Konntra

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