Wednesday, 26 January 2022

New Croatia Basketball Coach Damir Mulaomerović Presented in Zagreb

January 26, 2022 - The new Croatia national team basketball coach, Damir Mulaomerović, was presented at a press conference held on Tuesday at the Aristos Hotel in Zagreb. 

The president of the Croatian Basketball Federation, Stojko Vranković, the vice-president, Nikola Rukavina, and the general secretary, Josip Vranković, were also present at the conference.

"Congratulations to the coach Damir Mulaomerović and I thank him because it is not a great situation in terms of results. However, knowing Damir, not only as a player but also as a man, knowing his character, I think he will do his best to do a good job and get good results," said HKS president Stojko Vranković in the introductory speech.

HKS vice president Nikola Rukavina, as well as the president, congratulated the new coach: "I would like to wish Damir and the entire Federation success in the coming period, and I hope that we will return basketball to some more successful paths. Damir, congratulations, and I wish you much success!"

General Secretary Josip Vranković also joined the congratulations: "I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Damir on his new position at this difficult time. At the same time, I would like to clarify a few technical details. As you know, the Federation has always insisted in its ranks, given all the circumstances, but at this point, we had to respect the current situation. Thus, Damir will continue to work as the Cedevita Junior coach at the same time as the Croatia coach. This is not the first time - and last year, when Zadar was in a specific situation, there was understanding, and HKS met Zadar in a certain way. However, on this occasion, the situation went in the opposite direction." 

Coach Damir Mulaomerović thanked the media representatives for the great response, as well as the HKS leadership for the opportunity and trust, and continued: "I must also emphasize that Veljko's decision should be respected and he should be thanked for what he did. We will try to mobilize and do what is best in exactly one month until the games against Sweden. I have already started some conversations with the players, and I think it will be quite good. I know there will be a lot of questions, there will be people for and against, that is normal. However, you all more or less know me as a player and now as a coach, and you know that I am a man of character and that I will do my best for the best possible results."

Asked if he was hesitant when the call came, coach Mulaomerovic replied: "The conversation went quite well. It was a logical sequence given that I know the material and the players, and I must emphasize that I am thrilled that these people sitting here believe in me and what I do. It would be ungrateful to leave them, especially in this situation, I think it is clear to everyone.

We will all do everything in our power to win these two games and restore hope and everything after that. The deciding factor was that I know these players best since most of them will be from the domestic championship; we are all aware of the problems with the players. Of course, we will try to get players from outside, talk to everyone."

"As for the players' response, we will call everyone, give everyone a chance to express themselves. We are interested in players who want to play, who will be there for Croatia, especially in moments like this. I think we all need to forget what happened and get the best out of it for what we have.

Another thing, look at the situation in handball with COVID-19; we have to take care of that as well. I want all the players healthy. As for the game itself, I do not doubt those guys. They will be asked to do their best. I will try with my knowledge and energy to create a good atmosphere and for the guys to come out and show everything they know. First of all, we are focusing on that first game, which is the most important at the moment."

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Wednesday, 26 January 2022

Dimensions Festival 2022 Headliners Announced for 10th Year in Croatia

January 26, 2022 - Dimensions Festival 2022 headliners have been announced as the 10th anniversary of the underground music festival returns to Tisno in September! 

Dimensions marked a stunning start to the new chapter at The Garden Resort of Tisno last year, and in 2022 the acclaimed underground festival builds on that legacy with a 10th-anniversary edition from 1—5 September 2022. It goes down with a tastefully curated list of headliners, back-to-back exclusives, label parties, UKG celebrations, Detroit specials, debut sets, and much more.

Croatia’s Garden Resort is nestled in a natural paradise on the Dalmatian coastline with glistening seas, a sweeping beach, and pine forests forming the backdrop. During the festival weekend, it comes alive with an array of hugely popular boat parties, baking sunshine and beach-side sessions by day and starlit skies for open-air dancing at the cult Barbarella's Discotheque by night – a famous site with views over the bay which will host a rich array of afterparties, for which line-ups will be revealed soon and passes are already on sale.

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Since 2012, Dimensions is famed for its attention to production details like light and sound, as well as its hard-earned musical heritage, seriously music-loving crowd, and diverse, community-minded spirit. All of which will return once again this summer with another musical programme that covers all shades of bass, house, techno, electro, garage, disco, and plenty in between. 

Amongst many highlights, Detroit lands in Croatia this summer with Detroit In Effect, Marcellus Pittman, and DJ Stingray 313 making appearances from the Motor City. There are plenty of exciting partnerships lined up this year with revered party crew Trommel and tasteful minimal associates such as Raresh, Sonja Moonear, Quest, Vlada, Anthea, and Unai Trottil, while ISAbella’s MARICAS party is also returning and Electronic maestros Steevio & Suzybee host a special Freerotation presentation. D. Tiffany and Roza Terenzi go head to head alongside a Planet Euphorique partnership, Dutch crew VBX join forces with Slapfunk for a special takeover, while cult crew Dr Banana is back with friends Eliza Rose, Helena Star, Jeremy Sylvester and T Dunn for a special celebration of UKG and beyond. 

Meanwhile Karenn, Sansibar, Sweely, Soichi Terada all present special live performances, Bradley Zero returns with his diverse, multi-genre sounds, and long-standing party-starters Butter Side Up are back alongside pals The Ghost, Gene On Earth, Youandewan, Huerta, Sugar Free, Truly Madly and more. Mala is back with his much loved bass-heavy selections, and after being postponed from 2021 Francesco Del Garda, LSDXOXO, Peach, Zakia, DVS1, and Malika will finally join the party. 

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In terms of debuts, Eris Drew & Octa Octa present a T4T LUV NRG takeover, Jossy Mitsu, Sherelle, and LCY all play for the first time, Slow Life makes an appearance with founders Laurine and Cecilio, and on top of that Paula Tape, Adam Pitts, Azu Tiwaline, Russel E.L Butler, Club Fitness, Jamie Tiller, Jeremy Sylvester, Marie Montexier, Quest and Vlada all arrive at Dimensions for the first time. 

You can also expect thrilling sets of drum & bass from Calibre, Djrum and DJ Storm, slick minimal from scene-leaders Raresh, Sonja Moonear, Quest, Vlada, Anthea, and Unai Trotti, carefully curated eclecticism from BeatPete, Jamie Tiller, Zakia, Nabihah Iqbal, OKO DJ, Jaye Ward, and Ruf Dug. 

On top of this are plenty of mouth-watering back to backs that have come to define Dimensions with Helena Hauff b2b DJ Stingray 313, Dr Banana b2b Alec Falconer, and Gene On Earth b2b The Ghost and there will be live electro from The Exaltics, Radioactive Man, DMX Krew and plenty of standout sets from the likes of Peach, Nabihah Iqbal, Saoirse, ISAbella and LCY. 

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The countdown is on to what promises to be a historic 10th edition of this most cultured underground music celebration. Festival tickets are on sale now from £140, After Party passes from £35 or customers can choose to spread the cost with their payment plan option, securing their space at this year’s event from £25 + fees. 

Artists A—Z:

ADAB, Adam Pits, AhZ & Annita, Alec Falconer, Aletha, Anatolian Weapons, Andy Luff, Anthea, Azu Tiwaline, Batu, BeatPete, Binh, Blawan, Borut Cvajner, Bradley Zero, Bugs Groove, Calibre, Christian AB, Ciel, Cleymoore, Club Fitness, David Martin, D. Tiffany b2b Roza Terenzi, Detroit In Effect, DJ Evan, DJ Storm, Djrum, DMX Krew Live, Doudou MD, Dr Banana, Driss Bennis aka OCB, DVS1, Eliza Rose, Eris Drew b2b Octa Octa, Francesco Del Garda, Freakenstein, Gene On Earth, Hamish & Toby, Harri Pepper, Heels & Souls, Helena Hauff b2b DJ Stingray 313, Heléna Star, Huerta, Ikonal, ISAbella, Jamie Tiller, Jan Kincl, Jaye Ward, Jeremy Sylvester, Joe Delon, Joe Gill, Josh Bayat, Josh Tweek, Jossy Mitsu, Junior, Junki Inoue, k means, Karenn Live, Kiara Scuro, Kira Robin, Kirsti, KRN, Laurine & Cecilio (Slow Life), LCY, Liquid Earth, LSDXOXO, Maja Pa, Mala, Malika, Marcellus Pittman, Marie Montexier, Matthew Neequaye, Midge Thompson, Minus Kendal, MLE, Mor Elian, Nabihah Iqbal, Nastik, NikNak, OKO DJ, Pariah, Paula Tape, Peach, Quest, Radioactive Man Live, Raresh, Rey Colino, re:ni, Reiss, Rubi, Ruf Dug, Russell E.L Butler, Samuel Deep, Sansibar Live, Saoirse, Sean OD, Selfhood, Sherelle, Simon Scott, Soichi Terada Live, Sonja Moonear, Soraya & Villella, Steevio & Suzybee Live, Sugar Free, Sweely, T Dunn, Tama Sumo, The Exaltics Live, The Ghost, Tho & Loren, Tony Neptune, Truly Madly, Unai Trotti, Vlada, Wes Baggaley, Youandewan, Zakia

 

For full information and tickets, head to https://www.dimensionsfestival.com.

For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 26 January 2022

Croatian Beauty & 35.5m Lopud Transmitter Beast: Seriously?

January 26, 2022 - One of Croatia's most gorgeous islands, a film set for Bliss starring Own Wilson and Salma Hayek, and the 35.5m Lopud transmitter that is enraging local residents, tourists, and foreign investors. 

Bliss. I can't think of a better word to explain my state of mind when I visit the island of Lopud, a short ferry ride away from Dubrovnik. 

The 2021 sci-fi movie of the same name, starring Owen Wilson and Salma Hayek, showcases this unique slice of Dalmatian island heaven to the world, and you can learn more from my first visit in Lopud: Carless, Timeless, Carefree Dalmatian Sunset Heaven.

But a change in the Lopud skyline is causing considerable local anger, the renovation, and expansion of a transmitter tower from its current size of 13 metres to a whopping 35.5 m. 

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While it may look like a prop from the Bliss film set, the tower is real - and perfectly legal. 

The existing complex is being renovated and many people assumed that this would mean a renovated tower at the same height. And when construction began a few months ago, the local backlash was swift and vocal, including from globally-recognised names who have invested on Lopud. 

Baroness Francesca von Thyssen-Bornemisza, formerly Francesca von Habsburg-Lothringen, is an art collector and owner of the renovated monastery, which has become one of Croatia's leading boutique hotels

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"This is exactly the kind of thing that gives Croatia a bad name. Over the years I have seen foreign investors come and go, because of the chronic application of double standards on multiple levels. The whole group of us have not only transformed the Northside of Lopud over the last decades, but have also actively contributed to the revitalization of the island in numerous ways, and we continue to do so. All restoration of monuments and buildings have been executed according to the strictest standards imposed by the Institute of conservation, and we feel profoundly betrayed by them allowing a monstrosity of this size to be built in such close vicinity of so many heritage buildings. It's not possible to forbid adaptations to these properties that are in keeping with modern living, and tourism requirements, with great attention to aesthetics, on the basis that it's "not in keeping" with the historical fabric of a place when this obscenity is allowed to overshadow all the authenticity that we have all fought so hard to preserve.

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"I am sure that Mr. Bače, the newly appointed Head of the conservation institute is intimately familiar with the urban regulation rules of the City of Dubrovnik, which is also valid for Lopud, that no antenna and similar infrastructure should be built in the vicinity of the listed cultural monuments and protected natural areas, so how he allowed this to happen is seriously problematic.  In this regard, Toto Bergamo Rossi and  I are in touch with UNESCO where we both have very good relations because of our good standing in the cultural field, and we are taking this dispute up to the highest authorities, otherwise, nothing will ever improve here.  For my part, this is the drop that makes the vase overflow."

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A press release from the residents of Lopud has more:

Residents of Lopud are asking investors, the Odašiljači i veze company, to suspend work on the construction of a 35.5 meter high new transmitter, which is planned to be located in the immediate vicinity of the most densely populated part of the island and legally protected monumental heritage.

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Residents of Lopud are unpleasantly surprised by the plans that inside residential area, which until recently was uninhabited and neglected, and now abounds with renovated houses and holiday villas, as well as protected historical buildings and cultural monuments that are under special protection of the Republic of Croatia, and are an attractive backdrop for film and television hits, a new transmitter is being built, which, due to its monumentality, will completely disturb the view of that part of Lopud.

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Residents of Lopud initially thought that the started work was related to the reconstruction of the existing transmitter, but it soon became clear that instead of a simple renovation, an even three times larger facility is being built.

"Particularly problematic, we estimate, is the fact that the new tower will be 35.5 m high, and even 2.73 times larger than the existing transmitter that needs to be replaced. Given its size, it is to be expected that additional antenna system equipment will come to it, so it is logical to conclude that this will lead to more electromagnetic radiation, about which no one has informed us so far," said Ivo Mihajlovic, a resident of Lopud.

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Residents of Lopud are therefore asking the investor, the Odašiljači i veze company, the provider of national strategic communication infrastructure for transmitting and transmitting signals, to suspend work on the existing location until another suitable solution is found, ie to move the tower outside the residential area where it will have less impact on the health of residents and will not permanently disturb not only the view of zero category monuments, but also the tourist valorization of facilities located in the area.

An online petition has also been set up (you can sign it here)

As residents, visitors and admirers of Lopud, its unique harmony of nature and living historical sites, we would like to hereby express our opposition to the replacement of the existing  13 m antenna in Lopud with a new antenna of 35.5 m.Such a drastically greater change directly next to the inhabited, oldest urban part of the place (moreover, outside the prescribed construction zone!) imposes a strong industrial impression on the whole village which is contrary to the touristic idea of Lopud and its image as a natural and historically and culturally significant destination. As one of the most visited day trip areas for guests of the city of Dubrovnik, Lopud is important for the overall image of the city and how it wants to present itself as a tourist destination.The health impact of such a powerful antenna on us islanders, within the edge of the settlement, is also questionable. 90% of the island's inhabitants live exclusively from tourism, so it is of the utmost importance for all of us to preserve and further develop the right image of Lopud and to be transparently informed and involved in such invasive and other, positive projects that may affect the quality of the island.

Appeals to the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic, to intervene, have been heeded, with Mayor Frankovic writing to the company, requesting them to stop.

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More on this story as we get it, with no further comment from our side required. 

To learn more about the incredible and (so far) unspoiled Elaphite islands of Lopud, Kolocep and Sipan, check out the dedicated Total Croatia guide.

Wednesday, 26 January 2022

Croatian Music Festivals in 2022: Return to Normal, Full Summer Run

January 26, 2022 – Following one cancelled year and a hesitant 2021, Croatian Music Festivals in 2022 look to return to normal operations. Even before the end of January 2022, two favourite events in Tisno, Dalmatia – Defected Croatia and Dekmantel Selectors – have this week sold out all tickets!

For a whole new generation of young dreamers and visitors, Croatia is on their annual wish list because of its music festivals. Set by pristine waters and beaches, in the guaranteed sunshine of a Dalmatian summer, photos of Croatia's music festivals have travelled across the world and brought international acclaim.

In 2020, all of these music festivals (except veteran domestic events at Martinska, Šibenik) were cancelled. Even in 2021, neither full confidence nor the full schedule had returned – Ultra Europe (Split) and Love International (Tisno) remained absent.

However, if early indications are anything to go by, trust in the summertime spectaculars seems to have completely returned for Croatian Music festivals in 2022. In fact, even before the end of January 2022, two favourite events in Tisno, Dalmatia – Defected Croatia and Dekmantel Selectors – have this week announced they've sold out.

News revealed exclusively to Total Croatia News informs that the rest of the summer music festivals held at The Garden Resort, Tisno are not far behind - almost all are within sight of completely selling out all tickets.

How the lineup looks for Croatian Music Festivals in 2022 and where to buy tickets

loveinternmain.jpgCroatian Music Festivals in 2022: Love International, Tisno

In every corner of the country, you can find Croatian Music festivals in 2022. Some of these might have traditional folk music and dance, others might offer favourite local rock and pop acts who mostly sing in Croatian.

But, for international visitors looking for Croatian Music Festivals in 2022, there are an identifiable number of festival locations and events. By and large, these are the events that young people travel to Croatia specifically to attend.

Ultra Europe in Split: 8 July 2022 – 10 July 2022

ultra.jpgCroatian Music Festivals in 2022: Ultra Europe in Split

A 3-day event in Split with the world's top EDM DJs, incredible stage design and production with a definite wow factor. DJs confirmed so far include Adam Beyer, Afrojack, Alesso, Armin van Buuren, Joseph Capriati, Martin Garrix, Nina Kraviz, Oliver Heldens, Richie Hawtin, Tiësto, Timmy Trumpet and Vini Vici.

This 8th Ultra Europe in Split will - for the first time - be followed by an extension of the party on several Croatian islands. The main festival takes place at Youth Park in Split from 8 July 2022 – 10 July 2022.

On 11 July 2022, Ultra Brač will visit Brač island's 585 Club. On 12 July 2022, there will be an afternoon beach party on the Pakleni islands, near Hvar island. Later that day, a nighttime event Resistance Hvar will take place at Carpe Diem Beach Club, Hvar island.

The Resistance Closing Party Vis is the last event and will take place on 13 July at the old Fort George (Fortica) on Vis island.

Tickets for Ultra Europe in Split can be purchased here. Up-to-date line-up details and entry requirements for Ultra Europe in Split can be seen here.

The Garden, Tisno 2022

defected2sd.jpgCroatian Music Festivals in 2022: Defected Croatia at The Garden Resort, Tisno

With the relatively recent addition of Defected Croatia, Outlook Origins and Dimensions to the 10+ year reputation of the Garden Resort roster, this festival site can now truly claim to be the epicentre of underground electronic dance music in Croatia.

Across its summer-long run, some of the world's best underground DJs visit this place, its beach and boat parties, plus the incredible open-air Barbarellas nightclub in nearby Pirovac. Each event lasts several days and is limited to between 5000 – 7000 people.

Up-to-date details of entry requirements for The Garden Resort, Tisno 2022 can be seen here. Here's the calendar of events for The Garden, Tisno in summer 2022...

Love International: 13 July 2022 – 19 July 2022

loveintern.jpgCroatian Music Festivals in 2022: Love International

With a renowned reputation as one of the most welcoming and easy-going of all Croatia's festivals, the adored Love International returns after two years in 2022. It has been much missed. House, disco, techno and Balearic music in the main will this year come from the likes of Ben UFO, Craig Richards, Eliza Rose, Shanti Celeste, Saoirse, Moxie, Horse Meat Disco, Antal, Hunee, Palms Trax and Midland.

Tickets for Love International 2022 can be purchased here. Up-to-date line-up details for Love International 2022 can be seen here.

Suncebeat: 21 July 2022 – 28 July 2022

suncebeat.jpgCroatian Music Festivals in 2022: Suncebeat in Tisno

The longest-running festival associated with The Garden resort, Suncebeat traces its love affair with Croatia back to Petrcane, near Zadar, over 12 years ago. Actually, Suncebeat's heritage is even older – it's a spin-off event of the UK's 30+-year-old Southport Weekender. It, therefore, draws a slightly older crowd of house, disco and soul music aficionados.

The first wave of artists released for this 13th Suncebeat includes The Blessed Madonna, Kerri Chandler, Kenny Dope, Dave Lee ZR, Dam Swindle, Miguel Migs, Mark Farina, Horse Meat Disco, Natasha Diggs, Mike Dunn, John Morales, DJ Spen, DJ Spinna, Sadar Bahar, Terry Hunter, Children Of Zeus (live), Lukas Setto (Live), Djeff, Dan Shake, Ash Lauryn, Hyenah, Marina Trench, Lakuti, Elkka, Rich Medina, Boo Williams, Mafalda and CinCity.

Tickets for Suncebeat 2022 can be purchased here. Up-to-date line-up details for Suncebeat 2022 can be seen here.

Outlook Origins: 28 July 2022 – 8 August 2022

outlook.jpgCroatian Music Festivals in 2022: Outlook Origins in Tisno

A scaled-down version of the original Outlook, which used to take place in Pula. The event earned a reputation as being one of the most significant annual events for UK bass music and its soundsystem culture – covering music styles like reggae, dub, grime, drum n' bass, garage, dubstep, jungle, hip hop and more.

Line-up to be announced.

Tickets for Outlook Origins 2022 can be purchased here. Up-to-date line-up details for Outlook Origins 2022 can be seen here.

Defected Croatia: 4 August 2022 – 9 August 2022

defected.jpgCroatian Music Festivals in 2022: Defected Croatia

Days and nights filled with sunshine, smiles and house music from one of the most successful independent house music record labels in the world. The 2022 line-up includes Moodymann, Carl Craig, Danny Tenaglia, Bob Sinclar, Honey Dijon, Jayda G, KiNK, A-Trak, Boys Noize, Heller & Farley, Kenny Dope, Mark Farina and Spen

International tickets for Defected Croatia 2022 have sold out. The last few remaining domestic (ex-Yu) tickets for Defected Croatia 2022 can be purchased here. Up-to-date line-up details for Defected Croatia 2022 can be seen here.

Dekmantel Selectors: 25 August 2022 – 30 August 2022

dekmantel.jpgCroatian Music Festivals in 2022: Dekmantel Selectors

A deliberately intimate and scaled-down sister event to the mammoth underground European festival Dekmantel. With a line-up that you could well describe as the DJs' DJs of choice, this year the underground selections come from the likes of Hunee, Daniele Baldelli, Kode9, Shanti Celeste, John Talabot, FAUZIA, Eris Drew, Identified Patient, Vladimir Ivkovic & Young Marco, Carista.

International tickets for Dekmantel Selectors 2022 have sold out. Up-to-date line-up details for Dekmantel Selectors 2022 can be seen here.

Dimensions: 1 September 2022 – 5 September 2022

dimensions.jpgCroatian Music Festivals in 2022: Dimensions

Techno, electro, drum n' bass, house, hip hop, reggae and bass music on this 10th anniversary year come from the likes of Helena Hauff b2b DJ Stingray 313, Raresh, Blawan, Mala, Caliber, DVS1, Marcellus Pittmann, Tama Sumo, Peach, Saoirse, Laurine, Francesco Del Garda, Soichi Terada, Sherelle, Eris Drew & Octa Octa, Sonja Moonear, D. Tiffany & Rosa Terenzi, Gene On Earth b2b The Ghost, DJ Storm, Batu.

Tickets for Dimensions 2022 can be purchased here. Up-to-date line-up details for Dimensions 2022 can be seen here.

Šibenik Music Festivals 2022 – Martinska, Seasplash and Project Vojarna

martinska.jpgMartinska

Located on a perfectly secluded seaside peninsula, just outside the city of Šibenik, the Martinska venue hosts a summer-long run of intimate music festivals within fantastic natural surroundings. Events range from punk music and live concerts to more modern electronic styles. Most famous internationally is the reggae and dub event Seasplash Festival which celebrates its 20th birthday between July 14th - 17th 2022.

vojarna.jpgProject Vojarna

Just over half a decade old, Project Vojarna is a dance music event born from the collaboration of Šibenik electronic music enthusiasts. In its current standing, the main event is a 10-hour open-air rave held at a former military barracks just outside Šibenik. Each year the event grows in fame and stature. This year's event will take place on 23 July.

Up-to-date line-up details, links for tickets and entry requirements for all events at Martinska, Šibenik can be seen here.

Up-to-date line-up details, links for tickets and entry requirements for Project Vojarna, Šibenik events can be seen here.

InMusic Festival Zagreb: 20 June 2022 – 23 June 2022

inmusic.jpgInMusic Festival, Zagreb

The largest and most prestigious event for rock music and alternative in Croatia, InMusic has certainly put the country – and Zagreb – firmly on the international rock festival map. Taking place around Zagreb's Lake Jarun, the festival site welcomes campers from all over Europe for its four-day run.

2022's incredible line-up includes The Killers, Kasabian, Deftones, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, Royal Blood, White Lies, Gogol Bordello, IDLES, Amadou & Mariam, Sleaford Mods, Fontaines D.C. Hinds, The Comet Is Coming, Dry Cleaning, Tamikrest and Nick Mason.

Tickets for InMusic Zagreb 2022 can be purchased here. Up-to-date line-up details and entry requirements for InMusic Zagreb 2022 can be seen here.

Zrće beach on Pag island

zrce.jpgCroatian Music Festivals in 2022: Hideout Festival, Zrce beach, Pag island

The summer-long run of parties on Zrće beach on Pag island continued last year. Although, in 2022 you should expect a return to pre-pandemic levels of attendance and hedonism. Along with that, the bigger named DJs will likely be returning in force during 2022.

hideout.jpgCroatian Music Festivals in 2022: Hideout Festival

Taking place from Sunday 3rd July - Thursday 7th July, Hideout Festival 2022 is representative of this return to form. DJs like Andy C, Jamie Jones, Eats Everything, Camelphat, Jayda G, Hot Since 82, Sam Divine, Solardo, Shy FX, Richy Ahmed, Sonny Fodera, Skream, Gorgon City, Mike Skinner, Paul Woolford, John Summit, Alan Fitzpatrick, Darius Syrossian, DJ Seinfeld, Maya Jane Coles, Denis Sulta and Chelina Manuhutu will play house, techno, drum n' bass and UK bass music sounds to a crowd of 13, 000+

The sixth edition of Sonus Festival (here) takes place at Zrce between 20 August and 26 August 2022 with DJs like Adriatique, Âme, Amelie Lens, Andrea Oliva, Ben Klock, Chris Liebing, Dax J, Dixon, Hot Since 82, I Hate Models, Jamie Jones, Joseph Capriati, KiNK [live], Loco Dice, Maceo Plex, Monika Kruse, Pan-Pot, Patrick Topping, Ricardo Villa, lobos B2B Zip, Richie Hawtin, Richy Ahmed, Rødhåd, Seth Troxler, Sonja Moonear, Stephan Bodzin [live], Sven Väth, Black Coffee, Carl Cox, Denis Sulta, Desiree

Information about events in the summer season on Zrće beach, Pag island can be seen here.

Tickets for Hideout Festival, Zrće beach, Pag island can be bought here

Wednesday, 26 January 2022

Might Krapinske Toplice's Toplice Hotel Finally Get a New Buyer?

January the 26th, 2022 - The Toplice Hotel in Krapinske Toplice has been through the ringer and waiting a very long time for a buyer. Could it finally have a new one? Maybe.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, after the long-term plans for the Chinese investor to implement the announced project of re-doing the Toplice Hotel in Krapinske Toplice failed, this hotel in continental Croatia could finally get a new buyer.

As Poslovni dnevnik has learned, the sales process with a broad and public marketing campaign back in September 2021 was started by Colliers. As is already more than well known, the Spa Hotel is owned by the Spring spa Hotel, whose founders are a Chinese company representing Yongdong Wu and CSEBA, a business association that connects China with the countries of Southeastern Europe, including the Republic of Croatia.

In addition to the public media campaign, Colliers also advertised the sale of the Toplice Hotel on its website, sending the Colliers Newsletter out to more than 3,000 companies as well as directly contacting the target list of potential buyers.

“We've received offers from several interested buyers. The hotel has not been sold yet, but we're in an advanced stage. Krapinske Toplice is a well-known thermal spa and one of the most beautiful corners of Hrvatsko Zagorje. It is interesting to note that Krapinske Toplice has a less pronounced seasonality of arrivals and overnight stays than destinations on the coast. The Toplice Hotel has great potential primarily due to its location in Krapinske Toplice but also because of the spatial plan that allows for an increase in its capacity. After the renovation and market repositioning, we believe that the hotel can do great business,'' they said from Colliers.

In addition to the above, they see Croatia's entry into the Eurozone and Schengen as an advantage, which will have a positive effect on the future business of the hotel as well as on the entire health tourism sector.

In addition, investing in real assets is an excellent shield against inflation, they pointed out, but so far they cannot reveal who the interested buyers for the Toplice Hotel currently are, or whether the right one has already been chosen.

For more, check out our business section.

Wednesday, 26 January 2022

Croatian 2022 Nautical Tourism: Record Charter Season Ahead?

January the 26th, 2022 - Could Croatian 2022 nautical tourism be excellent this summer season? It seems as if Croatian charter companies have good reason to expect a record season, despite the pandemic.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, judging by the last tourist season and the current state of reservations, Croatian 2022 nautical tourism could result in record traffic, but not without some accompanying challenges.

One of the challenges will certainly be disrupted supply chains due to which there will be no new vessels, but Croatia has a comparative advantage because it has a relatively young fleet. Taking everything into account, charterers should finally try to come to their senses and stop lowering their prices to the limits of profitability, especially in the post-season, which is currently filling up rather well indeed in terms of bookings.

This is the message of Selma Cmelnik, the director of the Charter.hr portal, on the occasion of the publication of the analysis of the charter market in 2021, a year which, despite pandemic-induced conditions, was extremely successful for the Croatian nautical tourism segment.

Although there's somewhat more caution in the pre-season, trends still provide a sense of hope and optimism, but the charter still lacks better strategic planning and unified statistics, believes Cmelnik.

"Boat rental reservations in Croatia for the summer are going very well at the minute, so far everything indicates that Croatian 2022 nautical tourism could hit the records. Currently, the months of July and September appear to be the best, and September has traditionally become a very popular month for sailing, and there are more and more guests.

During the coronavirus pandemic, this segment has proven to be very resilient and desirable to guests, and it’s time to sort out that market, introduce some digital tools, and start thinking in line with trends.

An example is the month of September, a month in which prices are significantly lower than they are in the month before, which is one legacy of the past that is slowly changing in the charter segment, and so profitability is falling. With the increase in supply over recent years, the dumping of prices has appeared in nautical tourism, which should now stop, because the demand is strong,'' pointed out Cmelnik.

This was shown last year as well, as stated in the analysis of the Charter.hr portal. Although it started relatively late in early May, the charter season last year achieved some truly outstanding results, with high occupancy of accommodation from June all the way to the end of October 2021.

In the charter season of 2021, 3.1 million overnight stays were realised, equal to about 90 percent of the arrivals recorded back in pre-pandemic 2019, with a reduced fleet of about 500 vessels when compared to the pre-pandemic year. Therefore, with the increased demand, the capacity was also quickly filled up.

''The arrival numbers of guests from certain markets have doubled compared to 2020. The traditional markets of Germany, Austria and Slovenia continued to show their loyalty in arrivals, as did the Czechs and the Slovaks. That said, last year also saw the largest number of guests from the United States to date. We can rightly speak of a kind of discovery of Croatia as a nautical destination for guests from America,'' noted Cmelnik.

It is predicted that charters and nautical tourism will be on the rise across all spheres precisely because of the easily sustainable safety and privacy parameters. Looking at the bigger picture, nautical tourism saw its opportunity, both because of the delayed bookings in 2020 that shifted to last year, and because of the flexibility that charter companies have shown. The biggest change that stood out were inquiries for longer-term rentals, ie the amount of time that guests wanted to spend on board increased.

There are many parameters that the current charter statistics don't actually record, in addition to being partially unavailable, warned Selma Cmelnik, who is looking forward to the opening of new databases announced by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure for this year.

“The eCrew system, which is integrated with the eVisitor system, published by the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ), gives us data only when guests are actually in Croatia. Charter companies need to review the trends before guests do arrive so that they can more easily plan their sales and marketing strategies for the season and during the season,'' believes Cmelnik, who is actively working on the availability of this data so that the market can be better researched and monitored.

For more, check out our travel section.

Wednesday, 26 January 2022

Value of Bills and Receipts Issued in Croatian Tourism Sector 219% Higher

January the 26th, 2022 - The value of bills and other receipts issued in the Croatian tourism sector for 2022's maiden month of January seems to promise a good year ahead.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, across all economic activities registered in the fiscalisation system last week, the value of fiscalised bills and receipts increased by 16 percent compared to the same comparable week back in 2021, and by eight percent compared to the same period in 2020, according to data from the Tax Administration which was published on Monday.

From the 17th to the 23rd of January, 2022, the total value of fiscalised accounts across all industries reached 3.3 billion kuna, which is 16 percent more than was recorded back in the same period last year. At the same time, the number of bills issued in general increased by 20 percent.

The number of bills and receipts issued in the most important activity in the fiscalisation system jumped by as much as seven percent - wholesale and retail trade, the repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, while their value was higher by 8 percent. Last week, 23.5 million bills/receipts were fiscalised in trade, reaching a grand total of 2.3 billion kuna.

When it comes to the Croatian tourism sector, more precisely the umbrella covering the fields of both catering/hospitality and tourism - activities which include the providing of accommodation and the preparing and serving of food, fiscalised bills/receipts stood at 341 percent more, with 4.8 million of them issued, and their value increased by a very encouraging 219 percent, reaching a massive 216.9 million kuna in total.

It's worth noting that in the same sense regarding the Croatian tourism sector, from the end of November 2020 and throughout January 2021, due to the severely unfavourable epidemiological situation, stricter measures were in force, including the suspension of the work of cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants.

This recent announcement from the Tax Administration also compared last week this year with the same week back in 2020, which is a month or so before the pandemic hit Croatia, 4 percent fewer bills/receipts were issued, but their value was 8 percent higher.

For more, follow our business section.

Wednesday, 26 January 2022

OLT Osijek to Transform: Museums, Sport Incubator, Olympic Swimming Pool

January the 26th, 2022 - Eastern Croatia is often (very wrongly) overlooked, and the City of Osijek is one town that is making a stand in several ways when it comes to turning its image around. The old OLT Osijek is set to undergo a transformation, with a unique sport incubator, museums and even an Olympic swimming pool thrown in.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, the praiseworthy revitalisation project of the OLT Osijek area, one of the largest projects being implemented in Osijek-Baranja County and in the City of Osijek, is still waiting for its visible construction phase to begin. It will most likely two more years before a large area in the very heart of Osijek is turned into a large construction site.

Therefore, the focus is on key activities that will enable this in connection with the development of the Urban Development Plan, which will be a prerequisite for defining the content in this area, which is the responsibility of the City of Osijek.

As part of the project entitled "The preparatory documentation for the strategic project for the revitalisation of the brownfield OLT Osijek area" in the amount of 2,777,500 kuna, and co-financed by the European Union (EU), conservation documentation also needs to be prepared.

The urban plan

This is the basis for the preparation of the urban-conservation base, which should be incorporated into the necessary spatial planning documentation. Conservation documentation, in addition to the catalog of all buildings, also includes various studies of research works and recordings of the existing condition for the buildings - these are the foundry with a lathe, an office, an administrative building, a tool shop and a water tower.

According to a request from Osijek-Baranja County, after the Urban Development Plan is drawn up and made, the project documentation will need to be prepared, and according to county prefect Ivan Anusic, they want to revive the OLT Osijek space which is located almost right in the city centre.

"In the immediate vicinity of the University Campus, OLT Osijek will receive additional support in terms of the scientific work needing to be done because our plan is to create a Science Research Centre, then a sports incubator where experts will work with children from an early age to guide them to the sport that suits them best, both according to their individual physical predispositions and according to their personal affinities.

There will also be support for the families of young athletes, as we've repeatedly witnessed that the top athletes we can truly be proud of in this county are the product of our own efforts and work, as well as family sacrifice. Our goal is to institutionalise this type of support,'' Anusic pointed out.

According to him, the construction of an Olympic swimming pool, which the City of Osijek currently lacks, is planned along with a number of halls, while the sport incubator will be the first of its kind in the wider area, so the new purpose of OLT Osijek will be of great importance for all of Eastern Croatia.

"It's also known that Osijek has a long tradition on the cultural scene, but in recent years there has been a lack of space for the development of alternative types of art. The plan also includes museums, an amphitheatre and various other content that will be generated in the time ahead as something which is necessary to improve the economic, scientific, social and cultural development of the city and the wider county,'' said County Prefect Anusic.

One of the basic preconditions for the realisation of all of this is the gift contract concluded last week between the state and this county for very valuable property that previously became the property of the state through their purchase in the bankruptcy of Osijek's failed metal company.

This is an area which boasts an ​​abandoned and unused industrial complex, spanning a total area of ​​59,046 m2, and the plan is to be implemented over several phases of design and construction. The first stage of project implementation refers to the economic content, which consists of several components, while the second stage of the project is related to incentive housing for 1,600 inhabitants, or 380 apartments in total.

For more, check out Made in Croatia.

Tuesday, 25 January 2022

Blue vs. Red: Should Croatia Finally Change its Passport Colour?

January 26, 2022 - TCN intern Jacob Rukavina explores why Croatia should change its passport colour from blue to red. 

In August, I left my home in Vancouver to begin two years of graduate studies in Sweden. While the program itself was enticing, it was not the primary reason I moved to the land of IKEA and pickled herring. For those who may be unfamiliar, university studies in Sweden are free. Any citizen of the EU/EEA is entitled to fully state-funded education. Luckily for me, I had just received my first Croatian passport a few months earlier after a long and complicated application process. So, passport in hand, I packed my bags and got ready for a new life in Scandinavia. 

The day I arrived at Arlanda International (Sweden's largest airport), I was brimming with excitement. After almost two years of lockdowns, quarantines, and travel bans, words cannot describe how ready I was to be out in the world again. Except now, as a proud EU national, I was free to move around Europe at my leisure. Growing up, I was always jealous of the privileges that most EU citizens still take for granted. Faster security checks, shorter queues, and the right setup shop on a whim in some of the world's most famous cities, an EU passport carries more privilege than most other travel documents. So, as I’m sure you can imagine, after years of paperwork and red tape, I felt like I was finally living out my dreams. And for a short 16-hour flight, I was. Unfortunately, reality cleared the stars from my eyes before I even made it to baggage claim. 

After collecting my things and making my way to passport control, I was surprised to see the confusion on the officer's face as I approached her booth. "This line is for EU/EEA citizens." She explained. Equally confused, I held up my travel document so she could see the words "Europska Unija" written in silver foil letters across the cover. She quickly realized her mistake. "Ah yes, Croatian passports are blue." And after a quick glance at the picture page, she waved me through with no further hassle. It was a far cry from the glamourous entrance I had pictured in my mind, but hey, I'd made it into Sweden. No harm, no foul. 

This experience got me thinking. Despite nearly a decade of EU membership and countless opportunities to join the burgundy family, why is the Croatian passport still blue? I had never really thought about it before. Surely, it would be easier for Croatians to be quickly recognized at border crossing like our Finnish or Luxembourgish counterparts.

So, I did some research. As it turns out, this choice was intentional. As reported in a previous article, in 2015, the government chose not to change the passport colour for fear that it would be associated with the old Yugoslav travel document, opting to include only the ‘European Union’ banner on the cover. Ok, case closed, right? The history is too complicated, and Croatian passports shall forever remain lone specks of blue in a sea of red. 

Well, in my opinion, I hope not, and here’s why.

Despite the symbolic ties between communism and the colour red, all other formerly communist EU members have changed their passport booklets to fit within the Union’s standard design. Even Slovenia, a country that also suffered under Titoist Yugoslavia opted to keep with the colour scheme. Moreover, the dictators of old do not hold a monopoly over an entire palate. As one of Croatia’s national colours, red is immensely emblematic of Croatian national pride and heritage. Anyone who pays attention during the World Cup or the Euro knows just how proud Croatians are to wear red, especially when it comes in the form of the šahovnica, the infamous checkerboard that adorns every jersey in the country.

In the thirty years since independence, Croatia has undergone a significant transformation. The government has successfully rebranded the country, earning this Adriatic paradise a position amongst Europe's most desirable destinations. Even more recently, Croatia has made considerable leaps in foreign policy. In the past several months, Croatian citizens have gained total freedom of movement in Switzerland and access to the United States visa waiver program. No simple feat on either front. With eurozone and Schengen membership expected by the beginning of 2023, Croatia has completely redefined its position on the world stage. Updating the passport would serve as an appropriate way to mark a complete transition into Europe’s innermost circle.

This is not to say we should ignore history. Any new design proposals should not hark back any semblance to the documents issued by the previous regime. Instead, new booklets should incorporate features that reflect Croatia's natural beauty, culture, and rich history. A passport should embody the people who carry it. Perhaps the government could follow in Norway's footsteps, opening a design competition for locals to submit ideas and concept art. Many modern passports include artistry between the pages as an improved security measure, making fakes harder to duplicate. Plitvice, Šahovnica, Pula Arena, there is no shortage of culturally significant locations and figures to draw upon for inspiration. The creative possibilities are limitless, leaving plenty of room to ensure that any new design represents the strong and independent nation that Croatians have worked so hard for.

Switching the passport to red may seem insignificant and unnecessary to some. But in the wake of increasing political instability, this simple demonstration of pro-European leadership would be an important show of support. Despite the recent shift of many governments towards more Eurosceptic parties, Croatia has stood out as a balanced and steadfast advocate for the EU. Aligning the passport is naturally the next step as Croatia enter's Europe's inner core. There is no better expression of national pride than showing solidarity with your closest allies.

For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 25 January 2022

Two Hours Apart, Or Is It? How COVID Put Distance Between London and Croatia

January 25, 2022 - During the Croatian Homeland War, there was a very poignant documentary in the UK about Croatia, titled Two Hours From London, addressing the humanitarian and cultural atrocities happening only two hours flying time from London. Without delving into the topic of human tragedy, I'm using this example to highlight that the authors of the documentary wanted to convey a message that London and Croatia were indeed so close. That happened nearly 30 years ago. 

Today, it seems to me that London and Croatia are further away than those two aforementioned hours. I am a British-born Croatian who grew up in Croatia and is now settled back in the UK. As a student, I envisioned flying back and forth between Zagreb and London a lot. Until COVID changed that. Travelling these days between the two destinations requires multiple steps in preparation pre-and post-flight. And that's only if we're lucky that our flight doesn't get cancelled or rescheduled. A passenger between the two destinations must continuously be checking complex rules written on respective governments' web pages in order to be fit-to-fly.

Moreover, travel expenses go beyond the ticket price. To enter Croatia, one is allowed to enter so long as they possess one of the following: proof of vaccination (no older than 365 days), a negative COVID antigen or PCR test result (no older than 48 or 72 hours respectively), or a doctor's certificate of recovery from COVID. Of course, all passengers have to fill in an Enter Croatia form. 

All international arrivals to the UK must adhere to a different set of rules, which also continuously change. Let's just make a point that the rules among England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland are different. As of recently, fully vaccinated travellers to England do not need to take a COVID-19 test prior to arrival. One can choose to take a lateral flow test instead of a PCR test upon arrival to England. Things get a little trickier if the lateral flow test shows positive: one will then need to self-isolate and book a PCR test. Either one of the tests must be booked before the arrival to England. Mind-boggling, doesn't it?

To conclude: there is no longer quick city-hopping between London and Zagreb. Travel requires research, planning, and commitment these days. It is only for the most determined travellers who can afford the newly required travel “luxuries” - my student budget doesn’t exactly allow for those! 

I am now trying to reassure myself with the fact that if I don’t travel I am actually being a responsible citizen on many levels: I do not contribute to the spread of the pandemic internationally nor do I participate in increasing a carbon footprint! However, I do long for the times when travel is easier again so I can go to Croatia to give my grandparents a quick hug and to jump over to Zagreb or Hvar to visit my friends. 

For more updates on international travel news, check out our dedicated travel section.

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