STA, 2 October - Slovak developer Corwin is planning to build a housing estate in the Ljubljana borough of Šiška. Construction works on what is a EUR 45 million investment are expected to be launched in the first half of 2020 and the first residents could move in at the end of 2022.
The Kvartet housing estate will be built by Šiška Rezidence, a Slovenian company owned by Corwin, near another larger housing estate, Celovški Dvori.
The location of Celovški Dvori estate, which is near the planned development
It will feature four 16-storey towers with a total of 221 flats, as well as areas for some 500 bicycles and an underground car park for some 300 vehicles.
Playgrounds for children and a socialising area for residents are also planned in the green areas around the buildings, Corwin said in a release on Wednesday.
Roman Karabelli, director of Corwin's Slovenian subsidiary Corwin SI, sees Kvartet as a major investment to revitalise what used to be an industrial area near a new large shopping centre planned by retailer Spar.
Kvartet will feature one-, two-, three- and four-room apartments, 33 apartments will be made to suit older people or the disabled, and all residents will have a view of the Alps.
Kvartet has been designed by Ljubljana's architecture studio Ofis Arhitekti, with which Corwin cooperated already on an office and housing complex in Slovakia's Bratislava.
The Slovak developer is now waiting to be granted a building permit, which it expects in the first half of next year.
Corwin bought the 7,000-square-metre plot in Ljubljana in March 2018 from Slovenia's bad bank, where it ended as part of a bankruptcy estate of builder GPG Inženiring.
The asking price was EUR 2.7 million, while the final price was not disclosed, but Corwin says the investment is worth more than EUR 45 million.
It will be financed with own capital and a loan. "We're already discussing financing with some banks in Slovenia," Karabelli told the newspaper Delo today.
Together with the plot, Corwin also acquired GPG Inženiring's plans for a residential development with 180 flats, but eventually changed it considerably.
Karabelli told Delo the company was already looking for new plots and was planning at least one to two new projects in Slovenia.
"We trust in the Ljubljana property market and we believe we have something to offer," said Karabelli, noting the company has rich experience, having built more than 2,000 flats in ten years.
According to Delo, Corwin was set up slightly more than ten years ago and is a leading developer in Slovakia.
STA, 1 October 2019 - As Slovenia is obliged to introduce biometric identity cards in August 2021 and with the relevant legislative changes being drafted by the Interior Ministry, institutions have been warning that it needs to be ensured that the biometric data from the cards are not used for other purposes.
The biometric identity card needs to be introduced on 2 August 2021 in line with the regulation on strengthening the security of identity cards of the EU citizens.
Slovenia started issuing the current identity cards on 20 June 1998, and they have not been changed or upgraded with additional security features since.
A total of 1.83 million Slovenian citizens have the card, which they can use to travel to 37 countries. Identity cards are issued in 26 member states, and they are mandatory in 15 member states.
As the security features differ significantly among the member states, there is a high risk of forging and abuse of the personal document, which is the main reason the EU decided to introduce the uniform identity card.
The new security features will include biometric data, while national identity cards in all member states will also need to be labelled with the EU mark.
The Interior Ministry is already drafting relevant changes to the identity card act, which will require from those applying for the new card to provide two fingerprints, as is the rule for biometric passports.
The fingerprint requirement will apply to persons aged 12 or older, and the application also needs to feature a photograph. The new card will feature a chip with the holder's face and fingerprints saved as biometric data.
It will be permitted to use these data only for verifying the genuineness of the identity card and the holder's identity on border crossings, the ministry says.
The plan by the ministries of the interior and of public administration is that the card also features data for electronic identification and electronic signature, which would allow its holders to use e-commerce services.
"This would make the new Slovenian identity card a means of electronic identification for cross-border transactions," the ministry said, adding that this would enhance the use of e-services both in the public and private sector.
Citizens whose current identity cards will still be valid on 2 August 2021 will not be required to replace them before they expire. This also applies for the personal identity cards without the expiry date, which are issued to persons who turn 70.
The Office of the Information Commissioner has told the STA that the use of biometric data had both positive and negative sides.
Biometric data are mostly unique permanent identifiers, whose collection and use must be strictly regulated, said the office, which thus expects that the introduction of biometric data will take place in accordance with the EU law.
"What needs to be ensured is that biometric data are not used for other purposes, which is why the bodies supervising the protection of personal information will certainly be supervising the use of such cards."
Three days turned into 12 and now I sit in the UK dreaming of being back, sipping an iced cold beer along the riverfront in what can only be described, as one of the most beautiful cities I have ever visited. BUT I wasn’t here for leisure. I am fortunate enough to work in the best industry in the world – CRAFT BEER. I work for Collective Arts Brewing, a grassroots beer company that fuses the craft of brewing with the inspired talents of emerging artist and musicians. The brewery, based in Hamilton, Canada, is dedicated to promoting artists and raising creative consciousness through the sociability of craft beer.
So why am I in Ljubljana? Collective Arts is now exporting to Europe and beyond and I get to go around presenting the beer and what Collective Arts is all about to you! It started off with a Tap Takeover and Paint-a-Pint (a concept you guys fell in love with) at the cool and stylish, Pivnica Lajbah, this gem is only 5 minutes out of the way of the busy streets of the river but boasts peace and quiet with a large outside area (perfect for a sunny day), children’s corner, food to die for and 23 fresh taps!
I then ventured to Ghetto Something, which again is a dreamy bar hidden away in the seaside town of Koper for another Tap Takeover, it had a great turn out of locals and the beer went down a treat! It was then meant to be home time but the guys from Lajbah had already started on me from the second I landed to convince me to stay for the following weekend too, especially as it was the famous Beer and Burger festival. At first I was hesitant, but then 2 hours before my flight I hit the button and extended my stay an extra week and this was the best decision I ever made.
We continued to spread the Collective Arts love throughout the week with a Fridge Takeover and art in the street at Že v Redu Primož Beer Shop, which is a an awesome craft beer shop and tasting room tucked away down the backstreets of Ljubljana (on Trubarjeva cesta), and then also made an appearance at both Open Kitchen and Beer and Burger Festival over the final weekend, bringing not just beer but helping visitors to the festivals channel their inner child and paint more pints and kegs. Some real artist shone through and we hope to collaborate with them in the future!
Admittedly, the craft beer scene is still somewhat behind in Slovenia, but there is a definite breakthrough happening, with a good amount of imports from different countries and a huge number of microbreweries popping up with good quality and variety of beers appearing on the market. The food festivals are also starting to push the concept of beer and food pairing and it’s so good to see the support between all the breweries and local restaurants and bars. Slovenia is definitely one to look out for, and I will be back soon.
All our stories on craft beer in Slovenia are here
In 1869 the Vienna Postal Administration, which was at the time in charge of the mail in Slovenia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, introduced postcards to carry shorter messages that were cheaper than letters and did not need an envelope.
In the second half of the 19th century, lower paper costs allowed for a novelty to be introduced into the postal service – envelopes. Letters were now inserted into unscripted paper wrappings, which were industrially produced and stamped in Austria first.
On today's date in 1869 the Vienna Postal Services introduced the first official postcard in the world, which was called “Correspondenz-Karte”. In Slovenian it was first called “listnica” and was later renamed to “dopisnica”.
STA, 30 September 2019 - As a world day dedicated to the elderly is to be marked around the world, Slovenian organisations are pointing to the problems brought by the population ageing, including the need for better regulation of long-term care, calling for higher pensions to take pensioners above the at-risk-of-poverty threshold.
Marked on 1 October, this year's International Day of Older Persons runs under the motto The Journey to Age Equality, aiming to ensure equal opportunities and reduce inequalities of outcome regardless of personal circumstances.
The first issue to be pointed out by the Association of Pensioners (ZDUS) ahead of the event is that by 2025, the minimum pension for 40 years of pensionable service, which currently stands at EUR 531, should be above the at-risk-of-poverty threshold, which last year stood at EUR 662.
The association has also called for a law on long-term care to adopted as soon as possible, which is something that the Union of Social Institutes has also been pointing to, saying that the government has "forgotten about the elderly" in the budget for the next two years.
"It has been postponing to a distant future the eagerly-awaited systemic regulation of long-term care," the union said, adding that retirement homes were facing critical shortage of beds while the availability of home care was being reduced.
According to Jaka Bizjak of the union, there are no plans to establish a new public retirement home, while the availability of home care services is becoming the key developmental problem of Slovenian society, which is ageing at a fast pace.
He pointed to studies which say that only one out of four persons older than 75 will not be needing such services, and that the costs of related services and assistance for one out of ten such persons will be "sky high".
Policy-makers in the field of long-term care announce solutions leaning towards boosting care within the family and local community, but such forms of assistance are effective only in societies with a low full-time employment rate for women.
"One cannot avoid the impression that the state bets on care within the family only because it is cheaper for the budget, and is less interested in whether this is an appropriate solution given the actual needs and capacities."
The Ministry of Health, which is drafting the relevant law, expects that it will be ready for public debate by the end of the year, while final confirmation in parliament is expected by the end of the first half of 2020.
The UN as the sponsor of the international day has pointed to the steep growth in the number of older persons, with the highest rates expected in developing countries. The number of persons older than 60 is expected to stand at 1.4 billion by 2030.
This is why the organisation believes that more attention should be paid to the needs and problems faced by older persons. It believes that their potential contribution to society is important and that respect of their human rights should be at the core of these efforts.
Slovenia is no exception in the ageing trend, with the Statistics Office (SURS) noting ahead of International Day of Older Persons that life expectancy at birth is increasing, with almost one in five Slovenians being older than 65.
There were 413,054 persons aged 65 or older in Slovenia at the beginning of this year, which means this age group representing almost 20% of total population. Women represent a majority in this age group, and 161 out of the 189 centenarians are women.
SURS also notes that the number of older people is increasingly higher than the number of children. Currently, there are more than 131 older persons per 100 children, and the ratio is projected to stand at two to one by 2033.
The highest at-risk-of-poverty rate in Slovenia is recorded in persons aged 65 or older, 18.3%, while out of some 98,000 older persons who live below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold, 60,000 are retired women.
The employment rate in the group aged between 55 and 64 in Slovenia is among the lowest in the EU due to early retirement, but it is increasing in recent years. Almost 5,000 persons aged 65 or older were active in 2018, 73.3% of whom men.
The opening of this year's Festival for the Third Age, an annual event dedicated to raising issues related to ageing, coincides with International Day of Older Persons.
Running from Tuesday to Thursday, it will again look to connect young and old people, bringing a number of round table debates on topical issues, and being accompanied by a diverse educational and cultural programmes.
All our stories on demographics in Slovenia can be found here
Update: As of noon Monday 30 September, the campaign had raised €3.4 million
STA, 30 September 2019 - A major charity campaign underway in Slovenia for the past week saw individuals, charities, institutions, clubs, and associations collect some EUR 2.3 million for the treatment of a 19-month-old boy with spinal muscular atrophy.
The parents of the 19-month Kris started the campaign last Monday after learning that their son could receive a potentially life-saving dose of treatment, which, however, is not available in the EU yet.
The drug could be administered only in the US but at the price of EUR 2.3 million.
The boy would need a single dosage of the Zolgensma gene therapy but would need to receive it before he turns two to be effective, meaning in the next four months, the parents said in their message to the public.
The public reacted immediately and collected EUR 1.5 million in a matter of days, as the story of Kris went viral in Slovenia.
Several top athletes and musicians joined the campaign, including basketball star Luka Dončič, the national volleyball team and even Italian motorcyclist Valentino Rossi. Several fund-raising events and concerts have also been organised.
The campaign, in which medical experts too spoke in favour of the Zolgensma treatment, however, raised the question of why the treatment could not be covered by the health insurance.
The ZZZS health fund responded that the boy was already receiving Spinraza, a Food and Drug Administration-approved treatment, while the Zolgensma treatment has not been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) yet.
The price of annual treatment with Spinraza in the first year tops EUR 400,000 and the medicine is currently available in Europe only to children from the wealthiest countries, the ZZZS said.
EMA is expected to greenlight the Zolgensma treatment at the beginning of next year.
Meanwhile, the opposition Democrats (SDS) have requested that an emergency session of the parliamentary Health Committee be called to discuss issues relating the treatment of rare diseases. The party wants to see a rare disease register set up and talk about treatment funding.
Keep up with the daily news in Slovenia by checking the morning headlines here
The following schedule was prepared by the STA:
MONDAY, 30 September
LJUBLJANA - Coalition partners will meet to discuss major legislative issues, including the abolition of supplementary health insurance, and indexation of pensions.
LJUBLJANA - The government will meet for a session to discuss the national budgets for 2020 and 2021 as well as reports by state institutions on the financial state of troubled flag carrier Adria Airways.
LJUBLJANA - The deadline expires until which airline Adria Airways' owners were given by the management to present a restructuring plan to avoid receivership.
BLED - The Slovenian-Croatian commission overseeing the management of waste from the jointly owned Krško Nuclear Power Station will be in session.
PARIS, France - President Borut Pahor will attend a memorial service for the late French president, Jacques Chirac.
LJUBLJANA - Public Administration Minister Rudi Medved will meet Republika Srpska Administration and Local Government Minister Lejla Rešić.
LJUBLJANA - The Statistics Office will release the latest general government debt and deficit figures and inflation data for September.
TUESDAY, 1 October
LJUBLJANA - Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn will pay an official visit to meet his counterpart Miro Cerar, President Borut Pahor and Speaker Dejan Židan.
LJUBLJANA - Questions for the prime minister will be on the agenda as the National Assembly's monthly plenary wraps up.
NOVO MESTO - Pharmaceutical company Krka will launch a new R&D centre.
LJUBLJANA - The Third Age Festival will start, coinciding with the International Day of Older Persons.
LJUBLJANA - An international conference on challenges in the field of public administration faced by Western Balkan countries; until 2 October.
KRŠKO - The Krško Nuclear Power Station will be shut down for a month for scheduled maintenance.
RIMSKE TOPLICE - Slovenian municipalities will hold their annual congress; until 2 October.
LJUBLJANA - The 25th City of Women, a festival of contemporary art focussing on women, will open, running until 13 October.
LJUBLJANA - A retrospective of film director France Štiglic (1919-1993) will get under way at the Slovenian Cinematheque; until 10 November.
WEDNESDAY, 2 October
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia's European Commissioner-designate Janez Lenarčič will be quizzed by the European Parliament's Development Committee.
izatLJUBLJANA - The deadline expires until which airline Adria Airways should present a financial restructuring plan to the Civil Aviation Agency.
LJUBLJANA - The launch of Slovenia Business Bridge, an international investment conference. Prime Minister Marjan Šarec, Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek and Finance Minister Andrej Bertoncelj will be on hand.
WARSAW, Poland - Foreign Ministry State Secretary Dobran Božič will take part in the Warsaw Security Forum.
LJUBLJANA - Public Administration Minister Rudi Medved and his Montenegro counterpart Suzana Pribilović will a sign a cooperation memorandum.
BUDAPEST, Hungary - Agriculture Ministry State Secretary Damjan Stononik will attend a ministerial conference on forestation; until 3 October.
izatPIRAN - The annual Festival of European and Mediterranean Film will open, running until 5 October.
THURSDAY, 3 October
izatPRAGUE, Czech Republic - President Borut Pahor will attend a summit of the Visegrad Group plus Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia.
izatPRAGUE, Czech Republic - Agriculture Minister Aleksandra Pivec will attend a two-day ministerial of the Visegrad Group and several other EU countries.
LJUBLJANA - Regular weekly session.
LJUBLJANA - The Unemployment Service will publish registered unemployment data for September.
LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Health Committee will debate amendments to the medicines act.
LJUBLJANA - Several municipalities will organise an international conference on the management of migration flows in conjunction with ISCOMET, a private non-profit specialising in ethnic studies.
KLAGENFURT, Austria - Minister for Slovenians Abroad Peter Jožef Česnik and Carinthia Governor Peter Kaiser will take part in a debate on the centenary of the treaty of St Germaine.
FRIDAY, 4 October
LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary EU Affairs Committee will debate draft priorities of Slovenia's EU presidency in 2021.
LJUBLJANA - The Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) will host a Slovenian-Japanese business forum.
LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - Environment Minister Simon Zajc will attend a session of the EU's Environment Council dedicated to the bloc's long-term low-carbon strategy.
SATURDAY, 5 October
No major events scheduled.
SUNDAY, 6 October
No major events scheduled.
If you're not in town for the week of this guide (30 September to 6 October, 2019) then you can see all the editions here, and if there's event or activity you want to promote in a future edition of What's on in Ljubljana please get in touch with me at flanner(at)total-slovenia-news.com or try and find me on Facebook. If you want something a little different and easy to print, then a comprehensive PDF of events for the next seven days, as prepared by Ljubljana Tourism, is here.
In town and want to follow the news? Check out our regular morning headlines for Slovenia here.
The City of Women Festival continues until 13 October, with many events around town – more details are here.
Tuesday, 1 October, 20:00 Kino Šiška will host 400 RABBITS, a dance work about contradictions. Details.
Wednesday Joker opens, with the trailer below. Details of cinemas are further down the page.
Thursday the Balassi Institute, very close to Dragon Bridge (just keep walking out of town on the castle side of the river and it’s next to the Spar), has a free “sound bath” with a Hungarian flavour. Details.
Thursday, 19:30 the Gallus Hall of Cankerjev dom will have a concert by the RTV Symphony Orchestra with pianist Dejan Lazić, playing Vrhunc, Chopin and Brahms – details. On the programme is Brahms Symphony #4.
Klub K4 has a lot going on, as usual, and on Friday there’s Just A Dance with DJs along with the synthpop banks Futurski.
Friday you can also go along to Torzo Klub for it’s opening night, a club for “gays, lesbians, bisexuals and swingers” – details here.
Saturday, 10:00 to 18:00 Lepa Žoga, in Lower Šiška, not far from the Union Brewery, is having a chili festival.
Saturday, 20:00 to 01:00, Trubarjeva’s Abi Falafel is having an “Oriental Night”, with food, music and belly dancing.
Same evening you could also head to Cvetličarna (Kranjčeva 20) and enjoy hard techno from 22:00 to 07:00.
Saturday Kino Šiška will see a live show from Orlek, with things starting at 20:00. Their “unique knap ‘n’ roll cross between lively rock ‘n’ roll, traditional folk songs and wholesome Slovenian humour has made them one of the most original Slovenian bands of the last 30 years.”
October 5 and 6, Saturday and Sunday, there’s the free to enter Ljubljana Lace Festival, at the Secondary School for Design and Photography Ljubljana (Gosposka ulica 18, Ljubljana, by Križanke)
Saturday Central Market (Pogačarjev trg), the place that hosts Open Kitchen on Fridays, will host Countryside in the city: Lets go to the farms. From 09:00 to 14:00 you can taste the best that Slovenian farms and rural country has to offer.
Sunday CCN - Ballet De Lorraine will take the stage at the Gallus Hall of Cankerjev dom to celebrate 100 years of Merce Cunningham in a work called Histoires sans Histoires(s).
If you're in town Monday to Saturday you really should visit Ljubljana Market - it's small, varied and offers fresh fruit, vegetables, local specialities, snacks and souvenirs, while being next to many other sights. Learn more about it here. Here's how you use the Ljubljana’s milk vending machine.
Learn Slovene with memes, here
While the Old Town is quaint, and full of music, where does Ljubljana really shop? One popular answer is BTC City, a vast complex of malls, entertainment facilities and more, including more than 70 different food vendors, offering everything from Slovenian to Thai, Indian to Italian, Mexican to Chinese. Check out my recent visit here.
Looking for something different to eat? Trubajeva cesta, running right by Dragon Bridge, has the greatest concentration of "ethnic food" places in Ljubljana, and thus perhaps the country. Check out our walk through guide as of June 2019.
Photo: JL Flanner
You can read about all the cinemas in town here, while a selection of what’s playing this week is below, and note that kids' movies tend to be shown in dubbed versions, while non-English language movies for older viewers will have Slovenian subtitles.Parents should also pay attention to Kinobalon, which is Kinodvor's regular weekend series of film screenings and events for children, from babies on up, with special parent/child events, "first time in a cinema" screenings, and babysitting. Learn more about it here, and see the current schedule here.
Note - most children's films will be dubbed (sinhronizirano) - for subtitles look for 'podnapisi'.
Kinodvor –This is an arts cinema, not far from the train station, that shows new features as well as hosting the occassional festival.
Kinoteka – And not far from Kinodvor you can find this revival cinema, which shows art house classics along with some deep dives in the archives.
Kino Bežigrad - A relatively small theatre, but one which usually has the biggest of the new releases.
Kolosej -The multiplex out at BTC City Mall shows all the big movies, with well over a dozen titles on the schedule, although note that there are far more movies than screens, so some of the older ones mayonly be playing once or twice a week.
Komuna – The cinema in a basement behind Nama department store shows two or three different features a week, usually including the biggest titles.
Looking for a souvenir you'll really enjoy? Take a look at Broken Bones Gin, the first gin made in Ljubljana (learn more here, and try it at the Central Market or selected downtown bars).
Compared to some European capitals it can seem that nightlife in Ljubljana ends rather early, especially along the river, but there are still bars that stay open late and clubs were you can dance until dawn, and perhaps the best place to stumble across something interesting is the legendary Metelkova. Be aware it's a grungy kind of place and not for all tastes, but also that there's considerable variety to found within the various clubs there, from death metal to electropop, gay cabaret to art noise. You can read "the rules" of the place here. And if you're curious about how the place started then read our story, and look at some pictures, about last year's 25th anniversary.
DJs at the top of the Castle (more)
Božidar - DJ events aren't too common here, but when they happen they often have a big name.
Channel Zero – DJs shows here include regular dub nights as well as electronic music.
Gala Hala – Another Metelkova venue, you can sometimes hear bhangra and Bollywood here, but more often funk, hip hop, breakbeat and so on.
Klub Cirkus – The more commercial end of clubland, and a venue that aims to serve the student party scene. Expect house, anthems, and bangers.
Klub K4 – The home of techno, old and new, along with various other electronic genres,
Koncertna Dvorana Rog– There are irregular DJ sets at this underground (not literally) venue at the far end of Trubarjeva cesta, and they range from techno to goa to drum'n'bass.
Orto Bar– 80s and 90s throwback nights can often be found here, along with rock-based DJ sets.
Balassi Institute – Free Hungarian music, when available, from the Hungarian cultural institute just a short walk downriver from Dragon Bridge.
Cankerjev dom – The main arts venue in the country hosts classical, opera jazz, folk and occassinally pop.
Cvetličarna – Regional pop and rock concerts can be found here.
Channel Zero – This Metelkova venue sees live shows from punk and rock bands, as well as others.
Gala Hala – Another Metelkova venue with indie bands of various styles.
Kino Šiška – One of the top live venues in the city, with a varied programme that include indie, rock, pop, experimental, hip hop, and so on.
Klub Gromka – Live music is often metal, from sludge to stoner, death to thrash, while punk bands also appear, as do others.
Križanke – The venue that hosts the Ljubljana Festival often has classical music, and some rock, in the open air.
Ljubljana Castle – Jazz, funk and pop every Friday night.
Orto Bar– The home of live rock, metal, punk and other guitar-based genres.
Pinelina dnevna soba – LIve music is rare here, but it does happen.
Slovenska filharmonija– Classical music in the centre of town.
SNG Opera and Ballet - As the name suggests, here you'll find the best of opera and ballet in the country.
Španski borci - While dance is more common here, they also have some contemporary and experimental music shows.
See more pictures of Old Ljubljana here
Cankerjev dom- The main arts venue in the country always has something of interest going on.
Gledališče IGLU - IGLU Theatre – Saturday night this group is usually putting on an English improv show somewhere in town, but it’s generally promoted after this is written, so check the Facebook before putting on your shoes.
Kino Šiška – One of the top live venues in the city also hosts some dance performance, often of the more experimental variety.
Ljubljana Puppet Theatre - Puppetry has a long and noble tradition in Slovenia, and you can see performances for children and adults (including non-puppet shows) drawing from the Theatre's rich repetoire as well as new productons.
SNG Opera and Ballet - As the name suggests, here you'll find the best of opera and ballet in the country.
Španski borci - The home ofcontemporary dance(and the EnKnapGroup) in Slovenia.
Drogart is an organization that aims to minimise harm on the party scene, and offers drug-testing services and reports on their webpage. It’s in Slovene, but you can Google translate it or work things out yourself, and our story on the group is here.You can find the latest warnings on fake drugs and high strength pills and powders (in Slovene) here. However, be aware that all the usual drugs are illegal in Slovenia.CBD is legal, though, and our retailer of choice can be found on Trubarjeva cesta - read more about Sena Flora here.
Photo: Igor Andjelič. See more of his work here
You can find our Top 12 list of things to do with kids in Ljubljana here. If want to read more about the philosophy behind the wonderful House of Experiments look here, while our trip to the Museum of Illusions is documented here, and there’s always riverside walks, pizza and ice cream. With regard to the latter, take a look at our guide to six places that serve good ice cream in winter, and thus are serious about the dessert.
If you're looking for more general links on "gay Slovenia", including a history of the scene and various projects, then you can find that here, while our stories about the community can be found here.
Klub Monokel – This lesbian bar in Metelkova is open every Friday, although sometimes there are other events
Klub Tiffany –And the gay bar next door is also open on Fridays. Other things coulds also be planned, so click on the name to find out.
Pritličje – This seems to be the only "always open" LGBT-friendly cafe / bar / events space in town, and perhaps the country, so it's a good thing it's such a good one, open from morning to night, and with fliers and posters letting you know what's happening outside the narrow confines of, say, a general interest online what's on... guide.
Screenshot from Google Maps, showing the location of the Castle vineyard
The city’s main attraction is said to be the top tourist draw in the country overall, and to my mind it earns a spot near the top just for the history and views. But beyond that the current owners, the City of Ljubljana, have laid out a varied, interesting and enjoyable programme of events, one that rewards regular revisits. On until 17 November Mighty Guardians of the Past: Castles in the Slovenian Lands, a presentation that delivers on the promise of its title.
I try and get up there every Saturday morning to clear my head and move my feet on the trails, and never tire of that end of the hill. At the other end, where the Castle sits, there’s a lot more than fresh air on offer. There are guided tours, restaurants, a café, Castle museum, puppet museum, a Watchtower you can climb to the highest point in the city, art shows, dances, live music, movies under the stars, festival days and more – enough to reward multiple trips up the hill through the year. All of these activities and events can be found on the Castle website, while on TSN you can see “25 things to know about Ljubljana Castle” here, and “Ten Ways to Enjoy Ljubljana Castle” here.
Most public galleries and museums are closed on Mondays, although not the National Museum.
Looking to buy some high end, big name local art from a trusted gallery? Check out our look at Sloart.
Bežigrajska galerija 2 – Take a trip to Vodovodna cesta 3 between 3 October and 13 November you can see “selected works by the Prešeren awards recipients originating from Slovenian Istria, coming from the collections of the Piran Coastal Galleries and the Prešeren Award Winners of Fine Arts Gallery Kranj.” The free to enter show includes the following work.
Živko Marušič, Ujetniki dima III, 1986, oil on canvas, 130 x 148 cm © Marko Tušek
Plečnik's desk. Photo: JL Flanner
Plečnik’s House is worth a visit if you want to learn more about the architect who gave Ljubljana much of its character, and it's also in a really nice part of town, Trnovo, just a short walk or cycle upriver. Read about our guided tour here.
Balassi Institute – The Hungarian culture centre is next to a Spar and Hofer, and not far from Dragon Bridge, and always has something interesting going on. Learn more here. This month there's also an exhibition with more works like the one shown below for a show described as follows: “The concept of the exhibition “Awkwardly Close” in Balassi Institute is exactly the self-conscious unease coming from artistic and content similarities between the works of Kata Bereczki, and the Slovenian artistic collective Son:DA."
City Gallery - Until 10 November you can see After the Canal, there was only "our" world: “The exhibition is an invitation to explore a variety of historical and geographical connections between Europe, especially its Easts, and the Middle East, particularly Egypt, with the Suez Canal as the trigger, while contemplating their reflections in the mirror of the present.”
City Museum – The Museum in French Revolution Square an interesting permanent exhibition on the history of Ljubljana, from prehistoric times to the present day, with many artefacts, models and so on that bring the story alive.You can read about my visit here
The Faces of Ljubljana in the City Museum. Photo: JL Flanner
Galerija Kresija – Until 9 October there’s a free exhibition of ceramics at this gallery between Triple Bridge and Town Hall , titled Polona Demšar & Mojca Smerdu: A Touch Of Memory. It’s being promoted as follows: “How do you put yourself in the flow of time, how your own creativity involved in the present and in the future of the past, are some of the questions to which Polona Demšar and Mojca Smerdu respond with exhibited ceramic objects.”
Galerijia Y – Walk along to Trubarjeva cesta 79 and until 19 October you can see some contemporary art from four Slovenian painters, with all the works for sale. See some of them here.
Drink like a pro - find gallery openings. Photo: JL Flanner
MAO – The Museum of Architecture and Design has much of what you'd expect, along with some temporary shows and a good cafe.
Moderna galerija – The main branch of this gallery, to be found near the entrance to Tivoli Park, has a good collection of modern art, as well a nice café in the basement.
Rafikun Nabi: Poet, 1980, print, 96.5 x 110 cm. Courtesy of the Contemporary Art Center of Montenegro. On display at the Metelova branch of the Moderna galerija
Alan Ford at the National Gallery
National Gallery – The country’s main gallery has “the best” of what’s on offer from the Middle Ages to non-contemporary modern visual arts, and is in a great location for exploring other areas, just by Tivoli Park and opposite the main branch of the Moderna galerija. You can read about our visit to the room containing sacred art from the Middle Ages here. There’s also a big show on Alan Ford, one of the great comic books of the Yugoslav era, on until 13 October. Art for the Brave New World runs until 5 January 2020: “The exhibition will present the beginnings and development of an early government art collection in Slovenia, which, despite the economic and political crisis, was created in the 1930s by artistic and professional personalities gathered around Dr Marko Natlačen, the last ban of the Drava Banovina.”
The real Robba Fountain can be found in the entrance to the National Gallery - the one you see in the Old Town is a genuine fake, as seen below and reported here.
Photo: JL Flanner
National Museum of Slovenia – There’s plenty to see in the permanent collection here, from Roman times, Egypt and more. Running until 3 November is Roma Aeterna: Masterpieces of Classical Sculpture. With sculptures from the collection of the Santarelli family in Rome, ranging from the age of the Roman Empire to that of neoclassicism. Meanwhile, the museum's Metelkova branch, located between one branch of the Moderna galerija and the Ethnographic Museum has some rooms on Church art, furniture and weapons, with the latter including more guns than you'll see anywhere else in town, and quite a thrill if coming from a nation where such objects are not household items.
Natural History Museum – On until the end of December 2019 is Our Little Big Sea, which takes a look at the oceans.
Roma Aeterna: Masterpieces of Classical Sculpture - see below
National Museum of Contemporary History - Tucked away in park Tivoli, you can see a permanent exhibition on Slovenians in the 20th century.
Slovene Ethnographic Museum – The museum has two permanent exhibitions. One of these is called Between Nature and Culture, and has a great collection of objects from Slovenia and around the world, well worth the trip up to the third floor to see it (as recounted here). From April 18 until October 19 (2019) you can also see a show calledShamanism of the Peoples of Siberia, from the Russian Museum of Ethnography, Saint Petersburg. The place is located near the newer branch of the Moderna galerija and Metelkova. You can read about this fascinating show here.
Union is "the Ljubljana beer", but now both it and Laško are owned by Heineken. There are many local brews on offer around town, though, if you want to explore IPAs, stouts, wheatbeers, sours and so on Photo: JL Flanner
Town Hall – On until 6 October is A Hundred Years of the School for the Blind and Partially Sighted in Slovenia. Until 10 October the same venue has a show on Contemporary architecture in Ljubljana.
Vžigalica Gallery – Until 27 October you can explore a spatial installation from the Berlin-based artist Sinta Werner.
Union Experience – The Ljubljana-based brewer has a museum showing the history of the company, with the ticket also including access to part of the factory and a few samples of the product. You can read about our visit here.
Vžigalica Gallery – If you’re curious about the man who commissioned that Melania Trump sculpture, then you can see more of activities here, in a show called Brad Downey: This Echo.
Volčji Potok Arboretum - Running until 3 November you can see a large collection of cacti here.
It's not a formal museum, but if you're interested in "Yugo-stalgia" then you'll enjoy a trip to Verba, a small, privately run space that's crammed with objects and pop culture items from the era, and is conveniently located at the start of one of the short walks to the castle. It's also a great place to take pictures, if you leave a donation, and you can read more about it here.
Verba. Photo: JL Flanner
Alternative Ljubljana isn't a museum or gallery, as such, but instead turns the city streets into a museum and gallery. Learn more about their tours of street art, history and LGBT Ljubljana here.
Photo: JL Flanner
Learn more about Ljubljana with "25 things to know about Slovenia's green city of dragons", or take a look at our guide to spending from four to 48 hours here.
If you like the city's architecture then check out this great book, Let’s See the City - Ljubljana: Architectural Walks & Tours, with our review here and a page from the book shown above. We took a walk with one of the authors who showed us how much there is to learn and enjoy if you slow down and pay attention - read about that here.
Open Kitchen brings market stalls selling food and drink from some of the best restaurants in town every Friday, from 11am to 11pm, in the square between the cathedral and the river - just follow your nose and the crowds. Read more about it here.
Photo: Open Kitchen
Ljubljana has some beautiful buildings from the early 20th century, in the Secessionist style, like the one below. Learn where to find them here.
Photo: Neža Loštrek
For something a little more brual, check out Republika trg / Republic Square, in the heart of the political quarter.
Photo: JL Flanner
Photo: JL Flanner
Some view of the city you can only get from the river. If you'd like to take a boat ride then read about my experience here. If you prefer to get in the water rather than on it, then here's a guide to the various open air pools in Ljubljana. Note that it was written last year and so the prices and times may have changed, so do click the links and check.
If you'd like to spend an evening painting with others, then take a look at Design with Wine, which organises painting parties on Trubarjeva cesta,
If you want to see some antiques, then check out the wonderful Antika Carniola, as discussed here. The man behind it, Jaka Prijatelj, has a fine eye for life on this street, as you can see on his Facebook account.
Photo: JL Flanner
If you’re in town and want to go jogging or walking in nature, why not take another look at the Castle, with a brief guide to the trails here. If you want something bigger, head to Tivoli Park.
And if you're bored with the Old Town, why not take a walk, cycle or boat ride to nearby Špica and enjoy the riverside life. Learn more about that here.
Prefer to have someone else stretch you? The check out the totally legit massages you can get from Sense Wellness - either in one of their spas or in you home, office or hotel. (And - to repeat - these are legit and non-sexual in nature)
There are some golf courses near Ljubljana, but even ones further away are not far, as seen in our list of all the golf courses in Slovenia.
Photo: maxpixel.net, public domain
Most of Slovenia is only a few hours from Ljubljana, and you can easily visit Lake Bled, Lipica Stud Farm, Postojna Cave, Predjama Castle, the coast and other locations, while if you'd like to take a photo of from that bench in Bled, then you can learn how to get there here. If you’re looking for something more ambitious, then check out our recent guide to the 17 members of the Association of Historical Towns of Slovenia. We've also written guides on spending from four to 48 hours in Bled and Piran.
Photo: Google Image Search
If you want to get a Ljubljana Tourist Card, which gives you travel on the city buses and entry to a lot of attractions, then you can read more about that here, and if you want to use the bike share system, as useful for visitors as it is for residents, then you can learn more by clicking this. Visitors with reduced mobility will be pleased to find that downtown Ljubljana is generally rated as good with regard to accessibility, and that there’s a free, city-sponsored app called Ljubljana by Wheelchair highlighting cafés, attractions and so on with ramps, disabled bathrooms and Eurokey facilities, which you can read about and download here. Manual wheelchair users can also borrow, for free, an attachment that will motorise their equipment, as reported here.
Screenshot from a Twitter video
If you’re driving into town and don’t know where to park, our guide to how to park in Ljubljana is here.
Ljubljana is a small and relatively safe city, but if need to contact the police then there’s a special number for foreigners, and that’s 113.
Photo: JL Flanner
There aren't many places to eat after midnight, and most of them are by the train station, as reported here.
Want / need cigarettes but the stores have closed? Here's an incomplete list of bars downtown that will satisfy your craving for the demon weed. While if you’re having trouble with the ATMs then here’s a guide to the Slovene you’ll see on screen. If you get a hangover then find out where to get paracetamol (and prescription drugs) in Ljubljana here, while details on emergency birth control can be found here.
Art enlivens life and soothes the soul, can change how you see the world, can change the world, and – like a good rug – really tie the room together. We were thus thrilled to learn about SLOART a few months ago, which, as we found out in an interview with the owner, Damjan Kosec, aims to connect Slovenian artists with buyers and collectors, using both an online platform and real world gallery. Moreover, aware of the scandals, fraud and other shady practices that have damaged the Slovenian art market in recent years, SLOART focuses on providing the transparency and trust needed to make the scene work in the interests of both artist and buyers.
As we noted at the time: It offers works from 1800 to the present day, and even just a passing familiarity with the biggest names of Slovenian art, as seen in the National and Modern Galleries, will make clear what an impressive list of names SLOART offers. Names such as Drago Tršar – the subject of a major retrospective earlier this year, and the man behind many of the most well-known sculptures in Ljubljana; Hinko Smrekar – who did the illustrations for much-loved edition of Martin Krpan; Zoran Mušič – who has his own room at the National; or Rihard Jakopič, the leading Impressionist who founded the school that would go on to become the Academy of Fine Arts at the University of Ljubljana. Beyond the dead there’s the living, with exciting works by current artists with years of work and discovery ahead of them.
Some of the works on offer on the SLOART website
This week the brick-and-mortar version of the project, Galerija Y (with the Y pronounced “epsilon”), at 79 Trubarjeva cesta, the end of the street away from Prešeren Square, opened a new show, Nove Pozicije (New Positions). This showcases works from four of the gallery’s contemporary artists, Tina Dobrajc, Duša Jesih, Arjan Pregl and Sašo Vrabič, which are also for sale. These are paintings, not conceptual art, and so no artists' statements are needed or provided. You can enjoy some of them below, along with pictures from the opening to give a sense of scale, or see them in person until 18 October 2019.
Arjan Pregl, Dan čarovnic, iz serije Karneval (2018). Photo: Galerija Y
Arjan Pregl, Shrek z žago, iz serije Karneval (2018) - detail. Photo: JL Flanner
Sašo Vrabič, Vrh krize 2 (2019). Photo: Galerija Y
Sašo Vrabič, Romeo, (2019) - detail. Photo: JL Flanner
Tina Dobrajc, Enemy of the State II: Desperate Kingdom of Love (2019). Photo: Galerija Y
Tina Dobrajc, Enemy of the State II: Desperate Kingdom of Love (2019) (detail). Photo: JL Flanner
Duša Jesih, Red Cross (2019). Photo: Galerija Y
Duša Jesih, Never Really Here I, (Re)konstrucija), Hommage a Malevich (2017). Photo: JL Flanner
Photo: JL Flanner
Photo: JL Flanner
You can learn more about Galerija Y here, and pay a visit at 79 Trubarjeva cesta, 1000 Ljubljana.
In the past few days Slovenes have been activated by a social media campaign, supported by a story from the national broadcaster, to raise about €2 million needed to save a 19-month old boy from Koper, who suffers from a serious genetic disease.
Kris suffers from type 1 spinal muscular atrophy (SMA1), a disease caused by a mutation in the SMN1 gene, responsible for a synthesis of a SMN protein, necessary for survival of motor neurons. If left untreated, the majority SMA1 patients do not reach the age of four, with recurrent respiratory problems being the primary cause of death.
The currently available drugs are Nusinersen, a drug approved in 2016 in the USA and 2017 in Europe, which modifies the alternative splicing of the SMN2 gene and is given directly to the central nervous system and Onasemnogene abeparvovec, a gene therapy drug, which delivers SMN1 transgene into the neurons, solving the problem at its source.
As an intravenous formulation to be administered to SMA1 patients under 24 months of age in a single treatment, Onasemnogene abeparvovec was approved by the USA Food and drug administration (FDA) in March 2019, but is still awaiting its approval from the European and Japanese authorities. The price of Zolgensma, which is a trade name of the drug developed by AveXis, a company acquired by Novartis in 2018, was set at $2.125 million (approximately €1.942 million), which makes Zolgensma the world’s most expensive medication by far.
Since the drug has not yet been approved in Europe, it is also not part of the health insurance system. For European patients, the drug is therefore available in the USA and at their own expense.
Kris is not the first European boy whose treatment with Zolgensma, and therefore chances of survival, depend on a successful crowdfunding campaign. Reports of at least two recent campaigns that took place in Europe can be found online: one took place in Hungary earlier this month and one in Belgium about a month before that. Both campaigns were successful and children are presumably on their way to receiving the needed genetic treatment.
The crowdsourcing campaign for Kris has been led by a small charity called Palčica Pomagalčica. Since the organization is led on a voluntary basis by two fully employed elementary school teachers, who have been more than overwhelmed by the amount of PR they have to process in their free time, it is not yet clear whether enough money has been gathered as of writing this or not.
In case you’d like to donate, you can still do so.
Donations can be made either to the following bank account number:
Or, for those with phone accounts registered in the country, send "KRIS5" (Kris five) SMS to a phone number 1919 and thereby donate 5 euroes to the above address.
Almost every time I meet a Slovene person I tell them I just moved from Barcelona. And almost every time I hear the same question: “But… why?”. My answer is always the same: isn’t it obvious?
The first time I crossed the border from Austria I was amazed about how the landscape changed in only minutes. Everywhere I looked there was astonishing, breathtaking view, usually with long, never-ending green valleys surrounded by sharp mountains. Nature was – and, of course, still is – everywhere, and I could only hope to try not to blink so I wouldn’t miss a thing.
The best part was to discover that my first impression was not an underestimation, and in fact I was even more impressed about all that Slovenia had to offer. All the main landmarks are, maximum, two hours away – by car – from Ljubljana. For me, this meant that I could easily discover magnificent natural scenery while still coming back to sleep in my own bed at the end of the day. We made new adventures with friends on daily basis: Portorož, Piran, Škocjan and Postojna Caves, Predjama Castle, Bled, Triglav National Park, Maribor, Ptuj…
But natural beauty is only the surface. What really made me want to live here was the way Slovenes look at life. Everything is calm, peaceful and relaxed. Coming from a big city like Barcelona, I was used to running from place to place without paying attention to what was around me. All I did was check the time every two minutes to make sure I wasn’t late to my next appointment. Even during my free time everything was in a hurry. For example, on Sunday mornings I had to rush to the park to have the best spot, even when I just wanted to chill next to a tree with some friends. Once I was there, I could relax for about 30 minutes before realising I had to leave earlier than I expected because there was going to be a queue at the restaurant. How much free, relaxed time did I have on my “peaceful” Sunday morning, then? Certainly not as much as you would expect.
But everything is different here. Slovenia is a stress-free country that allows me to focus on the small details I couldn’t see before: the waiter asking how my day’s been and smiling while giving me the change back after I order my morning coffee. That stranger that lets me rent the last public bike because the next station is not that far away. Going to the river and reading a good book on those 20 minutes that I have for myself. Being able to meet friends for coffee in the afternoon without checking my phone every 40 seconds, because there’s no rush on what to do after that.If you’re reading this and you’re from Slovenia, I can’t tell you enough how lucky you are to enjoy this way of life. If you just arrived -maybe you’re visiting as a tourist, maybe you moved for Erasmus or for work, then get ready for the best period of time of your life. Slovenia will blow your mind.