STA, 4 April 2019 - Health Minister Aleš Šabeder has signed a decree that allows hiring up to 90 doctors from non-EU countries this year in order to deal with an acute shortage of general practitioners in Slovenia.
Šabeder announced the measure for the public broadcaster TV Slovenija and commercial broadcaster POP TV late last evening.
The ministry also sent to the Medical Chamber yesterday a proposal for speciality training for 49 trainee doctors this year, a "measure that will have an effect on the system only in a few years' time".
A favourable number of trainee doctors is also planned for 2020, but there will be fewer in 2023 and 2024.
He said these were the first short-term measures agreed in the meetings earlier this week with representatives of GPs and of the community health centres grappling with the most acute staff shortages.
The decree allowing hiring a total of 90 doctors from third countries adds 55 doctors to work in primary healthcare to the 35 doctors for which medical organisations expressed the need a while ago, explained the minister.
The ministry today submitted for public consultation until 11 April a proposal lifting the ceiling on doctor job offerings by 56 from the 35 posts determined in December, which will allow the import of 91 doctors from third countries. More than half (55) will be for GPs.
The minister also announced that further measures would follow to implement the agreed workload standards and norms and deal with the crisis which erupted after GPs started giving notices in protest at excessive workload.
FIDES, the trade union of doctors and dentists, announced that, on 1 June, all doctors would start sticking to the workload standards agreed in the collective bargaining agreement after the 2016 strike.
"It will be necessary to secure additional financing sources, and measures are also being taken in this direction," Šabeder said, indicating that these measures could be expected by June or July.
In response to FIDES's announcement of what is in effect a work-to-rule strike, the trade union of nurses said that, being members of medical teams, nurses "will work as much as doctors do".
The union's boss, Slavica Mencinger, told the STA today that a "major problem will be to ascertain who will be the one to turn away patients, to triage them and answer for the consequences".
Kinodvor and Kinoteka, Ljubljana twin temples of art cinema, are giving themselves up once again to the cheap thrills and honest trash of the annual Kurja Polt (“Goosebumps”) festival of genre film, this year in its 6th shocking incarnation.
This one is titled Freaks, and in addition to the Tod Browning classic of midnight screenings includes a number of other films that, for one reason or another, simply could not – and perhaps should not – be made today. Thus you’ll be able to marvel at underground classics like Isla – Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks, a film that, as the NSFW trailer attests, fully lives up (or down) to the potential of its title, with something to offend everyone.
Or you can enjoy the Italian giallo sex and violence thriller with perhaps the best title of the festival – in a programme packed with contenders – Il tuo vizio è una stanza chiusa e solo io ne ho la chiave, aka Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key. Sadly, no trailer for this is available, but the synopsis begins as follows:
Oliviero (Luigi Pistilli), a frustrated writer and an abusive husband to Irina (Anita Strindberg), amuses himself by holding drunken hippy orgies in their crumbling country villa. But when one of his lovers is found dead, he becomes the prime suspect to a series of mysterious murders. To complicate matters even further, Oliviero’s beautiful and seductive niece Floriana (Edwige Fenech) arrives for an unexpected visit….
With regard to family fun, and not just for the Mansons, there’s the legendary Roar, dubbed the most dangerous movie ever shot, with a cast of wild animals that at any moment could have decided to eat the actors:
Hank (Noel Marshall) is an energetic scientist, living in the bush country of East Africa, alongside a menagerie of over 100 wild lions, tigers, panthers and an elephant or two. They all live together in apparent harmony. Until one day, just as his wife and children (real-life wife Tippi Hedren, step-daughter Melanie Griffith and his sons John and Jerry Marshall) arrive from Chicago, a battle for dominance erupts between the lions. And things go badly wrong.
In addition to confirmed classics there are those in the making, including the intriguing Un Couteau Dans Le Coeur, or Knife + Heart:
Paris, the summer of 1979. Anne (Vanessa Paradis) is a 40-something gay porn director with titles like Anal Fury and Homocidal under her belt. After her editor and lover Lois leaves her, she tries to win her back by shooting her most ambitious film yet. But a mysterious killer starts murdering her actors one by one.
Non-western movies also get their turn on the big screen, with Filipino director Khavn de la Cruz appearing in person at both a workshop and screenings of Bamboo Dogs and Balangiga: Howling Wilderness.
While the Nigerian film Hello Rain will also be playing:
Through a potent but dangerous combination of juju and technology, three scientist witches Rain, Philo and Coco create magical wigs that grant them untold supernatural powers. But power corrupts and Rain, the leader, finds herself in a confrontation with her friends. She must stop them before they destroy the entire nation.
If you’re not afraid to take a walk on the wide side then I recommend you head over to the official site in order to see the full schedule, which also includes seminars, workshops, performances, and an art exhibition. As bonus for readers of TSN, non-English language films will be screened with English subtitles, so you’ll be able to enjoy every minute..
Finally, note that fans of this event should put the Grossmann Fantastic Film Festival in their calendars, which this year (2019) takes place 16–20 July in Ljutomer, while whenever you’re reading this you can see our guide to what’s on in Ljubljana, including at cinemas, here.
STA, 2 April 2019 - The European Commission has confirmed that traffic fines notifying Slovenians that they have breached traffic regulations in another EU country should be issued in Slovenian. A number of Slovenians received notices from Austria and Italy which were not written in their native language.
Addressing a formal notification from a Slovenian MEP Patricija Šulin (EPP/SDS), who informed the Commission of this violation of the EU regulations along with other Slovenian MEPs, the Commission stressed that using the official language of a person who committed a traffic offence was a requirement on the local, regional, and the EU's level.
This regulation was adopted in 2015 by the European directive facilitating cross-border exchange of information on road-safety related traffic offences.
Šulin said that the Commission did not explicitly state how it was overseeing the implementation of the regulation in Austria and Italy. The countries' respective legislation systems ensure notifying Slovenians on traffic offences in Slovenian in theory.
The Commission stressed that it would take appropriate measures if it turned out that the two countries have been breaching their obligations under the directive, sending traffic tickets which were not in Slovenian to Slovenian citizens.
It also urged people to file an official complaint if they received notices that were not in their native language.
STA, 1 April 2019 - GPs around the country are stepping up pressure in the face of the increasing workload and red tape. As announced, 23 doctors of the Kranj community health centre tendered their resignations on Monday, according to the head of the primary healthcare of Gorenjska, Jože Veternik.
The resignations come after the doctors threatened to quit their job as of 1 April unless the conditions are created enabling them to carry out their work safely and in line with medical standards.
Under the law, doctors have a 60-day notice period. If the situation is not resolved within the next 60 days, the GPs will have to be let go at the end of May, which means Kranj's primary healthcare would collapse, Veternik said.
According to the head of the Kranj Community Health Centre, Lilijana Gantar Žura, 23 of the 34 doctors tendered their resignation, which means 40,000 people would be left without their GP at the end of May.
"This is a serious alarm to which all stakeholders need to respond quickly," Gantar Žura said, calling for talks between the Health Ministry, government and the healthcare purse manager ZZZS.
"Doctors no longer believe promises and will withdraw their resignations only if things are agreed on, written down and signed," she said.
Veternik said they were counting on solving the situation this month. "The [health] minister paid a visit on Friday and we exchanged views. Our suggestion was for the minister to try to meet at least part of the doctors' demands in April," he said.
Health Minister Aleš Šabeder met the head of the Praktikum trade union of GPs, Igor Muževič, in Ljubljana today. No concrete measures were agreed, but both labelled the meeting constructive. A task force will meet again on Wednesday.
The meeting also seemed to have cleared out Friday's misunderstanding when doctors refused to meet the minister after being denied having their representatives present at the meetings between the minister and the leaderships of the community health centres.
"The minister has indeed been open for talks with trade unions all along, which we could see today," Muževič said after meeting Šabader.
The minister said he was aware solutions would need to be found quickly. "We have a month, two at the most to settle the matter and reach an agreement," he said.
Among the solutions discussed today is importing doctors from abroad, which Šabeder warned would take time because of the necessary legislative changes. "Quick calculations show that we would need approximately 50 doctors in the short-term at this point," the minister said.
The trade union also proposed an emergency bill to prevent patients who cannot be admitted by a GP in their community health centre to be sent off to another centre. In turn, the understaffed centre would be given an option to hire a doctor from abroad, a retired doctor or a freelancer to ensure primary care to all patients.
Vetrnik thinks it is crucial to change the ceiling for accepting new patients. Last year the ceiling was at 1,995 patients per GP, while this year's ceiling is the average of a particular community health centre.
Currently, the average patient index for Slovenia is some 2,400 or 1,850 patients per a team of doctors, but in Kranj a team of doctors deals with some 2,000 patents, which is 10% more than an average Slovenian doctor and 25% above the 2017 agreement.
"This must have been the last straw that caused the doctors' resignations in Kranj, and the announcements of resignation in Celje and Maribor," Veternik said.
Doctors want the ministry and the ZZZS to endorse the standards and norms from the 2017 strike-averting agreement.
Later in the day, GPs from the Ptuj Community Health Centre joined the calls for change in primary healthcare, or else 16 GPs would collectively resign on 1 June, the Ptuj health centre said in a release.
The Ptuj GPs demand that once a doctor has 1,895 patients, they no longer accept new patients, and the figure should be gradually cut, by 5% annually, to eventually drop to 1,500.
The doctors in Kranj were the first to protest against the plan to increase the patient index, and stopped accepting new patients already in February. They also addressed a letter to Samo Fakin, who in the meantime resigned as health minister due to ill health, in which they threatened to quit by the end of March.
All of the 15 GPs at the Celje Community Health Centre issued a similar threat last month, while three doctors at the Nazarje Community Health Centre have already resigned.
GPs in Ajdovščina announced they would do no more overtime and GPs in Grosuplje announced they would stop accepting new patients. The GPs of the Maribor Community Health Centre threatened to quit their job on 1 June unless the situation is resolved.
All our stories about healthcare in Slovenia are here
STA, 31 March 2019 - Ljubljana will host in 2020 the annual international conference of ECSITE, the European network of science centres & museums. The five-day meeting will be organised in June by the Kersnikova Institute, the first NGO to be entrusted with ECSITE's central event in its 30-year history.
Jurij Krpan, the head of the Kersnikova Institute for Culture, Arts and Education, told the press this week that ECSITE had recognised fresh and interesting content in the institute's programme and new approaches meant to boost public sensibility to a world increasingly marked by technology.
The students-initiated institute has been serving as an institutional frame for three progressive venues.
The Kapelica Gallery is a platform for contemporary investigative arts, the hacker space Rampa is exploring relations between society, science, technology and art, while the inspirational laboratory BioTehna focuses on the artistic research of living systems.
Krpan said that the institute encouraged reflection about how European institutions dealing with the promotion of science could act in a different, modernised and proactive manner. Thus ECSITE decided to give the 2020 the name Echoes From the Future.
Krpan would like more Slovenian institutions, including those specialising in humanities, to join ECSITE, which has more than 350 member institutions from around the world. The Slovenian members are the Kersnikova Institute, Ljubljana's House of Experiments and the Technical Museum of Slovenia.
Mikko Myllykosk, a member of the network, told the press that the Kersnikova Institute was doing an extraordinary job when it came to bridging the gaps between art, science and technology.
He announced Ljubljana would host 1,200 experts from Europe and beyond next year.
A fun event for the weekend of April 6 and 7 is the Pivo & Burger Fest, run by the same folk as Open Kitchen (Odptra kuhna) and taking place in the same place, Pogačarjev trg 1, the marketplace next to the Cathedral. Expect craft beer, burgers and BBQ and more. I’ll be there both days, Sunday’s hangover permitting.
Something new we added this week that will delight or enrage you is our suggestions on how to spend from four to 48 hours in Ljubljana. Check it out here.
If you're not in town for the week of this guide (April 1 to 7, 2019) then you can see all the editions here, and you can enhance your stay in the city and impress or annoy friends and companions by learning some obscure facts about the city here, and the Castle here.
As ever, clicking on the venue names in the list below should get you more details with regard to the time, price and location, as well as other events on at this place in whatever week you're here. Finally, if there's something 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.
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.
Kinodvor – The arts cinema not far from the train station is showing, among other features, Putin's Witnesses, Izbrisana, the late Agnes Varda’s Faces Places, Godard’s The Image Book, Colette, Dumbo, Mirai no Mirai and Ne bom več luzerka (with English subtitles on Tuesday).
Kinoteka – This revival cinema isn’t far from Kinodvor, at the train station end of Miklošičeva, is showing Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis, Gérard Corbiau’s Farinelli: Il castrato, Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Lili Marleen, Sam Mendes’ American Beauty, with Kevin Spacy playing a predatory older man.
Kino Bežigrad - This place is showing Dumbo and Us.
Kolosej - The multiplex out at BTC City Mall is playing all the big titles, but note that there are far more movies than screens, so some of the older ones may only be playing once or twice a week. Click on the theatre name to see the actual times before making a date. New this week are Pet Sematary, Shazam!, The Aspern Papers and 100 Dinge. Continuing are Dumbo, Ne bom več luzerka, Storm Boy, Us, Creed II, Captain Marvel (2D and 3D), Colette, Posljednji Srbin u Hrvatskoj, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Green Book, Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 (dubbed), A Star is Born, Bohemian Rhapsody, Escape Room, Lego Film 2, Alita: Battle Angel (2D and 3D), Qu'est-ce qu'on a encore fait au bon Dieu?, Mia et le lion blanc, Happy Death Day 2U, Instant FamilyReplicas, Izbrisana, and a dubbed version of The Queen’s Corgi.
Komuna – The cinema in a basement behind Nama department store is showing Us, Ne bom več luzerka, Green Book and Dumbo.
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.
Cvetličarna– Saturday there’s an all-night techno event called Old Kitchen - Slovenian All Stars, with DJs Bloody-J, Dojaja, Flis, Gumja, Numarex, Plotz, Psiho, Ulix, and Veztax.
Channel Zero – Friday night sees another Dub Lab all-nighter with Massive! Sound Clash w. Roots in Session VS. Boris. Saturday is then Saturday Night Smokeout with Memphis style music from Cookie, Borsaleano, and Wichiwaka. As the promotional material says, “Bring your stash, smoke dat onion!”
Gala Hala – Friday the 5th you can party till 5am with Swaguljčica #3, with the hip hop and trap being provided by .čunfa (Trite, Rx:tx), K'Pow (Big Nose Ent.), White AF and Tschimy. Saturday Wave Riders! are back, with synthwave lined up by DJs Torulsson and Kobayashii.
Klub Cirkus – Friday the night is given up to RnB Explosion: Fresh Anthems & Classics Cuts, while Saturday is for fans of Slovenian pop, disco and dance with Tutti Frutti – Slovenska edicija.
Klub K4 – Friday the home of electronic dance music plays host to SOLVD w/ Felver, with support from Evident, R.Bade and Alex Ranerro. As noted on Soundcloud: “Widely appreciated for his music connoisseurship and unspoken sensitivity of a gentleman, Felver has defined Zagreb’s clubbing scene like no other DJ.” Saturday it’s the turn of Just Us x Just Jam, with techno & house to be played by Limc, Rokko, Tmme and Nade.
Koncertna Dvorana Rog – Friday the 5th you can get down to dirty end of Trubarjeva cesta and enjoy a night of techno with RGB Series: Cogo meets Aleja Sanchez, with support from Insolate, Volster, MARTA, and Tonske.
Cankerjev dom – Tuesday, April 2, there will be a live show from Mart and The Frictions, two separate acts. Saturday you can go to Slovenia’s biggest arts centre and see DrummingCellist and Big Band RTV Slovenija, and there’s a video of the former below too.
Gala Hala – Thursday, April 4th, you can see a live show from Masha Qrella (DE) and Generator (SI).
Kino Šiška – Monday there’s a show by Bullet for my Valentine; it’s already sold out, but you can see what you could have seen below. Thursday there’s Soap&Skin, with support from Jungstötter. Saturday The Young Gods will then take the stage, along with Nina Bulatovix.
Klub Gromka – Wednesday evening you can head to this Metelkova venue and enjoy “adult contemporary music” / sound art under the headline of FriForma & FriFormA\V: Patterson / Kutin + Ripak / Miklós. Saturday there’s an all-nighter called Ritval VIII: Tytus, Challenger, and iBreatheYouDie, which seems to be all about speed metal.
Orto Bar – Ortofest continues with a packed week of metal and metal-adjacent music. Tuesday sees Bordo and Fed Horses; Tuesday is Šank Rock; Thursday it’s Panikk, Drobovina, and Inkubator Bukator, a Kadilnica of Death presentation; Friday Hamo & Tribute 2 Love take the stage, as do – in a separate show – Valter svira Parafe; the week then ends on Saturday with Zmelkoow, with more until the end of the month.
Slovenska filharmonija – Thursday and Friday Håkan Hardenberger will be playing the trumpet and conducting the orchestra in a programme of Haydn, Takemicu and Lutosławski, including the piece shown below. Sunday, April 7, James Tuggle will be leading the orchestra, playing Hugo Wolf and Mahler.
Cankerjev dom - A Slovenian version of Martin Sherman’s Bent will be staged here on Friday evening.
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.
SNG Opera and Ballet - Nothing seems to be on this week.
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 this week we also added an interview with the guy behind Responsible Pot, which is getting CBD into the city’s cafés and bars.
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 want to learn more about Ljubljana Pride, then take a look at our interview with its president here. 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.
Cankerjev dom – A Slovenian version of Martin Sherman’s Bent will be staged here on Friday evening.
Klub Monokel – This lesbian bar in Metelkova is open every Friday, and this week there’s NANI MO IV // Kuthi Jinani (IT), with support.
Klub Tiffany – And the gay bar next door is also open on Fridays, while every Monday until June 2019 there's tango at 18:00. This week, Friday night, you can also get tested for a variety of STDs.
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.
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, and - as noted at the start
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 has an exhibition entitled “Encounters in Visual Art” introduces works of selected visual artists, painters and sculptors, who define today's art scene in Hungary and Slovenia, as promoted with the image below. Free to enter, this venue is next to a Spar and Hofer, and not far from Dragon Bridge, and always has something interesting going on. Learn more here.
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
International Centre of Graphic Arts – Starting March 22 and running until May 19 is Photographic Images and Matter: Japanese Prints of the 1970s and Japan, Yugoslavia and the Biennial of Graphic Arts: Documents of Collaboration. One of the images promoting the show is shown below.
Kosuke Kimura: Present Situation – Existence A, colour and silkscreen, 1971.
A K67 by the Triple Bridge, in Ljubljana. Unknown photographer
MAO – The Museum of Architecture and Design has much of what you'd expect, along with some temporary shows and a good cafe. Until April 5 there's an exhibition on the K67 Kiosk, an icon of Slovene design that you can learn more about here, while until May 19 there's Tendencies: Architecture and Urban Planning in Celje, 1955–1985.
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
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. The museum's Metelkova branch also has a big new show, runing until at least September 2019, an the art of the Non-Aligned Movement, with an example shown above.
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.
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. 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 June 2019 is Our Little Big Sea, which takes a look at the oceans.
Slovene Ethnographic Museum – The museum currently has a temporary show on Bees and Beekeeping, on until June 16 2019, as well 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). This place is located near the newer branch of the Moderna galerija and Metelkova.
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
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.
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
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.
maxpixel.net, public domain
Want to stretch and breath? Then check out our list of drop-in yoga classes for tourists, visitors and the uncommitted. If you're heading to the coast, check out our interview with a yoga teacher who offers breakfast sessions there, while if you're staying in town (or nearby) and want to try some "family yoga" then you can learn more about that here and maybe get your kids to calm down a moment or two.
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
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 part, our guide to how to park in Ljubljana is here.
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.
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
Last November we reported that Šepla Vodovc, the woman behind the Culinary Slovenia workshops, food walks and week-long tours, was planning to launch a cookbook that'll be your guide to recreating traditional dishes from all over the country. Today that project reached another milestone, with the book now ready to order on Kickstarter.
Launched just this afternoon, in only a few hours it's already around a quarter of the way to achieveing its target, with $1,232 having been raised so far towards the goal of $5,000, with the Kickstarter running until April 26, 2019.
The Kickstarter price of the each book is $25, but for a limited number of people a pledge of just $20 gets you an early bird price on the book, plus worldwide shipping, while pledging more will see you receive the book along with a special Cook Eat Slovenia apron.
Beautifully designed by Gregor Žakelj (VGB), the book is in full colour, with each of more more than 100 dishes shown in photographs from Mateja Jordović Potočnik. Presented in a clear, attractive manner these are recipes that you'll be inspired to use and enjoy, bringing the tastes of Slovenia from all four seasons and all of it's culinary regions. And with the country set to be an official European Region of Gastronomy is 2021, now's the ideal time to start learning about some of the hidden gems of the continent's cuisine, and where better to start than with Cook Eat Slovenia – The Cookbook?
You can support the Kickstarter and order your copy of the book here.
STA, 26 March 2019 - The European Parliament voted on Tuesday to scrap the twice-a-year custom of changing the clocks by 2021. The Slovenian government is in favour of the decision, but it is not yet clear whether the country would opt for permanent winter time or permanent summer time.
Since national governments will be able to choose whether to keep winter or summer time, MEPs urged EU members to cooperate in making their decisions to prevent chaos on the single market.
Countries wanting to be permanently on summer time will change their clock for the last time on the last Sunday in March 2021.
Those opting for permanent winter will do so on the last Sunday in October 2021.
All of them must notify the European Commission of their choice by 1 April 2020.
The Slovenian government is in favour of the change, but wants an an EU-wide mechanism to be put in place to allow for a smooth transition.
The Infrastructure Ministry told the STA on Tuesday Slovenia's standard time is Central European Time (CET), which is actually winter time.
"If the custom of changing the clock to summer time is abolished, Slovenia will have the standard winter time all year long."
The ministry also explained this was not its decision, but resulted from the time act, a Slovenian law passed in the 1990s.
It said it had already asked neighbouring countries, which have the same standard time as Slovenia, about their stances, but received no reply yet.
Consultations are also planned at EU level, although it is not yet clear when they would he held.
If it turns out there is a need to change Slovenia's standard time to permanent summer time, the government would consult all stakeholders.
Last year's consultations showed Slovenians were more in favour of adopting permanent summer time as the new standard. The same was in Portugal, Cyprus and Poland.
During today's debate in the European Parliament, Slovenian MEP Igor Šoltes (Greens) backed the scrapping of the daylight-saving time, but stressed it should be done with caution so as not to affect the internal market.
STA, 25 March 2019 - Prices of residential properties in Slovenia rose by 18.2% last year, driven by a 19.8% growth in the prices of second-hand homes, according to a report by the Statistics Office.
The number of transactions decreased by 14% from the 2017 peak to 9,421 in 2018. The number of transactions in new apartments remained low for the second year running.
In the final quarter of 2018, prices of existing family houses increased the most, by as much as 38.6% compared to the same quarter a year ago.
Prices of existing apartments in areas outside Ljubljana were up by 12.6% year-on-year, while Ljubljana saw an 8% growth.
Prices of new family houses and new flats were also up year-on-year in the final quarter of 2018, by 5.2% and 3.3%, respectively, with prices of both types of new homes rising by 3.7%.
Despite the volatility in prices of new apartments, the prices increased by 23.9% since 2015.
The final quarter saw only 38 new flats sold, which is a record low. The number of new family houses sold remained low as well, but at 24, this was the highest figure last year.
Compared to the third quarter, prices of existing homes - flats and houses - rose by 6.9% with prices of flats up by 4.1% and prices of houses increasing by 11.9%.
As many as 1,757 transactions in existing homes were recorded in the final quarter of 2018, which compares to only 632 involving newly built homes.
Last week we posted an interview with Ralph Churches, a former Australian soldier who spent time as a prisoner of war in Slovenia, before escaping in a daring adventure known as the Raid at Ožbalt, or “the Flight of the Crow”. We first become aware of his story because of a new book published in English, a first person account of life as a Partisan solider in the Second World War, written by someone who was part of the same adventure. Curious to learn more, we got in touch with the translator, Robert Posl, and asked how he came to work on this project, and what he learned.
First of all, what’s your connection with Slovenia?
My parents originated from the former Yugoslavia. My father from near Rogatec, my mother from Croatia, near Zadar. She moved to Slovenia, where she met my father. In 1970 they moved to Germany. My father simply did not see a future staying in Yugoslavia.
I was the third child, born in August 1974. In spring of 1975, we moved to South Africa. The apartheid regime of South Africa was in full swing and was encouraging and inviting people to move to South Africa. So that's what my parents did, along with their three toddlers. I obviously don't remember any of that, since I was barely six months old.
We lived quite a decent and progressive life in South Africa. We as children had no contact with Yugoslavia. And even though my parents had brothers and sisters in Yugoslavia (Slovenia and Croatia), they too had almost no contact. The Communist way there was distinct and powerful until the 90's, when everything started to change. The war in Slovenia was short, only four days, with barely any conflict or anything.
Slovenia was then 'free' and with a promising future, quickly stepping forward to becoming a European nation. We started hearing about relatives we had never heard about before. Then in December 1991 my uncle and his wife came to visit us in South Africa. While things were looking quite promising for Slovenia, the opposite was for South Africa, as the apartheid era was coming to an end. So the obvious happened, the decision to move to Slovenia quickly grew.
And so you moved back?
Yes, and after moving from South Africa to Slovenia, to Europe, I felt that I was now properly introduced to history. Moving from a country which has bareky any history compared to that of mainland Europe. Most of the countries in Europe have also put significant efforts into maintaining and restoring their cultural heritage, so now I could see and even touch it, compared to only reading about it. Slovenia is thus dotted with numerous buildings and monuments, which clearly express its history. Especially the countless number of memorials and plaques reminding us of the Second World War.
One thing I heard about a lot about the Partisans. The most common thing I’d hear was how difficult it was and how they lived in poverty and in hunger, with ragged clothes and inadequate equipment. My reaction was obvious, “who would want anything like that? So unpleasant!”
So that’s how you came to translate this story?
Yes and no, because there’s more of a family connection than just an interest in history. Some years ago my wife’s uncle, Alojz Voler, published his autobiography and experiences during the war, when he served with the Partisans. Alojz kept the publication quite quiet, mainly only sharing it with relatives and acquaintances. I paged through it a couple of times, reading some sections and admiring the photos.
Then in the spring of 2017, a car with foreign registration plates stopped in front of his house. They were from England, except for the translator who was with them. They were looking for a man who was involved in a remarkable event during The Second World War, “The Flight of the Crow”. A team were in Slovenia making a movie about this great event, something most people didn’t even know happened.
When I learnt more and that Alojz was involved in it, I right away suggested that his autobiography be translated into English and to include the details of this event. The more I thought about it, the more I saw the need for this to be done.
Alojz Voler, with German recruits. He served in the German army for 14 months before he managed to desert them and return to Slovenia, where he then joined the partisans.
What was that like?
I got to know more of the details and specifics about Alojz and the life he lived. He was born in 1925 on a farm in the Savinja Valley in Northern Slovenia. Not only was I getting to know him, but I was also getting to know what it was like living in that period. The onset of the Second World War and the influence of the aggressors, which was long felt before the conflict even started.
The Second World War was for Yugoslavia more than just the invasion and engagements with German forces. A significant part of it was the tension and politics within the country itself. Already in primary school, Alojz would be tolfd negatuve things about the Partisans, and how they lived in hunger and poverty. Surprisingly, it was allo very to what I so often heard when I moved to Slovenia.
For Alojz to follow his heart was a journey in its self, and to join the Partisans was an almost unimaginable and treacherous step to make. I admire how Alojz expresses this idea: To go into resistance with almost bare hands, against the most elite forces of the world at that time, was an almost fantasy. But it was no fantasy, it was the cruel reality.
Starting with this translation at first only fed fuel to the fire of my curiosity. What kind of person, and why, would want to be part of the Partisans? But by following Alojz’s life throughout his book, my questions were answered.
Alojz on the right, with other members of the KNOJ (Korpus narodne obrambe Jugoslavije). Photo taken after the war ended.
The book obviously has many other stories, but how was Aljoz involved in the “Escape of the Crow”?
The battalion Alojz was in was based to the west of Maribor, nearby the Ožbalt work camp. Some of the Partisans were chosen to escort a group of six POWs, including Ralph Churches, away from the area ASAP. The next day they returned and managed to free the rest of the captives, and it was then that Alojz met and helped them to safety and away from Ožbalt before the Germans intensified their search for the prisoners.
Here is a photo, which is also on the cover of A Hundred Miles as the Crow Flies. The guy on the left, almost out of the picture is Franjo Gruden, the leader of the escort team. Alojz was at the back to make sure nobody fell behind.
And here is a map I made for the book. You can see where they went, up to Gornji Grad, then another group of partisan soldiers took over to escort them further.
And what you have learned from the book?
For me the most important things about working on this project are being able to share a part of history, but more than that, it’s about giving Alojz that feeling of pride. At 94 years old it’s quite something that his story is finally being told, and that he’s the one to tell it. And so I hope that more people will hear about him and what he did during the war.
While doing the translation, and still after, people would ask me: “Who is paying for this? How much are you being paid?” My answer – Alojz has paid me; with the truths and experiences from his heart, as seen by an ordinary, humble man. And with the knowledge, that I can now confidently say, “I know who and what the partisans really were”.
Alojz Voler, Niel Churches & Monty Halls, Spring 2017
STA, 22 March 2019 - Threats by dozens of general practitioners around the country to quit in the face of a recent decision to increase the number of patients GPs are expected to cover have been making headlines in recent days. Matters seem to be spiralling out of control, as medical students have also been showing no interest to pursue a career in general practice.
While tensions over increasing red tape for GPs and their general workload have been mounting for years, the situation seems to have escalated as a result of the financing and organisational plan for public healthcare in 2019.
The plan, put forward by healthcare purse manager ZZZS and confirmed by the government, raises the permitted number of patients per GP. The increase also affects health centres that have been performing above that national average, which has been scrapped as a reference point.
The first to protest were 21 doctors in Kranj, who already stopped accepting new patients in February. They also addressed a letter to Samo Fakin, who in the meantime resigned as health minister due to ill health, in which they threatened to quit by the end of March.
All of the 15 GPs at the Celje Health Centre issued a similar threat earlier this week, while three doctors at the Nazarje Health Centre have already resigned.
Moreover, on Thursday doctors at the Ajdovščina Health Centre, which has seen a number of retirements in the recent period, announced they would no longer perform overtime work.
Doctors' organisations are demanding solutions that will allow GPs to do their job in line with professional standards. They say that the recommended patient index is 1,500, that the currently valid ceiling is 1,895, while the actual Slovenian average stands at 2,406.
However, the ZZZS argued that enforcing the ceiling would mean 325,000 people in Slovenia remaining without primary healthcare.
"Every stakeholder in the system shares some responsibility for solving this problem together. It however cannot be solved in the way proposed by some doctors, by starting to reject patients at 1,895, since this would even violate the constitutional right to healthcare," the ZZZS said.
Solutions highlighted by the ZZZS include appropriate education policy planning, meaning securing enough GPs, and a reduction of administrative burdens. It is also looking for ways to secure more funding.
"The management of health centres also have a number of tools at their disposal and can above all use reallocation to secure a more equal distribution of burdens among doctors," the ZZZS wrote.
There are currently 950 GPs in Slovenia along with 315 GP trainees and according to February data, the workload of 42% or of 595 family and children's doctors did not exceed the Slovenian average.
The Health Ministry, which is being run temporarily by Prime Minister Miro Šarec since Fakin's resignation, says it is drawing up measures that will resolve things in a systemic manner.
It announced fewer administrative tasks, a new financial model for primary healthcare that will be stimulative, and a call for applications for 80 to 90 GP speciality training spots in this year.
The problem however is that interest for a career in general practice has been very modest. Only 13 application were filed for 64 spots made available in a call last spring and eight in the autumn call that offered 60 spots.
What is more, health centres did not manage to find new GP staff even though additional funding had been secured for the purpose.
The head of the family doctors' trade union Praktikum, Igor Muževič proposed the impasse could be bridged with the inclusion of foreign doctors. He however added that no dialogue exists between the union and decision makers.
The situation was meant to be discussed today by the parliamentary Healthcare Committee, but the session was cancelled because it was not certain the representatives of the Health Ministry would be able to attend.
All our stories on healthcare in Slovenia can be found here