STA, 2 September 2019 - Among the many primary and secondary schools children can go to in Slovenia, there are also several international schools, which are mostly intended for foreigners. Interest in them has been growing, also among Slovenian children, so this year they will have 600 students.
There are three private international schools: the British International School of Ljubljana, the American QSI International School and France's Ecole Francaise Ljubljana.
They teach curricula from the countries of their origin, at the same time offering curricula taught within the global network of international schools.
The three schools had some 400 students in the 2018/19 school year, according to data provided by the British school.
But there are also several Slovenian public schools offering internationally-compatible courses.
One of them is Danila Kumar Primary School in Ljubljana, which has launched an international department upon the initiative from foreign diplomats and business executives.
Since its first year, 2007/2008, the number of its students has grown from 50 to around 200.
"The figure changes since children get enrolled and leave throughout the year. They are 3 to 15 years old," says Irena Šteblaj, head of the primary school's international department.
She has told the STA they generally accept foreign citizens, while Slovenian students are admitted if they have already studied abroad and intend to go abroad again.
Our Danila Kumar International School usually has children of 36 to 40 different nationalities, says Šteblaj.
She admits some may have problems when they continue schooling at secondary school because of a language barrier.
"Although they study Slovenian two hours a week here, they don't learn it as well as if they went to a Slovenian school."
Three Slovenian secondary schools also offer an international school-leaving exam - known in Slovenian as "matura".
These are Gimnazija Bežigrad in Ljubljana and II. Gimnazija in Maribor, and since last year also Gimnazija in Kranj.
In Maribor, the two-year programme which prepares students in the last two years for the matura exam has been available since 1990.
To qualify for such such a programme, students must have good grades, an average of at least 4 on Slovenia's 1-to-5 scale.
"Classes are held in English, but students also have to attend lessons in their own mother tongue," says II. Gimnazija Maribor headteacher Ivan Lorenčič.
This year 22 Slovenian and 10 foreign students passed the international matura exam at this secondary school.
If they pass the exam, they can continue their studies at any university in Slovenia or abroad.
"But the majority, as many as 60-70%, decide to go abroad, to study mostly science such as chemistry, microbiology, biology and similar," says Lorenčič.
He is proud to say that the students passing the international mature exam at Slovenian secondary schools are at the top of more than 1,300 such schools worldwide.
"This is a result of hard work," he believes.
Meanwhile, a school for children whose parents work for EU institutions was launched in Ljubljana last school year.
In the first year, ten children were enrolled in grades 1 and 2 at the Ljubljana European School, which was founded by the government.
Children can choose between a programme taught in English or Slovenian, which according to headmaster Darinka Cankar depends on the dominant language spoken in their families.
Children also have the option of their mother tongue classes, which means that in 2019/20 the school will also teach French, German, Spanish and Lithuanian.
Forty-six children will attend it this year, the majority of whom are foreign citizens.
All out stories on education in Slovenia are here
STA, 2 September 2019 - After ten weeks of holidays, a new school year starts on Monday in Slovenia for roughly 74,000 secondary school students and 187,525 primary school children.
It was an especially big day for the 20,840 six-year-olds who entered school for the first time in their lives with schools throwing reception parties to welcome them in their midst.
In his message at the start of a new school year, Education Minister Jernej Pikalo wished everyone to benefit from school for new knowledge and friendships, assessing that school was one of the best social subsystems in Slovenia.
Meanwhile, President Borut Pahor encouraged students to welcome new knowledge with open minds, and above all to think about everything with their own heads.
As is usual for this time of year, campaigns have been launched to raise awareness among drivers and the public of the presence of schoolchildren in traffic, promote tolerance and safety.
Police officers and volunteers from motorists' associations are seeing to the safety of schoolchildren, in particular the youngest ones at spots where they are most exposed to risk.
Year-one kids were wearing yellow neckerchiefs and holding yellow balloons to alert drivers to watch out for them.
At the Simon Jenko primary school in Kranj, Slovenia's football team members helped pupils cross the street, with Infrastructure Minister Alenka Bratušek highlighting the importance of visibility and caution in traffic.
There will be some changes awaiting primary schoolchildren such as updated syllabus for Slovenian and the optional subject beekeeping, and new optional subjects of film education and Slovenian sign language.
Marking the introduction of the latter, Pikalo visited on Monday the Ljubljana School for the Deaf, welcoming primary school children and wishing them they would feel good in school every day and not just on their first day. The school provides education for 27 year-one kids this year, including five deaf pupils.
New courses await secondary school students and an extended selection of courses in which they can do apprenticeship. Those coming of age will no longer be able to write their own excuse notes.
Teachers will benefit from higher salaries as these will go up by one pay bracket as of 1 November. Form teachers will get a pay rise as early as this month.
The longest term holidays this year will be for Christmas and New Year, between 25 December and 5 January. The first break will be the week between 28 October and 1 November.
All our stories about education in Slovenia are here
Keep up with the daily news in Slovenia by checking the morning headlines here
The following summary was prepared by the STA
MONDAY, 2 September
BLED - The start of the two-day Bled Strategic Forum. Sources of stability and instability will be explored.
LJUBLJANA - Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid will pay an official visit.
LJUBLJANA - The start of the school year for roughly 264,000 primary and secondary school students.
TUESDAY, 3 September
LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Commission for Oversight of Intelligence and Security Services will debate the impact of illegal migrations on organised crime and the activities of foreign intelligence services in Slovenia.
LJUBLJANA - A parliamentary inquiry investigating the discontinued child heart surgery project will interview former and current directors of the Medical Chamber.
BLED - The 6th high-level symposium of think tanks from China and Central and Eastern European countries will be held.
LJUBLJANA - The 67th Ljubljana Festival will feature a show with Ukraine prima ballerina Svetlana Zakharova from the Bolshoi Theatre.
WEDNESDAY, 4 September
ŠIBENIK, Croatia - President Borut Pahor will hold talks with Croatian counterpart Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and Austria's Alexander van der Bellen as part of the Trilateral Initiative.
LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Commission for the Oversight of Public Finances will debate the management of major infrastructure projects at the request of the opposition New Slovenia (NSi).
LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Agriculture, Forestry and Food Committee will debate emergency beekeeping measures.
LJUBLJANA - The Employment Service will release registered unemployment figures for August.
MARIBOR - Dokudoc, an international festival of documentary film; until 8 Sept.
THURSDAY, 5 September
LJUBLJANA - Weekly government session.
LJUBLJANA - The 67th Ljubljana Festival will wrap up with a concert by the Israeli Symphony Orchestra conducted by Zubin Mehta.
LJUBLJANA - A parliamentary inquiry investigating the aborted child heart surgery project will interview former directors of UKC Ljubljana hospital Simon Vrhunec and Andraž Kopač.
FRIDAY, 6 September
LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly, Supreme Court and Justice Ministry will co-host a debate on the rule of law.
LJUBLJANA - NLB, the country's largest bank, will release its interim financial report.
LJUBLJANA - The Agency for Insurance Supervision will organise its annual conference on the insurance industry.
KANAL - The 40th Kogoj Days, an international festival of contemporary classical music, will get under way.
LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra will open its new season with a concert conducted by Swiss veteran Charles Dutoit.
LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian national football team will take on Poland in a Euro 2020 qualifier.
SATURDAY, 7 September
PIRAN - Awards will be given out as the 54th Piran Ex-Tempore international workshop of painters draws to a close.
POSTOJNA - The 19th World Festival of Saute Potato with Onions will be held.
SUNDAY, 8 September
METLIKA - A ceremony will mark 150 year of organised firefighting in Slovenia.
KOČEVJE - A commemoration in remembrance of the 70th anniversary of the communist women's labour camp Verdreng (Podlesje).
If you're not in town for the week of this guide (2 - 8 September, 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.
In town and want to follow the news? Check out our regular morning headlines for Slovenia here.
As ever, links to the basic listings are after the following selection, while a comprehensive PDF of events for the next seven days, as prepared by Ljubljana Tourism, is here.
The Ljubljana Festival ends for another year this week, as does the summer, more or less, with children back to school on Monday and the “out of office” messages being turned off.
Monday and Tuesday 8pm the Jakopič Gallery, at Slovenska cesta 9, will have Sound Explicit “a cycle of live experimental sound and audio events that represent a wide variety of genres – from sound research and various forms of improvisation to experimental sound projects.”
Tuesday ballet fans are in for a rare treat with the appearance of Svetlana Zakharova (and friends), along with the RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra, at 20:30 in Cankerjev dom and not the scheduled Križanke Summer Theatre, due to bad weather being forecast (tickets).
Wednesday the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra is playing Cankerjev dom, playing music by Xu, Sibelius and Rimsky-Korsakov. The violinist Chen Xi will be performing, as will. More details here.
Wednesday what seems to be the week’s one new movie opens, It: Chapter Two.
Thursday then sees the last show of the Ljubljana Festival, with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra playing Párto, Haydn and Berlioz at Cankerjev dom, 20:00. Details.
Thursday 5 September, 16:00, visitors to Mestni trg – the square in front of City Hall – will host a free show by They. Per the publicity: “A dance performance that needed a pinch of circus magic to make a full life. 14 young movers, under the artistic guidance of choreographer Ada Kogovšek, merge each other with sounds of ethno music and modern forms of dance. The performance "They" sings about life and how great it is to live.” Bad weather will see the show cancelled.
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.
I took a trip to the Botanical Garden a month or so ago, a short or cycle upriver from the centre. I know nothing about plants but I like them, took a camera and had a good time. All the outside part is free to enter, and there’s a small café with ice cream, coffee and beer.
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'. Also, Good Boys is not a children’s film – don’t take the kids
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.
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.
Vice meets Žižek in Ljubljana. If you want to see more of the most successful writer who lives in Ljubljana, click 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.
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.
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.
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. On until 25 September is Treasures from Russian Museums, an exhibition showcasing more than 80 Russian icons from leading Russian museums. Also on until 15 September can see the results of the archaeological research of Gosposvetska cesta, Slovenska cesta, Prešernova cesta, Erjavčeva cesta, Tribuna, Križanke, Dalmatinova ulica, Vegova ulica (KGBL) and the area of the University of Ljubljana. Especially interesting for those who know the city.
The Faces of Ljubljana in the City Museum. Photo: JL Flanner
International Centre of Graphic Art – The 33rd Biennial of Graphic Arts runs until 29 September. It's called Crack Up – Crack Down, and is curated by the collective Slavs and Tartars, with a focus satire and the graphic arts. Learn more here.
Jakopič Gallery – Until 29 September you can see the photographs of Lucien Hervé in a show called Geometry of Light
Ljubljana Castle on until 17 November Mighty Guardians of the Past: Castles in the Slovenian Lands, a presentation that delivers on the promise of its title. There's also the Parallel Worlds of Alan Hranitelj runs on until September 8, showing the work of the acclaimed costume designer. Until 15 September you can see Jelka Reichman’s illustrations from the picture book Twelve Elephants, written by Leopold Suhodolčan (free admission).
MAO – The Museum of Architecture and Design has much of what you'd expect, along with some temporary shows and a good cafe. On until 19 September is a show called Creators, on contemporary Slovenian fashion and textile design, which is being promoted with the following image.
Photo: Urša Premik
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. Opening Thursday, April 25th, 20:00, The Visual Arts in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, 1929–1941, which then runs until September 15th 2019. This offers “an overview of painting, sculpture, printmaking, drawing, photography, and film from the time the king's dictatorship was set up (6 January 1929) to the beginning of World War II on Yugoslav soil (April 1941)” - you can read more about it here. 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 below. Until September 15 you can also enjoy Maja Hodošček, a video artist you “explores social relations through the politics of exchange and collaboration; in particular, she is interested in speculative models of representation in relation to the documentary.”
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. The Space Within the Space: Scenography in Slovenia before 1991 will provide a comprehensive historic, stylistic, visual and theatrical overview of Slovenian scenography until 8 September. There’s also a big show on Alan Ford, one of the great comic books of the Yugoslav era, on until 13 October.
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, in addition to its permanent collection and until 29 September there also a retrospective on the photographer Edi Šelhaus, which is being promoted with the following image.
Photo: Edi Šelhaus
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. On until September 15 is Petra Šink: The circle between design and nature, in which the award-winning designer takes visitors through the life cycle of useful products for the home which are made from natural biodegradable fungal materials.
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.
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.
STA, 30 August 2019 - Sela, a tiny village some 20 kilometres north of Ljubljana, has become the unlikely focus of global headlines after some locals decided to erect a giant wooden Donald Trump statue there, but the publicity is proving too much to handle. The official launch, scheduled for Saturday, has been cancelled.
"There are so many people reacting and announcing their visit. We have not registered the event, it was meant as a local occasion. We cannot provide security for so many people," Boštjan Pivec, the president of the local sports and cultural association, told the STA.
The wooden effigy, some eight metres high, has been erected right next to the village's fire station and has been designed by the Kamnik architect Tom Schlegl.
Painted blue and with a signature Trump hairdo, the statue raises its right hand high, the pose a reference to the Statue of Liberty in New York, which used to greet immigrants when they arrived at Ellis Island.
In fact, the reference is quite deliberate. "Today America is being represented by someone who is against [immigration]. This makes the Statue of Liberty look like a farce," Schlegl told the STA.
The statue also has a mouth mechanism that gives it two faces. "When he talks his face changes and he starts turning into a vampire; there is a podium behind the external mouth. "People are increasingly horrified at speaking up, that is the sense I get," Schlegl says.
The statue has been erected just months after an artist commissioned a wooden statue of First Lady Melania Trump near her hometown of Sevnica, which drew amused glances as well as fierce criticism for looking like a badly drawn Smurfette.
Some of the locals seem to have a similarly grim view of the Trump statue, describing it as bizarre. "It is intended to look bizarre, as bizarre as Slovenian politics," according to the author.
The statue is built on private land and is unlikely to last long: the owner of the land has ordered that it be removed by Halloween.
One of the options being mentioned is burning it on Halloween, but Schlegl has other things in mind as well. He is considering donating it to Denmark so that it can rebuild it in Greenland.
For more than three years Brexit was a very boring affair, but now, as the deadline of October 31 fast approaches for the UK leaving, deal or no deal, a lot of things are starting to happen very quickly. If you’re a British national in Slovenia who wasn’t quite prepared for Brexit on March 31 then you should check your preparedness now, as you currently have just over two months to get things done, and some of them involve trips to upravna enota.
The question that started in all. Source: Wikipedia
If there’s a no-deal Brexit then a number of EU countries have said they will offer continuity of rights to UK nationals already resident there. Slovenia has a law to take care of this, and the time of writing it’s been through all the processes except the last one (details here). The EU has put together a page explaining the implications of no deal for UK nationals’ residence rights in the EU27. The section on Slovenia can be summarised as follows, with some notes and observations, while the full text can be found here, with details for other Member States.
Even with no deal the Republic of Slovenia will protect your residency rights until the end of 2020, but you have to have a residence permit to prove these rights. If you’re not registered at all, then get temporary residence ASAP, while if you’ve got that and have been here at least five years then you should get permanent resident status.
If you’ve been in Slovenia for more than five years then post-Brexit, then eventually you’ll be able to apply for “EU long-term resident status”. To quote the EU site:
This permit will grant you a permanent status, and allow you to enjoy the same treatment as nationals regarding access to employment, education, and core social benefits. This will also allow you, under certain conditions, to acquire the right to reside in another EU Member State.
I couldn’t find any details on how to apply for this, but I’d assume having proof of temporary / permanent residence would be a basic requirement. In short, get your residency sorted out.
Source: Led By Donkeys
If you live here and drive here then you need a Slovenian driving licence. You can read how to get one here. If your upravna enota asks for documents that don’t exist in the UK then contact the British Embassy. They are aware of the problem and will issue a letter explaining the situation.
After Brexit most of your rights will remain unchanged, and you’ll be able to continue to live in Slovenia, work, look for work, study and buy property (which is open to all OECD members). One thing a British national shouldn’t be able to do post-Brexit is enjoy full free movement, so carry a passport if going over a border, even internal EU ones.
Source: Led By Donkeys
The advice listed above is culled from the EU website, based on the Slovenian side of the story. But what about the British Embassy in Ljubljana? The key point here is that the Embassy can’t force any changes in Slovenian law, and instead can only advise on how best to deal with the situation. The latest set of advice for UK nationals with regard to the possibility of no deal can be found here.
The main things they tell you to do – in a text dated 9 July 2019 – are as follows, and do read the whole thing if you’ve already done these:
Source: Led By Donkeys
In the event of a no deal Brexit, the Slovenian government has said it will notify UK citizens of any changes and deadlines required for any procedures to follow in order to retain their rights. However, they won’t notify you personally. Instead, a notification will be published on the website of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and on the Info Tujci web portal. The government will also notify the UK Embassy, which should then pass on this advice.
For more information on Brexit, the best sources are the official sources. The Slovenian government has its own site (in English) on Brexit here, while the British Embassy’s current advice can be found here, you can sign up for email alerts here, and follow the Ambassador and her team on Facebook. All our posts on Brexit are here, but none of them are as valid as the official sources.
The summer holidays are almost over, and next week children will be going back to school in Slovenia, with some feeling relieved, others tentative and afraid of the new, much like their parents.
To put things in some context we visited the excellent Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia (SURS), to get the numbers on schoolchildren in Slovenia. Note that, unless otherwise stated, all figures are for the 2018/19 academic year.
Last year 21,945 children entered the first grade of primary school, with this generally happening when the child is 6 years old, although in September 2018 10% of new pupils were aged 7, a significant rise from the 6% seen five years before. Just under a fifth (19.8%) of such 7-year olds have special needs, and most of the others were born in November or December, and thus would have been among the youngest in their classes if joining aged 6.
In total, 186,328 children were enrolled in elementary schools in Slovenia in 2018/19, a rise of around 5,000 on the year before, and up significantly from 2010/11, when just 161,046 children where in such classes.
The average elementary school class had 19 pupils in 2018/19, with the lowest average number found in the Koroška statistical region (16) and the highest in the Osrednjeslovenska statistical region (21.5).
Slovenia's changing population mix, 1971 to 2061. Children born 10-15 years ago are part of a smaller cohort than those born more recently. For example, in 2018/19 there were 22,000 first graders (starting age of 6) compared to 17,751 ninth-graders (starting age 15). However, birth rates have been declining again, and in coming years the size of first grade classes will start shrinking. More details on demographics in Slovenia here
The number of children entering upper secondary school pupils has been falling, with the 73,110 pupils attending in 2018/19 being some 5,000 fewer than five years before, although SURS expects this trend to reverse next week as a large cohort of 15-year-olds will enter the system. Most first-year students were taking the classes for the first time, with just over 4% needing to repeat the year or having changed their study programmes.
General programmes saw 35% of all upper secondary school pupils in Slovenia in 2018/19, 61% of these girls. In contrast, 46.2% of all pupils were enrolled in technical programme, and 47% of these were girls, while and 18% of all pupils were in vocational education (30% of them girls). Over the last 8 years the share or students going to vocational and technical schools has increased by 5%
Seventy-four percent of male pupils are in technical and vocational schools, especially in technical fields (39% of all male pupils) and computing (11%). In contrast,, 56% of female pupils are in technical and vocational programmes, with the focuses being personal services (13% of all female pupils), health (12%) and business and administration (10%).
The following video, produced in 2017 and published by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport (Ministrstvo za izobraževanje, znanost in šport) introduces the education system in Slovenia, from pre-school to university.
STA, 28 August 2019 - Work has started on another mass-grave site in the woods of Kočevski Rog in south-eastern Slovenia to prepare it for exhumation of the remains of victims executed in reprisal killings after the Second World War. The victims are presumably mostly Slovenians.
Currently the main project of the government commission for mass graves, the Macesnova Gorica site is being cleared out with the exhumation scheduled to begin next year.
According to the commission, the remains of more than 1,500 Slovenians lie in the underland of the Kočevski Rog woods, where numerous summary execution sites and mass graves have been discovered in the past years.
Following the government's backing of the commission's programme for this year, the Economy Ministry selected the Kočevje public utility as the project's contractor.
The company started preparation works in August and has already completed site deforestation. Last week, it started to clear the site of rocks which were piled up after the Second World War to conceal the grave.
"We will remove about 800 cubic metres of rocks, protect embankments and prepare an access for archaeologists this year. We will also create a work site for them out of removed rocks," the commission's president Jože Dežman told the STA.
Selected experts will then exhume the remains and analyse them - a process that will presumably start next year.
Objects, such as prayer cards, crosses and Home Guard paraphernalia found near the pit indicate that the bodies of Slovenian victims lie inside the mass grave. The burial site for them is yet to be determined.
Dežman told the STA that a burial site location for the victims of reprisal executions committed by the Communists just after the Second World War could be set at the Ljubljana Žale cemetery this year pending an agreement on the cooperation between the government and the Ljubljana city.
Historians have determined that there are around 750 mass graves and execution sites across the country, with some 150 possible new locations of concealed graves being considered.
Perhaps to accompany the wooden statue of Melania that was recently unveiled in the First Lady’s hometown of Sevnica, a similar likeness of her husband, President Trump, has appeared in Sela pri Kamniku, about 30 km north east of Ljubljana,
As the Washington Post reports:
The man who designed it, who was interviewed on local television station Kanal A but not identified by name, said it was meant to show Trump in the style of Superman, or the Statue of Liberty.
The image may not be entirely flattering. The artist, who was helped in the construction by a group of local young people, said in the TV interview that the statue was “a provocation, because the world is full of populism.”
August 28, 2019
Not only frogs and crayfish, but turtles were also once presented as among Slovenia’s fine dining ingredients, supplied by the wetlands surrounding Ljubljana. A detailed turtle soup recipe can be found in the 1912 edition of Magdalena Pleiweis’ Slovenian Cook edited by Sister Felicita Kalinšek, Slovenia’s no. 1 home economics educator with the following instructions to Slovenian housewives:
“For a turtle to show its head, place hot iron on its back. When you cut its head off, catch its blood into a few drops of vinegar if you want to prepare black sauce or into crumbled bread, if you’ll be making dumplings for the soup. Then, raw, beat and peel it. To make it easier to beat, place it and strike with an ax at the side: this way, you’ll extract the meat easier.”
In the following paragraphs, I will briefly explain what turtles are we talking about, and why and when they disappeared from Slovenia’s cuisine.
The European pond turtle, or Emys orbicularis (Slo: Močvirska sklednica), is the only autochthonous turtle living in the Slovenian continental waters. The Loggerhead sea turtle or Caretta caretta (Slo: glavata kareta), can also be seen in the waters alongside the Slovenian coast, but doesn’t come to the shore to lay eggs.
In particular the pond turtle can be found in the marshes of Ljubljana basin, along the Mura river, in the swampy areas by the salt-panes of Sečovlje and some other areas like Krka river and Nova Gorica. It used to be quite common in Ljubljana marshes, which is also how it entered bourgeois culinary practice.
With intentional draining of swamps in the 18th century for the peat industry’s purposes and eventual onset of intensive farming and urbanisation, the living space of pond turtles shrunk to the point that as early as 1920 they became recognized as endangered, and were thus protected two years later, which effectively removed them from cookbooks, menus and tables.
Draining of swamps, regulation of streams and construction of power plants are unfortunately not the only human activities that push the timid pond turtles out of their habitat. Turtles that people choose as their pets, that is red-eared and yellow-belly sliders, have escaped into the wilderness and now present a serious problem, as they breed faster than the indigenous turtle and therefore invade its living space, pushing it further towards extinction.
Is it time to develop a taste for turtles again? The invasive ones only, of course.