Made in Slovenia

21 Dec 2018, 17:15 PM

If you're looking for a massage in Ljubljana and would like the service in your home, office or hotel, the a new mobile app and website could be just the thing to help you relax as you order you treatment. Sense Mobile Massage (Sense mobilna masaža) is the latest project from Andreja Medvedic, whose varied career has taken her from a young architect associated with NSK in the late 80s (and as seen in Laibach’s video for Sympathy for the Devil), to running the Vision Factory  advertising agency with Iztok Abersek during the industry’s boom years post-Slovene independence, to her latest venture, an app that puts tired, stressed or comfort-loving customers in touch with top quality massage therapists who can come to their hotel, office or home, letting people enjoy spa treatments wherever they are in Ljubljana.

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The business is a new one, but has a solid foundation, as Medvedic has been running the Sense Wellness brand for over ten years. It started in 2004 with a spa in the basement of Austria Trend, and it’s here that her background in architecture and interior design can be seen to great effect. Yes, the wellness centre is underground, but it turns out this is ideal for giving the feeling of stepping into another world, with the high ceilings, jacuzzi, giant beds and so on creating a womb-like sense of comfort that’s hard to leave, and over the last 14 years many thousands of visitors and residents have come here to enjoy a sauna, treatment and massage in Ljubljana.

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Still, a basement lacks a view, and so the next step for Sense Wellness was to look for a second location above ground. This was found in 2016 with the penthouse of Ljubljana’s fanciest old hotel, the Grand Hotel Union. Here you can enjoy a full range of spa treatments, including massages and saunas, as well as a swimming with a terrace that offers a fantastic view of the city, looking over the old town and up at the Castle.

Related: Meet the People - Blaž Sok, concierge at the Grand Hotel Union

A varied range of massages in Ljubljana from a company you can trust

With a growing number of people coming to Ljubljana for business and pleasure both wellness centres have kept busy catering to the needs of visitors and locals who want to relax and feel pampered with a gentle Asian treatment, or get their muscles worked on with a deeper sports massage.

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Andreja Medvedic at work

“But unless you’re staying in Austria Trend or the Grand Union you still have travel to one the centres,” Medvedic says when we meet for a coffee. “You get all relaxed, maybe stay longer and chill out, but then you still need to get dressed and drive home. This isn’t ideal. So I had the idea of a mobile wellness centre, where we’d send a therapist to your location, and after the treatment you can really relax, maybe even fall asleep.”

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And thus was born the idea for the Sense Wellness Mobile Massage App, developed in cooperation with a UK-based firm that specialises in such technology and makes it easy to use for an international audience. The soft-launch was a month ago, and the system is running smoothly and already serving customers at home, in hotels and at work. People simply use the app or website to choose a therapist, treatment, time and place, with a massage bed or chair, along with any oils or lotions needed, being brought to the set location. Customers can then relax in confidence that they’re working with an organisation that has both a long history and associations with two of the best hotels in town, with professional, certified masseuses and masseurs who know the services they offer and take pride in their work. (As a side note, and to clear up any confusion, both the app and centres offer only therapeutic massages, and any attempt to lead an appointment in a sexual direction will result in its immediate termination. The company respects and values both its customers and staff, with professionalism the key word at all times.)

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Related: Drop-in yoga classes in Ljubljana for tourists, visitors and the uncommitted

In the interests of research I recently had a Royal Thai Massage to learn more than I ever could by reading about the service, albeit at the Grand Union Hotel’s Sense Wellness Centre rather than at home or in the office. It was, as advertised, a long and relaxing experience that saw my cares and concerns melt away along with any tension in my muscles, and after the first few minutes or so of thinking about what was happening I surrendered to the skilled fingers, knuckles and elbows of my masseuse and thought nothing, felt nothing, just a gentle pleasure that left my body feeling renewed, refreshed and reinvigorated..

The one thing that could have improved things? If I didn’t have to get dressed and leave, so the next time perhaps I’ll be making a booking at home, which also happens to be my office.

If you’d like to learn more about the range of treatments on offer by Sense Wellness, then you can visit the website for more details on all their services in the Grand Union Hotel and Austria Trend, or the website for the mobile massage service, download the related app for Android or Apple. And for a limited time there’s a 20% discount with the code MEGA20SENSE – that’s “two zero”, while referring another customer to the service will also get you a discount.

17 Dec 2018, 18:00 PM

Maruša Štibelj was among around 600 artists from around the world featured in this year’s Le Salon des Beaux Arts exhibition, along with 11 others from Slovenia. While to be shown alone is a considerable honour, Štibelj went one step further and received a jury award in the painting category for the following collage, Chronically Late.

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© Maruša Štibelj

You can see more of the artist’s work below, and at the end of the page there are also links to her webpage and Instagram, so you can see even more.

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© Maruša Štibelj

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© Maruša Štibelj

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© Maruša Štibelj

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© Maruša Štibelj

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 © Maruša Štibelj

 Maruša Štibelj’s website is here, and her Instagram is here.

14 Dec 2018, 14:58 PM

STA, 14 December 2018 - Researchers at the Chemistry Institute have found a faster way to regulate the functioning of human cells, reducing their reaction to an external signal from hours to minutes. Their research has been presented in the journal Nature Chemical Biology.

"Although we still do not understand the functioning of our cells completely, we can alter them to make them respond to select signals from the environment, which is very important, especially for the use of cells in medical treatments.

"Finding new ways of cell manipulation is an important branch of synthetic biology. In the last decade, scientists have managed to introduce new ways for manipulating cells but the cells' slow responsiveness was a significant restraint," the institute said in today's press release.

The institute's researchers have managed to achieve a cell's fast response to input signals, reducing its reaction time from hours to only a few minutes.

They achieved this with precisely monitored protein interactions and their post-translational modifications.

Thus, they avoided slow processes while preserving the ability of parallel and consecutive processing of information and forming logical circuits in cells.

The mechanism resembles natural processes such as blood coagulation and should be useful for diverse medical and non-medical applications.

The project, whose presentation is available at https://rdcu.be/bdbGi, started as a student team project for a 2016 science competition.

Only weeks before the publication of the Slovenian research, a similar project by a group of scientists from the US university of Caltech was presented in Science.

According to Jan Lonzarić, a co-author of the article, this is a confirmation that a "significant problem has been broached" and that "we've found a robust solution".

Roman Jerala, the mentor of the group of students that started the project, added that due to the difference in the mechanisms of the systems, the Slovenian system was faster and allowed for wider usage in different cell types.

This is the third article by researchers of the institute's synthetic biology department published in a Nature journal in a month, which is very rare even among the best teams of researchers in the world, the institute said.

The research was financially supported by the Slovenian Research Agency.

11 Dec 2018, 14:30 PM

2018 marked a few centenaries in Slovenia, including that of the National Gallery, but in terms of individuals the focus has been on Ivan Cankar, the celebrated writer who died 100 years ago today (December 11), and whose name adorns the country’s main arts and cultural centre, Cankerjev dom.

The year has seen a wide range of activities, from a staging of Pohujšanje v dolini šentflorjanski (Scandal in St. Florian Valley) by the national theatre to the publication of some of Cankar’s works in comic book form – one of which recently won “Book of the Year” (see here) – as well as less literary affairs, such as the great man’s inclusion with two other moustachioed gents in a moustache themed tour of Ljubljana (where he’s joined by the architect Jože Plečnik and painter Rihard Jakopič).

But how well known is Cankar outside of Slovenia? A visit to Amazon.com suggests only one or two books are in print in English by a man who wrote around 30, and that he remains a rather neglected figure in this, and perhaps many other, languages.

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It’s thus significant that the Faculty of Arts at Ljubljana University (aka Filozofska fakulteta) recently published a volume that aims to bring one of the biggest names in Slovenian literature to a bigger audience. The texts in the anthology were translated by students, teachers and translators of Slovene from 43 universities, thus bringing up to 30 pages of Ivan Cankar to a much wider audience. The book, which can be browsed online here, is just €9 for 540 pages and divided into three parts. The first contains essays that look at different aspects of Cankar’s work – prose, poetry, drama, essays and so on – as well as his use of language. The second presents a collection of Cankar texts on various topics, while the third then translates some or all these into 21 foreign languages, including Japanese and Chinese.

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Cankar spent some years living in the inn at the top of Rožnik in Ljubljana, and you can see more pictures from his time there here. In the photo shown above he's the man in the middle, with a glass of wine but without a hat

The book can be seen as the culmination of a week of events, from December 3 to 9, termed “the World Days of Ivan Cankar” (Svetovni dnevi Ivana Cankarja), which saw activities at more than 50 universities across the globe that have departments of Slovene. These included literary evenings, film screenings, lectures, conferences and readings from the anthology itself.

An adaptation of a short story by Cankar, Gospod stotnik (1915), with English subtiles. An English translation of the story can be found here, while the Slovene original is here

Slovenologists and Cankarphiles around the world could also test their knowledge of Cankar’s life and work by playing Klanec, a game designed by the Center for Slovene. The title is a reference to Cankar's most famous novel, Na klancu, and the idea of “running behind a cart” (“tek za vozom”) in the sense of never reaching your dreams. In the game a young woman is running to catch a cart that will take her to church. While in the novel she fails, in the game players get a chance to achieve their dreams by answering questions on cankar and miming words from the titles of his works.

The game, perhaps best enjoyed with a cup of coffee

You can purchase the book from the university bookstore (the Filozofska is on Aškerčeva cesta) or online, and it’s available at many other bookstores around Slovenia, with Mladinska knjiga being a good place to start looking. The game is also available at various outlets, and can be found online here. If you're intererested in learning Slovene, then perhaps take a look at our interview with two Slovenian teachers on the challenges foreigners face when studying the language, which also includes links to many other resources.

10 Dec 2018, 17:00 PM

STA, 8 December 2018 - Slovenian pop icon Helena Blagne will mark 30 years of her singing career with a spectacle at Ljubljana's Tivoli Hall. The first Slovenian recording artist to fill the country's biggest indoor venue, the Stožice Arena, in 2011, will present her new album tonight.

Blagne returned to the music scene last year after a one-year break with a song about unconditional love Ti Boš Vedno Prvi (You'll Always Be My No. 1), a collaboration with songwriter Raay.

A Slovenian radio hit, the song has more than 1.8 million views on You Tube and gives the title to tonight's concert, at which Blagne will be joined by several Slovenian musicians, from the jazz, funk, Latin and blues fusion ensemble Marko Hatlak Band, to Kvatropirci, ska band Elvis Jackson and Raay.

The 55-year-old Blagne, the most successful Slovenian singer of all time, made her debut performance when she was 12 at a singing competition in Jesenice.

Her career kicked off after she won the hearts of the audience and jury at the Macedonian Makfest music festival in 1986.

Three years later, her duet with opera singer Nace Junkar won the Melodies of Sea and Sun festival held at the Slovenian coast.

Having studied opera singing for several years, Blagne has collaborated with the world's best opera singers, including Placido Domingo and the group Il Divo.

She has recorded 20 albums and sold more than two million records, a milestone that remains out of reach for any other Slovenian musician, according to her label, Dallas Records.

All her concerts have been sold out and she was the first Slovenian artist to fill the Stožice Arena together with Vienna Boys' Choir and three Slovenian tenors in 2011.

She has performed more than 4,000 concerts and won a number of music festival awards throughout the former Yugoslavia.

In the autumn 2006, she also ventured into theatre, having played the role of Agave in The Bacchae, by one of the most acclaimed Slovenian directors Vito Taufer. Currently she is a co-star of a comical musical Menopause alongside three other show business celebrities at Špasteater.

Being a favourite of Slovenian gossip magazines, she made headlines with her divorce in 2013 and her alleged ties to tycoon Ivan Zidar.

Blagne said in an interview ahead of the concert that she was particularly fond of the stage at Tivoli, where her concerts started. "I could have picked Cankarjev Dom for example or the Stožice Arena, which I already sold out years ago. But this stage has a special energy, which I find very important," she told Story magazine.

Related: Magnifico - Slovenia's pop provocateur

06 Dec 2018, 14:10 PM

A Slovenian human rights NGO, Danes je nov dan (Today is a New Day), has produced a game that aims to raise empathy with regard to the difficulties migrants face in leaving their countries and trying to find a safe space in another country.

It’s called Razor Wire, and was inspired by November 2018 being the third anniversary of the placing of such wire along the border with Croatia in order to deter migrants. Moreover, although the number of people trying to cross the border has since declined dramatically, and the new Prime Minister, Marjan Sareč, made removing the wire a campaign issue, the barrier still remains in place.

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Level one - escape the war

 

 

The game – which can be played online here, if you have a keyboard – is in Slovenian but relatively simple to follow, and requires you to guide a migrant through three increasingly difficult levels as they attempt to reach Europe.

Speaking to Reuters, Maja Cimerman, a project manager at the NGO, noted that "Many refugees... call their experience "the game" because it has many traps and obstacles. They have to travel at night, they have to avoid the police, they are often robbed or their documents are taken away by the police, and often or regularly they are sent back to refugee camps.”

We kept getting stuck on level 2, but perhaps you can do better.

30 Nov 2018, 16:45 PM

STA, 29 November 2018 - Slovenia's bobbin lace-making, a traditional lace-making technique using special wooden sticks - bobbins, has made it to the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage.

The decision was taken on Thursday by the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, as it is meeting in Port Luis, Mauritius, the Slovenian Culture Ministry said in a release.

Slovenia formally nominated this special technique of making delicate lace in March 2017. The tradition is especially strong in the north-west, around Idrija, Cerkno and Škofja Loka.

In recent years, it has been revived and turned into a popular activity, with 120 associations and groups dedicated to lace-making around Slovenia.

In Idrija, there is for instance a bobbin lace-making school and the town also organises an annual festival dedicated to this craft.

In 2016, bobbin lace-making was declared cultural heritage of national importance, which is also a condition for nominations with UNESCO.

The nomination file was prepared by a number of institutions such as the Slovenian Ethnographic Museum and other museums from Idrija, Ljubljana and Škofja Loka, as well as associations and groups involved in bobbin lace-making.

The ministry considers the listing a special recognition of this art which has been handed down from generation to generation, binding children, adults and the elderly.

Bobbin lace-making used to be an important economic activity, for which reason it has survived, the ministry said.

Nowadays its role has changed to become a favourite pastime for retired women, children and youth, with men usually helping with making bobbin lace-making tools.

It is moreover an inspiration for fashion designers, industrial designers, contemporary visual artists and architects, and is used for plate decorating.

Bobbin lace is the fourth item of Slovenia’s cultural heritage on the list

The elements of the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage of humanity, the list of intangible cultural heritage in need of urgent safeguarding and the registry of best practices are deemed as significant bastions of humanity's intangible heritage, the highest honour for intangible heritage in the world.

The lists were established in 2008 when the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage took effect. Slovenia ratified it in 2008 and set up the national registry of intangible cultural heritage the same year, which currently contains 66 units.

Slovenia's other entries on the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage are the door-to-door rounds of Kurents, a traditional Slovenian carnival costume, (since December 2017), the Škofja Loka Passion, the mass staging of an early 18th-century play (since December 2016), and since yesterday, dry stone walling, the ancient building method used in Slovenia, Cyprus, Greece, Bulgaria, Croatia, Italy, Switzerland, France and Spain.

Other stories about Slovenia’s cultural heritage are here

29 Nov 2018, 14:20 PM

STA, 27 November 2018 - The Zois Prizes for outstanding achievements in science were handed out in Ljubljana on Tuesday, with theoretical physicist Boštjan Žekš and historian Milica Kacin Wohinz receiving the life-time achievement accolades. For the first time ever, the Puh Prize was also given out today. It went to Franc Vodopivec, a metallurgy expert.

Žekš worked at the Jožef Stefan Institute, taught biophysics at the Ljubljana Medical Faculty and served as the dean of the Nova Gorica University, the prize panel of the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport noted ahead of the award ceremony at the Cankarjev Dom culture centre.

He was admitted into the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SAZU) in 1987. He served as the academy's head between 2002 and 2008.

The 78-year-old made great contribution to the progress of the fields in which he worked, lectured in research centres around the globe and held opening lectures at major international science conferences.

Kacin Wohinz, 88, worked at the Contemporary History Institute in Ljubljana, also serving as its head between 1979 and 1983. Her research focused on the history of Primorska, above all the assimilation of the Slovenian minority in Italy.

She published in a number of scientific journals and wrote several books about assimilation to which Slovenians in Primorska and Croats in Istria were subjected during Italian occupation between 1918 and 1920, as well as their efforts to resist Fascism between 1920 and 1941.

The Zois Prizes are named after Baron Žiga Zois (1747-1819) and have been presented annually since 1998 on the day this patron of arts and science was born.

Named after inventor-come-industrialist Janez Puh (1862-1914), the founder of the Austria-based Puch manufacturing company, the Puh Prize is given out for inventions, development achievements and the use of scientific findings in innovation.

In previous years, the government's panel in charge of science awards only gave out Puh Recognitions. Tonight, the first Puh Prize for lifetime achievement went to metallurgy expert Vodopivec.

He left an indelible mark in the industry and in the academia and helped introduce a number of changes that contributed significantly to the development of the industry.

Vodopivec moreover had great influence on investments in the steel industry and aluminium production, the panel added.

28 Nov 2018, 16:42 PM

STA, 28 November - Dry stone walling, the ancient building method used in Slovenia, Cyprus, Greece, Bulgaria, Croatia, Italy, Switzerland, France and Spain, has been included on the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage of humanity.

The decision was taken in Port Luis, Mauritius, on Wednesday at a session of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, the Slovenian Culture Ministry said in a press release.

The bid had been submitted by Cyprus together with the other eight countries in March 2017.

In Slovenia, dry stone building by stacking stones found in the soil when cleaning farmland without the use of adhesive materials was typical particularly in the Kras and Istra regions in the south-west.

Related: Explore Slovenia’s cultural heritage through 17 of its historic towns

Such walls were built to fence gardens, meadows, vineyards, graveyards or to separate land or roads. Often dry stone walls protected people's assets from wind and fire.

The skill was passed on from generation to generation until WWII. But then traditional farming was increasingly abandoned, so this building method fell into disuse and is now known only to generations born before the war.

Slovenia, Cyprus, Greece, Bulgaria, Croatia, Italy, Switzerland, France and Spain presented the most wide-spread traditional techniques of this type of building in their UNESCO bid and highlighted its common cultural meaning and functions in all of the countries involved.

The elements of the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage of humanity, the list of intangible cultural heritage in need of urgent safeguarding and the registry of best practices are deemed as significant bastions of humanity's intangible heritage, the highest honour for intangible heritage in the world stage.

Other aspects of Slovenia’s cultural heritage are already on the list

The lists were established in 2008 when the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage took effect. Slovenia ratified it in 2008 and set up the national registry of intangible cultural heritage the same year.

Other Slovenian entries on the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage are the door-to-door rounds of Kurenti, a traditional Slovenian carnival costume, (since December 2017) and the Škofja Loka Passion, the mass staging of an early 18th-century play, which made it to the list in December 2016.

Another Slovenian bid is expected to be endorsed on Thursday after the country officially nominated in March this year bobbin lace making, a traditional lace-making technique using special wooden sticks - bobbins. The tradition is especially strong in the northwestern areas around Idrija, Cerkno and Škofja Loka.

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A kurent costume in Ljubljana's Ethnographic Museum. Photo: JL Flanner

26 Nov 2018, 17:50 PM

STA, 25 November 2018 - A comic book about the life of author Ivan Cankar (1876-1918) has won the Book of the Year Grand Prix at the 34rd Slovenian Book Fair, which will conclude later today.

The biographic novel entitled Ivan Cankar: Podobe iz Življenja (Ivan Cankar: Images from Life) by Blaž Vurnik and Zoran Smiljanić marked the centenary of Cankar's death, observed this year.

"The precise, chronologically linear Vurnik's screenplay is supported by fragments from Cankar's works, letters and documents from his time. Skilfully zoomed in black-and-white images in Smiljanić's recognisable film language are dynamically intertwined with the self-conscious design and typographic attentiveness of Katja Kastelic," the jury said.

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The cover of the winning book, available in stores and online from Stripburger

The comic book translates an intense life story, full of twists and turns and fatal decisions, into a "superb reading experience", according to the jury.

The authors of the comprehensive publishing project have created a work that will be also topical beyond 2018, Cankar's year. "They have created a character of the biggest Slovenian writer that we have not known before", the jury said.

A hundred years after his death, Cankar has become an immortal comic book hero thanks to the book issued by the Ljubljana Museums and Galleries and Forum Ljubljana as a special issue of Stripburger, a comics magazine, it added.

The five-member jury assessed books that were issued between 1 October 2017 and 1 October 2018 based on their contents, editing, language, design, illustrations, photographs and graphics.

Four other books were shortlisted for the prize

Next to the winning book, four other books were shortlisted for the prize: Žiga Valetič's review of the Slovenian pop-rock in the 1980s, Novi Maribor (New Maribor) by Primož Premrzl, Anja Štefan with her collection of poems for children whose title translates as Crumbs from Mouse Valley, which already earned her this year's Večernica prize, and a book about Aleš Debeljak's postcards by Erica Johnson Debeljak and Nela Malečkar.

Last year, the Book of the Year Grand Prix went to Vrata Nepovrata (The Door of No Return), an epic poem which took Boris A. Novak 20 years to write.

The Slovenian Book Fair, the biggest publishing event in the country, started on Tuesday evening featuring 106 exhibitors and more than 300 events. The organisers estimated the number of visitors at some 30,000.

The fair, which paid homage to Cankar this year, will close this evening with a debate featuring Croatian author Slobodan Šnajder and playwright Dušan Jovanović.

23 Nov 2018, 16:00 PM

STA, 23 November 2018 - One hundred years after General Rudolf Maister established the first Slovenian army in modern history, Alenka Ermenc was promoted to become the country's first woman army general.

Slovenia celebrates Rudolf Maister Day on Friday in memory of the day in 1918 when the general (1874-1934) took control of Maribor and in effect secured what later became Slovenia's northern border.

The ceremony at which President Borut Pahor formally elevated Brigadier Ermenc to major general and decorated the association dedicated to the preservation of memory of General Maister was only one in several events marking the anniversary.

Pahor noted that a century ago Maister, "with his bravery and patriotic heart, preserved Maribor and the Lower Styria as Slovenian".

"One hundred years later, Slovenia is one of the world's safest countries. It is the merit not only of our defence force, but of society and country as a whole."

Pahor noted that Slovenia had to defend its independence with an armed force in 1991 and that Ermenc, who was made the first woman general today, was a member of the emerging Slovenian army then.

"This is a momentous moment for her, for the Slovenian Armed Forces, for our national and civic confidence, for our homeland and country," he said.

Putting on her new uniform of major general and accepting the Slovenian flag from the president, Ermenc said it was "the love for homeland" that guided her on her path, which was not always easy.

"I'm aware that the army is victorious only through joint effort and that the average never win," she said, underscoring the importance of knowledge and hard work.

Major General Ermenc studied in London, was in the independence war

Ermenc graduated from the Ljubljana Faculty of Social Sciences and from the Royal College of Defence Studies in London and got her master's degree in 2009 at the King's College University of London.

She was actively involved in the 1991 independence war as a member of the Territorial Defence, the army's precursor. She has been employed in the SAF for 27 years.

She was promoted to the rank of brigadier in May 2011 and in March this year she was named deputy chief of the general staff, the highest rank for a woman in the army.

Roughly one out of six members of the active component of Slovenia's Armed Forces are women (1,097 out of 6,658), including 188 civilians. As many as 301 are officers or non-commissioned officers.

Pahor also presented an Order of Merit to the General Maister Association and its founder Milan Lovrenčič for their efforts in the preservation of memory of the general and his contribution to Slovenia.

It was thanks to the association that 23 November has been observed as a public holiday since 2005, although not as a bank holiday. At the association's initiative the Maister Library of the University of Maribor, which keeps his books, has recently been declared a monument of national importance.

Why Maister is the biggest name in Slovenian military history

Judging by his popularity, Maister is likely the most prominent military personality in Slovenian history. It is largely owing to him that Maribor, Slovenia's second city, and the north-east of Slovenia became part of the new Yugoslav state rather than Austria after the Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed.

Maister was in command of the regional headquarters at the end of World War I and in 1918 assumed command of Maribor and the Slovenian part of Carinthia. He set up a Slovenian army of 4,000 soldiers, disarmed the German Schutzwehr security service, and disbanded the militia of the German city council.

The general then occupied Slovenian ethnic territory, establishing the northern border between Austria and Yugoslavia that was later ratified by the Saint Germain Peace Treaty. The same border still runs between Slovenia and Austria today.

The main ceremony marking the holiday was held in Maribor last night. In his keynote, Speaker Dejan Židan described Maister, a general and a poet, as a resolute, confident, courageous, selfless and honest patriot with the soul of an artist. He said people of his calibre were needed today.

"At the time it was about life and death. The situation called for quick decisions and actions, not just on Maister's part but on the part of everyone involved ... It wasn't until after Slovenia's independence that his historic merit was acknowledged by official politics." Židan said.

The ceremony was also attended by President Pahor and members of the government, including Prime Minister Marjan Šarec, who praised Maister as the epitome of bravery, determination and resolve.

An exhibition showcasing Maister as general and poet was launched at the National Assembly today. While wreaths will be laid at his grave in Maribor, Slovenian air force aircraft will fly over the city.

In keeping with a tradition launched by him, Pahor is holding an open door at the Presidential Palace today.

Related: All our stories on Slovenian history are here

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