STA, 5 May 2019 - One of the ways for small EU countries to wield influence in Brussels is to have enough staff at their permanent representations in Brussels, a survey by Danish think-tank Europa has shown. Slovenia's is the second smallest.
The think-tank ranked member states' permanent representations in Brussels according to their size relative to their population, how many of their diplomats are sent there from the national administrations and how long these diplomats stay in Brussels.
"We find that on these parameters, countries like Ireland and Finland appear overall in a better position to fight for their national interest than countries like Denmark or Latvia," say the authors of the study.
The two smallest representations belong to Latvia and Slovenia, which have populations of about two million each and, 69 and 70 staff, respectively. Cyprus with a population of 0.9 million, has 78 staff.
Slovenia and Latvia are also among the nine countries which have a smaller representation than their population rank would suggest, along with Denmark, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain and the UK.
The analysis was conducted between January and March this year, based an email enquiry about the size and status of staff among all 28 permanent representations, and phone interviews. The authors received complete replies from 18 member states: including Slovenia.
The report notes the presidency factor, considering that the countries holding, or about to hold, the EU presidency beef up their permanent representative offices, like in the case of Romania, which is holding the presidency at the moment, or Finland, which is due to take over afterwards.
The largest EU nations, Germany and France also have the biggest permanent representations in Brussels, with 200 and 190 staff, respectively.
The survey finds that there is no apparent relationship between country affluence and the size of its permanent representation, as two of the EU's richest member states, Luxembourg and Denmark, are both in the lower end of the spectrum.
Six countries have larger permanent representations than their population size would suggest: Austria, Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Lithuania, and Luxembourg.
Slovenia has the largest share of its staff composed of home ministry officials, as opposed to locally-employed staff, with a secondment ratio of 99%. Slovenia, along with the Czech Republic, also has longer than average duration of secondment, at 4.5 years, which compares to four years typical for most countries.
STA, 5 May 2019 - Mlinotest, the Ajdovščina-based bread and pasta company, is looking back at a successful year, having posted a solid growth in revenue and profit in 2018, mainly thanks to a strong growth in exports.
Mlinotest saw its profit rise by 18% to EUR 2m last year as revenue increased by 9% to EUR 55.9m, driven by a 22% growth in exports.
Commenting on the results, the company's CEO Danilo Kobal pointed out in particular good sales in Germany and Latin America, where they expect to expand further.
The core company generated around 20% of the sales in foreign markets, while the percentage of exports in group sales is a little bit higher still.
Its biggest export markets are Italy, Croatia, Columbia, Panama, Poland, Austria, Germany and France. Dry pasta is the number one export product, followed by products such as frozen bread and pastry.
"The first lorries of frozen confectionery have just been supplied to the second largest German grocer. We won the deal this year amid fierce competition. We place great hopes in it," Kobal said.
Over the past four years, the company invested more than EUR 4m annually in upgrading and expanding its production facilities. A further EUR 3m will be invested this year, half of which in bakery packaging automation.
This year, sales are projected to increase by 9% and net profit by 10%. "Three months into the year, I can say we are well on track to meet or even trump the targets," said Kobal.
The core company employs around 550 people and the entire group 670. Despite intensive automation and robotisation of production, Mlinotest is planning to open a few new jobs in coming years.
A schedule of all the main events involving Slovenia this week can be found here
This summary is provided by the STA:
Roglič wins second Tour de Romandie title
GENEVA, Switzerland - Slovenian cycling sensation Primož Roglič clinched his second consecutive title as the overall winner of the Tour de Romandie after winning the time trial in Geneva in his third stage win of the week. This is the fifth overall UCI World Tour race victory for Roglič. He is also one of the favourites to win the Giro d'Italia, starting with a time trial in Bologna on Saturday. "I'm ready for the Giro now," the 29-year old announced after the race.
Slovenia's Brussels office second smallest in EU
BRUSSELS, Belgium - A survey by Danish think-tank Europa found that Slovenia's permanent representation in Brussels is smaller that the country's population size would suggest, in fact it is the smallest after Latvia's, having 70 staff. Ranking member states' permanent representations according to their size, staff status and the length of secondments, the study found that these parameters matter in wielding power in Brussels, especially for small countries.
Golden Bee Prize to raise awareness globally
LJUBLJANA - After successfully initiating declaration of 20 May as World Bee Day, Slovenia is planning to launch a Golden Bee Prize in recognition of innovative projects raising awareness of importance of bees worldwide. According to a government document, the award would be handed out by Slovenia's president for the first time in 2021 when the country holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union. The award would come with a EUR 30,000 cheque.
Driven by exports, Mlinotest sales and profit up in 2018
AJDOVŠČINA - Mlinotest, the Ajdovščina-based bread and pasta company, is looking back at a successful year. The company saw its profit rise by 18% to EUR 2m last year as revenue increased by 9% to EUR 55.9m, driven by a 22% growth in exports. Commenting on the results, the company's CEO Danilo Kobal pointed out in particular good sales in Germany and Latin America, where they expect to expand further.
This year, sales are projected to increase by 9% and net profit by 10%.
Ice hockey team routs Lithuania to avoid relegation
ASTANA, Kazakhstan - Slovenia routed Lithuania 9:0 at the Ice Hockey World Championship Division I in Kazakhstan's capital to avoid relegation to the third-tier competition. Having won only two out of five games, Slovenia will finish the tournament in the fourth spot in Group A. Placing last, Lithuania are being relegated to the third league of world ice hockey. Having missed their goal, Slovenia will try to return to the elite division next year.
This weekend saw another leg of the IFSC Climbing World Cup, with both bouldering and speed events in Wujiang, China. As usual, Janja Garnbret, who competes only in lead and bouldering, took the top spot on the podium, this time followed by Akiyo Noguchi and Ai Mori, both from Japan. Two other Slovenes also made it into the top 20, with Katija Kadić at 13th position, and Lučka Rakovec at 15th.
Turning to the men’s bouldering event, this was won by Austria’s Jakob Schubert, followed by Keita Dohi and Kokoro Fuji, both from Japan. Slovenia’s Jernej Kruder, usually much higher ranked, had to content himself with 16th place, with Gregor Veznok at 15th , while Anze Peharc was 20th.
STA, 5 May 2019 - Slovenian cycling sensation Primož Roglič clinched his second consecutive title as the overall winner of the Tour de Romandie after winning Sunday's time trial in Geneva in his third stage win of the week.
With three stage wins, one second and one third stage spots, the 29-year-old member of the Jumbo-Visma team also won the green jersey in the points classification.
Overall, he finished the race 49 seconds ahead of Portuguese rider Rui Costa, and 1:12 minutes ahead of last year's Tour de France winner, Geraint Thomas of Wales.
This is the fifth overall UCI World Tour race victory for Roglič after he took the titles of the tours of the Basque Country and Romandy last year, and won the premiere UAE Tour and the Tirreno-Adriatico race earlier this year.
He has also won two Tour of Slovenia titles (2015 and 2018), the 2017 race of Algarve and the 2015 Tour of Azerbaijan. He finished fourth overall in the 2018 Tour de France.
He is one of the favourites to win the Giro d'Italia, starting with a time trial in Bologna on Saturday.
"I'm ready for the Giro now. I'm happy with how the whole week evolved. I'm always glad to come back here," Roglič commented. "I've had a fine day, a fine victory. The team and I did everything right."
STA, 3 May 2019 - The French group Societe Generale signed an agreement on Friday with OTP Bank Group on selling SKB Banka and its subsidiaries to the Hungarian financial service provider, which will thus enter the Slovenian market. OTP is also reportedly one of the three most serious bidders for the country's third largest bank Abanka.
The purchase price was not revealed in today's press release by Societe Generale, which had taken over SKB in 2001, when it was the third largest Slovenian bank.
According to the agreement, OTP will take over SKB Banka, which is still among the top five largest banks in the country, as well as its subsidiaries SKB Leasing and SKB Leasing Select.
The takeover will be completed pending approvals of both banking regulators, Banka Slovenije and the European Central Bank, as well as competition regulators in the upcoming months.
The French group has already sold a number of banks in SE Europe, striving to improve its solvency ratio and lower the risk exposure level.
On the other hand, OTP Bank Group has strengthened its foothold in Central, Eastern and SE Europe in recent years, mostly through taking over businesses from Societe Generale.
OTP, Hungary's largest commercial bank and one of the largest independent financial service providers in Central and Eastern Europe, already made an attempt to enter the Slovenian market in 2014, when it was one of the bidders for the bank NKBM, according to unofficial reports.
The Hungarian bank has also confirmed its interest for Abanka, with two other companies vying to take over the third largest Slovenian bank, the private equity fund Apollo and Serbian bank AIK Banka.
Besides agreeing on the takeover, Societe Generale and OTP have also come to an agreement on the cooperation in providing various financial services, including investment banking, capital markets, liquidity management, with Slovenia being part of this agreement.
The sale of SKB is coming despite the bank's positive business results in the last year. SKB Banka generated EUR 57.6m in net profit in 2018, a 32.7% increase year-on-year, marking the bank's second-best result since it became part of Societe Generale.
A schedule of all the main events involving Slovenia this week can be found here
This summary is provided by the STA:
PM says EU institutions need better leadership
LJUBLJANA - The EU needs better leadership, according to Prime Minister Marjan Šarec, who told the Saturday edition of the newspaper Delo that he wants to see better leadership schemes at EU institutions in the future. For the leadership to improve, political affiliation must become much less important.
Židan sees cracks in EU multilateralism
LJUBLJANA - Parliamentary Speaker Dejan Židan, the head of the coalition Social Democrats (SD), said in an interview for the Saturday edition of the daily Večer that EU multilateralism was on the decline, but pointed out that the EU was still the best option available.
Rail operator open to partnerships for subsidiary
LJUBLJANA - The chairman of the national railways operator Slovenske Železnice (SŽ) Dušan Mes told Dnevnik that the company was on the lookout for a partner for its construction subsidiary, ŽGP.
Journalist and author Peter Kolšek dies
LJUBLJANA - Journalist, poet and critic Peter Kolšek died on Friday aged 67. He was a long-term culture editor of the newspaper Delo and was considered one of the most prominent Slovenian journalists of the past three decades.
Slovenia's Roglič wins 4th stage of Romandy tour
MONTREUX, Switzerland - Slovenian racing cyclist Primož Roglič won the fourth stage of the 2019 Tour de Romandie on Saturday, consolidating his lead in the overall rankings.
STA, 4 May 2019 - Slovenian racing cyclist Primož Roglič won the fourth stage of the 2019 Tour de Romandie on Saturday, consolidating his lead in the overall rankings.
The 29-year-old, who currently rides for the Jumbo-Visma team, clinched his second stage win of the week, taking a step closer toward winning his second consecutive title at the Switzerland tour and his third race of the 2019 UCI World Tour.
The Slovenian cyclist crossed the finish line ahead of Portuguese Rui Costa and Welsh Geraint Thomas after conquering 107 kilometres.
The key mountain stage of the race was reduced by 70km due to poor weather conditions, but it still posed quite a challenge mostly because of its 10km summit finish.
Roglič now has a 12-second lead before tomorrow's final stage of the race.
May 4, 2019
In 1980 Josip Broz Tito died at the University Medical Centre Ljubljana at the age of 88 due to a gangrene-induced infection. His death meant the beginning of the end of Yugoslavia, which began entangling itself into rising nationalisms combined with a crumbling economy.
Josip Broz was born on May 8, 1892 to a Slovenian mother and Croatian father in Kumrovec, Croatia, near the Slovenian border. He completed only four years of primary school, and in 1907 his father wanted him to emigrate to the United States of America. Young Broz, however, decided to attend a three-year locksmith apprenticeship, which he managed to pay for by himself. In 1910 he then first looked for work in Ljubljana, then Trieste (then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire), and eventually even worked for Škoda and Mercedes-Benz.
During WWI he was wounded and spent most of it as a prisoner of war in Russia. On his return home, now no longer part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, but the Kingdom of Yugoslavia instead, he continued his career of a factory worker, but this time he also joined the communists and organised unions and strikes at his workplace. Increasing trouble with the authorities, which eventually banned any kind of communist activity, as well as with his employers, eventually pushed his work to become increasingly political and clandestine. Thus between the years 1928-1934 Josip Broz spent a lot of time in jail, where he met some communists who persuaded to become even more radical.
Once he was out, his rapid climb in the Comintern (Communist International) began. At about this time he also started to use his penname Tito, which soon became his most recognisable title. How he managed to survive all of the Stalin’s internal purges, which began in 1936, remains a mystery. In 1937 he became acting general secretary of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia, a position formally ratified by Comintern in 1939.
In about 1936 he developed his concept of brotherhood among the Yugoslav nations, denouncing nationalism and embracing the idea of a common fight against Nazism and fascism.
During WWII Tito and his partisan army managed to liberate Yugoslavia with very limited Soviet assistance, which contributed a great deal to Tito’s independence from Stalin, which was finalised in 1948 when the Russian leader kicked Yugoslavia out of Informbiro and started another round of political purges against Titoists, while Stalinists were being purged in Yugoslavia.
Tito enjoyed huge popular support at home, which allowed him to build a new country. At the top of Yugoslavia he placed himself and his close friends, while independence from Stalin in 1948 allowed him to re-establish diplomatic relations with the Western Bloc, and accept American economic and financial aid, which helped to rebuild the country in the 1950. This assumption of a neutral position in the Cold War, eventually brought about the Non-aligned Movement while allowing some ideological unorthodoxy – such as the 1963 reforms, which relaxed restrictions on private enterprise, freedom of religion, and changed the name of the country from the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia to the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In 1967 Yugoslavia also opened its borders to visa-free travel for international visitors.
Through these approaches Tito gained enormous diplomatic respect, which was also reflected at his funeral which took place in Belgrade on May 8, 1980. Politicians from 120 of the 154 UN member states attended his funeral, including Leonid Brezhnev of the Soviet Union, Prince Philip and Margaret Thatcher of the UK, US Vice President Walter Mondale, the Belgian King Baudouin I, Swedish King Karl XVI Gustaf, Indira Gandhi of India, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Kim Il Sung of North Korea, and so on.
Josip Broz was also quite a good entertainer and a bit of a womaniser in his private life. He married three times, and made many friends, among men as well, not just with women.
Tito and Sophia Loren
As there’s often more than one story on certain details of his life, Tito has been the inspiration for many conspiracy theories. One of the wildest speculates that Tito’s spoken language didn’t correspond to how he should sound given where he came from, and in addition that he should have been missing one finger. The story then proceeds to the conclusion that the original Josip Broz was probably switched with a Russian spy while he was prisoner of war there during WWI.
Similarly crazy was the recent story of Tito being secretly a devoted Catholic, which is why he chose Ljubljana and not (Christian Orthodox) Belgrade as the right place to die – in his last hour he supposedly asked for a priest, which is what the secret service tried to hide from us, even by causing an “accident” in which the priest died, silencing him forever.
But perhaps the truth is much simpler. The University Clinical Centre in Ljubljana, with its main building freshly built in 1977, was just the best hospital in the country at the time, and “the best” is where you’d expect to find a dictator.
A little while ago I wrote about a wonderful guidebook to the capital, Let’s See Ljubljana… Beyond its utility and charm, it’s a book that means a lot to me personally, because when I first arrived in Slovenia and was hit by culture shock and disorientation, after almost two decades in the 24/7/365 neon glare of Asia, it gave me a way into the quiet town of Ljubljana through reliable landmarks that had stood the test of time and would serve as anchors for my new life
Swimming pool, Kolezija, Ljubljana. Designed by Ravnikar- Potokar. Photo: Virginia Vrecl
I adopted the pen name JL Flanner because it was slightly more subtle than LJ Flâneur, but the intent and belief remained. If I gave myself up to the city then I’d be rewarded somehow, even if just with a better sense of place and a clearer understanding of my surroundings. So when I got the chance to meet one of the authors, Robert Potokar – the other being his partner in life and work, Špela Kuhar – I jumped at it, both to express my gratitude and to see what else I could learn. It was a meeting that exceeded all expectations.
Buildings in Nature Reserve Škocjanski Zatok, Koper. Designed by Ravnikar- Potokar. Photo: Virginia Vrecl
Robert and Špela work Ravnikar - Potokar, and fans of architecture will recognise that second name, although note that this Ravnikar isn’t directly related to Edvard, the student of Plečnik who also left a considerable mark on the Slovenian capital. Edvard Ravnikar’s most visible work in Ljubljana is the complex in Republika trg, but his work there stretches out beyond this monumental landmark, and is easily spotted if you’re familiar with some of his recurring motifs, like the brickwork patterns and copper roofs. It’s in one of these other buildings, just a short walk away, that Ravnikar - Potokar has its offices, and where I met Robert to thank him for his work. We had a long, undirected conversation, without interview questions and with a walk through the neighbourhood, and what follows is some of what I learned.
A Square and a Playground Under the Castle in Škofja Loka. Designed by Ravnikar- Potokar. Photo: Virginia Vrecl
On his books
I was born in Kranj, but I spent my childhood in Škofja Loka, which is my first love. I’ve also written a guidebook for the Gorenjska region, along with my wife, Špela Kuhar, going through all the important buildings. Traditional architecture, local architecture, churches, everything. An overview of the whole region. It was a lot of work, and people ask we if I’ll make another one, but, well, it’s a lot of work. You start a book and you think this will be a one year project. But then you go deeper, and it’s fractal, it just keeps growing, and if you don’t have a deadline it’s never-ending.
In between we succeeded in making make another guide to Ljubljana. But in general now we focus on the architectural magazine, Piranesi, and that’s OK. In our work, in architecture or life, we just make a few things, but I hope they are important.
I like Ljubljana because it’s not too big, not too small, and it’s still the capital. If you know the advertisement which was on TV for the car Clio – it’s got everything a big one has.
When it’s possible and there’s enough time I walk to work from my home in Trnovo, going different ways and seeing what’s new, or new to me. Seeing people, seeing architecture. When I take people or tourists around the city we don’t only look at buildings, but also things that are nice or not so well known, and in this way they can remember the architecture better itself, and the way the city functions as an evolving whole, with different layers of history and use still present, even today.
The Cooperative Business Bank Building on Miklošičeva. Flickr - Jean-Pierre Dalbéra CC-by-2.0
How things have changed
Do you know the Cooperative Business Bank Building on Miklošičeva? After the Second World War, during socialist times, people were like “come on, this is so ugly, all these decorative elements.” In the 50s, 60s, 70s, maybe even until the 90s, it was seen as nothing special. It was in bad repair and that kind of decoration was out of fashion. But after tourism developed it became one of the most notable and characteristic buildings. A building which is kept in our memory.
So it’s interesting how things change over time. When it was built it was important, and then for decades it was not, architects just didn’t like it.
It’s the same with Plečnik. It wasn’t until the big exhibition of his work, in 1986 in Paris, that he somehow came back to Ljubljana. It was a time of postmodernism, a boom in decoration, and that’s when he got rediscovered. You know, in the 60s and 70s people weren’t really taught about him at the Faculty of Architecture. I was there in the 80s, and we went to Paris to see that show and it was actually a surprise to see what he’d done.
On his favourite building
My favourite in the city of Ljubljana is one just near here, on this street, Mali Nebotičnik (“Little Skyscraper” - see map here). It’s an example of modernist architecture, and in my opinion one of the best, from the 1930s. And not just here, but really in the world. In a way it’s so simple, but it fits the location perfectly and it’s got all typical modernist elements: curved lines as well balconies, railings, details and a sculpture by sculptor Tone Kralj. Modernism was known by adding sculptures on the façades. There are some other buildings like this in Ljubljana, such as at Argentinski Park, but this is the nicest. It’s not so well known, but it’s got really a lot of remarkable features, especially how it fits into the place, although the inside isn’t so special.
Postcard of Mali Nebotičnik (1930s? 40s?). Wikimedia, public domain
Because of its location, right in the centre, the people who bought apartments were rich, or artists. It was renovated just last year, and they did it very well, more or less the same colour as before, perhaps a little more vivid.
It wasn’t so out of fashion as Plečnik, because it isn’t so decorative, and in many ways not so different to socialist architecture, so aesthetically, ideologically, it didn’t have so many problems.
The lighting system for the store names is original, and really well done, with this style being common all over Europe in the 1930s, and even in Argentina, Buenos Aires. Curved balconies are very common, and the top floor is higher because there were studios inside.
If you look at the building next door, built by a German architect, I think, in around 1910, you can see how the architect of the Little Skyscraper (Herman Hus) understood the location, in urbanistic terms, and was able to integrate his work into the space.
If you look at this building here [see below], I think it was done in the 80s, and the architect tried to use some of the same elements, but it’s not as nice (although nothing is).
On Edvard Ravnikar
My late partner in this firm (Ravnikar – Potokar) was called Vojteh Ravnikar, but no relation to Edvard. In fact, the building we’re in now, part of the Ferantov vrt complex, is a Ravnikar, and I think it’s one of the nicest apartment buildings in Europe. Although these days it’s out of style, and people don’t really like the socialist architecture at the moment. That said, with the big MoMA exhibition of arhitecture in ex-Yugoslavia last year [Concrete Utopias], things are changing.
In some ways it’s less socialist and perhaps even “baroque”. These were quite prestigious apartments when they were built, with space for offices and stores at the bottom, a mixed use complex.
You can see how the shops come out of the floorplan, and this way gives more light to the apartments. If you look at the balconies they’re not at right angles, but diagonal, and this also gives more light and privacy. So the details are very well thought out, especially if you compare this to architecture that was done in Eastern Bloc at the same time, in the 1960s, it’s incredible, almost Scandinavian style.
Another very special thing about Ferantov vrt, which you can see from Slovenska cesta, is how Ravnikar somehow introduced the Roman form. Because here, underneath, there were the ruins of Emona – the Roman Forum. For example, there was a basilica, with an apse. So the architect decided to present this in the new structure, with this postmodern evocation of Ljubljana’s past.
There’s another detail, this column [see below, in a bad picture from Google Maps because there's nowhere to stand]. Originally the house where Plečnik was born was standing here. Of course, it was demolished, but then Ravnikar, a student of Plečnik, decided to put up this column in its place. So this column isn’t Ravnikar’s style, but it’s Plečnik’s.
Screenshot Google Maps
If you're not in town for the week of this guide (6 - 12 May, 2019) then you can see all the editions here, and if there's event 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.
UPDATE: Due to weather concerns, the Brina Ljubljana Gin Festival, planned for Saturday, has been rescheduled for 1 June.
The big event of the week comes on Saturday, with the annual Walk Along the Wire, in which hikers and runners will follow some (or all) of the 35-km path around Ljubljana that traces the barbed wire fence set up by the Italians during WW2 to keep the city cut off from the rest of Slovenia. You can learn more in our post from last year, while the Facebook page is here.
Wednesday evening, for the whole of May, you can take English improv classes with the team behind IGLU Theatre – learn more here.
Thursday, 17:00, there’s a curious event, a workshop open to women only and hosted by the artist Charlotte Jarvis an called Making Female Semen, with an open to all public presentation at 19:00, both held at the Galerija Kapelica / Kapelica Gallery. Details, in English and Slovene, here.
Thursday also sees an opening (18:00) for perhaps the best photographer of Ljubljana, a guy who always finds beauty in unexpected places, Igor Andjelić of the Gallery Minimal. This will be at Kavarna Sosteka (here. Later that evening,
© Igor Andjelić
Elsewhere in town there’s the Mini-Maker Fair, a “conglomerate of scientific, entrepreneurial, educational and craft operations” for children and teens that - the website is Facebook page has all the details, in Slovene and English.
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.
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
Klub Monokel – Thislesbian barin Metelkova is open every Friday, although sometimes there are other events
Klub Tiffany –And the gay bar next door is also open on Fridays, while every Monday until June 2019 there'stangoat 18:00. 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.
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
Cankerjev dom –The 13th Slovenian Biennial of Illustration is here until May 19th, while a free to see show called Subterranean Worlds, showing cave photography, runs until June 16th.
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.
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.
MAO – The Museum of Architecture and Design has much of what you'd expect, along with some temporary shows and a good cafe. UntilMay 19 there's Tendencies: Architecture and Urban Planning in Celje, 1955–1985.
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.
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
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.
National Museum of Contemporary History - Tucked away in park Tivoli, in addition to his permanent collection will be showingIn Search Of Freedom: 1968-2018 until 16 August.
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). From April 18 until October 19 (2019) you can also see a show calledShamanism of the Peoples of Siberia, from the Russian Museum of Ethnography, Saint Petersburg. The place is located near the newer branch of the Moderna galerija and Metelkova. You can read about this fascinating show here.
Union is "the Ljubljana beer", but now both it and Laško are owned by Heineken. There are many local brews on offer around town, though, if you want to explore IPAs, stouts, wheatbeers, sours and so on Photo: JL Flanner
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.
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.
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
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. 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 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