If you're not in town for the week of this guide (4 - 10 November, 2019) then you can see all the editions here, and if there's event or activity you want to promote in a future edition of What's on in Ljubljana please get in touch with me at flanner(at)total-slovenia-news.com or try and find me on Facebook. If you want something a little different and easy to print, then a comprehensive PDF of events for the next seven days, as prepared by Ljubljana Tourism, is here. If you're in town and want to follow the news then check out our regular morning headlines for Sloveniahere.
We’re well in to autumn now, and since Ljubljana is a city in a forest the changes to the trees have a great on its character. Last week the leaves were especially beautiful, still more on the branches than the streets, and it was good weather for brisk walks in appropriate clothing.
The darkness, though, is upon us, and the winter will hit hardest after that, so be sure to practice some self-care in the days, weeks and months ahead, and get out when you can for some light and life.
One way to do that this week, and for the rest of the month, is to explore the world of events and activities that’s being offered as part of November Gourmet Ljubljana, with some details here. The focal event in the coming week is the traditional St Martin’s Day (Martinovanje) celebration of the new wine. This happens across Slovenia, but in the capital the day becomes the Ljubljana Wine Route (Ljubljanska vinska pot) and occurs in the Old Town, where there’ll be dozens of stalls set up selling wine, along with related food. A real street party with an atmosphere even non-drinkers can enjoy.
You may have heard about Free Tour Ljubljana, the tour company that’s #1 on TripAdvisor for the city and gives away its main product. What’s the deal with that? Find out here.
Monday Cankarjev dom is hosting Iberi, a six-person vocal and instrumental ensemble that explores the emotional potential of age-old polyphony and traditional instruments, bringing new life to Georgian music.
The annual Month of Design continues until 8 November, with details here.
Thursday Kino Šiška has a show by the Hungarian violinist and zither player Félix Lajkó and his band. The same evening there’s a free show (tickets) at Križanke with Vladimir Ačimović, piano & Emilija Mladenović, cello, playing Mendelssohn, Chopin, Liszt, Brahms, Rachmaninov, and others. Another concert Thursday ids at Cankarjev dom with the British cellist Natalie Clein and the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra, playing Elgar and Mahler.
Friday evening, 21:00, Ljubljana Castle has a concert by Maja Založnik & Moonshine, with tickets €7. Saturday you can get a taste of San Remo at Cankarjev dom, with the arrival on stage of Anna Oxa. Saturday night at K4 you can relive the glory days with Techno Oldies Goldies, with techno from Dojaja, Organon, and E.B.King, and psytrance from Agent Mushroom and Sun Wu-Kong.
How much do tourists spend in Slovenia? Find out here
New or recent movies on this week include the following, with links to all the cinemas in the regular listings (scroll down):
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.
You can read about all the cinemas in town here, while a selection of what’s playing this week is below, and note that kids' movies tend to be shown in dubbed versions, while non-English language movies for older viewers will have Slovenian subtitles.Parents should also pay attention to Kinobalon, which is Kinodvor's regular weekend series of film screenings and events for children, from babies on up, with special parent/child events, "first time in a cinema" screenings, and babysitting. Learn more about it here, and see the current schedule here.
Note - most children's films will be dubbed (sinhronizirano) - for subtitles look for 'podnapisi'.
Kinodvor –This is an arts cinema, not far from the train station, that shows new features as well as hosting the occassional festival.
Kinoteka – And not far from Kinodvor you can find this revival cinema, which shows art house classics along with some deep dives in the archives.
Kino Bežigrad - A relatively small theatre, but one which usually has the biggest of the new releases.
Kolosej -The multiplex out at BTC City Mall shows all the big movies, with well over a dozen titles on the schedule, although note that there are far more movies than screens, so some of the older ones mayonly be playing once or twice a week.
Komuna – The cinema in a basement behind Nama department store shows two or three different features a week, usually including the biggest titles.
Looking for a souvenir you'll really enjoy? Take a look at Broken Bones Gin, the first gin made in Ljubljana (learn more here, and try it at the Central Market or selected downtown bars).
Photo: Genius loci d.o.o.
Know that big triangular building behind the train station? Learn what's inside here.
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.
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 Florahere.
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 tosix places that serve good ice cream in winter, and thus are serious about the dessert.
Mini Teater Ljubljana – The season sees a lot of puppet performances for children, in Slovene, at this theatre not far from Križanke. The English schedule for the month is here.
Ljubljana Puppet Theatre - The puppet theatre near the Central Market and next to the Castle funicular has a full programme or shows, for children and adults, with the schedule 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.
From 15 October to 17 November various venues around town will be hosting events related to Transform 2019: Trans-form:action, featuring students from academies from Zagreb, Sofia, Bucharest, Skopje, Istanbul and Ljubljana. Details.
Bežigrajska galerija 2 – Take a trip to Vodovodna cesta 3 between 3 October and 13 November you can see “selected works by the Prešeren awards recipients originating from Slovenian Istria, coming from the collections of the Piran Coastal Galleries and the Prešeren Award Winners of Fine Arts Gallery Kranj.” The free to enter show includes the following work.
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. On until January 2020 you can see plans and models for some of the things Plečnik planned but never built in Ljubljana. Take a look at some pictures here.
Image: Nejc Bernik. ZRC-SAZU
Balassi Institute – The Hungarian culture centre is next to a Spar and Hofer, and not far from Dragon Bridge, and always has something interesting going on. Learn more here. This month there's also an exhibition with more works like the one shown below for a show described as follows: “The concept of the exhibition “Awkwardly Close” in Balassi Institute is exactly the self-conscious unease coming from artistic and content similarities between the works of Kata Bereczki, and the Slovenian artistic collective Son:DA."
City Gallery - Until 10 November you can see After the Canal, there was only "our" world: “The exhibition is an invitation to explore a variety of historical and geographical connections between Europe, especially its Easts, and the Middle East, particularly Egypt, with the Suez Canal as the trigger, while contemplating their reflections in the mirror of the present.”
City Museum – The Museum in French Revolution Square an interesting permanent exhibition on the history of Ljubljana, from prehistoric times to the present day, with many artefacts, models and so on that bring the story alive.You can read about my visit here
The Faces of Ljubljana in the City Museum. Photo: JL Flanner
Drink like a pro - find gallery openings. Photo: JL Flanner
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. New at the Castle is (Un)known Ljubljana, a free to enter National Geographic exhibition with photographs of some of the lesser seen parts of the city, with one example below and more here.
MAO – The Museum of Architecture and Design has much of what you'd expect, along with some temporary shows and a good cafe.
Moderna galerija – The main branch of this gallery, to be found near the entrance to Tivoli Park, has a good collection of modern art, as well a nice café in the basement. The 9th Triennial of Contemporary Art U3 is also on here until 12 January 2020. Titled Dead and Alive: “The exhibition unfolds around three contradictory states of now – the dead and alive state of conceptualism, analogue and liquid materiality, and the subconscious as the battlefield of cognitive capitalism. Because – how do art and avant-garde progress? By making sensible what is beyond. At the end of the day, Dead and Alive is a quantum time search for an engaged form.” More details here, on one of the works on show below.
Alan Ford was recently at the National Gallery - read more about this comic book here.
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 Ageshere. Art for the Brave New World runs until 5 January 2020: “The exhibition will present the beginnings and development of an early government art collection in Slovenia, which, despite the economic and political crisis, was created in the 1930s by artistic and professional personalities gathered around Dr Marko Natlačen, the last ban of the Drava Banovina.”
The real Robba Fountain can be found in the entrance to the National Gallery - the one you see in the Old Town is a genuine fake, as seen below and reported here.
Photo: JL Flanner
National Museum of Slovenia – There’s plenty to see in the permanent collection here, from Roman times, Egypt and more. Running until 3 November is Roma Aeterna: Masterpieces of Classical Sculpture. With sculptures from the collection of the Santarelli family in Rome, ranging from the age of the Roman Empire to that of neoclassicism. Meanwhile, the museum's Metelkova branch, located between one branch of the Moderna galerija and the Ethnographic Museum has some rooms on Church art, furniture and weapons, with the latter including more guns than you'll see anywhere else in town, and quite a thrill if coming from a nation where such objects are not household items.
Roma Aeterna: Masterpieces of Classical Sculpture - see above
A fragment of a Coptic textile; 5th–6th cent.: Upper Egypt; linen, wool; National Museum of Slovenia. Photo: Tomaž Lauko
Until 24 May 2019 you can see Coptic Textiles from the Collection of the National Museum of Slovenia at the branch in the Metelkova museum quarter, by the Ethnographic Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Details.
Natural History Museum – On until the end of December 2019 is Our Little Big Sea, which takes a look at the oceans.
Vžigalica Gallery – Nothing seems to be happening this week, but from 12 November to 1 December there's going to be a show from called SAEBORG: SLAUGHTER HOUSE 17 from the Japanese artist Saeborg which is being promoted with the following image. Details here.
Union Experience – The Ljubljana-based brewer has a museum showing the history of the company, with the ticket also including access to part of the factory and a few samples of the product. You can read about our visit here.
It's not a formal museum, but if you're interested in "Yugo-stalgia" then you'll enjoy a trip to Verba, a small, privately run space that's crammed with objects and pop culture items from the era, and is conveniently located at the start of one of the short walks to the castle. It's also a great place to take pictures, if you leave a donation, and you can read more about it here.
Verba. Photo: JL Flanner
Alternative Ljubljana isn't a museum or gallery, as such, but instead turns the city streets into a museum and gallery. Learn more about their tours of street art, history and LGBT Ljubljanahere.
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 has no finished for the year, to be back sometime in spring 2020. 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.
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'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)
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.
The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 1 November
Mladina: Problems with staffing in state firms
STA, 30 October 2019 - Mladina draws parallels in its latest commentary between the staffing policy in state-owned companies of the senior coalition Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) and that of the government of Janez Janša, arguing that the LMŠ is not being serious when it comes to managing state assets, and that it could be dangerous in the long run.
"When the management of Petrol stepped down last week, it was clear that the replacement took place because the management did not want to fulfil certain, actually very open wishes of the ruling party for staffing expansion."
Under the headline The Ides of October, editor-in-chief of the left-leaning weekly Grega Repovž adds that the energy company Petrol, one of the largest companies in Slovenia, was not the only one faced with such a manner of staffing lately.
Actually, reporting of this soft (or even hard) pressure are numerous companies, and some of them have already been restructured. Management and supervisory boards have already been expanded in the motorway company DARS and the railway operator Slovenske Železnice, among others.
"Prime Minister Šarec claims that he has nothing to do with that, but he is not being credible, as at the same time he complains that his party has fewer of its people in companies than other parties do."
According to Repovž, there is no doubt whatsoever that his people, cabinet officials and ministers are making order in state-owned companies.
The management of Petrol is stepping down, but neither the prime minister, Slovenian Sovereign Holding nor the finance minister have explained this. "This is done when there is only one goal: to put someone of yours in a position, regardless of the cost."
Repovž argues that this is "completely unhealthy, suspicious and smelly. Even more: there are methods present that we witnessed during Janša' rule between 2004 and 2008."
This is how important companies, including Petrol, were managed. New managements of these companies usually put them into difficult situations with their lack of knowledge. Petrol barely managed to pick itself up after Janša's venting out."
A few exceptions excluded, Šarec's government is not putting strong staff in state-owned companies either, but its people, most of them with little knowledge and experience, concludes the commentary.
Demokracija: Slovenia is in a swamp of a deep state
STA, 30 October 2019 – The right-leaning Demokracija argues in its latest commentary that it is because of the favourable attitude of the media towards the "holders of the former totalitarian authority" that Slovenia is where it is today - "in a swamp of a deep state".
One of the persons referred to is former Slovenian President Milan Kučan, the usual target of the right-leaning weekly, who is labelled as a key person who had initially "intimately" opposed Slovenia's independence.
"Later on, this person made plots to hinder Slovenia on its way to a truly free and democratic society," editor-in-chief Jože Biščak says under the headline Alligators in a Swamp and Pterodactyls in the Sky.
According to him, Kučan is still a deity for a majority of the journalist, editorial and managerial staff of the public broadcaster RTV Slovenija, "about whom it is literally prohibited to utter any criticism, let alone connect him with human rights violations."
It is also because of this attitude of the media that Slovenia is "in a swamp of a deep state, where the leftists elites are protected, sitting at the top of the food chain like predatory alligators and pterodactyls."
A pile of nonsense which has been uttered by these people and which should be exposed to serious criticism has gone by, and even deserved an applause, the commentator says, adding that Prime Minister Marjan Šarec is leading the pack.
Šarec recently said in parliament that "taxes finance public services" with a straight face. "If this was true, it would mean that taxes grow on trees. That the government picks them and fills the budget basket. But this is not true."
Public services are largely financed by taxpayers, the mass of completely ordinary people who, without any connections or acquaintances, work hard in the private sector, which is increasing feeling the tax wedge.
"Because of the large amount they need to earmark to the state, we can say that they live in a kind of a state-controlled slavery, where it is completely clear who is the slave and who is the master," concludes Biščak.
FRIDAY, 25 October LJUBLJANA - The Tomaž Berločnik-led management of energy group Petrol resigned "by mutual agreement" late on 24 October, capping a day of speculation about its fate amidst what media labelled a politically-motivated struggle to control one of Slovenia's largest companies. LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court imposed a temporary injunction on the legislation governing parliamentary inquiry, which means the National Assembly's inquiry into prosecution of former Maribor Mayor Franc Kangler, a member of the upper chamber of parliament, will not be able to investigate judges for now. BRUSSELS, Belgium/LJUBLJANA - Defence Minister Karl Erjavec stressed the government would continue investing in the Slovenian Armed Forces, rejecting calls by the Left to withdraw soldiers from Afghanistan and cancel the planned purchase of Valuk six-wheeled armoured personnel carriers. He also signed a memorandum to set up regional command for special operations with his counterparts from Croatia, Hungary and Slovakia. LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's likely new European Commissioner Janez Lenarčič, who has worked for the Foreign Ministry since 1992, handed in his resignation last week out of protest against a legal requirement which he believes deters Slovenian diplomats from taking jobs in international institutions. LJUBLJANA - Rudi Pavšič and Marjan Sturm, the long-serving retired leaders of umbrella minority organisations representing ethnic Slovenians in Italy and Austria, were honoured with the Medal of Merit for their decades-long efforts to promote minority rights and inter-cultural dialogue. LJUBLJANA - A code of conduct advising members of supervisory boards on how to act in case of political pressure was formed to tackle the issue in wake of a recent staffing pressure scandal at the Official Gazette. OSLO, Norway - The Slovenian Supreme Court received this year's Crystal Scales of Justice Prize, an award given out by the EU Council and the European Commission for innovative and effective judicial practices in the EU.
SATURDAY, 26 October KOPER - Primorske Novice reported that the Koper Higher Court ordered a retrial in a case involving plot purchases for a logistics hub in the town of Beltinci planned by port operator Luka Koper. CERKNO/VRHNIKA - A memorial plaque was unveiled at the site of a secret weapons depot of the Slovenian Territorial Defence force in 1990 and 1991 as part of celebrations of Sovereignty Day, a public holiday observed on 25 October to remember the day in 1991 when the last Yugoslav People's Army soldiers left Slovenia.
SUNDAY, 27 October LJUBLJANA - Ethiopian runner Kelkile Gezahegn Woldaregay won the men's marathon race in Ljubljana, clocking in at 2:07:29, the second fastest time in the history of the Ljubljana course. The women's race was won by Bornes Chepkirui Kitur from Kenya, who set a new women's record with a finish time of 2:21:26. MARIBOR - No Title Yet (Še ni naslova), directed by Tomi Janežič and produced by the Slovensko mladinsko gledališče theatre, won the award for best play as the curtain fell on the 54th Maribor Theatre Festival. SÖLDEN, Austria - Slovenian alpine skier Žan Kranjec picked up where he left off at the end of last season, finishing third in the season opening giant slalom World Cup race in Austria's Sölden.
MONDAY, 28 October BUDAPEST, Hungary - PM Marjan Šarec and his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban called for stronger economic cooperation in what was their first official meeting. Also commenting on the Koper rail track project, Orban said Hungary was still willing to consider participating "if the situation in Slovenia changes". LJUBLJANA - The National Council unanimously vetoed the government-sponsored bill designed to provide legal recourse for holders of subordinated bank liabilities wiped out on instruction of the EU in the 2013 bank bailout. It also vetoed the raise of minimum net hourly rate for student work. PRAGUE, Czech Republic - The Czech investment group PPF, owned by Czech billionaire Petr Kellner, signed an agreement on the takeover of the US-owned CME fund, which also owns Slovenia's leading television network group Pro Plus. DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar paid a two-day working visit to the United Arab Emirates. He visited the site of the Expo 2020, meeting the Expo Director General Reem Al Hashimiand, and met the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash. LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court said it suspended, pending a final decision, the implementation of a criminal procedure act provision allowing house searches without the presence of the resident or their representative. LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Bank Association said that the pending new consumer lending restrictions would have wide ramifications if the state failed to provide alternative financing sources after Banka Slovenije imposes effective on 1 November restrictions to consumer and housing loans. PM Šarec also criticised the planned measure on 29 October. LJUBLJANA - The ZSSS trade union confederation said it reported about labour exploitation occurring within Slovenia's system of temporarily posting workers to other EU countries and to the European Labour Authority (ELA). MARIBOR - A couple of unexploded aerial bombs, relics from the Second World War, were unearthed in two locations in Maribor over the weekend and were expected to be defused later in the week. This will prompt the evacuation of thousands of people in the vicinity of the defusing sites. NEW YORK, US - Slovenian mission to the UN co-hosted with the Council of Europe (CoE) and UNESCO an event discussing the challenges of artificial intelligence (AI) at the UN headquarters.
TUESDAY, 29 October LJUBLJANA - MPs voted 34:18 to confirm amendments scraping a bonus for social benefit recipients who work. The majority of MPs agreed that the bonus, introduced in 2012 as a corrective welfare measure and work incentive, in many cases discouraged people from taking a full-time job. VELENJE/LJUBLJANA - The household appliances maker Gorenje will be split into two companies as part of group integration a year after it was taken over by Chinese conglomerate Hisense, with the management moving to Ljubljana as a separate company and providing corporate support services for all Hisense companies in Europe. LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly unanimously endorsed legislative changes making most public transportation free of charge for pensioners and persons with disabilities, among others, as of 1 July 2020. LJUBLJANA - Nine Slovenian meat processing companies recalled their products after the Food Safety Administration warned on 25 October that meat from an Austrian abattoir that failed to meet the required standards might have entered food supply chain. LJUBLJANA - Men outnumbered women in Slovenia in the first half of 2019 for the first time in the 160-year long history of population statistics recording in the present-day territory of Slovenia. In the total number of residents of Slovenia, which includes foreigners, recorded on 1 July there were 1,045,835 men and 1,043,475 women. LJUBLJANA - The number of road and urban public transport passengers dropped in 2018 on the previous year, while the rail passenger figure stayed mostly level. Passenger traffic in the Slovenian port and air passenger transport saw an increase last year, with the number of ship passengers going up the most - by as much as 23%.
WEDNESDAY, 30 October LJUBLJANA - Consumer prices in Slovenia grew at an annual rate of 1.4% in October, down from 1.7% in September, while monthly inflation was 0.1%. Annual inflation is driven by higher prices of services, which were up 3.2% to contribute 1 p. p. to the rise. Pushing annual inflation up by 0.4 p. p. were higher prices of housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels, also as a result of prices of refuse collection increasing by 18.2%, the Statistics Office said. LJUBLJANA - A total of 5.2 million tourists were recorded in Slovenia in the first nine months, generating 13.2 million overnight stays, with the numbers going up 5.7% and 1.9%, respectively. LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Commission for the Oversight of Intelligence and Security Services (KNOVS) visited the SOVA national intelligence and security agency in the morning in connection to a current development in Slovenia's economy. The inquiry was allegedly prompted by the management board overhaul at energy company Petrol. LJUBLJANA - A potential partner of a new flag carrier which might be set up to fill the void left by Adria Airways's bankruptcy is a regional airline, Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek told the weekly Mladina in an interview. Pressed, he would not reveal who the potential partner was. LJUBLJANA - Geza Filo, the outgoing head of Slovenia's Evangelical Lutheran Church, told the STA that the spirit and teachings of the Reformation are still topical 500 years after the movement to reform the Roman Catholic Church shook Europe. At the national ceremony marking the holiday, Speaker Dejan Židan stressed in his keynote the importance of love for one's native tongue.
THURSDAY, 31 October LJUBLJANA - Slovenia observed reformation Day, a bank holiday. Luther Bishop Geza Filo delivered a mass that was attended by top representatives of the state and other religious communities. MARIBOR - The first of two WWII-era bombs discovered at construction sites in Maribor was successfully diffused in a two-hour operation. Some 80 people in the 300-metre radius had to be evacuated.
STA, 1 November 2019 - Slovenians will remember their dead today with ceremonies marking Day of Remembrance of the Dead, a national holiday and a work-free day being observed around the country. The main event in Ljubljana's Congress Square will be attended by the country's top officials. People will also be visiting cemeteries and lighting candles at graves.
The secular version of All Saints' Day has been marked in Slovenia as a work-free day since 1948, and as of 1959 also as a national holiday. It was renamed Day of Remembrance of the Dead in 1989.
Various remembrance and wreath-laying ceremonies are traditionally held on this day all over the country, and people visit the graves of their relatives to put flowers and light candles to remember them.
Attending today's ceremony at the Monument to the Victims of All Wars will be President Borut Pahor and Prime Minister Marjan Šarec, as well as the speakers of the lower and upper chambers of parliament, Dejan Židan and Alojz Kovšca.
Pahor will lay a wreath at the Monument to the Victims of All Wars, which was inaugurated in 2017, also accompanied by Alenka Ermenc, the chief of staff of the Slovenian Armed Forces, and Police Commissioner Tatjana Bobar.
Šarec and National Assembly Speaker Židan will also visit the monument for the victims of the 1991 independence war at Žale cemetery. Židan will also lay wreaths at the monuments to the victims of the first and second world wars there.
On the occasion of Day of Remembrance of the Dead, the Statistics Office said that, just like in 2017, more than 20,000 residents of Slovenia died last year, with deaths outnumbering births.
A total of 20,485 persons died in Slovenia in 2018, of whom 10,372 were women, and it was the year with the third highest number of deaths after the Second World War.
The average age of persons who died last year in Slovenia (77.9) was almost nine years higher than 30 years ago, with the share of persons younger than 65 who died in 2018 standing at 16.5%.
Men in Slovenia die younger than women on average, but the average age at death for men (74.1 last year) is increasing at a faster pace than that for women (81.6 last year).
While the premature mortality rate (deaths before the age of 65) is higher in men, it is decreasing for both genders. Boys born in 2018 may expect to live to the age of 78.3, and girls until the age of 84.
In almost 71% of cases of persons who died in Slovenia last year, the cause of death was related to cardiovascular diseases and neoplasms.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's Evangelical Lutheran Church Bishop Geza Filo stressed in his sermon on Reformation Day that a reformation movement is needed again today to counteract exploitation and abuse of power, the same reasons that led to the 16th century Reformation movement. The world is in dire need of responsible people who take their duties seriously and do not abuse their position for egotistic ambitions, Filo said, setting as example climate activist Greta Thunberg, whom he labelled a "young reformer" in an interview for the STA.
Technicians successfully diffuse WWII bomb in Maribor
MARIBOR - The first of two WWII-era bombs discovered at construction sites in Maribor last week was successfully diffused in the early afternoon. The 250-kilogramme bomb, one of thousands dropped on Maribor by the Allies between 1944 and 1945, was deactivated by experts of the national unit for protection against unexploded ordnance. Maribor police PR officer Miran Šadl told the press that technicians managed to unscrew both detonators. The bomb has been found by construction workers near the Europark shopping centre.
Household savings see record growth in past year
LJUBLJANA - Slovenians remained among the most frugal nations in the EU in the past year and positive economic trends further boosted the savings figures. Traditional forms of saving remain dominant, but investments into shares and equity are also rising. Some uncertainty has meanwhile been caused by talk of negative interest rates and lending restrictions. Slovenia is among the 80 countries celebrating World Savings Day on 31 October. Saving has a long tradition in the country, with the first savings bank in Ljubljana dating back to 1820 and the first bank to 1900. The frugal character of Slovenians, whose gross household saving rate was 2.6 percentage points above the EU average of 10% last year, has contributed to EUR 55.5 billion in total household savings recorded at the end of June 2019.
Slovenians once again urged to light fewer candles
LJUBLJANA - Slovenians light many candles at graves to observe the Day of Remembrance of the Dead, which leads to substantial amounts of waste. Efforts have been under way in recent years to encourage people to swap the single-use candles for electric ones, or to use painted stones or small banners instead of candles to reduce waste. Indeed, a positive trend has been detected, as candle sales dropped by 14% between 2010 and 2018, the ministry pointed out before the holiday, when most Slovenians head to one or several of what are nearly 1,200 cemeteries in the country.
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STA, 31 October 2019 - The first of two WWII-era bombs discovered at construction sites in Maribor last week was successfully defused in the early afternoon on Thursday. Sirens signalled it was safe for residents living within a 300-metre radius to return to their homes just before 2 pm, less than two hours after the start of operation.
The 250-kilogramme bomb, one of thousands dropped on Maribor by the Allies between 1944 and 1945, was deactivated by experts of the national unit for protection against unexploded ordnance. Maribor police PR officer Miran Šadl told the press that technicians managed to unscrew both detonators.
The bomb has been found by construction workers near the Europark shopping centre, which is closed today, as Slovenia observes Reformation Day, a bank holiday.
Today's evacuation, overseen by the Civil Protection and Rescue Administration, was not too demanding, as it involved only some 80 people.
About two dozen came to the Tabor sports hall to wait out the operation. Most of them were Bulgarian construction workers and a few families. Some brought their pets with them, fearing that a potential explosion would upset them.
"We would have probably spent the day elsewhere if weather were better. But it's raining and we're better off here," Aleksander Rotman, one of the evacuees at Tabor sports hall, told the STA.
The second bomb is to be detonated on Sunday. That operation will be more demanding. The bomb is twice as strong and located at a site that will demand the evacuation of about a thousand people, including an entire hospital wing. Another 1,000 will have to stay indoors.
While today's detonation was completed at the site of the bomb, the second bomb will have to be moved to avoid an even more extensive evacuation.
STA, 31 October 2019 - Slovenians remained among the most frugal nations in the EU in the past year and positive economic trends further boosted the savings figures. Traditional forms of saving remain dominant, but investments into shares and equity are also rising. Some uncertainty has meanwhile been caused by talk of negative interest rates and lending restrictions.
Slovenia is among the 80 countries celebrating World Savings Day on 31 October. Saving has a long tradition in the country, with the first savings bank in Ljubljana dating back to 1820 and the first bank to 1900.
The frugal character of Slovenians, whose gross household saving rate was 2.6 percentage points above the EU average of 10% last year, has contributed to EUR 55.5 billion in total household savings recorded at the end of June 2019.
Almost half, or 48% of this sum is in the form or cash savings or bank deposits - the latter stood at EUR 19.6 billion at end of June, most of which was deposited at banks in Slovenia.
Total household savings increased by EUR 4.1 billion between June 2018 and June 2019. Cash and deposit savings in the period amounted to EUR 1.9 billion, which Banka Slovenije said was the highest figure for such a period since data started being collected in the current form in 2005.
Also up substantially in this period, by almost EUR 1.7 billion, were investments in shares and other forms of equity capital.
This development was spurred by high returns at the end of last year, while traditional forms of saving have become the subject of low interest rates and even talk of the possibility of introducing negative rates on deposits.
The Slovenian Consumer Association has urged people not to get discouraged, stressing the importance of saving and urging that consumers be protected against a potential introduction of negative deposit rates. It pointed out this could lead to people withdrawing their savings and destabilising the banking system.
Meanwhile, the debt levels of Slovenian households are also among the lowest in the eurozone. Total household debt amounted to EUR 14.4 billion at the end of June. Debt to banks stood at EUR 10.4 billion, EUR 6.3 billion of which was housing loans and EUR 2.7 billion consumer loans.
Standing out in this respect has been a marked rise in consumer loans, whose growth has been exceeding 10% for several years.
In August, the year-on-year growth was 11.7% and the central bank decided to pull the brake in October. It announced it was moving from recommendations to formal restrictions while also further stiffening conditions.
The restrictions, which will become effective in November and which also involve exemptions, include maximum 84-month maturity for consumer loans, down from 120 months recommended last year.
Banks will moreover for the most part have to keep loan-to-value ratios (loan payments relative to the client's annual income) to below 50% for clients with monthly income of up to twice the gross minimum wage and below 67% for those making more than that.
The same loan-to-value ratios will also become obligatory for housing loans. Remaining only a recommendation to banks is that the ratio between the value of a loan and the value of the housing assets used to insure it should not exceed 80%.
Banka Slovenije claims the measure will not affect those who are borrowing in line with their capabilities, while the central bank's Deputy Governor Primož Dolenc has also put in question claims this would affect bank profits and seriously reduce purchasing power.
"We've conducted quite a number of studies ... and one of the minuses is a one-off effect on the profitability of banks. However, if we have healthy credit growth and keep bank portfolios clear of potentially problematic claims, this will have positive effects in the long run," Dolenc said, suggesting a similar logic applied to consumer spending.
STA, 31 October 2019 - Reformation Day, a public holiday and work-free day, will be marked on Thursday with a mass celebrated at the Ljubljana protestant church as well as a ceremony at the Trubar Homestead south of the capital which will include a keynote by President Borut Pahor.
Today's mass will be attended by a number of senior state officials, including President Pahor and Prime Minister Marjan Šarec. It will be celebrated by Geza Filo, the outgoing head of Slovenia's Evangelical Lutheran Church.
The Protestant leader told the STA in an interview ahead of the holiday that the spirit and teachings of the Reformation were still relevant five centuries after the movement to reform the Roman Catholic Church pushed through Europe.
The Reformation paved the way for the first printed books in the Slovenian language as well as the Slovenian translation of the entire Bible - the foundation of the Slovenian literary language and national identity.
The main ceremony marking Reformation Day took place on the eve of the holiday, with Speaker Dejan Židan delivering the keynote.
There will be another high-level ceremony today at the Trubar Homestead, the birthplace of Primož Trubar (1508-1586), a Protestant priest and scholar and one of the leading Slovenian Reformation figures.
He was the first to translate parts of the Bible into Slovenian and authored the first Slovenian printed book, consolidating Slovenian as a literary language.
Petrol supervisors provide no details about overhaul, KNOVS visits SOVA
LJUBLJANA - Acting upon a request by SSH state asset custodian and by extension the government, the supervisors of energy group Petrol failed to provide details on why the company's entire management board resigned last week. The supervisors said the departing managers had agreed to a potential publishing of documents showing the move was by mutual agreement, but they did not consent to disclosing the circumstances. Meanwhile, parliamentary Commission for the Oversight of Intelligence and Security Services (KNOVS) visited the SOVA national intelligence and security agency in the morning in connection to a current development in Slovenia's economy. The inquiry was allegedly prompted by the Petrol development, but no details were provided.
Slovenia's annual inflation at 1.4% in October
LJUBLJANA - Consumer prices in Slovenia grew at an annual rate of 1.4% in October, down from 1.7% in September, while monthly inflation was 0.1%. Annual inflation is driven by higher prices of services, which were up 3.2% to contribute 1 p. p. to the rise. Pushing annual inflation up by 0.4 p. p. were higher prices of housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels, also as a result of prices of refuse collection increasing by 18.2%, the Statistics Office said. Inflation was pushed down by 0.2 points by lower prices of motor fuels. Higher prices of clothing (3.8%) and footwear (5%) stand out at the monthly level.
Number of tourists up 5.7% in first nine months
LJUBLJANA - A total of 5.2 million tourists were recorded in Slovenia in the first nine months, generating 13.2 million overnight stays, with the numbers going up 5.7% and 1.9%, respectively, the Statistics Office said. The number of foreign tourists recorded in Slovenia in the period was up by 7.1% and the number of overnight stays they generated by 3.5%. At the annual level, the number of German tourists increased the most, by 15%. In September alone, the number of tourists reached 630,000 which is 3.7% more year-on-year. Almost 1.5 million overnight stays were recorded.
Fraud suspected in EU-funded project involving Minister Pivec
LJUBLJANA - The Economy Ministry has reported to the prosecution suspicion of fraud and document forgery involving the Tourism and Hospitality Chamber, its director the former Education Minister Klavdija Perger and other persons. Media reports indicate that Agriculture Minister Aleksandra Pivec was also involved, but she is allegedly not among those reported. The ministry said it had reported the suspicion in June after going through co-funding contracts for the Strategic Development Innovation Partnership Tourism (SRIPT), a project of the chamber eligible for EUR 390,000 in EU funding.
Počivalšek: Regional airline potential partner of new flag carrier
LJUBLJANA - A potential partner of a new flag carrier which might be set up to fill the void left by Adria Airways's bankruptcy is a regional airline, Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek told the weekly Mladina in an interview. "The talks with this potential partner are at quite an advanced stage, but I cannot for the moment reveal the name of this company" said the minister, who also did he confirm whether Slovenia would indeed establish a new Adria.
Chamber of Commerce joins calls against consumer loan limitations
LJUBLJANA - The Chamber of Commerce (TZS) is the next to take issue with the central bank stiffening the conditions for consumer loans, saying the measure will have negative effect on consumption, and calling for the decision to be changed and its negative consequences mitigated. While agreeing that the forecasts of economic slow-down should be taken seriously, the TZS added that the "macroprudential measure by Banka Slovenije is disproportionate and excessive." The chamber's call follows criticism expressed by PM Marjan Šarec as well as the Bank Association.
Spirit of Reformation still topical, Protestant leader says
LJUBLJANA - Geza Filo, the outgoing head of Slovenia's Evangelical Lutheran Church, believes the spirit and teachings of the Reformation are still topical 500 years after the movement to reform the Roman Catholic Church shook Europe. "There are many challenges which call for many reforms. Reformation Day is always an opportunity to ask ourselves how we live, and whether we need everything we buy and whether it's good for our fellow man," the bishop has told the STA prior to Reformation Day, observed on 31 October. In the evening Slovenia observed the holiday with a national ceremony, with parliamentary Speaker Dejan Židan delivering the keynote.
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As Slovenia’s international profile rises in terms of travel and tourism it’s well beyond time that visitors to the country were encouraged to see more than Ljubljana and Bled – with most tourists staying for less than two days and following the same routes.
The Slovenian Tourist Board, along with the various tourist offices around the country, as well as private businesses, are making many efforts in this regard. One is getting people to see more of the country, such as with the recently launched Juliana Trail, with some of the best hikes and views in the country, and the Bike Slovenia Green tours, which take you from Kranjska Gora to Koper. But in addition to trying to broaden the range of experiences on offer there’s also a move to deepen them, so that people can get the most of out of their time in the country. One approach – and one we’ll be hearing ever more of in the run up to 2021, when Slovenia becomes a European Region of Gastronomy – is to open up the world of local food and drink.
One event that will give a taste of what’s on offer is the month-long November Gourmet programme in Ljubljana. This is a packed schedule of tastings, markets, menus, workshops, meals, discussions, and so on, which together show there’s a lot more to Slovenian food and drink than Kranjska klobasa, kremsnita and Union beer.
The full schedule can be found here, with a huge number of events over the month. It’s only in Slovene at the time of writing but easily digested by Google Translate, and when an English schedule goes up it’ll be found here. Some highlights follow below.
From 4 to 10 November a number of restaurants and cafés will highlight locally-produced, seasonal dishes for every taste, specially marked on their menus, with the names participating being Gostilna na Gradu, Hiša pod Gradom, Bistro Ek, Magda, Sputnik, Falafel, Paninoteka, Slovenska hiša, Slovenska hiša Figovec, Moji štruklji, Grand café Ljubljana, and Kodila in Landerik.
Martinovanje, St Martin’s Day, celebrates the new wine, and in Ljubljana this is marked with the wine route in the Old Town on Saturday, 9 November. Here just under 100 winemakers and food producers will be selling their wares to crowds of lively folk, getting livelier, in an event that can take you around the country in a few dozen glasses.
The following week, on 14 and 15 November, the 22nd Slovenian Wine Festival comes to Cankarjev dom, bringing together producers, experts and enthusiasts, while Mira Šemić will present the Little Wine School on 28 November.
Slovenian craft beer has exploded on the scene and is evolving fast, with Lajbah Pub being one of the centres of experimentation and exploration in the capital. It’s thus fitting that its hosting three evening events on beer: a panel talk (13 November) and two dinner events pairing various dishes with beer (20 November), as well as with both wine and beer (27 November).
Every Sunday in November the Bistro Švicarija in Tivoli Park will offer a Ljubljana Sunday Lunch, with the food served along with classic hits from the golden age of Slovenian pop music. The same venue will also host a five-course St Martin’s Dinner, with both duck Slovenian pop songs, on 9 November.
Elsewhere, there’s a meat-focused seven-course Winner, Winner, Beef Dinner at the Rashushka Food Studio (2 and 7 November), as organised by Meat Business and Karakter Distillery. Rashushka will also a special menu introducing the food of Ancient Rome on 23 November.
If you prefer to make your own food, then Rashushka Food Studio have workshop on healthy bread making (15 November), a latte art and tea workshop (16 November), and a workshop on how to use spices
The 66th Slovenian Hospitality and Tourism Convention (11 to 13 November) will include events such as live competitions, a walk through the flavours of Slovenia, lectures, and a charity gala dinner featuring the top chefs Igor Jagodic, Jure Tomič and Tomaž Kavčič, with a wine selection by Mira Šemić. The Convention will also see the presentation of the updated, second edition of the Gault & Millau Slovenia culinary guide, as well as the Gault & Millau Ljubljana / Ljubljana Quality guide to the city.
The New Taste of Ljubljana competition calls on entrants to come up with an original recipe using a set list of ingredients, and then to upload a photo of the dish to gourmet-lj.si between 2 and 13 November. As of writing we don’t know the ingredients, but will update this / write a new story when we do. The winners will then be announced at the November Gourmet Finale on 22 November.
If you prefer taking pictures to making food, then between 2 and 30 November the My Gourmet Ljubljana competition for the best culinary photo is taking place on the @gourmet_ljubljana Instagram profile. Just take a picture of some “Ljubljana food” add post it on Instagram with the #gourmetlj hashtag.
More details (in Slovene) can be found here, while the English site here should be updated soon. There’s also a Facebook page.
STA, 29 October 2019 - The National Assembly unanimously endorsed on Tuesday legislative changes making public transportation free of charge for pensioners and persons with disabilities, among others, as of 1 July 2020.
In addition to pensioners and persons possessing the EU disability card, the motion also applies to all registered athletes attending secondary schools and universities and university students with motor disabilities.
Presenting the changes to the road transport act last week, Infrastructure Minister Alenka Bratušek noted that the state had been subsidising tickets for secondary school and university students to provide them with cheaper and safer transport.
"We have now decided to also provide pensioners with such a benefit," she said, adding that the state had already been subsidising inter-city public transport regardless of whether buses and trains were half-empty or totally empty.
"Filling up these seats with pensioners, who will not be buying tickets, would not mean higher costs," the minister explained.
Franc Jurša of the coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) said that it was "one of the better days in the National Assembly", while Igor Zorčič of the coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC) was reserved about all pensioners enjoying the benefit.
Zorčič said at the time that some pensioners had "very good pensions", adding that the eligibility to free public transportation should be expanded to independence war veterans.
It was thus proposed today by the SMC and three other parties in an amendment that unemployed independence war veterans are also eligible for the benefit. The amendment was confirmed.
During last week's debate, Maša Kociper of the coalition Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) welcomed the fact that the state will enable young athletes to travel to and from practices free of charge.
Anja Bah Žibert of the opposition Democrats (SDS) meanwhile stressed that pensioners had been complaining about the shortage of public transportation lines, in particular in the countryside and in the afternoon hours.
Bratušek said that there were currently around 1,800 public transportation lines, with the ministry being in the process of obtaining data on their occupancy.
New lines could be opened if there is interest. "Our interest is to make [public transportation] as accessible and occupied as possible, so that there is less traffic on the roads," the minister added.