STA, 12 May 2019 - Defence Minister Karl Erjavec has announced that the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) have deployed additional soldiers to the border with Croatia to help the police manage the increasing number of illegal crossings of the border.
Speaking to the press on the sidelines of a Victory Day ceremony in Topolšica on Saturday, Erjavec said that the help had been requested by the police, adding that the SAF had more units ready to be deployed at any moment.
According to the SAF, an additional 35 soldiers were deployed on Saturday to the southern border, and the current number of soldiers in the daily shift is 66.
The additional 35 soldiers have been deployed to the area covered by the Ilirska Bistrica police station (SW), while the remaining 31 serve in various locations, the army told the STA.
The police and armed forces have thus responded to the increasing number of illegal crossings of the border, as detected also by the locals living along the border.
The calls for better border control culminated after a 79-year-old local was abducted in his car on Wednesday by four illegal migrants.
Erjavec said on Saturday that he was in constant touch with Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar regarding the issue, while Police Commissioner Tatjana Bobnar and the army chief-of-staff, Maj-Gen Alenka Ermenc were coordinating the operative measures.
"I can say that we have units ready to boost the presence of the Slovenian army on the southern border at any moment, of course in mixed units with the police," the minister added.
STASTA, 11 May 2019 - Several hundred people gathered in the town of Črnomelj (SE) Saturday afternoon demanding better control of Slovenia's southern border. The rally was called after four illegal migrants abducted an elderly man earlier this week and used his car to drive to the border with Italy [more on that story here].
"Instead of ensuring our safety, those in charge have been telling us that Slovenia is safe and that there is no reason for fear," said Maja Kocjan, the president of the local civil initiative.
The protesters believe that the government and the police are not doing enough to protect the locals living along the border, with many signing a petition with five key demands. Unless they are taken seriously, another rally is to be organised in Ljubljana.
The petitioners demand that the government prevent illegal migrants from crossing the border, provide protection to people and property, and deploy additional police and military officers, if necessary. Calls like "Military to the border!" were heard a number of times during the protest.
The petition also demands changes to the asylum legislation so that people coming from safe countries could not request asylum in the country.
Moreover, the government must also stop procedures for the establishment of migrant registration centres, as protesters fear that these would become permanent migrant centres.
One such centre has been planned for the area of Ilirska Bistrica, a town further west along the southern border, where a civil initiative has been fighting against the centre for months.
Ilirska Bistrica Mayor Emil Rojc, a member of the centre-left Social Democrats (SD), also addressed the rally. Meanwhile, the Črnomelj Mayor Andrej Kavšek was not at the rally.
People have come to Črnomelj from all across the country and it was hard to tell how many of them were locals, according a report by to TV Slovenija.
A number of politicians also joined the protest, among them right-leaning candidates vying in the European Parliament election.
Also there was Janez Janša, the head of the opposition Democrats (SDS), accompanied by several senior members of the party, including MEP Milan Zver. Local initiative head Kocjan is also a member.
Janša told the press that the SDS had been trying to get the demands in the petition enacted for years. He said that they would "continue to pressure those in charge to start listening to the people".
He was critical that Prime Minister Marjan Šarec has not called a meeting of the National Security Council to improve border security, not even after the abduction.
Also at the rally was Marjan Podobnik, the president of the non-parliamentary People's Party (SLS), which had joined forces with the SDS for the 26 May election.
Senior members of the non-parliamentary right-wing Homeland League (DOM) and United Slovenia were also in the crowd.
A schedule of all the main events involving Slovenia this week can be found here
This summary is provided by the STA:
Additional troops deployed for protection of Schengen border
LJUBLJANA/TOPOLŠICA - Defence Minister Karl Erjavec has announced that the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) have deployed additional soldiers to the border with Croatia to help the police manage the increasing number of illegal crossings of the border. Speaking to the press on the sidelines of a Victory Day ceremony in Topolšica on Saturday, Erjavec said that the help had been requested by the police, adding that the SAF had more units ready to be deployed at any moment. According to the SAF, an additional 35 soldiers were deployed on Saturday to the southern border, and the current number of soldiers in the daily shift is 66. The additional 35 soldiers have been deployed to the area covered by the Ilirska Bistrica police station.
Ahead of EU elections, SLS holds traditional get-together
KRŠKO - Around 3,000 members and supporters of the non-parliamentary People's Party (SLS) had a traditional get-together, which focused on the upcoming EU elections. SLS president Marjan Podobnik called on the audience to take responsibility and vote because "it is us who decide, not someone else." Podobnik called on voters to vote for the joint list of the SLS and the opposition Democrats (SDS) if they wanted to "support Slovenian farmers, craftspersons and entrepreneurs." Among others, the event was attended by all eight MEP candidates from the list and SDS president Janez Janša, who said that the cooperation in the elections was not dictated "only by the heart, but also the mind, because the threshold is high".
If you enjoy gin then what better way to turn your habit into a hobby than to explore the world beyond the big names, and if you’d like a good excuse to restock your liquor shelf with intriguing bottles and varied tastes then consider entering the world of Slovenian gin
To the ill-informed this might seem like a risky proposal – what would Slovenians know about gin? But this would be a mistake akin to dismissing Japanese whisky or Californian wine. More so, perhaps, as Slovenia not only has the climate and knowledge needed to produce the drink, but a long history of working with juniper berries, producing a native spirit known as brinjevec (sometimes brinjevec).
Brina is the Slovenian name for the berry that gives gin, along with various other botanicals – each producer using their own selection – its distinctive taste, and here we’ll note that botanicals, distillation and restorative liqueurs are also all part of the country’s cultural heritage. And gin, if not quite in the DNA, is certainly in the bloodstream of a growing number of Slovenians.
We thus present part one of a brief guide to of the bigger names in domestic gin production, the ones you might find in good liquor stores and bars across the country, and soon, perhaps, abroad.
Berryshka, based in Dolenjske Toplice, is family firm that started in 1950 producing essential oils. While this remains the core business, the company has long applied its expertise in extraction and distillation to other products, including a range of spirits and fruit liqueurs, with drinks that are low in sugar, come with no artificial colours or additives, and are made using natural spring water. These liqueurs are based on natural flavours such as cherry, aronia, walnut, blackcurrant, blackberry, blueberry, and juniper – the berry that gives gin its distinctive taste. Berryshka juniper products currently include a brinjevec – marketed as brandy and sold in both original and oak-barrel aged varieties – and two gins. London Gin Berryshka follows the traditions of the most popular gin, with a neutral alcohol flavoured with juniper berries, angelica, iris, cinnamon, liquorice, cardamom, anise, cumin, lemon, and coriander, while the while the more distinctive BrinGin Berryshka has the alcohol provided by juniper distillate, producing a drink that can be savoured neat, or enjoyed with the usual mixers. You can find Berryshka’s liquers and chocolates in many stores, but for the full experience you’re welcome to visit the factory, which also produces handmade chocolates, an experience that could easily be combined with a trip to Novo mesto, or the nearby hot springs. Find out more the company’s website.
Brin Gin is the work of Erik Sarkič, a third-generation brinjevec producer who grew up with a deep background in junipers and distillation. The move to gin was thus natural one, opening up new markets for the family business, and arguably making better use of the berries, since a litre of brinjevec requires around 8 kg of them, while the same amount of gin gains it’s more subtle flavour from just 20 g. In his mission to dive deeper into the flavour profile of the juniper Berry Erik is supported by Matevž Kmet, a biochemist who works as a consultant for the firm and has the air of a mad scientist, or at least a man for whom the greater the challenge, the more exciting it is to consider. Together Erik and Matevž dream up new products and then work to make their dreams become reality. One of these, still in the experimental stage, includes an alcohol-free gin, for those who love the taste of a good G&T but want to maintain a clear head. Another is what’s intended to be the world’s best, and most expensive, gin – with production of this now completed, and the launch only waiting on the perfect bottle to be found. Finally, Erik and Matevž are also working on a product that will be made entirely of juniper, including a juniper wood bottle. You can keep up with the latest developments, and order a bottle online, here.
DTG (Dry Tergeste Gin) also takes its own approach to the classic spirit, and is yet another small producer showing that the Slovenian tradition of brinjevec means the country is well positioned to become home to a variety of boutique gin brands, all of which are worthy of a place on your shelf. The name refers to Tergeste, or Trst (or, you must, Trieste), and Martin Žužek Kres, an anthropologist by training who developed the drink, wants his products to reflect the history of the land. However, DTG doesn’t just have a story to tell, but also a product that distinguishes itself from other gins in a number of ways. For one, it avoids the use of grain alcohol to give the drink its kick, and instead relies on alcohol produced from the juniper berry, mixed with a unique coffee cherry brandy. Coffee cherries are the fruit that grow around and protect coffee beans, and contain both caffeine and antioxidants. Their use in gin doesn’t produce a coffee-flavoured drink, but does give an interesting taste that can be enjoyed neat, without ice, or with mixers. In a sign of how quickly the Slovenian gin scene is set to evolve, the company has three new products that are still in development, but which I was lucky enough to taste at a recent event, and these will add to the flagship drink’s flavour profile with the use of spruce, thyme, and wild mint. Look out for DTG in stores, or order a bottle online.
All the parts of this series can be found here
STA, 8 May 2019 - Druga Godba, a festival of world music, will kick off in Ljubljana on 21 May and run until 25 May, when it will move to Maribor too. The event will feature 16 concerts of various music genres performers from eleven countries, including the acclaimed US experimental guitarist and composer Yonatan Gat and popular Ukrainian folk quartet DakhaBrakha.
Visitors will also be able to enjoy the beats of the London-based Afrobeat band Kokoroko or groove to the sounds of the leading Polish jazz musician Maciej Obara.
The 35th international festival will also see a return of the South African performance art ensemble The Brother Moves On, which will perform with the Slovenian pianist Bowrain.
Upon Druga Godba's initiative, the Helsinki-based futuristic jazz band Mopo will share the stage with Finland's saxophone star Jimi Tenor.
Another highlight will be a performance of the Brazilian band Liniker e os Caramelows and its charismatic lead singer Liniker, getting visitors moving with their funky soul Afro-Brazilian beats.
The Ljubljana-based events will either take place at Kino Šiška, the Cankarjev Dom arts centre or at AKC Metelkova.
The festival will move to Slovenia's second largest city on 25 May. The programme there includes a number of events in Maribor's former minorite church and the city puppet theatre's auditorium, such as a performance of the traditional Polish band Sutari, the Slovenian group Bakalina Velika and the South-African indigenous genre band BCUC.
Having bought the tickets for the Maribor-based events, the visitors from Ljubljana will be also entitled to a free return ticket to Maribor.
Druga Godba provides an opportunity to experience the fusion of traditional folk and contemporary music, cross-genre productions, aspiring as well as established musicians.
"Druga Godba is designed to inspire curiosity, broaden horizons, urge people to go listen to unfamiliar music acts. That has always been our aim and that remains the case this year," said the head of the festival's programme Bogdan Benigar.
The English website for the festival is here, while you can also follow it on Facebook
STA, 10 May 2019 - Novo Mesto, an idyllic town in the south-east, has joined an ever longer list of places in Slovenia closing their centres to traffic. Following nearly two years of renovation that revealed numerous archaeological artefacts, the Main Square was reopened in a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday.
Ahead of the ceremony, Environment and Spatial Planning Minister Simon Zajc said that the country would see more similar projects in the future. These will give "towns a new and more beautiful image and inspire a new way of life".
He praised the new traffic regime, which only allows pedestrians and bicyclers to the Main Square, while cars and other vehicles will only be permitted during limited delivery periods.
Back to the future. Postcard of the square in 1919. Source: Wikipedia, public domain
The renovation cost nearly EUR 7 million, with EUR 4.6 million coming from the EU cohesion funds.
A month ago, the Novo Mesto-based Dolenjska Museum opened an exhibition dedicated to the archaeological finds uncovered during renovation works.
The excavations that preceded the renovation works found proof of settlement in the Novo Mesto city centre dating back as far as prehistory.
Archaeologists found ceramics and the remnants of a road from prehistoric times. Cobble stones from the 17th and 18th centuries were uncovered, as well as remnants of a paved road from the Roman era.
The excavations also produced four Celtic and Roman coins, amphora fragments, Roman building remains, as well as several bronze fibulea from the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C.
A schedule of all the main events involving Slovenia this week can be found here
This summary is provided by the STA:
Črnomelj protesters demand better control of border
ČRNOMELJ - Several hundred people gathered to demand better control of Slovenia's southern border. The rally was called after four illegal migrants abducted an elderly man earlier this week and used his car to drive to the border with Italy. The protesters believe that the government and the police are not doing enough to protect the locals living along the border, with many signing a petition with five key demands. Unless they are taken seriously, another rally is to be organised in Ljubljana.
Roglič wins opening stage of Giro d'Italia
BOLOGNA, Italy - Slovenian ski jumper-come-cyclist Primož Roglič won the first stage of Giro d'Italia. He completed the 8-kilometre chronometer route 19 seconds faster than runner up Simon Yates of the UK. In place three was Italian Vincenzo Nibali, 23 seconds slower than Roglič. Competing for Jumbo-Visma, he claimed his second Tour de Romandie title only a week ago, and is viewed as one of the favourites for the three-week Giro d'Italia title.
Interior minister sides with hospitality sector over stricter DUI rules
PORTOROŽ - Following a push from the Traffic Safety Agency and a number of NGOs to lower the permitted alcohol level for drivers, Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar expressed his disagreement with this proposal on Friday as he attended a business conference of the Chamber of Craft and Small Business (OZS), which has previously expressed opposition to the proposal, saying it would damage the country's tourism industry.
Škocjan Caves boast second biggest underground chamber in Europe
ŠKOCJAN - Škocjanske Jame, an impressive underground system, is celebrating 200 years since welcoming its first visitors. The occasion was used to measure the cave system once again. It showed that the UNESCO site's biggest chamber is bigger than believed and that it is in fact the second biggest underground chamber in Europe. The caves became a tourist destination in 1819, when an official log of visitors was started. One of the most significant names entered in the log is that of Stephanie, the crown princess of Austria.
Slovenian's claim against Tesla thrown out
SAN JOSE, US - A second claim by a Slovenian Gregor Lešnik who was gravely injured while building a plant for electric car maker Tesla in Fremont, California, in 2015 has been thrown out, the newspaper Slovenske Novice reported. A San Jose court ruled that Lešnik had already been compensated for wrongs he alleges in the this claim with the US$550,000 settlement he reached with Tesla in 2016.
May 11, 2019
The City Council of Piran finally adopted a budget for the year 2019 this Friday, following a series of unsuccessful sessions that at certain point included the Mayor's making passing of the plan conditional on him staying in office.
Mayor Đenio Zadković had a difficult week after the commercial TV station POP TV found out about his website and some letters he had sent two years ago to various world leaders, including Pope Francis, former General Secretary of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon and then US presidential candidate Donald Trump. As Zadković, whose interests are philosophy and spirituality according to his autobiography, later explained, the letters were part of his art photography project.
In his 2016 letter to Donald Trump he proposes that his pictures be exhibited at Ground Zero in New York for the following reasons:
“When George W. Bush became president of the US I saw tragedy in his eyes. That was 9/11 and in that period the Idea of exposing my photopoems at GROUND ZERO started to rise. It may sound too ambitious, but that is the only place where I want to see them exposed. I'd like to find out if the initials of my name and surname have some kind of connection with those of the place where once the twins were; I want to know if Jung's synchronicity exists (now, not now or never?); and finally if the language of the unconscious still works in the name of love.”
To Ban Ki-moon, he proposed the solution for the “B zone”, the post WWII name for the coastal area that eventually became part of Slovenia and which during the related negotiations belonged to the so-called Territory of Trieste under direct responsibility of the UN Security Council:
“My plan is to establish a bank of United Nations in the Free Territory of Trieste/zone B in Koper and I would like you Mr. BAN KI-MOON after retiring from the presidency of the UN to undertake the presidency of the bank, the priority of which will be the introduction of a Universal Basic Income for everybody, starting with Africa and thus solving the problem of the current and likely future massive exodus. I trust you understand my plan and that there is no need to extrapolate into the future with further examples. Thank you for reading my letter and being sensitive to the problem of refugees (and I would like to add, the welfare of women).”
These letters, however, only came out after several of mayor’s unconventional Facebook posts that were directed at the more extreme of his GZOP party members caught the public’s attention. The Mayor laughed at the Pop TV report, thanking them for the free publicity and repeating his previous suggestion that Piran would make the best place for big international meetings. In translation:
“Ahahaha, POP TV, thank you for the advertisement. (…) Perhaps Putin and Trump will come to Piran after all. It is not too late yet.”
“Following this POP TV news I have a green light now to invite to the next philosophical duel our Slavoj Žižek, who is also from Portorož, and Jordan Peterson.”
And then several posts on the importance of understanding before criticizing, including:
“My world is pure, immaculate. My life is my pride. (…) I haven’t got a single enemy among those who know me. People who hate me are some of “my people” from the GZOP party because they didn’t get enough, hmmm. At the very beginning, when we started with the Portorož Movement forum, I wrote: "If we take our gold (victory) as our prey, then the collapse of the system will follow". And what you see is the collapse of the system, because of the hawks. What else should I tell you? The infamous letters you mentioned were written 3, 4, 5 years ago. I’ve been creating my photos for 10 years. Only a few can understand me through these photos, unfortunately. (…) I am here to make this municipality the most beautiful municipality in the world. How? Nicely, with your help, "the media", rather than with destroying of a mayor who you do not understand because you can’t, unfortunately.”
Although initially praised for its spontaneous democratic value, the Facebook group turned formal with the establishment of the Movement for the Municipality of Piran (GZOP) party, and has been struggling to remain united after gaining power. Five out of eight GZOP councillors voted against the budget proposed by Mayor this week, and when the proposal finally passed some of the members accused the mayor of “playing solo”.
The Mayor’s lack of political background, although considered a good thing by some as it appears to stand against corruption, seems to be causing serious operational problems due to lack of general political skills, including an understanding of administrative procedure and the use of proper channels and modes of communication.
The mayor concluded his string of Facebook posts with an explanation of the text accompanying a photo that POP TV used, in his view, inappropriately:
“Here I am delivering text, which will interpret my photograph named UP TO YOU, from which certain sentences that POP TV published were taken. The whole thing is written to improve understanding of the photo, which is full of symbolism, archetypes, archaic symbols and carries a strong message, which is so complex that without any explanation and knowing the symbols (the vocabulary of the unconscious) hardly anyone can understand it, while the photo I leave to your personal perception and, of course, imagination. I’ve always been saying, “If one person will understand what I think, I have won.” I am overjoyed that there are so many of you who understand. Thank you, dear Nejc [person who was commenting on Facebook], and thank you, who in these times and for many this unreasonable position, support me.”
Gibanje Portorož is a Facebook group that played a crucial role in last local elections in the Municipality of Piran. It has a little over 5,000 members, some of whom express quite extremist views on the political process, and the Mayor has struggled to distance himself from these since running the office. The group was closed several days ago.
For those who live and work in Piran, now that the budget has finally been passed perhaps the Mayor’s real work can begin.
Keep up with the daily news in Slovenia by checking the morning headlines here
This summary of the week ahead is provided by the STA:
MONDAY, 13 May
LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly will debate amendments to the real estate records act and the opposition's allegations about political pressure on the judiciary.
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar will attend a session of the EU's Foreign Affairs Council. He will also attend an event marking the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership.
BEIJING/HANGZHOU, China - Agriculture Ministry State Secretary Jože Podgoršek will attend a meeting of farm ministers of the 16+1 initiative and a forum on agricultural and trade cooperation between China and Central and Eastern Europe.
LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor will receive members of the first Slovenian expedition to Mount Everest upon the 40th anniversary of the feat.
LJUBLJANA - The Association of Journalists and Commentators will host a panel on changes to the umbrella media law.
LJUBLJANA - The Charm of Wood, an exhibition dedicated to wood design, will open at the Cankarjev Dom; until 18 May.
LJUBLJANA - The start of the National Volunteering Week; until 19 May.
TUESDAY, 14 May
LJUBLJANA - Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex will start a two-day visit to Slovenia at the invitation of President Borut Pahor.
LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Home Policy Committee will debate Schengen border protection at the request of the Democrats (SDS).
CERKLJE OB KRKI - Slovenian Armed Forces Day will be celebrated with a display of Slovenian military gear, with keynotes by Defence Minister Karl Erjavec and President Borut Pahor.
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Agriculture Minister Aleksandra Pivec will attend a session of the EU's Agriculture and Fisheries Council while Defence Ministry State Secretary Miloš Bizjak will be on hand for a session of the Foreign Affair Council.
KLAGENFURT, Austria - National Council President Alojz Kovšca will visit Carinthia to meet members of the Slovenian minority and Governor Peter Kaiser.
LJUBLJANA - AJPES, the agency for public legal records, will present cumulative data on the performance of companies in 2018.
TEL AVIV, Israel - Slovenian Eurovision entrants Zala Kralj and Gašper Šantl will perform in the first semi-final of the song competition.
WEDNESDAY, 15 May
SKOPJE, North Macedonia - Agriculture Minister Aleksandra Pivec will start a two-day visit to North Macedonia.
LJUBLJANA - The Agriculture Committee will debate allegedly questionable financing of a campaign for the promotion of Slovenian food.
CELJE - Chemical company Cinkarna Celje will release its Q1 financials.
LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - The board of directors of the European Investment Bank (EIB) will decide on the planned EUR 250 million loan for the Koper-Divača rail project.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenian Book Days; until 18 May.
LJUBLJANA - Laibach will perform songs from the last album, The Sound of Music, at Cankarjev Dom.
THURSDAY, 16 May
LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Defence Committee will debate the status of the Poček military training grounds.
LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Finance Committee will debate the Left's proposal for a tax on digital services.
LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Commission for Slovenians Abroad will debate direct representation of the Slovenian diaspora in the National Assembly.
LJUBLJANA - Weekly government session.
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Finance Minister Andrej Bertoncelj will take part in a Eurogroup session.
HELSINKI, Finland - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar will take part in a two-day session of the Council of Europe (CoE) foreign ministers.
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Foreign Ministry State Secretary Simona Leskovar will attend a meeting of the EU ministers in charge of development.
LJUBLJANA - Public broadcaster TV Slovenija will host two EU election debates, respectively with the candidates of parliamentary and non-parliamentary parties.
LJUBLJANA - A debate on digitalisation of cultural heritage organised by several museums and ministries.
LJUBLJANA - Insurer Zavarovalnica Triglav is expected to release preliminary Q1 results.
LJUBLJANA - Insurer Sava Re is expected to release preliminary Q1 results.
MARIBOR - International circular economy conference Circular Change; until 17 May.
PODČETRTEK - Slovenia Incoming Workshop, the biggest event for tour organisers in Slovenia; until 18 May.
FRIDAY, 17 May
LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly will hold an emergency session to debate the Democrats (SDS) proposal to exclude healthcare and the army from the single public sector pay system.
LJUBLJANA - Energy group Petrol is expected to release preliminary Q1 results.
SATURDAY, 18 May
RAVNE NA KOROŠKEM - Slovenia will mark World Bee Day with an event featuring exhibitions, workshops and speeches by officials.
SUNDAY, 19 May
LJUBLJANA - Parliamentary Speaker Dejan Židan will receive his Swiss counterpart Marina Carobbio Guscetti for a three-day official visit.
If you're not in town for the week of this guide (13 - 19 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. As ever, links to venues are after the following selections…
The Castle’s the city’s main attraction, and Saturday and Sunday see the annual Castle Days, with a medieval camp, workshops, mock fights, free tours and more, including free entrance to the Tower. You can read about it here.
Starting Thursday and running until mid-June is Svetlobna gverila / Lighting Guerrilla. This is a free festibal of light-based art at various locations around town, each opening at different dates. The first takes place at Galerija Vžigalica and other spots nearby Križanke / French Revolution Square. This is usually very beautiful, but obviously best enjoyed after dark.
Pop music highlights over the next seven days include Laibach playing The Sound of Music at Cankerjev dom on Wednesday (15 May), Morcheeba at Kino Šiška on Thursday and Benjamin Clementine at the same venue on Friday. Saturday the biggest name in town in Tom Jones, playing Ljubljana for the first – and perhaps the last – time, so head to Arena Stožice if you want to hear the all the hits and perhaps a story or two about Elvis.
With regard to clubs, K4 is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, with a documentarmy made for its 15th shown above. The big day is really May 25, but the 30K4 Festival begins Friday, 17 May and runs until the 31st.
Sports meets acrobatics with the Dunking Devils live show, bringing basketball and trampoline to Hala Tivoli on Friday and Saturday, 19:00.
Friday also sees the annual Maturantska Parada, an “almost graduated” dance routine / prelude to a party by local high school students. This will start at 12 noon on Slovenska cesta, with an after party at the Next Level Festival.
The weather’s getting better, so the number of outside events and performances is increasing. Starting Saturday and continuing through the summer are two art markets. ARTish is in Gornji trg square, the far end of the Old Town, where you can buy works from Slovenian artists (09:00 – 18:00). Around the same time, but ending 16:00, there are more local artists along the nearby Breg Embankment, on the other side of the river, under the banner of the Ljubljana Art Market. (While Sunday mornings, same location, see the regular flea / antique market.
The Festival Lezbična četrt, or the Lesbian Quarter Festival, runs until 18 May and has lots of different events around town, from talks to workshops, DJ sets to dance performances, guided tours to film screenings. The Facebook page has all the details, in Slovene and English.
In town and want to follow the news? Check out our regular morning headlines for Slovenia here.
You can read about all the cinemas in town here, while a selection of what’s playing this week is below, and note that kids' movies tend to be shown in dubbed versions, while non-English language movies for older viewers will have Slovenian subtitles.Parents should also pay attention to Kinobalon, which is Kinodvor's regular weekend series of film screenings and events for children, from babies on up, with special parent/child events, "first time in a cinema" screenings, and babysitting. Learn more about it here, and see the current schedule here.
Kinodvor –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.
Compared to some European capitals it can seem that nightlife in Ljubljana ends rather early, especially along the river, but there are still bars that stay open late and clubs were you can dance until dawn, and perhaps the best place to stumble across something interesting is the legendary Metelkova. Be aware it's a grungy kind of place and not for all tastes, but also that there's considerable variety to found within the various clubs there, from death metal to electropop, gay cabaret to art noise. You can read "the rules" of the place here. And if you're curious about how the place started then read our story, and look at some pictures, about last year's 25th anniversary.
Božidar - DJ events aren't too common here, but when they happen they often have a big name.
Channel Zero – DJs shows here include regular dub nights as well as electronic music.
Gala Hala – Another Metelkova venue, you can sometimes hear bhangra and Bollywood here, but more often funk, hip hop, breakbeat and so on.
Klub Cirkus – The more commercial end of clubland, and a venue that aims to serve the student party scene. Expect house, anthems, and bangers.
Klub K4 – The home of techno, old and new, along with various other electronic genres,
Koncertna Dvorana Rog– There are irregular DJ sets at this underground (not literally) venue at the far end of Trubarjeva cesta, and they range from techno to goa to drum'n'bass.
Orto Bar– 80s and 90s throwback nights can often be found here, along with rock-based DJ sets.
Balassi Institute – Free Hungarian music, when available, from the Hungarian cultural institute just a short walk downriver from Dragon Bridge.
Cankerjev dom – The main arts venue in the country hosts classical, opera jazz, folk and occassinally pop.
Cvetličarna – Regional pop and rock concerts can be found here.
Channel Zero – This Metelkova venue sees live shows from punk and rock bands, as well as others.
Gala Hala – Another Metelkova venue with indie bands of various styles.
Kino Šiška – One of the top live venues in the city, with a varied programme that include indie, rock, pop, experimental, hip hop, and so on.
Klub Gromka – Live music is often metal, from sludge to stoner, death to thrash, while punk bands also appear, as do others.
Križanke – The venue that hosts the Ljubljana Festival often has classical music, and some rock, in the open air.
Ljubljana Castle – Jazz, funk and pop every Friday night.
Orto Bar– The home of live rock, metal, punk and other guitar-based genres.
Pinelina dnevna soba – LIve music is rare here, but it does happen.
Slovenska filharmonija– Classical music in the centre of town.
SNG Opera and Ballet - As the name suggests, here you'll find the best of opera and ballet in the country.
Španski borci - While dance is more common here, they also have some contemporary and experimental music shows.
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.
Balassi Institute – The Hungarian culture centre hasInterlacement – exhibition of Éva Farkasvölgyi and Žiga Okorn, showing tapestries and paintings on until June 14th.Free to enter, this venue is next to a Spar and Hofer, and not far from Dragon Bridge, and always has something interesting going on. Learn more here.
City Museum – The Museum in French Revolution Square an interesting permanent exhibition on the history of Ljubljana, from prehistoric times to the present day, with many artefacts, models and so on that bring the story alive.You can read about my visit here.
The Faces of Ljubljana in the City Museum. Photo: JL Flanner
International Centre of Graphic Arts – Starting March 22 and running until May 19 is Photographic Images and Matter: Japanese Prints of the 1970s and Japan, Yugoslavia and the Biennial of Graphic Arts: Documents of Collaboration. One of the images promoting the show is shown below.
Kosuke Kimura: Present Situation – Existence A, colour and silkscreen, 1971.
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
STA, 10 May 2019 - Former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, who was invited to Slovenia by former Slovenian President Milan Kučan and MEP Ivo Vajgl (Alde/DeSUS), said in Ljubljana on Friday that the aim of the Catalan independence movement was to strengthen democracy at the Catalan and EU level.
Puigdemont and two former Catalan councillors have chosen Ljubljana as one of the first destinations for their EU election campaign since according to them Slovenia is Catalonia's friend and serves as an inspiration, demonstrating that small countries and democratic values can thrive in Europe.
Arribat a #Eslovènia. Després de la reunió amb l'alcalde de #Ljubljana, Zoran Janković, a les 14h podeu seguir en directe l'acte amb els eurodiputats @ivajgl i @isoltesEP, i els consellers @toni_comin i @ClaraPonsati— Carles Puigdemont (@KRLS) May 10, 2019
? Directe: https://t.co/CEQFohdPwD#JuntsxEuropa ?#EP2019 pic.twitter.com/btuihmDIVo
During a debate at the City Museum, Puigdemont pointed out that while some proponents of Catalonia's independence were imprisoned or exiled, the movement's aim was "to strengthen our democracy and ensure better service to our citizens".
"Without democracy, there'd be no future, without democracy, small countries, such as Slovenia, would be threatened by large ones," said the former president.
Among the main goals of the movement he listed peace, freedom, human rights, social progress and the fight against climate change.
According to him, the supporters of the Catalan independence will strive for these goals in the EU Parliament as well.
"We hope we will cooperate with other MEPs, including Slovenian ones, to advance efforts regarding democracy and self-determination," said Clara Ponsati, an MEP candidate and former Catalan Councillor of Education.
We are fighting for Europe, not only for ourselves. The #1oct referendum is our way to contribute to the future of Europe. We want to be another of the small nations that help to improve Europe and the world https://t.co/D9hVKgo3YK#JuntsxEuropa ?#EP2019 pic.twitter.com/XCClZpLRS1— Carles Puigdemont (@KRLS) May 10, 2019
She pointed out that if Puigdemont was elected to the Parliament, the Catalans would have a voice in the centre of EU institutions, which would be a very important step forward for them, enabling them to express themselves and assigning the institutions the responsibility for Catalan democracy as well.
Puigdemont, Ponsati and former Catalan Councillor of Health Antoni Comin will be running for a seat in the EU Parliament on the joint slate Together for Europe, featuring several Catalan parties, including Puigdemont's Together for Catalonia.
The Spanish Electoral Commission had banned their candidacy, but the Madrid Administrative Court annulled this decision on Monday.
The former Catalan president commented on the results of the recent Spanish parliamentary election, won by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez's Socialist party (PSOE), saying that the party got fewer votes this time, same as one of the other central parties, the conservative People's Party.
Puigdemont thus believes that the Spanish political core is weaker, which poses a risk to the system's stability.
"I think now is the moment for a coalition government, otherwise the instability will continue and there will not be enough political power or majority to start seriously tackling the Catalan crisis," he said.
The only way to start resolving the crisis is to open up political dialogue, according to him.
Puigdemont was one of the main initiators of the Catalan independence referendum, held on 1 October 2017, with the Catalan regional parliament passing the resolution declaring independence that month as well.
The action was declared illegal by Spain, with the Spanish authorities deposing Puigdemont as well as his government and imposing a direct rule over Catalonia. The demoted president and a number of his former ministers fled for Belgium, facing rebellion charges.
Unlike twelve former Catalan leaders who stayed in Spain, Puigdemont is not being prosecuted in Spain even though he has been charged with rebellion. The prosecuted dozen are facing 7 to 25 years in prison.
STA, 10 May 2019 - The investigating magistrate in the case of the abduction of a man by illegal immigrants has ordered that all three suspects arrested on Wednesday remain in detention. Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar meanwhile said the police were in control of the situation on the border with Croatia and that "there is presently no need for protest rallies".
A 25-year-old Morocco citizen and two 18-year-olds from Algeria are accused of abduction, theft and car robbery, prosecutor Srečko Hočevar told the media.
The three were arrested on Wednesday by Italian police and handed to Slovenia on suspicion they had abducted a 79-year-old man working in his vineyard near the Croatia border and had used his car to get to Italy. The man was released before the border.
Responding to the developments today, minister Poklukar said he regrets "that this criminal act occurred", but is "happy that it ended well".
"The Slovenian police are effective and successfully completed the arrest of the perpetrators together with the Italian police," the minister said on the sidelines of a fair in Portorož.
While Poklukar is convinced Slovenia is a safe country with a functioning national security system, he said the country was facing an increase in the number of crossings on the Croatian border.
"In the recent days we stepped up police activities and increased the number of army units in municipalities with a higher number of illegal crossings."
Commenting on the protest rally announced for Saturday in the Bela Krajina border region, the minister said that the police were in control and that no protests or discontent were necessary.
STA, 10 May 2019 - Two analysts quizzed by the STA feel that Wednesday's abduction of an elderly man by illegal migrants will have a profound effect on the ongoing EU election campaign. Andraž Zorko of pollster Valikon and Igor Kršinar, a journalist for the weekly Reporter, also agree PM Marjan Šarec made a mistake by not responding to the incident more aggressively.
Zorko said "nothing will be the same" after Wednesday, arguing the incident confirmed the darkest fears spread by the far-right - "that it is not refugees who are entering Slovenia but economic migrants who can be violent".
He added the development would boost the campaign of the parties with the hardest anti-migration stances, primarily the recently formed Homeland League (DOM) followed by the opposition Democrats (SDS).
While Zorko believes the opposition National Party (SNS) and its head Zmago Jelinčič, "a left nationalist", can only hope to win over a few centre-left voters frustrated with their primary parties' migration policies, Kršinar believes Jelinčič will be the biggest beneficiary of the incident.
Kršinar said Jelinčič had already stood out during Thursday's campaign debate on TV Slovenija: "He might even make it to the European Parliament, which will definitely be a special kind of affair."
Kršinar does not believe DOM will benefit, arguing the party has not attracted enough media attention and that unlike Jelinčič, DOM's leader Bernard Brščič is not a capable public speaker.
"Jelinčič says in a few words what many people want to hear but do not have the nerve to say. So called serious parties actually have a problem in that they cannot perform in the manner Jelinčič is doing it," he said.
Kršinar meanwhile feels that it remains unclear for now how much the SDS can gain. "Of course it will try to use the incident in its favour and it will be among the more important participants of Saturday's rally in Bela Krajina" border region, where the immigrants abducted the man and his car to get to Italy.
As for Šarec's decision to reject the SDS's call for a session of the National Security Council, Kršinar said the prime minister "made a major mistake and missed the opportunity to publicly demonstrate his determination to secure order and peace".
Zorko also said this was "a very bad message to the people living on the border", while both also highlighted the failure of Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar to appear at Thursday's press conference of the police.
The pair agrees a determined reaction would have been necessary from the state, since the situation is feeding the growth of populist movements.
"A determined PM would have immediately sent the army to the border and extended the border fence," Kršinar said, suggesting Šarec's LMŠ party may even fail to get a single MEP elected in the upcoming election because of the situation.