News

31 Dec 2018, 12:59 PM

STA, 28 December 2018 - Late December is a time when many take stock of the year behind them and think about New Year's resolutions. Slovenia's Statistics Office decided to try and inspire people to make positive changes in their lives by providing a medley of lifestyle statistics.

Food, drink and exercise

Winter holiday season sees many people overindulging in sweets and alcohol, as well as comfort food. However, long winter evenings spent in good company are not the only reason why as many as 52% of Slovenians over the age of 18 are overweight or obese.

The figure is above the EU average, making Slovenia the sixth fattest country in the bloc. The Statistics Office also said that 45% have a normal weight and 3% are undernourished.

The data also show that 60% of Slovenians did a sufficient amount of exercise, according to medical standards. 24% did some exercise but not enough to reap the benefits and 16% did no exercise at all.

Nearly 80% of Slovenians over the age of 16 had an alcoholic drink at least once a month in 2018. Maybe some of them will rethink their drinking habits after learning that nearly 690 people were hospitalised this year for alcohol-related liver disease, which proved fatal for more than 360 people.

But not everything is that grim. Data on fruit and veg intake are quite encouraging. About 70% of Slovenians eat at least a serving of fruit and vegetables a day. Nearly a third eat them several times a week and only some 3% eat fruit and vegetables less frequently.

Smoking and stress

Giving up smoking will likely be on the list of New Year's resolutions of some of the 20% of Slovenians who smoke. The figure has been dropping only slowly in the past two decades, statistics show.

The Statistics Office implies that some Slovenians should also think about living less stressful lives by supplying data that 940 people were hospitalised last year due to stress-related problems.

The number was twice as high as in 2005. On the other hand, work hour data suggest that Slovenians work fewer hours: in 2008 they performed 40.5 hours of work a week and in 2017 the average was at 39.

Charity, travel, education and savings

About 55% of Slovenians performed voluntary work on 2015, helping either other people or caring for abandoned animals, among other things. Moreover, about 30% of Slovenians did voluntary work in an NGO or other organisation.

Many pledge to expand their horizons in the new year. While more than half of Slovenians travel, only about 12% of those between the ages of 25 and 64 were involved in a form of formal or informal education last year.

On the other hand, nearly 1.2 million Slovenians went on at least one private trip in 2017. Interestingly, 16% of them did not go beyond Slovenia's borders, while 53% only travelled abroad.

Travelling is certainly easier when you have enough money. Statistics show that Slovenians saved up EUR 1,750 on average last year, while an average household saved EUR 4,300.

The Statistics Office is a goldmine of interesting data – see all our posts tagged “statistics” here

31 Dec 2018, 12:00 PM

STA, 29 December 2018 - Slovenia's growth momentum is expected to moderate in 2019 amid mounting uncertainty surrounding the global economic outlook. Trade wars are seen as the biggest external downward risk, but there are upward risks in the domestic environment as well.

Trump, Brexit and trade wars

Global risks and uncertainty have been increasing throughout this year, in particular those related to the protectionist policies of US President Donald Trump and the uncertainty about Brexit.

Speaking to the STA, Bojan Ivanc, chief economist at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry's (GZS) Analytics, has warned of the risk of Trump taking measures targeting Europe's car industry, in particular Germany's.

Ivanc believes there is a 50-50 chance for the US and EU to reach an agreement on the issue, but he also says that potential measures would have a major indirect impact on Slovenia, considering the major role that the automotive industry plays in the country's exports.

Given the political confusion surrounding Brexit in the UK, GZS analysts see a 20% likelihood of a repeat referendum or a reversal of the decision to exit the EU.

The likeliest scenario, with a 50% chance, is an interim agreement that would put off answers to key questions about the future relationship into the future. The GZS assessed the odds for a no-deal Brexit at 30%.

Ivanc says that trade wars are a much bigger threat to Slovenia than Brexit because of their impact on the automotive value supply chain and the knock-on effects on transport and construction industries.

The IMF, OECD and the European Commission project global growth to reach about 3.5% in 2019, which is roughly at the level seen this year and the year before.

However, a more pronounced moderation is forecast for Europe's largest economies, including Germany, whose economy is now projected to expand by 1.5% this year and roughly as much in 2019.

Asked how the trends could impact on the Slovenian economy, Ivanc noted that the most recent data on exports remain quite good, but added that some companies at the start of the automotive chain are already seeing a drop in orders for 2019.

Local firms remain optimistic, although lack of staff and wage pressure are concerns

A survey conducted by the GZS among businesses in the autumn showed that most still expected to increase their sales in foreign markets and more than one out of three plan additional hiring while half plan investments.

The key problem for Slovenian businesses today is home-grown, that is a shortage of experienced staff and the related pressure on higher wages and thus higher labour costs.

As a further internal risk factor Ivanc mentioned a slow growth in private consumption. New car purchasing is getting less intensive although it keeps strong, and the number of real estate transactions has fallen in response to an excessive price growth.

Slovenians are mostly keeping their surplus income as savings rather than spending. This could be a cause for concern considering that the contribution of external trade to Slovenia's growth over the next two years is projected to decrease and even disappear.

Ivanc sees domestic demand as an important internal risk to the expected growth in GDP, along with dynamics in the phasing of EU funds, also in connection with major infrastructural projects such as the new Koper-Divača railway.

Slovenia well prepared for a downturn, with construction and consumers likely to drive growth

The GZS believes that Slovenia's resilience to a potential downturn is quite strong, at least within a year or two. Corporate indebtedness is the lowest in a decade and liquidity levels are still high.

Banks are highly capitalised and are financed mostly from domestic savings deposits. Household debts have increased but remain at one of the lowest levels in the eurozone.

Despite this increased resilience, Ivanc would like the government to put in place a suitable and predictable legislative framework that would make it clear on time what it will do when tax revenue drops. He says the government should create sufficient fiscal reserves.

Most of the latest forecasts for the Slovenian economy project growth to slow down from about 4.5% this year to about 3.5% in 2019. Ivanc believes the rate is realistic but also says that surprises are possible in both directions so the interval of growth is between 3% and 4%.

Ivanc says that a positive surprise could come from the construction sector and from Slovenian consumers, who could increase their spending faster than projected.

Meanwhile, the GZS does not see a scope for a positive surprise in the external environment, but rather a likelihood of a slightly more negative scenario, in particular in the automotive chain segment.

31 Dec 2018, 10:05 AM

STA, 28 December 2018 - Prices of shares listed on the Ljubljana Stock Exchange have fallen on average this year with the SBI TOP losing 0.18% in a year. Stock brokers closed EUR 337m worth of deals, which compares to EUR 347m in 2017.

In a release issued on the last trading day on Friday, the management of the Ljubljana Stock Exchange assessed 2019 as a successful year.

It noted that the value of the SBI TOP index exceeded 900 points for the first time in eight years, which it said indicated positive trends on the Slovenian capital market.

The index closed at 805.06 points today, which is 1.46 points or 0.18% down from the last trading day in 2017.

SBI TOP hit the highest value on 6 June at 907.58 points, falling to the lowest point on 20 December at 790.91 points. The shares of NLB bank were included in the index in December.

Trading volumes in 2018 totalled EUR 337.32m, which is a drop of 2.91% compared to the year before. Block trades excluded, turnover amounted to EUR 286.49m, an increase of 17.7% from 2017.

Most of the turnover, EUR 327.69m, was generated in shares, with bonds contributing EUR 9.63m.

The busiest month of the year was May with trading volumes reaching EUR 51.3m, mainly due to the takeover of household appliances maker Gorenje, while NLB's listing as the first new issue in more than a decade sparking an increased interest in Slovenian shares in the autumn.

Stockbrokers closed 38,108 deals this year, 24.4% fewer than the year before. The average value of a deal was EUR 8,852, 28.4% more than in 2017.

The issue of pharma company Krka remained the most active item, accounting for EUR 86.4m or over 25% of the total trading volumes.

Related: Slovenian Blue Chips – the most liquid stocks on the exchange

The shares of chemical company Cinkarna Celje generated EUR 56.47m in turnover, the issue of insurer Zavarovalnica Triglav EUR 43.24m and energy company Petrol's EUR 40.64m.

Of the issues included in the index, the biggest gains were made by those of financial group KD Group (+536.7%), logistics company Intereuropa (+29.94%), insurer Zavarovalnica Triglav (+4.84%) and Krka (+0.52%).

The biggest fallers were the shares of the telecoms incumbent Telekom Slovenije (-28.81%) and port operator Luka Koper (-14.47%).

The total market capitalization of the stock market exceeded EUR 33.366bn. At the end of the year, 67 securities of 41 issuers were included in trading with a total market capitalization of shares of EUR 6.35bn.

This year, eight securities were delisted, while one new share and two new bonds were listed with a total issue value of EUR 1.52bn and two commercial papers with a total issue value of EUR 36.53m.

Gorenje was delisted after China's Hisense became the sole owner of the company, while NLB was listed on 14 November, after an initial public offering at EUR 51.50 per share.

NLB saw almost EUR 3m in volumes on the first trading day and by the end of the year it reached EUR 8.38m with the share closing at EUR 62 today, the highest since the listing and 9.4% above the official listing price.

As regards trading on the new MFT SI ENTER market, 58 securities were listed in 2018, which accounted for EUR 4.725m in turnover. The average daily number of transactions was 2.2, and the average value of each transaction was EUR 8,669.61.

30 Dec 2018, 19:00 PM

The big event this week is obviously New Year’s, with plenty of action in bars, pubs and clubs around town, as well as on the streets and in the squares. The city-sponsored free events include Children's New Year's Celebrations in Congress Square at 16:00, then at 21:00 there are concerts at the following squares around town, all within a close distance of each other:

New Year's Celebrations at Congress Square featuring Anabel, Nika Zorjan and Victory

New Year's Celebrations at French Revolution Square featuring Super Action Heroes, Red Five Point Star and Elvis Jackson

New Year's Celebrations at City Square featuring Maraaya & Jazzilaz and Klara Jazbec

New Years Celebrations at Pogačar Square (the marketplace) featuring Gala Kvintet and France In Krila

For a rundown of events happening on the 31st around Slovenia, check here

Related: Remember the drink driving limit in Slovenia

IMPORTANT: Most supermarkets seem to be closed January 1 and 2, so stock up, work around or be disappointed. As a point of reference I have two bags of coffee, three bottles of penina and two dozen mandarins to ensure an easy start to the year.

As ever, clicking on the venue names in the list below should get you more details with regard to the time, price and location, as well as other events on this week in the same place. Finally, if there's something 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

Getting around Ljubljana

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. If you’re driving into town and don’t know where to part, our guide to how to park in Ljubljana is 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.

Cinemas and films playing in Ljubljana this week

You can read about all the cinemas in town here, while a selection of what’s playing this week is below, and note that kid’s movies tend to be shown in dubbed versions, so do check before driving out to a multiplex and dropping off the young ones if they can't understand Slovene. That said, parents should 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 – The arts cinema not far from the train station is showing, among other features, The Old Man & The Gun, Green Book, Den tid på året, The Favourite and Captain Morten and the Spider Queen.

Kinoteka – This revival cinema isn’t far from Kinodvor, at the train station end of Miklošičeva, is showing Billy Wilder’s The Apartment, Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West, Bertolucci’s The Sheltering Sky, and on Saturday, January 5, all three Lord of the Rings movies will be shown.

Kolosej - The multiplex out at BTC City Mall is playing all the big movies, which this week include Robin HoodThe Grinch (with both subbed and dubbed versions), Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of GrindelwaldBohemian RhapsodyRobin Hood, Johnny English 3A Star is BornGajin svetPat in Mat znova v akcijiThe Nutcracker and the Four Realms, dubbed and subbed versions of Spider Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Aquaman, Bumblebee, a dubbed version of Asterix: Le secret de la potion magique, and Second Act. New this week are Mary Queen of Scots, Južni vetar, Mary Poppins Returns, and L'Empereur de Paris.

Komuna – The cinema in a basement behind Nama department store is showing Mary Queen of Scots.

Clubbing in Ljubljana

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 consideable variety to found within the various clubs there, from death metal to electropop, gay caberet to art noise. You can read "the rules" of the place here.

Channel Zero – Monday night (New Year’s Eve) there’s NYE w/ Everything GOES with DJs Rope, Jerry, Sunneh, Fogy, and Stojc.

Gala Hala – Monday brings Piratska mineštra, with funk and hip hop from DJs Udo Brenner, Bakto, K’Pow and Dado. Friday, January 4, there’s a release party for SN3F, with music from DVMIR and KANOMOTIS.

Klub Cirkus – Say čao to 2018 and dobro jutro to 2019 at the more commercial end of klubland with The Best of Party Hits & Bubbles, which will also feature “dance performances”. On Friday the fun picks up again with a look back at the year that was on the dancefloor, with Repriza - Best of 2018, with the sets provided by Matthew Z, David Mel and MC Dey. Party animals can then return to the scene on Saturday, with DJ Dej presenting an RnB Explosion: Fresh Anthems & Classics Cuts.

Klub K4 – K4 has been burning itself into the memories of klubbers for three decades, and is still producing good times, tired feet and natural highs on a weekly basis. This week there’s just one event, and it’s on Monday night, with a party called K4NYE. This isn’t a Kanye tribute act, but a New Year party with the fun provided by Vid Vai b2b Nitz (Phi, Synaptic), Simm. b2b Marin (Just us), Nitram (NL), Alex Ranerro (SOVLD), Elovetric (Just a dance), DEN7EL (Just a dance), and VJ 5237. A relatively chill mix by Vid Vai is below.

Koncertna Dvorana Rog – Monday night there’s Neznosna Lahkost Bivanja ~ Formaviva, which will be providing techno music and psychedelic folk at the far end of Trubarjeva cesta. On Friday there’s HashtagTradicija, which seems to be presenting something by Illegal Kru and this is probably a drum and bass affair.

Orto Bar – The rock club will see in the New Year with ZaNovLet: MetalAlternativePunk & TheDancingQueen70s80s90s. This is a two part evening, with “metal, punkrock, hardcore, stoner, grunge, alternative” from Dirty Skunks and Froot Bombs, followed by a DJ set featuring 70`s, 80`s, 90`s Disco Pop Dance Hits.

Harm reduction and drug testing

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. One thing they recently warned of were pink Pharaoh pills with around twice the normal MDMA content (measured at 261 mg). See pictures and learn more here, but do remember that all the usual drugs remain illegal in Slovenia, while our in-depth profile of the group is here. We've also heard increasing reports - albeit anecdotal - of women's drinks being spiked in the city, so take care and let friends know where you're going.

Some fun facts about the city and its castle...

Enhance your stay in the city and impress or annoy your friends and companions by learning some obscure facts about the city here, and the castle here.

Things to do with children in Ljubljana

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, ice cream and pizza.

Mini Teater Ljubljana – The season sees a lot of puppet performances for children, in Slovene, at this theatre not far from Križanke, including: The Frog King, Puss in Boots, Carrot Dwarf and The Little Match Girl. 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.

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Photo: JL Flanner

Live music in Ljubljana

Continuing until the end of the month is a programme of free festive concerts in Novi trg, while there are also many street performers around town bringing some seasonal cheer and a chance to be charitable.

Cankerjev dom – Damir Imamović will be playing a New Year show, starting at 20:00.

Ljubljana Castle – On Friday, January 4, the Jazz Club will be hosting Las Cuerdas at 21:00, who will play a set of Latin rock / reggae.

Orto Bar – Thursday brings the first Kadilnica of Death promotion of 2019, this one featuring Inmate and Ashine. Friday you can then celebrate Elvis Presley's 84th Birthday Party, with a concert from Sam’s Fever.

LGBT+ Ljubljana

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 – This lesbian bar in Metelkova is open every Friday, but the special event this week is Sretna UstaNOVA! For New Year’s, featuring a long list of DJs and functioning as an afterpart to the earlier evening’s fun at Pritličje (see below).

Klub Tiffany – And the gay bar next door is also open on Fridays, while for the New Year it’s offering Resolution Revolution, which will invite you to party like it’s 1999.

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. On New Year's the place is still open all day, but the party officially begins at 21:00

Museums and galleries in Ljubljana

Most public galleries and museums are closed on Mondays, although not the National Museum.

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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. Read about our guided tour here. Something on for a limited time is Plečnik and the Sacred, showing here until January 20, 2019.

Cankerjev domRunning until the end of February 2019 is an exhibition titled Ivan Cankar and Europe: Between Shakespeare and Kafka. This is “An examination of Cankar’s art through an analysis of influences and interpretations, and juxtaposition with contemporary European writers. The visually elaborate architectural and graphic layout, supported by audio-visual media, installation art and diverse visual highlights, offers a vivid account of Cankar’s excellence, his comprehensively exquisite aesthetic and artistic vision.”

City Art GalleryDrago Tršar recently had a show at the main Moderna looking at his monumental works, and now this smaller gallery in the Old Town, not far from Town Hall, is showing some the sculpture’s erotic works, on until January 20, 2019. It’s being promoted with the following example, and is quite explicit in terms of breasts and vaginas, but if that's OK for you and your companions then there's much to enjoy in the paintings, bronzes and ceramics on show.

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City Museum – The Museum in French Revolution Square has an exhibition on the writer Ivan Cankar that’s on until the end of February 2019, with pictures, books and manuscripts, all presented in Slovene and English. It also has a very 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. Until March 2019 there's a show highlighting the work Elza Kastl Obereigner (1884-1973), a pioneer Slovenian sculptress, with an example of her work shown below.

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Photo: M Paternoster

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The Faces of Ljubljana in the City Museum. Photo: JL Flanner

Galerija VžigalicaSaša Spačal has a show here until January 6, 2019 called Earthlink, “working at the intersection of intermedia art, exploration of living systems and audio frequencies, links Earth to the post-human present, that includes both a seed of the future as well as a shadow of the past.” A promotional image is what's shown below.

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Simbiom – ekonomija simbioze, 2016 © Dejan HabichtArhiv Moderne galerije

Galerija Jakopič – On until March 3 is Over My Eyes (Na moje oči), an exhibition of photographs from Iraq taken by Iraqi photographers.

International Centre of Graphic Arts – Running from Friday until March 3 2019 there will be a show of posters from Milton Glaser, while until March 3 2019 you can enjoy paintings, drawings, prints and murals from Nathalie Du Pasquier in a show called Fair Game.  The latter is being promoted with the following image.

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Ljubljana Exhibition & Convention Centre – Just outside the centre of town, at Dunajska cesta 18, you can see a lot of plasticized bodies at the Body Worlds Vital show, running from October 20 until January 20 2019.

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Photo: Body Works Vital

MAO – The Museum of Architecture and Design has much of what you'd expect, and until March 25, 2019, has a show on Ljubljana and it's relation with water. Until February 24 visitors can enjoy Toasted Furniture, which presents some experiments with the reuse of plastic waste, and until February 28 there's a show on Oskar Kogoj and his chairs.

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Sam, 1966, fotografija na srebroželatinskem papirju. ©Stojan Kerbler

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, and it's latest exhibition focuses on the photographer Stojan Kerbler, which runs until January 13, 2019, and shows rural live in Slovenia for the recent past.

Museum of Contemporary History – The museum in Tivoli Park has two new shows. One is called Museum's (R)evolution 1948-2018, marking the place's 70th anniversary with an exhibition tracing its evolution through artefacts, photographs and personal stories and running until January 6 2019 (details here). There's also In Search of Freedom: 1968-2018, looking at the 1968 student protests.

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. Running until February 10 2019 is a show called Ivana Kobilca (1861-1926): But Of Course, Painting Is Something Beautiful!, featuring works like the one below. You can read about our visit to the room containing sacred art from the Middle Ages here, and see a picture from our trip after the two girls.

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JL Flanner

National Museum of Slovenia – There’s plenty to see in the permanent collection here, from Roman times, Egypt and more, with the big draw this season being the exhibition of over 140 items of gold from Ming Dyntasy China, as reported here, and with an example below. This runs until February 15th.

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Photo: Wang Wei Chang

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.

Škuc Gallery - You can find this in the old town, and until January 20 there;s an interesting and often moving show called Kids that you can see for just 1 euro, with works by Johanna Billing, Matic Brumen, Andreja Džakušič, Priscila Fernandes, Eden Mitsenmacher, Franc Purg, and Pilvi Takala.

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). This place is located near the newer branch of the Moderna galerija and Metelkova.

Vodnikova Domačija Šiška – Until December 29 you can see works by a few dozen Slovenian illustrators at the December Illustration Fair, and also buy some for yourself or as a unique gift.

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Union is "the Ljubljana beer", but now both it and Laško are owned by Heineken. There are many local brews on offer, 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.

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.

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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.

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Photo: JL Flanner

Opera, theatre and dance in Ljubljana

 Cankerjev dom – You’ll believe a man and woman can fly with a live performance by Circa, a contemporary circus act, presenting a show called Humans on January 31.

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.

SNG Opera and Ballet – Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker is on stage from January 3 to 6, and tickets tend to go fast at this time of year. Note that the performance below is not from Ljubljana.

Pocket Teater Studio – Thursday you can enjoy Noches de Tablao: Urška Centa, Anja Mejač & Žiga Murko in perhaps the smallest venue in town. Music and dance, flamenco style, but note that the number of seats is very limited, and thus you should make a reservation via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 070 325 522. The price of ticket is 20€ or 15€ for students, and includes wine throughout the evening.

Slovenska filharmonija – The New Year Concert here is on January 1, 18:00, and will feature the soprano Nika Gorič in a programme that’s almost entirely Offenbach. You can hear her singing something else below.

Other things to do in Ljubljana...

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,

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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.

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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. This week there's also the Ana Mraz street theatre festival here, every evening from December 26 to 30, 18:00 to 20:00.

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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.

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. Note that these close when the snow starts.

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Daytrips from Ljubljana

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

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Photo: Google Image Search

Finally...

You can see all our stories tagged Ljubljana here, and there's a drone video of the New Year's fireworks in 2015 below. Whatever you're up to this week, I hope you have a good time in the city I call home, and a good year wherever you are.

30 Dec 2018, 12:00 PM

STA, 29 December 2018 - Three years after house searches at three night clubs in Nova Gorica and Sežana, eight defendants were handed down prison sentences for coercing women into prostitution, the newspaper Primorske Novice reported on Saturday.

The sentences, pronounced by the Koper District Court on Friday, range from three and a half years in prison to suspended sentences, but are not final yet.

The court found the defendants guilty of abusing at least ten women, mostly from Ukraine, for prostitution, whereas the prosecution spoke of 70.

Iryna Uršič as ring leader was sentenced to three and a half years in prison, her aides Iryna Ahaponova and Maria Fedotova to two years and to 18 months in prison, respectively.

Uršič and Fedotova had been in detention until March 2017, when the trial started.

The other five defendants, of whom two men, received suspended sentences.

Uršič will also have to pay a fine of 8,850 euros and return almost 81,000 euros in illegal gain, whereas the company Euromega was fined almost 60,000 euros.

The defendants can lodge an appeal against the sentences, with Uršič announcing it even before the verdicts were delivered.

In May 2016, the Specialised Prosecution Office filed changes of human trafficking against 12 persons and two companies, but later changed them to the crime of abuse for the purpose of prostitution, dropping them against two suspects, while one died and one pleaded guilty.

Related: Report Finds Some Progress on Human Trafficking in Slovenia

30 Dec 2018, 10:01 AM

Multiple media outlets are reporting that remains which were found on December 23rd in Iški Vintgar gorge, about 20 km outside of Ljubljana, have been identified as those of Jonathan Luskin, a 25-year old from Wisconsin who went missing in July. Luskin, who worked as a teacher in Hong Kong and was vacationing in Slovenia. He was last seen in Vienna but believed to have arrived in Ljubljana by train on June 22nd, with WhatsApp messages indicating he was planning to go hiking in Triglav National Park.

Local police, who announced their findings on Saturday, said that no signs of foul play were found at the at the site where his body was found.

Related: Missing person: last seen in Vienna, believed to have arrived in Ljubljana

29 Dec 2018, 13:34 PM

While Slovenia gears up for New Year’s, and Ljubljana billboards show the latest editions of the Petarde? Ne hvala posters - as seen above and below - Maribor has taken the lead in making the celebrations more peaceful for the city’s animals.

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"Would you kill your friends?" Poster: Tam Tam

As reported by Večer, among other outlets, the usual sponsors of the annual firework display, Večer and Nova KBM, have decided to spend the money they usually donate for explosives to humanitarian societies and organisations. The groups supported are Red Cross Maribor, Karitas Maribor, Pika - day centre for children and youth, Varna House Maribor, the shelter for homeless people on Šentiljska cesta, counselling for victims of violence and abuse, Association Toti DCA (a daycare centre for seniors), VDC Polž, Sonček Society, Bresternica Maternity Home, Hospice Maribor Association and the Friends of Youth Association Maribor.

Related: New Year’s celebrations around Slovenia for 2018/19

Related: Why fewer Slovenes are now born on January first

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"Are you a mass murderer?" Poster: Tam Tam

28 Dec 2018, 13:00 PM

Mladina: Fake news at Spiegel shows how important it is to stick with reality

STA, 28 December 2018 - The latest editorial of the weekly paper Mladina looks at Spiegel's Claas Relotius scandal as a symptom of a spectacle-seeking media landscape that has been compounded by new media forms. These are cashing in on the credibility built by traditional media in the past while only mimicking real journalistic tenets.

Serious print media, which actually are the only ones with enough room to carefully dissect social events and processes, find it hard to compete and attract readers these days.

While facing competition from thousands of new platforms, traditional media are also suffering under commercialisation, under the need to only have content that is extraordinary, giant, surprising.

The Relotius case is of course a warning to the media, whose existence is a basic condition for democracy but also has the potential to cause enormous harm.

It is a warning to everyone, to journalists, as well as to the public. It shows that reality is not always interesting, shiny, explosive, extraordinary. It is often banal, a little grey, frequently even uninteresting, full of data, some of which paradoxical, sometimes without a guilty party and simply a result of unexpected circumstances.

However, it is worth hanging on to such a reality, even if it is not be as juicy or attractive as videos of accidents on YouTube or emotional posts on Facebook.

Reporter: A welcome inquiry into the Bank Asset Management Company

STA, 24 December 2018 - Reporter welcomes in its latest commentary the establishment of the opposition-initiated parliamentary inquiry into the Bank Asset Management Company (BAMC), which according to the right-leaning weekly is "one of the biggest hotbeds of white-collar crime in recent years".

In the commentary headlined “Self-service Bad Bank”, editor-in-chief Silvester Šurla says that "we are living in a country which has all the elements of a parallel state, where informal levers of influence are stronger than formal ones in many fields."

According to him, networks from behind the scenes actually rule the country. Unlike the government, which is supposed to work in principle in the public interest, these networks take care primarily of the interests of its members, so that as much public money as possible ends up in their private pockets.

Welcoming the parliamentary inquiry into the bad bank, the commentary notes that many bad things happened and are still happening behind the walls of the BAMC. There were probably some criminal acts committed, but they have so far not been discovered by the Court of Audit or criminal investigators.

Soon after being established in 2013, the bad bank turned into a self-service restaurant for networks, where a lot of tycoons, who first dug a hole in state-owned banks, made profits.

The new inquiry, which will probably be headed by New Slovenia (NSi) MP Jernej Vrtovec, should be welcomed, as the deputies intend to investigate both the transfers of assets to the bad bank and the possible involvement of public office holders in these transactions.

"Of course they were involved, because it is well known who made the staffing decisions at the BAMC in the recent years, who let the Scandinavians be chased away from there and merged the in-house banks of Kučan's Forum 21 - Faktor Banka and Probanka with the BAMC and then even employed their people in it."

All this happened in the term of the government headed by Miro Cerar, or actually headed instead of him by people from behind the scenes while he was consciously looking away, concludes the commentary.

Other posts in this series can be found here (note that sometimes we use another right-wing weekly, Demokracija)

28 Dec 2018, 11:44 AM

One odd fact, highlighted by the Statistics Office, is the large number of Slovenes registered as born on January 1. The first day of the year is in fact the most common birthdate in the country, with 7,552 citizens currently on the books as being born on that date, compared to just 4,731 on December 31, the date with the lowest number of registered births.

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Perhaps this is disparity, at a ratio of 1.6:1, is due to mothers becoming overexcited on New Year’s, thus inducing labour in the small hours of the 1st. Or perhaps it’s due mothers holding the child in – through breathing exercises, say – and thus ensuring a more favourable birthdate, one that makes their child among the oldest in their cohort, rather than the youngest? The truth leans towards the latter.

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The Statistics Office digs deeper in the data and finds some historical reasons for the imbalance between New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. By 1970 96% of Slovenes were born in hospital, but moving back into the past home births were increasingly common, thus giving parents some discretion in the date registered on the child’s birth certificate. It’s here that the advantages of being born on the 1st rather than 31st made their influence felt. A child born on January 1st would be among the oldest and most developed in their school year, and boys would also be a year older when entering compulsory military service (which continued in Slovenia until 1993).

Related: How many Franc and Marija Novaks do you know?

Since nearly all children are now born in hospital, and their birthdates registered more accurately, the difference in births between December 31 and January 1 will continue to decline in the years ahead, eventually leaving this statistical anomaly to the record books.

But that’s not the end of the story, as there are still some interesting peaks with regard to certain birthdates. These are the days in the last third of September, with the highest number of births being 6,357, on October 1st. Counting back about nine months, and we can see that the most popular time for Slovene’s to conceive is around the Christmas and New Year holidays.

So however you’ll be spending the next few days before the end of the year, we hope it’s peaceful, productive and pleasurable.

28 Dec 2018, 10:20 AM

STA, 27 December 2018 - The Constitutional Court has annulled the part of the health services act which stipulates that concessionaires should spend the surplus of revenue over expenditure for the performance and development of healthcare. The court agreed this encroached on the legal position of the petitioners and on their right to free business initiative.

The annulment, announced on Thursday, is related to the part of article 3 of the act which regulates the use of surplus generated by private companies and physicians with licenses to perform public healthcare services.

It says that public healthcare service "is being performed as a non-commercial service of general importance in a non-profit way, with the surplus of revenue over expenditure being spent on the performance and development of healthcare services."

The petition for the constitutional review of the act was filed by the Association of Private Practitioners and Dentists of Slovenia at the end of December 2017.

"This is only the beginning of a long period that will see us winning the battle in court and proving to the government that the concepts it advocates are not what the patients or those working in healthcare would deserve," the association's head Igor Dovnik said in response.

The Medical Chamber also welcomed the decision as confirming the provision harmed public services.

The chamber expects the court will also annul other contentious provisions in the act, in particular those limiting the scope of work for young doctors and for doctors employed both in private and public clinics, as well as provisions retroactively affecting already awarded concession licences.

As it received the petition, the Constitutional Court said that the provision limited the concessionaires and directly encroached upon the legal position of the petitioners.

The Constitutional Court said that the introduction in the national legislation of the term non-commercial service of general importance, which is a term in the EU law, did not mean that a public healthcare provider from the aspect of national law is no longer a non-commercial service.

"The term non-commercial public service under the Slovenian law is wider than the term non-commercial service of general importance under the EU law," the constitutional judges wrote.

When the amendments to the act were being adopted in parliament, reservations were also expressed by the parliamentary legal service, which wondered whether the definition of healthcare service as a non-commercial service of general importance was compliant with EU case law.

It had also noted that the Slovenian legal order did not define the term non-commercial service of general importance.

The Constitutional Court also assessed the provision from the aspect of the right to free business initiative, as it stipulates that public service should be non-profit and that surpluses from the operations should be kept in the public service.

"By preventing private entities from using the surplus from the activity for their personal needs, the legislator actually turned them into a non-profit legal form," it added.

"Limiting the freedom to dispose of the surplus very intensively narrows down the field of entrepreneurial freedom of private entities and encroaches upon their business initiative."

According to the court, such a measure is surely in the public interest to provide universal access to public healthcare services, but such an intensive limitation undermines one of the key incentives to perform the concession service.

As the reviewed encroachment upon the human right to free economic initiative outweighs the public benefit from it, the court has annulled the provision.

The association had also challenged article 42 of the act, which deals with the awarding of concessions and says that a concession is not a subject of inheritance, sale, transfer or any other form of legal transaction.

The court has ruled unanimously that the provision is not in violation of the Constitution. It said that a "concession to perform non-commercial public service is a right and not an authorisation in the sense of the law of obligations".

Asked by the STA to comment on the ruling, the Health Ministry said that it would comment once it received and examined the 26-page document.

28 Dec 2018, 09:06 AM

Below is a review of today’s news in Slovenia, summarised by the headlines in the daily newspapers for Friday, December 28, 2018, as prepared by the STA:

DELO

EU
"The fateful tango by Macron and Merkel": The EU will not only enter the new year with its institutions finishing terms, but also with the politically hurt French President Emanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is planning her political farewell not later than in 2021. (front page, 6)

Pension insurance
"Part of Pokojninska Družba A going for sale": The publisher DZS will launch procedure in 2019 to sell its stake in the pension fund manager Pokojninska Družba A. The over-indebted holding Sava will also have to sell its stake. (front page, 3)

Medicine
"There are no miracles in medicine, only knowledge": Slovenia can boast six major achievements in medicine in 2018, the paper says, also presenting the statistics for last year showing that 350,000 people were treated in Slovenian hospitals last year. (front page, 4)

Faces of the Year
"Children who change the world around them": President Borut Pahor conferred in the Ljubljana Puppet Theatre on Thursday the Faces of the Year 2018 awards for young talented artists, researchers, athletes, musicians and dancers. (front page)

DNEVNIK

Prime minister
"I'm a surprise for those who don't know me": The paper runs a teaser for its interview with Prime Minister Marjan Šarec, which will be published in its Saturday's supplement Objektiv. (front page)

Infrastructure
"Lorry drivers to get new surcharge on toll on Tuesday": As of Tuesday, drivers of cargo vehicles with the maximum permissible weight above 3.5 tonnes will pay a higher toll in order to help finance the new Koper-Divača railway line. (front page, 6)

FINANCE

Privatisation
"What will the state sell and what will it keep for itself?": The government of Marjan Šarec will change the state asset management strategy, the paper notes, wondering whether the policy of "national interest" will resurface again. (front page, 2-3)

Infrastructure
"Attention, work on roads and railways: what will we build in 2019?": The Infrastructure Agency will earmark next year a total of EUR 630m for roads, railways and cycling paths, which will realise 95% of the agency's investment plan for 2019. (front page, 6-7)

Auctions
"How land price in Savudrija jumped from one kuna to EUR 2.3m": The fourth on-line auction of eight hectares of land plots in Savudrija on the Croatian coast has been successful. The construction company Imos has sold the land for EUR 2.3m. (front page, 7)

Personal data protection
"What GDPR has brought and how it affects your business?": The paper analyses the impact of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which was introduced this year, on business of Slovenian companies. (front page, 4-5)

VEČER

Healthcare
"Bill from emergency ward": As of the new year, patients coming to the Maribor emergency ward because they are sick but their situation is not assessed as urgent, will be issued a EUR 20 bill for the examination. (front page, 8-9)

Environmental protection
"Stop plastic bags": As of 1 January, shops will not be allowed to give out lightweight plastic carrier bags free of charge to shoppers. (front page, 4-5)

Protests in Bosnia
"From Banja Luka: We will go to the end": The peaceful and dignified protests centred around the Justice for David movement in Banja Luka in the Republika Srpska entity of Bosnia-Herzegovina are continuing despite violent intervention by the police. (front page, 2)

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