If you're not in town for the week of this guide (24 February - 1 March, 2020) then you can see all the editions here, and if there's event or activity you want to promote in a future edition of What's on in Ljubljana please get in touch with me at flanner(at)total-slovenia-news.com or try and find me on Facebook. If you want something a little different and easy to print, then a comprehensive PDF of events for the next seven days, as prepared by Ljubljana Tourism, is here. If you're in town and want to follow the news then check out our regular morning headlines for Slovenia here.
Eurovision will soon be upon us, and this week there’s a chance to see last year’s entry from Slovenia, now performing under the name ZALAGASPER, presenting their new album at Kino Šiška, 20:00, Thursday 27 February.
Why would anyone want to eat Dinner in the Dark? Learn more about this unique experience in Ljubljana here.
Thursday, 27 February, 19:30 the Križanke Summer Theatre will host Lara Oprešnik (piano) and Aris Vehovec (oboe), in the free to enter 10th concert of the international music cycle Young Virtuosi, with a programme that includes Mozart, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, Chopin, Bach, Poulenc, and Oprešnik. Same evening, same time, but in Cankarjev dom and for a price, you can hear a programme of Beethoven, Haydn, and Mozart, with the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra, Ibrahim Yazici (conductor) and Fazil Say (piano) – tickets. The same show is on Friday. The following piece will be played.
From Friday to Sunday the Ljubljana International Swing Academy will be happening, and “amazing dance/party weekend that will bring you lots of good dances, great music, new friends, new knowledge and an authentic Slovenian experience. Details.
Friday Kino Šiška, 20:00, the French post-metal duo Alcest will be appearing here, with support from + Birds In Row and Kælan Mikla. Friday is also Jazz Night at the Castle, and this week it’s Gabrič-Kampl-Leonardi.
Friday and Saturday SNG Opera and Ballet have Verdi’s Luisa Miller. The overture’s above. Friday and Saturday also see extra performances of the Pocket Teater’s (sic) very popular and usually sold out vaudeville show, Matilda Let’s Do it. Details.
Saturday, 29 February 2020, there’s Maslenica Festiva(l) – as shown at the top of this story - a free and fully public event in the Central Market, between Triple Bridge and Dragon Bridge, closer to the former and on the Castle side of the river. Here you can enjoy performances of Slavic traditions, folklore, singing and dance groups presented by all participating countries. Stalls selling souvenirs and handicrafts will be arranged plus the opportunity to attend workshops and learn the skills involved in producing them. There will also be stalls selling typical food dishes from far and wide". Looks like a good place to buy Russian food and drink, along with pancakes. Some more details.
Saturday night is K4 Roza: Taste of Berlin at Klub K4, with the sounds provided by Ady Toledano, Touché, aMinus and Holomondo.
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Still open until 5 March, 2020, Magic Ice-rink Lumpi Park offers 600 m2 of the covered ice surface and 180 m of ice-skating paths which enable you to skate through the Sports park Savsko naselje, at Kranjčeva ulica 24. Details here.
New, new-ish and notable movies in town this week include the following, while Onward starts in March. Kinoteka also continues its Nicolas Cage season, including Adaptation and Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans.
A new book came out recently that tells some of the stories of Trubarjeva cesta – you can learn more about it here. If you want to buy a copy, look / ask around on your next visit to the street.
How much do tourists spend in Slovenia? Find out here
You may have heard about Free Tour Ljubljana, the tour company that’s #1 on TripAdvisor for the city and gives away its main product. What’s the deal with that? Find out here.
While the Old Town is quaint, and full of music, where does Ljubljana really shop? One popular answer is BTC City, a vast complex of malls, entertainment facilities and more, including more than 70 different food vendors, offering everything from Slovenian to Thai, Indian to Italian, Mexican to Chinese. Check out a visit before the recent renovation was finished for some idea of what's on offer here.
You're in the town of Slavoj Žižek, but do you find yourself lost when conversation turns to the philosopher? If so, check out our collection of quotes and clips to learn more.
K-pop band Red Velvet came to Ljubljana - with English subtitles
You can read about all the cinemas in town here, while a selection of what’s playing this week is below, and note that kids' movies tend to be shown in dubbed versions, while non-English language movies for older viewers will have Slovenian subtitles.Parents should also pay attention to Kinobalon, which is Kinodvor's regular weekend series of film screenings and events for children, from babies on up, with special parent/child events, "first time in a cinema" screenings, and babysitting. Learn more about it here, and see the current schedule here.
Note - most children's films will be dubbed (sinhronizirano) - for subtitles look for 'podnapisi'.
Kinodvor –This is an arts cinema, not far from the train station, that shows new features as well as hosting the occassional festival.
Kinoteka – And not far from Kinodvor you can find this revival cinema, which shows art house classics along with some deep dives in the archives.
Kino Bežigrad - A relatively small theatre, but one which usually has the biggest of the new releases.
Kolosej -The multiplex out at BTC City Mall shows all the big movies, with well over a dozen titles on the schedule, although note that there are far more movies than screens, so some of the older ones mayonly be playing once or twice a week.
Komuna – The cinema in a basement behind Nama department store shows two or three different features a week, usually including the biggest titles.
In town and looking for a gift or souvenir? Take a look at Cook Eat Slovenia - the book.
Know that big triangular building behind the train station? Learn what's inside here.
Photo: Genius loci d.o.o.
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.
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.
Slovenska cesta, 1968. Wikimedia. See more pictures of Old Ljubljana here
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.
Photo: Igor Andjelič. See more of his work here
Looking for something different to eat? Trubajeva cesta, running right by Dragon Bridge, has the greatest concentration of "ethnic food" places in Ljubljana, and thus perhaps the country. Check out our walk through guide as of June 2019.
In warmer days than you'll see this week. Photo: JL Flanner
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're looking for more general links on "gay Slovenia", including a history of the scene and various projects, then you can find that here, while our stories about the community can be found here.
Klub Monokel – This lesbian bar in Metelkova is open every Friday, although sometimes there are other events
Klub Tiffany –And the gay bar next door is also open on Fridays. Other things coulds also be planned, so click on the name to find out.
Pritličje – This seems to be the only "always open" LGBT-friendly cafe / bar / events space in town, and perhaps the country, so it's a good thing it's such a good one, open from morning to night, and with fliers and posters letting you know what's happening outside the narrow confines of, say, a general interest online what's on... guide.
Screenshot from Google Maps, showing the location of the Castle vineyard
The city’s main attraction is said to be the top tourist draw in the country overall, and to my mind it earns a spot near the top just for the history and views. But beyond that the current owners, the City of Ljubljana, have laid out a varied, interesting and enjoyable programme of events, one that rewards regular revisits.
On all 2020 is an Exhibition of Slovenian History, included in the price of a Castle ticket, that takes you through prehistory and the Romans, the Middle and early Modern Ages, the 19th century and WWI, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and WWII, Yugoslavia, independence and after. On until 22 March 2020 you can enjoy an inflatable spatial installation from Nina Koželj (free to enter).
At one of Castle hill there's a many walking and jogging paths, with good views of the city. 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.
Aksioma – On from 19 February 9 March is The Abstraction of Nature by Anna Ridler – “Anna Ridler’s work stands out for her effort to establish a feedback loop between herself and the machine, producing work that displays and thematises the amount of human labour involved in the process, from coding, to producing a dataset, to educating the machine.”
Bežigrajska galerija 2 – Take a trip to Vodovodna cesta 3 and you'll find nothing this week, according to the schedule, as the place will be between exhibitions.
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. Until 10 May you can see History of the Future. Archetypes of Plečnik's architecture – summarising the ideas of selected Plečnik works.
City Gallery – On until 5 April there’s a show from Vlado Martek, called Exhibition with Many Titles, the second part of a retrospective exhibition by the Croatian conceptual artist.
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. On until August 2020 there’s Book. Reason. Knowledge. From Protestantism to Enlightenment (1500–1800), which presents the processes and events that encouraged and fostered the cultural and spiritual development in Ljubljana from the end of the 15th to the beginning of the 19th century – from humanism and Protestantism to the Enlightenment. More on that here.
The Faces of Ljubljana in the City Museum. Photo: JL Flanner
Drink like a pro - find gallery openings. Photo: JL Flanner
Galerija Kapelica –Eirik Brandal: Electonic sculpture is on until 17 March, with the promotional image shown below.
Galerija Vžigalica – Until 15 March you can enjoy Counter:Movement / Gegen:Bewegung, an exhibition of contemporary artistic positions in Carinthia, selected by the Klagenfurt University Cultural Centre – the Universitätskulturzentrum UNIKUM.
International Centre of Graphic Arts – A show of works by Helena Tahir.
MAO – The Museum of Architecture and Design has much of what you'd expect, along with some temporary shows and a good cafe. On until 31 January 2021 is An Object and a Collection, showing part of the museum’s valuable and extensive collection of objects related to architecture, design, and photography of the 20th and 21st centuries.
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.
Alan Ford was recently at the National Gallery - read more about this comic book here.
National Gallery – The country’s main gallery has “the best” of what’s on offer from the Middle Ages to non-contemporary modern visual arts, and is in a great location for exploring other areas, just by Tivoli Park and opposite the main branch of the Moderna galerija. You can read about our visit to the room containing sacred art from the Middle Ages
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. A Millennia of Metallurgy in Slovenia is on until 3 May 2020.
A fragment of a Coptic textile; 5th–6th cent.: Upper Egypt; linen, wool; National Museum of Slovenia. Photo: Tomaž Lauko
Until 24 May 2020 you can see Coptic Textiles from the Collection of the National Museum of Slovenia at the branch in the Metelkova museum quarter, by the Ethnographic Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Details.
Natural History Museum – Until 18 June 2020 there’s Enlightened Natural Sciences: Scopoli and Zois, looking at the lives and legacies of two pioneering naturalists, on the both Slovene and global scales, Sigismondo (Žiga) Zois and Giovanni Antonio Scopoli.
National Museum of Contemporary History - Tucked away in park Tivoli, you can see a permanent exhibition on Slovenians in the 20th century.
Slovene Ethnographic Museum – The museum has 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). Nani in Ljubljana is on until 1 March 2020, in which Nani Poljanec, the folk creator and author of the exhibition, reveals fragments of his life, his roles and his mission. Until the same date there’s also a show on “Ravenski pust”, a Shrovetide custom which, according to village elders, represents an ancient pagan wedding and has been performed for more than a hundred years.
Union Experience – The Ljubljana-based brewer has a museum showing the history of the company, with the ticket also including access to part of the factory and a few samples of the product. You can read about our visit here.
It's not a formal museum, but if you're interested in "Yugo-stalgia" then you'll enjoy a trip to Verba, a small, privately run space that's crammed with objects and pop culture items from the era, and is conveniently located at the start of one of the short walks to the castle. It's also a great place to take pictures, if you leave a donation, and you can read more about it here.
Verba. Photo: JL Flanner
Alternative Ljubljana isn't a museum or gallery, as such, but instead turns the city streets into a museum and gallery. Learn more about their tours of street art, history and LGBT 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.
If you like the city's architecture then check out this great book, Let’s See the City - Ljubljana: Architectural Walks & Tours, with our review here and a page from the book shown above. We took a walk with one of the authors who showed us how much there is to learn and enjoy if you slow down and pay attention - read about that here.
Ljubljana has some beautiful buildings from the early 20th century, in the Secessionist style, like the one below. Learn where to find them here.
Photo: Neža Loštrek
For something a little more brual, check out Republika trg / Republic Square, in the heart of the political quarter.
Photo: JL Flanner
Photo: JL Flanner
Some view of the city you can only get from the river. If you'd like to take a boat ride then read about my experience here. If you'd like to spend an evening painting with others, then take a look at Design with Wine, which organises painting parties on Trubarjeva cesta,
If you want to see some antiques, then check out the wonderful Antika Carniola, as discussed here. The man behind it, Jaka Prijatelj, has a fine eye for life on this street, as you can see on his Facebook account.
Photo: JL Flanner
If you’re in town and want to go jogging or walking in nature, why not take another look at the Castle, with a brief guide to the trails here. If you want something bigger, head to Tivoli Park.
And if you're bored with the Old Town, why not take a walk, cycle or boat ride to nearby Špica and enjoy the riverside life. Learn more about that here.
Prefer to have someone else stretch you? The check out the totally legit massages you can get from Sense Wellness - either in one of their spas or in you home, office or hotel. (And - to repeat - these are legit and non-sexual in nature)
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, which usually run until the first snow.
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 park, our guide to how to park in Ljubljana is 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
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.
What follows is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia, as prepared by the STA.
FRIDAY, 14 February
MUNICH, Germany - Outgoing PM Marjan Šarec rebuked the EU over excessive self-absorption and inefficiency as he spoke on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference. Illustrating, he said the bloc was not even capable of agreeing its expansion to the Western Balkans.
LJUBLJANA - Outgoing PM Marjan Šarec urged for the chairs of "relevant parliamentary committees" to start actively discussing potentially problematic foreign funding of Slovenian parties and their media outlets. This followed media reports that Hungarian companies were financing media outlets close to Janez Janša's Democratic Party (SDS). Šarec also warned against a potential new Janša-led coalition government.
LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor announced he would hold a second round of consultations with parliamentary parties on 24 and 25 February to determine whether there is sufficient consensus for him to nominate a prime minister-designate.
KOMEN - Addressing a World War II commemoration, President Borut Pahor expressed sadness over the "abuse of 10 February, the Foibe Remembrance Day," and regret that senior Italian officials ignored the historical truth Slovenia and Italy established together.
LJUBLJANA - The Statistics Office reported that the value of construction work put in place in Slovenia increased by 3.3% in 2019, a significant slowdown compared to the 20% expansion in 2018.
SATURDAY, 15 February
MURSKA SOBOTA - Addressing an event marking the 31st anniversary of the Democratic Party (SDS), its leader Janez Janša said a new early election was likely close despite the SDS being in talks with the Modern Centre Party (SMC), the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) and New Slovenia (NSi) to form a government.
LJUBLJANA - The Democratic Party (SDS) polled at 20.1% in a survey commissioned by broadcaster Nova24TV, up 1.8 percentage point from a week ago, followed by the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) at 12.8% (down 4.4pp) and the Social Democrats (SD) at 6.5%.
LJUBLJANA - Stojan Nikolić, the CEO of the power group HSE, indicated in an interview with Dnevnik that TEŠ6, Slovenia's newest coal-fired generator, was likely to close down early because its supplier, the Velenje mine, was unlikely to be viable after 2045.
KRANJSKA GORA - Local Meta Hrovat paced third at the Alpine Ski World Cup giant slalom event for the Golden Fox Cup along with Swiss Wendy Holdener, following Alice Robinson of New Zealand in first and Slovak Petra Vlhova in second. Vlhova secured the Golden Fox trophy by finishing first in the slalom on Sunday. The two-day event attracted 10,000 spectators.
PTUJ - The 60th Kurentovanje carnival, Slovenia's largest, got under way, bringing together more than 2,200 traditional costumed figures or 44 groups from across the world, including four costumes protected by UNESCO.
SUNDAY, 16 February
MUNICH, Germany - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar attended panels on the Western Balkans and the Three Seas Initiative and held a number of bilateral meetings at the 2020 Munich Security Conference.
BAD MITTERNDORF, Austria - Timi Zajc placed third at the Ski Jumping World Cup event to secure a second podium at the same venue after finishing second the day before for his third podium finish this winter.
CHICAGO, US - Luka Dončić scored 8 points in the 2020 NBA All Star Game, contributing four passes for the winning Team LeBron, headed by the legendary LeBron James of the LA Lakers. Team LeBron won the game 157 to 155 against Team Giannis, led by Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks.
MONDAY, 17 February
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar, attending the Foreign Affairs Council, assessed that European Council President Charles Michel's proposal for the EU's 2021-2027 budget was still inadequate for Slovenia despite slight improvements in cohesion policy.
LJUBLJANA - Jernej Pavlič, secretary general of the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB), denied the speculation that the party was considering joining a potential centre-right government that is being formed by Janez Janša.
LJUBLJANA - The Democrats (SDS) gained 2.6 percentage points to 19.6% in the Vox Populi poll to overtake the LMŠ party of the outgoing PM Marjan Šarec, which slipped back 2.3 points to 17.1%. The poll, commissioned by the newspapers Dnevnik and Večer, also showed over half the respondents favoured a snap election.
TUESDAY, 18 February
LJUBLJANA - A delegation of the parliamentary Commission for Oversight of Intelligence and Security Services, headed by vice-chair Žan Mahnič (SDS), made an unannounced visit to the National Bureau of Investigation examine the allegation that outgoing PM Marjan Šarec and his state secretary Damir Črnčec had abused intelligence and security services to "influence, threaten and extort MPs and leaderships of parties of the potential future coalition". Šarec and Črnčec denied the allegation as fake news propagated by the SDS. Police Commissioner Tatjana Bobnar denied any police spying, accusing Manhič of threatening her as she refused to hand over documentation she said exceeded the commission's powers. In response, parties urged for the allegations to be investigated. The police and the Information Commissioner are looking into the matter.
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Donald Tusk, the head of the European People's Party (EPP), pleaded with the Slovenian members of the EPP not to waste the chance to take "leadership in both the parliament and the government", after meeting New Slovenia (NSi) head Matej Tonin. NSi is one of the parties in talks to form a government led by the fellow EPP member Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS).
LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Health Committee and the government were briefed by health officials that Slovenia was well prepared for early diagnosis in case of an outbreak of the novel coronavirus. However, MPs were also told that hospitals could not handle a great number of patients.
LJUBLJANA - A petition addressed to PM Marjan Šarec and backed by 12,700 individuals and 255 organisations called for the government to take more resolute action to decarbonise the energy, transport and agriculture sectors.
LJUBLJANA - Police statistics showed the number of cases of illegal border crossing nearly doubled (+85%) year-on-year to 595 in January. Most of the migrants were returned to Croatia.
LJUBLJANA - The Pension and Disability Insurance Institute (ZPIZ) endorsed a regular annual adjustment of pensions to wage and consumer prices growth as a result of which pensioners will get a 3.2% rise at the end of the month. Higher pensions will cost the pension fund EUR 172 million a year.
LJUBLJANA - 2TDK, the state company managing the construction of the new railway between the port of Koper and Divača, announced it would ask Markomark Nival, the bidder that won the subsequently annulled tender for the first of several bridges on the planned track, to change its subcontractor which cited flawed reference in the bid. This was after the National Review Commission said 2TDK had been right to doubt the reference but should not have annulled the tender.
LJUBLJANA - The Trade Union of Journalists and Journalists' Association protested against layoffs at Delo, the largest newspaper publisher in the country, saying the management was demolishing the newspaper and Slovenian journalism by shedding a quarter of its workforce within three years.
LJUBLJANA - The energy company Petrol confirmed that it had been chosen as the best bidder to acquire E3, the subsidiary of the power distributor Elektro Primorska which is one of the largest electricity sellers in the country. The newspaper Finance reported that Petrol would pay EUR 15 million for E3, which would raise its share in the electricity retail market to 20%.
WEDNESDAY, 19 February
LJUBLJANA - A group of NGOs successfully challenged the decision of the Environment Agency that no environmental impact assessment is necessary for the 20-year life-span extension for Slovenia's sole nuclear power plant.
LJUBLJANA - Tourism companies and tourism and hospitality trade unions signed an annex to the collective bargaining agreement to increase the lowest basic wages; these will go up by 5% on 1 March and 5.25% more on 1 July, and the holiday allowance will increase by EUR 100 to EUR 1,150.
SLOVENJ GRADEC - The 14th annual auction of valuable timber saw a record EUR 2 million worth of logs change hands. More than half of the wood was sold abroad with the biggest buyer coming from China. A 100-year old sycamore maple log was sold to a German buyer for EUR 29,160 or EUR 14,414 per cubic metre, which the organizers described as an absolute record.
LJUBLJANA - The Ministry of Economic Development and Technology announced Slovenian companies were now able to do business on Amazon Europe. This was after the US tech company made technical adjustments to include Slovenia among supported countries.
LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Culture Committee called on the corruption watchdog to look into appointments of heads of culture institutions made by the Culture Ministry due to suspicions of politically-motivated staffing. Culture Minister Zoran Poznič denied the allegations.
LJUBLJANA - Film director Ema Kugler was declared the winner of this year's Štiglic lifetime achievement award in film and theatre directing. She will receive the accolade given out by the Association of Slovenian Directors at an award ceremony on 27 February.
THURSDAY, 20 February
LJUBLJANA - Two of the six Slovenian passengers quarantined for over a fortnight on the cruise ship Diamond Princess in the Japanese port of Yokohama tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The other four tested negative. Two of arrived in Slovenia on a commercial flight and were placed under a 14-day quarantine, while two are still waiting to return.
BRUSSELS - Arriving for an EU summit aiming to reach a consensus on the bloc's budget for 2021-2027, Prime Minister Marjan Šarec said Slovenia could not accept the latest compromise proposal under which it would lose 24% in cohesion funds. He said negotiations would be tough.
LJUBLJANA - RTV Slovenija, the public broadcaster, warned of escalating attacks on its journalists, editors and other staff in recent days in the form of threatening and offensive phone calls, e-mails, letters and social network posts, condemning them in the strongest terms as an attack on journalism.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's largest bank, NLB reported its group net profit decrease by 5% to EUR 193.6 million last year. The core bank's profit rose by 6.5% to EUR 176.1 million.
All our posts in this series are here
STA, 21 February - Coming out of an EU summit dedicated to the bloc's next seven-year budget, which ended without an agreement, Prime Minister Marjan Šarec told reporters on Friday that the European Commission had presented a technical proposal for the 2021-2027 budget which the cohesion countries rejected. Šarec called the proposal a provocation.
"There is still no deal and we didn't expect it," said Šarec after the two-day negotiations.
He blamed the four net payer countries - Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, and Austria - for the failed talks.
Šarec believes the four countries, which are insisting on 1% of the EU's gross national income (GNI) for the first post-Brexit EU budget, want to cut the budget and are not ambitious enough. "The negotiations came to a standstill because of them ..." he said.
The other group of countries comprises of 17 net receiver countries known as friends of cohesion, which according to Šarec want an ambitious budget and claim that it is impossible to do more with less funds.
"We had two meetings today and we were united on both of them that this does not make any sense at the moment," the PM said.
The cohesion countries agreed that the latest proposal is unacceptable, because it is not ambitious enough and does not allocate enough funds for cohesion. "In addition, Slovenia cannot be certain whether it would get what it wants."
The plenary session, which was postponed several times during the day, was very short. The technical proposal, presented by the Commission, was not even discussed, according to Šarec "because we saw it as a provocation after everything we have witnessed in the last 24 hours".
Šarec said the cohesion countries had been united that there was no point in opening a new round of talks today and that it was better to "go home and make all the calculations again".
"We have to start fresh," Šarec said, adding that no talks were possible until a better proposal was on the table.
The outgoing prime minister reiterated that Slovenia would insist that a 24% cut in cohesion funds compared to the current budget was unacceptable.
EU leaders are expected to convene another meeting in March. It is not clear yet, however, whether this will be a regular meeting or another extraordinary meeting. 5 March is being mentioned unofficially as a possible date for a potential extraordinary summit.
The richest Slovenian couple and the representatives of the right-wing weekly Reporter have been unable to reach an out-of-court agreement on the non-disclosure of private Login family information, reports national broadcaster.
The dispute between the Logins and the Reporter stems from 2017, when the magazine wrote an article about the personal history of Samo and Iza Login, who became Slovenia's richest couple after selling their Talking Tom mobile app to Chinese investors. The article has never been released as the Logins managed to stop its publication through court, before anyone even knew what the exact contents.
The Logins claim not to be public figures and want their personal information, such as their previous names and details of their family members, not to be reported.
According to Silvester Šurla, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, the article "did not interfere with their right to privacy in any way. We wanted to publish some information about their life paths, about their careers, from publicly available sources." Furthermore, added Šurla, "the settlement did not go through because Mr. and Mrs. Login kept making new demands. In the end, they were asking more for the settlement than in the lawsuit.”
The Logins are demanding that Reporter no longer writes about their private life, threatening to sue the magazine for €100,000 in damages for each such intrusion.
"We are not talking about the business part. We are talking about intimacy, personality, private life, family life, relatives. The plaintiffs do not want any interference from the public," the Logins’ lawyer, Janez Stušek, explained.
The trial will continue in mid-April, reports national broadcaster on their MMC multimedia portal, adding that the verdict could have a serious impact on journalistic boundaries, not only when reporting about people who enter public space voluntarily but also others, such as politicians.
STA, 21 February - Police Commissioner Tatjana Bobnar is to file a defamation complaint against Žan Mahnič, a Democrats (SDS) MP and vice chair of the parliamentary Commission for the Oversight of Intelligence and Security Services (KNOVS) after he had accused her of lying about alleged spying on politicians by the police and called on her to resign.
The police said in a press release late on Thursday that Bobnar would lodge a complaint against Mahnič over "misleading and malicious statements and an attack on her honour, good name and integrity".
"It has apparently become a habit of some politicians to try and shape public opinion" by intentionally repeating lies, the police said after Mahnič called on Bobnar to resign.
Mahnič said the fact that the police had launched a preliminary investigation into the spying allegations - Bobnar spoke on Thursday of an investigation against possible spying by individuals outside the police force - was proof that she had been lying to KNOVS members as they had made an inquiry on Tuesday, and should thus resign.
The MP said in a tweet yesterday that the launch of the preliminary investigation in and of itself meant that there is reasonable suspicion that politicians had been spied on.
Bobnar told him and two other KNOVS members, who made an unannounced visit to the police on Tuesday, that the allegations were "fabrications of some web portal and that procedures cannot be launched over every article," said Mahnič in reference to reports about spying allegations published by the SDS-launched weekly Demokracija and the news portal Požareport.
The police responded in the evening, saying that "in line with the principle of legality, police always investigated to see if there is reasonable suspicion for criminal acts of which perpetrators are prosecuted ex officio.
"The police have done this in this concrete case as well, but the launch of a preliminary investigation is far from reasonable suspicion and cannot be launched because of something that has, in Mahnič's words, been known for a long time," the police also said.
STA, 18 February 2020 - The Democrats (SDS) called on Tuesday for an emergency session of the parliamentary Public Finance Oversight Commission to examine a cooperation memorandum signed last September by the state-controlled energy company Petrol with a Russian company subject to US sanctions.
The memorandum with T Plus was signed as part of a visit to Moscow by outgoing Prime Minister Marjan Šarec and envisages cooperation with the T Plus Group and Schneider Electric Russia in the field of energy efficiency.
Petrol's chairman at the time Tomaž Berločnik said the two projects planned involved work on the optimisation of district heating. He valued them at "a few million euro" and potentially at a few dozen million in the future.
However, citing documents published by the US Department of the Treasury, the SDS is pointing out that T Plus is part of the Russian Renova Group, which is subject to US sanctions along with its billionaire owner Viktor Felixovich Vekselberg.
The sanctions were introduced in April 2018 over interference in the 2016 US presidential election, with the US also freezing Vekselberg's assets.
The SDS is puzzled by how the government, Foreign Ministry and the SOVA intelligence agency could allow the memorandum to be signed, and what is even worse, to be signed during Šarec's official visit to Moscow.
The party claims all of the listed institutions as well as the PM and the management and supervisory bodies of Petrol and state asset manager SSH had obviously failed to fulfil their duties.
The SDS says that Petrol now runs the danger of becoming subject to retaliation measures on the part of the US, which could undermine government revenue and the value of state assets, while the SSH and government could also be compromised.
"The signing of the memorandum under to auspices of the Slovenian government could also bring negative consequences for other areas of transatlantic cooperation," the party wrote.
The SDS is thus proposing that the Public Finance Oversight Commission ask the government to have the SSH draw up a report on the matter, to have Petrol withdraw from the memorandum and to have authorities examine whether official duties were neglected, money laundered or terrorism financed as part of the memorandum signing.
A schedule of all the main events involving Slovenia this week can be found here
This summary is provided by the STA:
Police commissioner to lodge criminal complaint against MP Mahnič
LJUBLJANA - Police Commissioner Tatjana Bobnar is to file a defamation complaint against Democrats (SDS) MP Žan Mahnič, the vice-chair of the parliamentary Commission for the Oversight of Intelligence and Security Services (KNOVS) after he had accused her of lying about alleged spying on politicians by the police. The police said on Thursday that Bobnar would lodge a complaint against Mahnič over "misleading and malicious statements and an attack on her honour, good name and integrity". Mahnič said the fact that a preliminary investigation had been launched into the spying allegations - Bobnar spoke on Thursday of an investigation against possible spying by individuals outside the police force - was proof that she had been lying to KNOVS members as they had made an inquiry on Tuesday, and should thus resign.
Šarec says EU Commission's budget proposal is provocation
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Coming out of an EU summit dedicated to the bloc's next seven-year budget, which ended without an agreement, Prime Minister Marjan Šarec told reporters that the European Commission had presented a technical proposal for the 2021-2027 budget which the cohesion countries rejected. The plenary session, which was postponed several times during the day, was very short and the proposal was not even discussed, "because we saw it as a provocation after everything we have witnessed in the last 24 hours", Šarec said.
Cerar discusses W Balkans with Swedish counterpart
STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar started a two-day visit to Sweden by meeting Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde and Speaker Andreas Norlen, with the officials stressing the importance of an EU future for Western Balkan countries, and discussed sustainable development as well as the EU's challenges. Cerar said that both countries advocate in their foreign policy respect for the rule of law, and promote human rights and multilateralism. He also presented to Linde Slovenia's preparations for the EU's presidency in the second half of 2021. "Slovenia will encourage sustainable development, the rule of law and strive to strengthen the EU's global role as well as its role in providing for the security and well-being of European citizens," he said.
Slovenian banks' 2019 earnings at all-time high
LJUBLJANA - Slovenian banks generated a combined pre-tax profit of EUR 597.4 million last year, which the central bank says is the highest pre-tax profit on record. The figure is up 12.5% from the year before. Profit after tax rose by 8% last year to EUR 534.9 million, while the banks increased their total assets by 6.3% to EUR 41.2 billion, the latest report by the central bank shows.
Cruise passengers due home on chartered flight tomorrow
LJUBLJANA - The government said that two Slovenian passengers from the quarantined cruise ship Diamond Princess will be flown home on a chartered flight tomorrow, along with a Croatian citizen, after being airlifted from Japan to Germany. A plane carrying Europeans from the cruise ship docked in the Japanese port of Yokohama for a two-week quarantine is expected to touch down at Berlin Tegel. Of the total of six Slovenian passengers on the ship two have tested positive for the novel coronavirus and have been hospitalised in Japan. A further two have returned home and have been placed under a two-week quarantine after renewed tests for the virus turned out negative.
Candidates for EU court judges feel up to the task
LJUBLJANA - The three candidates for two Slovenian judges at the EU's General Court in Luxembourg who have been put forward by President Borut Pahor presented themselves at the Presidential Palace. Klemen Podobnik, Jure Vidmar and Nina Savin Bossière are confident they would pass the interview of the Brussels committee tasked with vetting candidates. While Podobnik is the candidate for one of the two seats reserved for Slovenia, Vidmar and Savin Bossière have been shortlisted for the second seat following a selection process that also involved the Judicial Council. To be appointed they need absolute majority in parliament, while they also have to make it past Committee 255, the vetting body in Brussels that rejected Slovenian candidate Marko Pavliha in September last year.
Bill to declare Slovenian Sports Day lodged in parliament
LJUBLJANA - A group of MPs headed by Gregor Židan of the Modern Centre Party (SMC) has filed in parliamentary procedure changes to the act on public holidays and work-off days so as to declare 1 October Slovenian Sports Day, the SMC announced. This comes at the initiative of the Slovenian Olympic Committee from last year, with the goal of raising awareness about the importance of physical activity. The holiday would mark the day in 1863 of the formation of the sports club Južni Sokol (Southern Falcon), which also fought against German assimilation at the time. The SMC also said that athletes and sports teams have a strong unifying effect on the nation.
Experts say Slovenian language alive and well
LJUBLJANA - Commenting on the state of Slovenian amid strong global currents that are headed by English, Nataša Gliha Komac of the Fran Ramovš Institute of Slovenian Language told the STA Slovenian remained an active and vibrant language. Still, many challenges remain, she added on the occasion of 21 February, International Mother Language Day. Meanwhile, the president of the Slovenian Writers' Association (DSP) Dušan Merc said that Slovenian has been developed in the last 100-plus years into a tool enabling Slovenia to operate as an independent nation state.
Ljubljana Festival to honour Beethoven this summer
LJUBLJANA - The 68th Ljubljana Festival will be dedicated to composer Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) to mark the 250th anniversary of his birth, as a number of his works will be performed as the annual festival takes the streets this summer with open-air concerts. Performances of Beethoven's works will feature The Ninth Symphony performed by the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra, Piano Concerto No. 3 with the legendary Dubravka Tomšič Srebotnjak accompanied by the Philharmonics. The Gstaad Festival Orchestra will perform Beethoven's only opera, Fidelio, under the baton of Jaap van Zweden, featuring tenor Jonas Kaufmann and soprano Anja Kampe, among other performances.
If you're learning Slovenian then you can find all our dual texts here
There’s growing awareness that plastic waste is a problem, and the use of single-use plastics, such as water bottles, is becoming increasingly unacceptable. One Slovenian project that’s stepping into this space to try and address part of the problem is myWater. The Vrhnika-based team have developed water fountains with a difference – they’re designed to refill bottles, and thus encourage people to carry their own containers and reuse them.
The dispensers are free to use and connected to the local water supply, bringing the convenience of home to the street. The innovation is aimed at the European market, and especially the Mediterranean region, along with Africa and Asia. Anywhere there’s a need for clean drinking water in public, with the myWater system using filtration technology to remove all pollutants before it reaches your bottle, including microbes, microplastics and harmful chemicals.
“We’ve been told that our fountain produces clean fresh tasting water that is better than bottled mineral water” said Robert Slavec, CEO of myWater and father of the inventor, Aljaz Slavec, who created the first prototype while still in high school. Together they are trying to deal with the impact that single use plastic water bottles have on the environment.
Aljaz and Robert Slavec with a water ATM at the ChangeNOW summit in Paris
While the dispenser has been shown internationally, to especially good reception at the ChangeNOW summit for change held in Paris last month, since autumn 2019 one pilot of myWater dispenser has been installed in Slovenia. That’s in Koper Municipality on the Semedela promenade, with the hope being that it can reduce the number of single-use plastic bottles thrown away by visitors and locals. The goal is to serve local water and within one year to reduce single-use plastic bottle waste by 100,000 units. The dispenser is made of Slovenian wood with a hole in the shape of a water drop to insert your bottle.
The next goal of myWater is to have its water dispensers at this summer’s World Expo in Dubai, while the firm is also working on a project to help places that aren’t connected to the water supply. With this, myWater aims to condense water vapour from the air and then clean it, so it’s good enough to drink.
You can learn more about myWater on the website, and also nominate the next city to have a myWater dispenser.
STA, 21 February 2020 - Asked to comment on the state of Slovenian amid strong global currents that are headed by English, Nataša Gliha Komac of the Fran Ramovš Institute of Slovenian Language told the STA Slovenian remained an active and vibrant language. Still, many challenges remain, she added on the occasion of 21 February, International Mother Language Day.
Gliha Komac, who said we often forget that language lives with us and because of us, finds it hard to understand "why we feel uneasy when using our mother language, are apologising for our Slovenian or even for using it in the first place".
"And this is the case in a period when we (still) have universities in Slovenian, universities that produce top international experts...when we have a number of extraordinary masters of the language and a state with Slovenian as the official language," she said.
Gliha Komac added that Slovenian and its users also faced a lot of challenges, "but the most unusual thing is that they are about completely self-evident matters, such as Slovenian in the public, in science, higher education, classes in and about the Slovenian language".
She was however happy to report that the institute is working hard on resolving key theoretical issues as well on presenting linguistic issues in different manuals and applications.
Gliha Komac highlighted the www.fran.si platform of web dictionaries, which currently feature 39 dictionaries, four of which are constantly upgraded.
The institute's experts moreover participate in TV shows and contribute regular columns for papers, she said, adding that Slovenian is "actually our lifestyle".
Meanwhile, the president of the Slovenian Writers' Association (DSP) Dušan Merc wrote today that Slovenian has been developed in the last 100-plus years into a tool enabling Slovenia to operate as an independent nation state.
He however feels there is something very wrong with how the Slovenian language is treated in the education system.
"It is turning in a second grade teaching language, as we are getting a new teaching language - in place of the Croatian of Serbian language we would had gotten had we stayed in Yugoslavia - English."
"The mother tongue does not need to be loved and one does not need to raise one's hand to the heart, cry and distort the face when the national anthem is played. It only needs to be used, utilised, supplemented, changed, one needs to dream in it from morning until evening, speak and write.
"It should not be neglected, sidelined, treated like it's a servant to foreign master in its own house, degraded or seen as something one should be feel ashamed of even at home," Merc wrote.
International Mother Language Day was introduced by the UN in 2000 in memory of the 21 February 1952 Bengali Language Movement demonstration that also saw death casualties among Bengali students. The purpose of the day is to promote the preservation and protection of all languages.
Interested in learning Slovene? Find all our posts on this subject, including a growing collection of dual texts – relatively simple news stories in Slovene and English, here
STA, 20 February 2020 - Following reports that North Macedonian police have discovered one kilo of cocaine in a Derby banana shipment, the brand's owner, Slovenian company Rastoder said it was the target of a criminal cartel.
According to Balkan media reports, the shipment, packed in Derby boxes, arrived from South America and was destined for Italy, via Balkan countries.
The bananas arrived from South America to Montenegro on a ship, after which part of the shipment was transported via Albania and North Macedonia. The drugs hidden among the bananas were allegedly destined to be sold in North Macedonia.
Macedonian police said that the bust dismantled an important smuggling route by which about 1.3 tonnes of cocaine had been smuggled to western Europe.
Rastoder issued a statement saying that the suspects apprehended were not linked to the company. It added that accessible data showed Rastoder was not subject of police investigation.
The company said that criminal rings were obviously abusing supply channels from South America for their criminal activity.
The company believes that this is a case of systemic abuse, noting that the North Macedonia shipment had passed all security checks, most recently at the Bar port in Montenegro.
Such supply channel abuse is not rare neither in South America nor Europe; more than to tonnes of illegal substances have been seized in Denmark, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Bulgaria and North Macedonia in 2020 alone.
Rastoder said that it had suspended its cooperation with the banana supplier as a precaution measure as soon as the shipment containing cocaine was discovered in North Macedonia.
All our stories on drug trafficking in Slovenia are here
STA, 20 February 2020 - Slovenian President Borut Pahor has sent a letter of condolences to his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier over Wednesday's terrorist attacks in Hanau, which has left eleven people dead, including the suspected perpetrator and his mother.
In the letter, Pahor expressed his condolences and compassion to the families and relatives of the victims on behalf of Slovenia, says a post on the president's official Twitter account.
Predsednik Pahor je ob tragičnem terorističnem napadu poslal sožalno pismo nemškemu predsedniku Steinmeierju. Predsednik je v imenu državljanov Republike Slovenije in v svojem imenu izrazil globoko sožalje in sočutje vsem družinam in svojcem preminulih.— Borut Pahor (@BorutPahor) February 20, 2020
A subsequent tweet added that the "president condemns any violence which endangers tolerance and coexistence, without which it is impossible to build a safe future for all."
Foreign Minister Miro Cerar also expressed Slovenia's solidarity with Germany in a tweet today. He extended his "sincere condolences" to his German counterpart Heiko Maas and the relatives of the victims.
The town in the German state of Hesse, located 25 km east of Frankfurt, saw two separate armed attacks on Wednesday evening and night, in which at least nine people were killed.
Several hours after the attacks, the police found in an apartment the dead body of the suspected shooter along his dead mother. The German federal prosecution is treating the attacks as an act of terrorism.