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Current Events

Tourism in 2010: Recap

Restaurants: Il Secondo

Year 1, Volume 0 June 3rd, 2011

Free copy

Dreft Fashion Week Zagreb

The strongest international fashion event in the region Fyodor Golan, Aminaka Wilmont, Toni Rico, Rodnik Band, and Jean-Pierre Braganza were among the designers at this traditional fashion event known for innovation and high quality. page 12

Interview: Andrejs Žagars

Croatia welcomes Pope’s visit will be beneficial Writer and university professor of Italian literature, Nino Raspudić is most widely known for his independent political analyses of Croatia, but also his native Bosnia and Herzegovina, published in a series of articles in Croatian daily newspapers and expressed in several appearances in political talk shows on national television. page 2


Pope Benedict

Troubadour in Zagreb

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Croatia 2020 – a new vision

Croatian innovation

Even though he has published more than fifty books, Velimir Srića shows no signs of stopping. In his most recent book “Croatia 2020”, Srića demonstrates why he is considered the Croatian guru of out-of-the-box thinking. Strategy consultant, university economics professor, politician, writer – Velimir Srića is all this and more, especially with regard to the future. page 4

Dražen Petrović Cup

Headhunting in Croatia between theory and practice „Discretion is the alpha and the omega of our work“, Mirjana Šlat responds to the question how important complete confidentiality and anonymity of potential candidates are in her line of business. She is

Already a popular movie and theatre actor in his native Latvia, Andrejs Žagars became the general manager of the Latvian National Opera in Riga, where his 15-year tenure has left a deep mark both on the domestic and international cultural scene.

CEO at Neumann & Partners, Zagreb, a company that earns its keep in the profession called headhunting, or to use its marketed term, executive search. Continued on page 6

Probably the best European basketball player of all times will be honoured with a brand new competition format that will see the light of day in September. page 13


June 3, 2011 moral right to complain – who gave them a second chance?

Legalisation of illegally built property? Passing a law that would legalise some of the illegally built property in Croatia might prove to be another one in the series of Government’s populist moves during this election year. Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor told the media that such legislation would give a second chance to people who’ve invested a lot of resources into building these properties. Knowing the Croatian government, it is unlikely it will be able to protect itself from subsequent lawsuits from real estate owners who were forced to destroy their illegally built real estates over the past years. If nothing, they have a

Mladić to escape responsibility for crimes in the aggression on Croatia Although it was speculated that he will not end up in the Hague prison due to his poor health, Ratko Mladić was flown from Serbia to the Netherlands on May 30th, following the rejection by the Serbian court of an appeal against his extradition. Former Yugoslav National Army general responsible for the Srebrenica massacre in 1995 will stand trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. He is charged among other things with genocide and crimes against humanity in the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He will not however stand trial for his role in the war on Croatia.

Anti-corruption trials continue to stir up controversies Vladimir Šeks and Ivan Jarnjak, two highly-ranked officials of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), have called a press conference to react to statements of Anto Nobilo, defense lawyer of former vice-president of the Croatian government Damir Polančec. Nobilo repeatedly stated that the anticorruption investigating agency USKOK should freeze HDZ assets following information that money from state companies was used to finance the party’s activities in the 2007 election campaign. The two accused Nobilo of trying to criminalise HDZ, while the lawyer responded by commenting that not even during socialism did politicians convene press conferences to react to lawyers’ statements. Nobilo added that his arguments weren’t refuted.

“Pope’s visit will be beneficial” by Antonio Gotovac CC: After social turmoil caused by the ICTY verdict to generals Gotovina, Čermak and Markač, frequent corruption scandals in the political sphere and ongoing economic recession, what state is Croatian society in as it hosts Pope Benedict XVI? Is he coming at the right time? NR: The Croatia that the Pope visits in June 2011 is a society with many difficult and disparate problems, from those of a political nature to matters of identity, economy and most importantly – moral and spiritual issues. So it would not be wise to reduce the Pope’s visit to just its political dimension. As leader of the Church, he’s coming with a message not just for the masses but also for each believer as an individual. I’m convinced that the effects of his visit will be beneficial on Croatian society. CC: How do you comment on the negativism expressed by some Croatian media regarding the Papal visit? NR: I think we’re dealing here with an extreme minority, but which creates a lot of noise because it dominates the media and social landscape. People have the right to treat this event as they please. I just think that even those to whom the Pope’s visit means nothing should show more empathy towards the majority of people, which considers Benedict XVI a guest in our country. CC: What would you say is currently the No. 1 social issue in Croatia? NR: The demographic issue is the biggest and, in the long term, the most fatal issue of the Croatian society. Its roots lie in the difficult position faced by many young families: unemployment and unaffordable housing. For too long the

state has favoured the construction industry, speculators and banks, and been a poor guardian to young people on the verge of family life. CC: What’s your take on recent strategies, actions and discourses employed by the biggest political parties in this election year? The ruling party is facing a series of accusations from the opposition, same as four years ago, when HDZ eventually managed to win the election against all odds. Can they pull the same stunt again? NR: It’s still too early for any significant comments on the election campaign because the whole thing is still warming up, but HDZ will probably suffer a defeat after eight years in power. What might favour them are some weaknesses within the opposing coalition – investigations and trials against some of its most prominent members just before the election or the expected Hungarian court verdict to Radimir Čačić for causing an accident in which two were killed, etc. Those developments might provide HDZ with some momentum, but it seems as though a change in power is imminent. I wouldn’t exclude surprises such as new political options appearing in the arena. CC: Is there an explanation for the negligence with which the Republic of Croatia treats matters concerning Croats in Bosnia

Awaiting the Croatian Berlusconi “There are some parallels between Croatia today and Italy in the early 90s. The end of ideologies, dissolution of two big parties that dominated Italian politics for decades, voters raised by commercial TV channels... The only missing is a Croatian Berlusconi.”

Nino Raspudić

and Herzegovina? NR: How will Croatia take care of Croats in BIH when it can’t take care of itself? The disgraceful bearing of the larger part of Croatia’s political elite towards their compatriots in the neighbouring country is just a symptom of a deeper crisis of this nation, the consequences of which we fully grasp today. The Croatian Government has stood by for years as the political rights of BIH Croats were curtailed. That fact might be explained by the Government’s innate fear of interfering with big international players who have obviously decided to simplify the BIH problem, i.e. reduce an equation with three unknowns to one with two unknowns – Serbian and Bosniac. CC: Has the Republic of Srpska

(RS) become a factor that all political parties in and around BIH count on in the long run? NR: Evidently yes. Two decades have passed since its creation and more than fifteen years since its recognition at Dayton. Anyone who talks about abolishing the RS without determining how is a pure demagogue. CC: But the Croatian political representatives in BIH rely on Milorad Dodik, President of the Republic of Srpska, in their struggle to achieve political rights. NR: The Bosniac parties and the High Representative have led the Croats to a dead end. Bosniacs determine who will be the Croatian member of BIH Presidency, they form the Federal Government

without respecting political will of the vast majority of Croats, they over represent them on all levels. In this situation the only remaining shelter is Milorad Dodik, not for reasons of mutual affection, but because he’s aware that if Croats end up politically eliminated, Serbs are next. It’s a matter of pragmatic interest for political survival. CC: How do you think this political soap-opera in BIH will end? NR: Most recent events lead me to believe that Bosnia and Herzegovina has lost all chances of gaining legitimacy from within and that the country is headed towards dissolution that will happen the moment when the international community loses interest in its artificial preservation.


June 3, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI in Croatia – the itinerary by Marija Pandžić It will be the 4th time in just 20 years of Croatian independence that the Supreme Pontiff is coming to the eastern most Catholic country in the Balkans. Benedict’s predecessor, Pope John Paul II, recently declared blessed following one of the shortest beatification procedures in the history of the Catholic Church, visited Croatia on three occasions and gave a helping hand to the country during its toughest times in recent history. Making an exception from its usual diplomatic practice, the Vatican was one of the very first countries to officially recognize Croatia. After Vatican’s recognition on January 12, 1992, recognitions by the European Community states, United States, China and other countries soon followed. The first papal visit to Croatia was in 1994, when John Paul II joined the Croatian community of believers for the celebration of the 900th  anniversary of Zagreb Archbishopric.  In his sermon the Pope conveyed words of comfort to a people still suffering from war. As part of his second three-day visit to Croatia, in 1998 the Pope met Croatian youth in front of the Zagreb Cathedral and urged them to seek solutions in light of the Gospel and not to escape into hedonism, consumerism, drugs or alcohol.  On that occasion he also beatified Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac at Marija Bistrica, the famous Croatian place of Marian pilgrimage, and visited Split to celebrate the 1700th anniversary of the foundation of the city. Exactly eight years ago Pope John Paul II came to his third apostolic visit to Croatia, during which he beatified Mary of Jesus Crucified Petković, founder of the Order of Daughters of Mercy, in Dubrovnik.  He was also to Rijeka, Đakovo, Osijek and Zadar. The five-day stay in Croatia was John Paul II’s longest stay outside of the Vatican. Pope Benedict on the other hand is coming to Croatia for the first time since elected in 2005. During the six years of his pontificate, Benedict XVI has frequently emphasised respect for human values in general and the importance of family as the basis of any society. Therefore it’s no surprise that the main reason for Pope’s visit is the

„Together in Christ“ is the slogan of Pope Benedict XVI’s apostolic visit to Croatia that takes place from 4-5 June 2011. The Holy Father will spend both days in Zagreb where he will meet with church leaders, state officials and thousands of believers. celebration of the first ever National Day of Croatian Catholic Families, scheduled for 5th June 2011. On his first day here, the Pope will meet the Croatian President Ivo Josipović and Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor. Protocol then takes him to the Croatian National Theatre, where he will meet representatives of civil so-

Gold and silver medals released in honour of the Pope The Croatian Monetary Institute has published a series of gold and silver coins specially designed for this occasion. This is a continuation of a tradition that started with Pope John Paul II’s visit in 1994, when coins were given to him as a present from local bishops. These medals dedicated to Pope Benedict XVI were produced in three versions that differ in size and material. On one side there is a portrait of the Pope, while the other side portrays a silhouette of the

city of Zagreb with the Cathedral and Our Lady of the Stone Gate. The author is a famous Croatian sculptor and medallist Damir Mataušić.

Marija Pandžić is currently news reporter at, the official website of the Zagreb Archbishopric dedicated to covering all the news regarding Pope’s visit to Croatia.

„The crown of my career“


After a Croatian folk music band plays the famous “Barka” song, John Paul II’s favourite, during the wake on Saturday evening, a national string instrument called tamburica will be presented to the Pope. Its maker is Andrija Franić, a man who has been making these instruments for over four decades. “This is the crownpiece of my career and a huge recognition for my life’s work,” Mr. Franić stated for Franić stresses that the instrument will preserve its traditional appearance, it will not be decorated with expensive jewels nor will there be anything special engraved on the instrument. Franić’s wish is for this instrument to last more than 100 years, which is why only the best raw material was used.

Saša Šturlan,

Ivana Horvat,

Vinko Markač,

Mirjana Matijević-Sokol,

He acts in accordance with the Catholic Church and I don’t see any problem with that. I think he’s trying to modernize the Church as much as possible, what he’s done so far is probably the best he can do considering the clerical milieu. He should go beyond that – in my opinion, first thing he should do is try to achieve better understanding with the Jewish religion. After that I’d like to see all great religions come closer.

I like the way he exerts his influence, although he might be a little more permissive regarding the issue of condoms and safe sex in Africa, I think it’s a necessity for that part of the world. I do support his Samaritan missions. Personally I’m not too excited about his visit, I definitely won’t go to masses and other gatherings, I simply don’t like crowds. I’m glad though that he’s coming to Croatia and that the Vatican remains connected with the Croatian people and country.

He’s OK, I have nothing against him. It’s wrong to compare him with his predecessor because John Paul II was special, especially for all of us who were born in his time, and you can’t compare him with any other pope. Benedict XVI has only been pope for six years and I can’t comment too much on him, but he’s our spiritual leader and I support him in whatever he decides.

In any case I can say only the best about him. Croatia has always had papal support, from Pope Hadrian if you will, John VIII, Gregory VII whose emissary crowned King Zvonimir in Solin, to John Paul II who helped us bring Croatian independence to existence. I hope that with Benedict’s visit Vatican’s support for Croatia will take a step further.


What is your perception of Pope Benedict XVI?

ciety, culture, the diplomatic corps, as well as political leaders, scientists, entrepreneurs and representatives of other religions. The same day Pope Benedict will participate in one of the two central events of his apostolic visit, which is the evening wake with the youth, expected to attract more than 25,000 young Catholics to Za-

greb’s main square (Trg bana Jelačića) on Saturday, starting at 7:30pm. Since there are a limited number of tickets for the wake, those without them will have the opportunity to watch a live video feed of the happenings from the main square on giant screens placed next to the Cathedral. Youngsters that will flock to Zagreb from all parts of Croatia and abroad to pray with the Pope will enjoy an entertainment programme prior to the wake. After praying, Pope will drive around nearby streets in the Popemobile to greet the gathered. The motto of the Pope’s visit “Together in Christ” will especially come into its own being during the central gathering with Croatian pilgrims on Zagreb Hippodrome on the 5th of June. At 10am Benedict XVI will lead the Holy Mass, but the whole event will begin much earlier as pilgrims will start gathering from 3am. Benedict XVI will finish his Croatian visit with an evening prayer at Zagreb Cathedral. Besides meeting with bishops, other clergy and theologians, the Pope will also pray at the tomb of the Blessed Alojzije Stepinac.

speech therapist


university professor


June 3, 2011 was Navis Consult, a company in the shipbuilding industry, while AVL-AST, that provides software support to motor manufacturers, took the most innovative exporter honors.

Končar earns the ultimate Best Croatian exporters in 2010 Golden Key for its export by markets: Bosnia and Herzegovina – Koka activities At its 6th annual conference, held in Zagreb on May 18th, the Croatian Exporters Association has presented the Golden Key awards to Croatia’s best exporting companies in the year 2010. Best large-scale exporter in the previous year was Končar Distribution and Special Transformers with a 12 % export growth in 2010. It is also the best exporter to Africa, while Solaris, manufacturer of solar panels, besides being named the best exporter to Italy, was the best middle-scale exporter in Croatia. Best small-scale exporter

Germany – Eko Međimurje Slovenia – P.P.C. Buzet Austria – Eurocable Group Serbia – Cedevita USA – Dok-ing Hungary – Sladorana Russia – Jadran Galenic Laboratory Great Britain – Končar Power Transformers South America – Leggett and Platt Technologies (exports to Brasil) Asia and Pacific – Šestan-Busch (exports to UAE) Growing markets – HarburgFreudenberger Belišće (exports to China and Hong Kong)

Croatian entrepreneur recognized by the EBRD At the 20th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors in Astana, Kazakhstan, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has awarded Croatian entrepreneur Jadranka Boban-Pejić with the Outstanding Excellence in Entrepreneurship award as part of the Women in Business award ceremony. BobanPejić is CEO at Biovega, the leader in organic food production and retail in the entire Balkans. “At the beginning of the 1990s when I started the company, everyone in Croatia thought that I was crazy and that there was no future for organic products, but as a company Biovega was founded as a role model to show that combining economy, ethics and ecology can be a good example to others. However, those three E principles, as we call them, are nothing without the fourth E, which is education,” Ms. BobanPejić said at the ceremony.

Guru of out-of-the-box thinking by Antonio Gotovac There is no telling what might become of Srića’s recent political engagement, but it looks promising. Last year he joined the Croatian Social-Liberal Party (HSLS) whose ratings are steadily increasing in this pre-election period. Srića fits in with the HSLS team of successful people, most of whom bear no connections to any of the many corruption scandals in Croatia, and that is a quality many voters are dying to see in their candidates. Late in 2010 Srića published his latest book, Croatia 2020, another one of his attempts at strategic planning of the nation’s future. The first half of the book is about current Croatia, the situation that the country is in after 20 years of independence, and in the second half Srića presents his vision of Croatia 10 years from now if certain things are done correctly in his opinion. “Most countries in the EU have their own Agenda 2020, which means they have systematically discussed their future and know what to do to achieve the goals they have set for themselves. Croatia on the other hand seems to have a single political goal and that is to enter the European Union, but that is bound to happen sooner or later, and not just to our country. Croatia could be either Kosovo of Europe or California of Europe,” Srića claims. “EU made us work hard” Political leaders are full of uncertainties in describing what immediate and tangible benefits Croatia may enjoy following entry to European Union. Could you as an economist with more love for hard facts be more specific in answering this question? “Countries that joined the EU in 2004 had on average 0.5 % higher GDP than projected in the first year. The access to the great EU marketplace

seems to have this higher growth as an immediate consequence.” But according to Srića, the best thing the whole EU accession story has brought to Croatia is that it set the standards high. “There are no discounts for us. Those ten countries that were entering the EU in 2004, not to mention Bulgaria and Romania, were in a situation in which they could have promised certain reforms for the future. Croatia on the other hand is not accessing the EU as part of a wider arrangement, all eyes are on us and we have to prove that we are able to, and in fact will, implement the required reforms. The EU cuts us no slack.” An opportunity lies in the fact that the vast majority of the population of EU does not know much about Croatia, apart from what most of them have heard about the country’s touristic features. “We’ll be a new kid on the block, so to speak, there will be a lot of interest in us once we join the EU and I see this as the ideal time to redesign the image of Croatia and set clear goals for the future.”

Velimir Srića

Croatia suffering from political voluntarism

Shortcut strategy With this goal in mind, Srića wrote a book full of ideas that some might consider wacky, but his view is different. According to him, Croatia is overly conservative in exploring possibilities for development. “I don’t think Croatia stands a chance in competition with the developed countries unless we resort to more unusual tactics. I’m basically suggesting a shortcut strategy for development because without taking shortcuts it would take us a whole century to get to where the West is now,” Srića believes. Is there a pattern to your numerous ideas and suggestions, some underlying idea that can be considered leitmotif of the book? “My basic strategy is taking all of Croatia’s comparative advantages – primarily natural and

human resources – and placing it in the service of a different kind of tourism, one that would promote our lifestyle, our talented people, our nutrition and related products. Do you know that 3 out of 10 World’s best olive oils are Croatian? And can you tell me what benefits does the country have from that? Our white wines are fantastic, but they’re produced in small quantities and all together do not represent a significant export product. I once offered my American contacts to a friend that produces wine. At the first meeting with the Americans, they told him to ship 300-400,000 bottles just to test the market, but that quantity was equivalent to his yearly production. At the same time the state provides subsidies to shipyards and agriculture, which at the end of the day is basically good money thrown to the sea.”

“For the past ten years, possibly longer, Croatia has not had a thought-out strategy of development. It is governed by politicians and not statesmen – politicians are interested only in the next election, statesmen have long term interest in mind.”

Why couldn’t Croatian shipyards build ships that would serve as parking garages at the port of Dubrovnik or in any other crowded coastal town during the summer, Srića asks. “Such ships would take care of the lack of parking, plus they might provide shopping or medical facilities, etc. This way our shipyards build bulk carriers that cost about 10% more than the price they are actually sold for. The state basically stimulates foreign investors to buy Croatian ships.” If you had the power to make happen all the ideas you propose, what would be the first? “Replacing all political animals in the system with experts would be a great thing for starters. Croatia is suffering for a long time now from a certain political voluntarism. An American friend of mine tells me how he’s often amazed with what excellent people we have in this country, but they are hardly ever in the most responsible positions.”


June 3, 2011

Tourism coped well in the crisis by Marina Bencun Croatia’s Institute of Tourism has conducted a survey on attitudes and expenditures of tourists in Croatia (so-called TOMAS survey) every few years since 1987. The 2010 summer survey (June to September) was led by lead researcher, Zrinka Marušić and included who managed interviews amongst with 4973 tourists in 85 different destinations dispersed over seven counties on the Adriatic coast. The results of the survey were published in April 2011. The average tourist on the Croatian coast was a highly educated 41-year old with a monthly income of up to 2000 EUR, stayed 9.5 nights and spent about 58 EUR a day. The primary motive for visiting Croatia for most tourists (74%) was to have a relaxed vacation, i.e. to rest and relax at the seaside, followed by other pleasure and fun, new experiences, gastronomy and visiting natural attractions. Hotel guests spend most Previous experiences and friends’ recommendations play a significant role as sources of information about Croatia, equivalent to that of the media and Internet. This result underlines the importance of the human factor in tourism. Germany, Slovenia, Austria, Italy and the Czech Republic were, and still are, the leading foreign markets, while

Zrinka Marušić, Institute for Tourism: “The results of the 2010 TOMAS survey reflect the economic crisis on our most important foreign markets, but they also indicate that Croatian tourism coped well with that threat. The surveys biggest value is as a scientific basis for everyone involved in the tourism industry to draw conclusions on the demand and the views of guests who impact our economy so greatly. It’s always better to make important decisions based on reliable facts.”

an increasing number of new visitors are coming from Great Britain, Russia and France. Since almost half of Croatia’s accommodation capacity is registered as private accommodation, it is no wonder 19.2 million overnight stays occurred in such places. Most of their guests were up to 35 years old and interested in natural beauty spots, but they also complained about poor excursions and trips on offer and poor local transport.

Based on 2010 data, the Croatian coast was a major destination for relaxed family vacations which resulted in 9.4 million arrivals and 54.2 million overnight stays in local hotels and accommodation. As far as tourist camps are concerned (13.7 million overnights), nearly 50% of their guests were regulars who have spent their summer vacations in Croatia at least six times, staying in camps 12 nights on average. Campers were the most frequent visitors of restaurants. Their viewpoints centeredcentred on beach tidiness and the cultural events on offer. Hotel’s in Croatia represent only 12% of the available accommodation capacity but still realised 3.6 million overnight stays. Hotel guests were spending the most during their stay in Croatia, but complained about the few shopping options and poor beaches. Analysis by counties Out of the seven coastal counties, Istria was the most popular tourist destination with 17.7 million overnights.  Istria has many repeat guests, as much as 75% of the total. Its guests stayed 10 nights on average, their favourite activities were swimming, nature walks and local entertainment.  Although satisfied

with the overall offer, Istrian guests saw a possibility for improvements in marking cultural sites and the types of cultural events offer, local traffic and beach facilities. Primorje-Gorski Kotar County recorded 10.9 million overnight stays, but its service was rated highest of all the seven counties. LikaSenj County is at the bottom with 1.6 million overnights, while Zadar County, the biggest of the 21 Croatian counties, hosted one of

every nine guests on the coast. SplitDalmatia County recorded 9,4 million overnights, while Šibenik-Knin County had 3.8. Pretty expectedly, Dubrovnik-Neretva County (4.5 million overnights) had the highest proportion of hotel guests (54%) and the most expensive accommodation. An average guest of this county holds an academic diploma and earns 3500 EUR per month. Lack of shopping areas was often stressed by the interviewees as a

disadvantage of this region. Tourists who participated in the survey were asked to compare their stay in Croatia to their experiences in other countries. Judging by their comments, they mostly prefer Croatia over Portugal, Slovenia and Montenegro, and they find it equally attractive as Turkey, Greece and Italy.  Croatia however lags behind Spain and France, especially when it comes to entertainment and recreational facilities on offer.


June 3, 2011

Headhunters - providers of by Veljko Skenderija

Headhunting is a method of direct search of candidates for mostly high or medium-ranked managerial positions within companies or for rare specialist jobs. It began developing as a business some 50 ago, while in Croatia it is present from the second half of the nineties. The start was expectedly slow and primarily led by foreign companies. Thanks to their experience of other countries, headhunting companies that came to Croatia had a clear image of the benefits they could offer to businesses on an emerging market. passive candidates are often great Headhunting is a sophisticated way of recruiting that enables both a wide selection and a good focus. It’s focused on specific target groups and no time is lost on candidates of questionable quality that use always the same pattern in applying to classic job ads, regardless of whether they fit the criteria or not. „As part of selection processes that they manage themselves, employers generally choose between candidates who are active job seekers, whether they’re applying to a job ad or sending an open offer to the potential employer. But we must take into account that a large part of the labour market consists of employees who do not actively seek a new job – we call them passive candidates. Often they are excellent potential candidates who do not check job ads regularly or simply do not apply for jobs for lots of reasons, mostly out of fear of confidentiality of the proceedings“, says Nina Anđal, CEO at Antal, underlying the importance of discretion. Privacy and safety of candidates’ information in an agency’s database must be a given, and especially because most candi-

dates already occupy responsible positions in stable companies. To that end, agencies in the main do not disclose identities of potential candidates to clients, and vice versa, until the final selection round. Ideal candidates are those whose knowledge, skills, experience, personality and values fit best with client’s requirements. Mirjana Šlat of Neumann & Partners experiences this where an ideal candidate for company A needs not necessarily be an ideal candidate for company B. In the final stage the employer is presented with three to five short listed candidates. Agency guarantees the successful candidates for a period between 6 and 12 months to one year. Potential candidates are selected from databases that all genuine headhunting agencies constantly update either through direct contact or otherwise – since headhunters are often former employees of various consulting firms, they personally know people in top managerial positions. Of course, these kinds of background are still developing in Croatia. Sanja Brkić-Fakleš, head at Pedersen & Partners and a pioneer of executive search in Croatia, estimates that 80 % of Croatian headhunters are psychologists and economists and the other 20% are lawyers. Understandably, our interviewees do not wish to discuss salaries, but unofficial information indicate that the price of an average headhunter in Croatia is about 25,000 HRK per capita for medium or high-ranked managers, and of course much more if a member of the supervisory board or the management has been recruited. BrkićFakleš’s company, which recruited candidates for the new Board of Directors of the Zagreb Stock Exchange, recruits around 50 „heads“ per year, plus or minus 10%, and charges its clients between 25%33% of the newly acquired candidates first year annual income

from the employer. It’s a relatively high price for the company, but cost-benefit analyses show this investment pays off very quickly if the headhunter does his job well and finds a suitable candidate, which is also in every he a d hu nte r’s best interest be-

hard not to notice that headhunters need the same „medicine“ as the Croatian economy in general, i.e. that this sector depends heavily on the development of the private sector. Antal CEO also points to a change in the industry in relation to the period before the crisis: “Transfers of middle and highranking managers no longer mean a raise of at least 20%. Managers’ incomes may increase slightly after transfers, but such double-digit pay rises are the exception.” Not many specialists

Money is not always the highest priority for managers of this level as they plan their career development. Considering that we are dealing with middle and highranked managers, most of them are content with their wages and the motive for changing jobs is often something else. „Finance is almost never the primary motive. It’s always there, but in the background. The most common motives are tiredness with the company or workplace, the desire for new challenges, learning about new industries, working for a company that will invest more in you as an employee than your previous „Finance is almost never the primary motive employer. And of course the perfor changing jobs. It’s always there, but in the sonal factor can never be neglected background.“ – conflict with superiors or colSanja Brkić-Fakleš leagues,” says Sanja Brkić-Fakleš. There are not many specialised executive search agencies in Croatia. cause they all want to be re-hired in all other possible sources of ad- The problem is the size of the the future. ditional income, and then charge market, which is why most agenWhile it’s perfectly normal abroad a fixed amount that would corre- cies, while having a department that headhunting services are spond to the percentages of firms for executive search, also recruit candidates for lower positions and charged through commission, in like Pedersen & Partners. Croatia it works differently – why Considering the nature of the temporary employment. This is the make something simple when it headhunting profession, it was case with some renowned domestic can be complicated? Croatia be- clear from the outset of the global (Selectio group) and international longs to an elite group of chosen economic crisis that it would af- players on the Croatian market countries in which headhunting fect this sector sooner or later. In (Adecco, Hill, Trenkwalder, Lugera agencies can not make deals on Croatia it happened sooner than & Makler), but headhunting compercentages. Instead they must later – already in the autumn of panies specialised for executive calculate the annual income of the 2008 agencies started feeling the search in Croatia are actually fewer acquisition, anticipate bonuses and consquences of the first anti-crisis than ten, and if you ask Sanja BrkićFakleš, there are measures adoptno more than ed by many „Companies are two or three of companies, and looking for people them. The fact that was the emthat are able to find that most of bargo on recruitnew opportunities the largest gloment. The same to increase business bal headhunttrend domiperformance in ing players are nated in 2009, not present in but 2010 saw these difficult the the Croatian circumstances on the Croatia through a branch or a situation change market.“ licensed partin professional Nina Anđal ner yet is added and manageproof that this is rial recruitment. „Companies are looking for peo- a market that is at the early stages. ple that are able to find new op- A combination of disorder in reguportunities to increase business lation and being in its early days performance in these difficult cir- means that the Croatian market is cumstances on the market. This open to various companies that are year the market is stabilizing, but largely one-man bands, working I do not believe it will grow sig- in all areas, therefore improvising nificantly – there’s a lack of foreign in the full sense of the word. “If and domestic investments and they get any work at all, it’s super new projects that would also open for them”, Brkić-Fakleš adds. But a large number of managerial po- things are changing and this activsitions,” claims Nina Anđal. It is ity has become increasingly com-

June 3, 2011


the most valuable resources mon both in recruitment processes and as a legitimate term in the public sphere. Accordingly, the number of Croatian companies which use headhunters is almost equal the number of foreign companies operating here; there is evidently a growing awareness that the most valuable resource of any company are people, and companies would always use more high-quality personnel. According to Anđal, „the emergence and rapid growth of Internet employment websites led to some predictions that the executive search will lose a large share in the market, but it did not happen – these sites have proven to be an excellent channel for finding employees in certain segments of the labour market, but the more complex and higher position for which the employer needs candidates, the less likely it is that they will find them on the Internet.“ It is interesting to note how public companies and institutions use other channels of recruitment, relying more on advertising or the regular channels of the Employment Service, while headhunting remains almost a taboo. Executive search services are used by local and in-

ternational companies largely from the financial, technology, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, retail and consumer goods industries. Public and state administration lag in this respect even though its employees may possess a high degree of professionalism and competence in order to face present and future challenges adequately. Considering the sometimes suspicious criteria by which people were recruited to public service in Croatia over the past years, it’s no wonder that headhunting, at least officially, is completely out of the picture. That is definitely not good, especially in light of the fact that the proclaimed policy of the government is that the state should carry out numerous investment projects (infrastructure, tourism, energy) that would provide momentum for the economy. In any case, state investments need the best possible managers as well, and those are the ones recruited by headhunting agencies, it is why clients hire them and it is why these agencies exist in the first place. The state will still need time to fully grasp this fact. Because it does by default catch on slower than the private sector.


June 3, 2011

LIVE MUSIC 2 ZAGREB INTERNATIONAL BLUES FESTIVAL @Studentski centar (Savska cesta 25) + Hard Place (Šubićeva 55/1), Zagreb June 9-12 ND

by Dean Kotiga

After the fantastic inaugural festival in 2010 ZIBF has added another headliner to the event in 2011. From June 9-12 audiences in Zagreb will enjoy an abundance of good blues, namely Big Daddy Wilson, 10th June and Charlie Musselwhite, 11th June. Musselwhite is one of the rare white members of the blues canon, and last year he was inducted to the Blues Hall of Fame. Rumour has it that he was the inspiration for Dan Aykroyd’s character Elwood in the cult movie “Blues Brothers”. And how about this, no more than World Ski Champion Ivica Kostelić will share the stage with the Telephone Blues Band on 10th June. Vuge

moving pop-rock. Dr. Lonnie Smith Trio @Monte Mulini, A. Smareglia bb, Rovinj June 10, 21:00h

Jazz fans are up for a real treat when one of the finest hotels in Istria, Monte Mulini, hosts Dr. Lonnie Smith and his trio. Smith worked with many greats, from George Benson and Dizzy Gillespie to Etta James. Live performance of one of the world’s best organists is more than a good reason for a trip to the western coast of Istria. Mars Festival

@Pogon Jedinstvo, Trnjanski nasip bb, Zagreb June 10, 17:30h

Zagreb will have a chance to hear the “weeping” 30 Seconds to Mars band, led by the famous actor Jared Leto, at the Mars Festival. Much more interesting than the emo-headliners will be American rockers Dredg and Croatian singer-songwriter Nina Morić. @KSET, Unska 3, Zagreb June 8, 20:00h


@Maksimir Stadium, Maksimirska 128, Zagreb June 8, 19:45h

Despite their studio albums slipping in a number of ways over the last 15 years, Bon Jovi’s tours seem more popular than ever. That was the case on the 2008 Lost Highway Tour and the 2010 Circle Tour. Both ended up as the most lucrative of the year on the Billboard Chart. In 2010 Bon Jovi sold out 12 concerts at the epic O2 Arena, London in just 19 days! But that was not enough for the American four piece who hot on the tails of the 2008 and 2010 tours, have released their “Greatest Hits – Ultimate Collection” and are now well into their 14th tour, “Bon Jovi Live” aiming to outdo themselves yet again. Zagreb is Bon Jovi’s first visit to Croatia with 8th June at

Maksimir Stadium marking the start of the European stage of the tour. The fans in Zagreb will be the first to get a taste of the stadium atmosphere that’ll travel across the continent all summer long. True Bon Jovi fans might notice the absence of one of the leading band members, guitarist Richie Sambora. Sambora recently checked in for repeat detox again, but the Band say they’re coming with an adequate substitute (Phil X). Although they’ll be playing without their most important guitarist, perhaps no longer sounding as strong and fresh like on their 1986 album “Slippery When Wet”, this concert of experienced hard-rockers should not be missed. It is after all, Croatia’s rock sensation of the year.

JON SPENCER BLUES EXPLOSION @Tvornica kulture, Šubićeva 2, Zagreb June 5, 20:00h

Tireless concert organizer Mate Škugor, a.k.a. Good Spirit of the Zagreb Music Scene, has obviously intended to put his hometown Šibenik on the European festival map with his project, Terraneo. Paving the way for Terraneo is a short promotional tour in Zagreb on which Škugor hosts big names, including Mercury Rev, Swans and Animal Collective, topped by the Blues Explosion for the finale. The energetic Blues Explosion trio bases its expression on rock ‘n’ roll combined with punk, blues, garage. JSBX is definitely one of the most influential independent 90s bands. We can safely assume that without them bands like The White Stripes would have a much more difficult path to centre stage. If you like to spill sweat all over the dance floor, Tvornica is the place to be on June 5th.

If you prefer intimate and outof-the-ordinary concerts instead of big, colourful spectacles, Vuge are just what the doctor ordered. Sounds of violins, cymbals, bass and double bass, merging with three melodious vocals explore the possibilities of interplay between traditional Croatian and world music – a winning combination! ZUCCHERO @Spaladium Arena, Zrinskofrankopanska 211, Split June 11, 21:00h

This popular Italian singer returns to Croatia for those into good old

Misfits @Boogaloo, Vukovarska 68, Zagreb, June 10, 20:00h

Fans of some harder music can witness the rampage of the founders of horror punk, the notorious Misfits, at the Boogaloo club. Flogging Molly @Boogaloo, Vukovarska 68, Zagreb, June 14, 20:00h

This Celtic punk band is already known to Zagreb audience and enjoys its affection. A guaranteed good time. Dunja Knebl @Močvara, Trnjanski nasip bb, Zagreb June 16, 20:00h

For all lovers of ethno music.


June 3, 2011

MORE LIVE MUSIC: Jan Akkerman (instrumental blues/rock) @Boogaloo, Vukovarska 68, Zagreb, June 3, 20:00h Arrested Development (hip-hop) @Aquarius (Jarun lake, Zagreb), June 7, 21:00h @Stereo (Strossmayerova 1, Rijeka), June 9, 21:00h

ELECTRONIC MUSIC What a time for electronic music enthusiasts, three great festivals on the same weekend. Supernova Festival @Zrće beach, Novalja, island of Pag June 3 – Simon Baker + Timo Maas June 4 – Ellen Allien

Spring Break Europe @Rovinj, Istria June 2-5 David Guetta + R.I.O., Culcha Candela, Mickie Krause… Umagination @Umag, ATP Stadium, Umag June 3 – DJ Tiesto June 4 – Reverend Run (ex Run DMC) + Erick Morillo

This year’s Umagination is part of the Adria Music Conference 2011, the first music conference of its kind in the region. It hosts the most rewarded DJ in history, DJ Tiesto and other big names such as Reverend Run, formerly of hiphop trio Run DMC.

THEATRE Opera Giuseppe Verdi: The Troubadour @Croatian National Theatre, Trg Maršala Tita 15, Zagreb June 3, 5, 7, 10, 13, 19:30h

The beloved Verdi is a standard repertoire choice, a win-win option for both the opera house and the audience, so we can say that the Croatian National Theatre (HNK) leaves the best for last in the current theatrical season. Mikhail Sinkevich, guest conductor from the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, tries to get the best from the theatre orchestra. This is a task which should be made easy as this is not his first time conducting in this house. He last conducted a second Verdi masterpiece, Rigoletto. The director is Andrejs Žagars,

general manager of the Latvian National Opera who we’ve interviewed for this edition of Current Croatia. With experienced foreign artists behind and beneath the stage, as well as local forces like singers Vitomir Marof and Adela Golac-Rilović on it, there is no doubt that Verdi’s opera about love and jealousy will rise in its full glory. The famous tenor Enrico Caruso once said that all you need for a successful performance of “The Troubadour” are only the four best singers in the world – go and find out why. Mozart: The Marriage of Figaro @Movieplex, Nova Ves 17, Zagreb June 6 Live video transmission from the Teatro Royal, Madrid. Verdi: Macbeth @Movieplex, Nova Ves 17, Zagreb June 13 Live video transmission from the Royal Opera House, London

Ballet Minkus: Don Quijote @Croatian National Theatre, Trg Maršala Tita 15, Zagreb June 9, 19:30, June 11, 18:00, June 14, 19:30h

CLASSICAL MUSIC Mahler’s 2nd Symphony – “Resurrection”, Zagreb Philharmonic Hall and IC assembly, conductor Dmitri Kitayenko @ Lisinski Concert Hall, Trg Stjepana Radića 4, June 3, 19:30h @ Ljetna pozornica (Summer Stage), Opatija, June 4 “On the edge of classic”, played by the mandolin quartet Da Capo Split + drum, piano and cello @Lisinski Concert Hall, Trg Stjepana Radića 4, Zagreb June 15, 20:00h


June 3, 2011 GASTRONOMY



@Rovinj Heritage Museum (Trg maršala Tita 11), Adris Gallery, (Obala Vladimira Nazora 52), Rovinj June 10-11

One of the most beautiful Istrian coastal towns has always had a rich summer cultural offer, and for the fourth consecutive year it hosts this increasingly recognisable event Rovinj Photodays. This year Photodays have by far the strongest programme ever. The Rovinj Heritage Museum opens two exhibitions on 10th June. The first is a retrospective of Erwin Blumenfeld, the famous GermanAmerican fashion photographer of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar who in his early days used photo editing to mock Hitler, after which his Jewish origin found him to a concentration camp from which he eventually escaped near death. The title of the other exhibition speaks for itself: “Franco Fontana &

Mario Giacomelli - two masters of 20th century Italian photography”. Adris Gallery in turn opens the most important exhibition of the event: “50 years of rock ‘n’ roll: the women who created rock” by Gail Buckland, an outstanding and award-winning professor of photograph history and author of a dozen books on the subject. Her exhibition celebrates 11 women who photographed musicians and their fans all over the world. Two interesting lectures will be given on Saturday, June 11th. First the managing editor of the Belgradebased magazine “ReFoto” will speak about the aesthetics of photography, after which Gail Buckland will lecture on the history of rock ‘n’ roll photography. Did we mention that all of the above is free? A weekend in Rovinj with the Photodays and Dr. Lonnie Smith at the Monte Mulini are your winning combination for the first half of June.


@Museum of Arts and Crafts, Trg Maršala Tita 10, Zagreb until August 28, 2011

This unmissable cultural event in Zagreb was even recommended to its readers by the respected Le Figaro. More than 45,000 visitors in just three months prove that this is one of the most popular exhibitions in 2011.

MORE EXHIBITIONS Medieval torture @Archeological Museum Trg Nikole Šubića Zrinskog 19, Zagreb until June 19, 2011 Ivo Kerdić – commemorating the 130th birthday of the sculptor @ Gallery of Modern Art Andrije Hebranga 1, Zagreb until June 26, 2011 Ivan Kožarić: “Over the line” @Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb (MSU) Avenija Dubrovnik 17 June 10 – August 21, 2011 Pompeii – Life in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius @Klovićevi dvori Jezuitski trg 4, Zagreb until July 10, 2011

Icons of the new Croatian pop art @Klovićevi dvori, Jezuitski trg 4, Zagreb, until June 12, 2011 Zlatko Šulentić – Critical Retrospective @The Art Pavilion, Trg Kralja Tomislava 22, Zagreb Until June 5, 2011 The Rijeka Torpedo – first torpedo in the world @ Museum of the City of Rijeka, Muzejski trg 1/1, Rijeka until September 7, 2011 Ruđer Bošković again in his native Dubrovnik @Rector’s Palace, Pred dvorom 3, Dubrovnik until September 18, 2011 Asti sto – Hajduk memorabilia from the first 100 years of the club @Lazareti, Frana Supila 8, Dubrovnik until June 5

Malvasia Wine Festival @City waterfront, Poreč June 3-5, 2011 After the Dalmatia Wine Expo held in April in Makarska and the regionally important Vinistra held in mid-May in Poreč, June brings an important event for all wine lovers. The venue again is Poreč. Unlike Dalmatia and Vinistra, the 2nd International Festival of Malvasia is narrower in its perspective as its focus is promoting the most famous Istrian white variety. The Festival includes over 50 Italian representatives. Do not worry, for there is more to the whole event than wine. There will be liquor, spirits and all kinds of drinkable and eatable surprises. In the world there are only a few places where you can eat and drink better than in Istria! MENUS OF OUR ANCESTORS @Punat, island of Krk June 10-17, 2011 Remind yourself of how food was prepared back in the old days on the city promenade and in many of its restaurants - with a lot more attention, little hassle. CHERRY DAYS @Lovran June 11-19, 2011 Try all kinds of products made from delicious Lovran cherries, but save yourself for the grand finale, the unforgettable cutting of the large strudel in Lovran main square.

CINEMA ANIMAFEST @cinema Europa (Varšavska 3) + Tuškanac (Tuškanac 1), Zagreb until June 5, 2011 This event that was rightfully termed the only Croatian A star film festival has begun in late May, so grab from it whatever you can. This year our guests include “The Simpsons” director David Silverman and animation legend Paul Driessen, whose retrospective is scheduled for 5th June. There is also the psychedelic version of the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” and titles such as “The Illusionist” and “My Dog Tulip” that are undoubtedly among the best achievements in animated cinema last year. However, if you must opt for only one film to see, let it be “Surviving Life (Theory and Practice)”. Perhaps it is not a mainstream movie, but at least it’s something you won’t get to see any time soon. Why? It is in fact the last film of legendary 67-year old Jan Švankmajer who rarely sends his films to festivals, but this time he made an exception. Make one yourself and come to Animafest. MEDITERRANEAN FILM FESTIVAL @cinema Bačvice (Put Firula 2) + Karaman (Ilićev prolaz), Split June 11-18, 2011 More than 20,000 visitors over the past three years + over 50 films this

year = safe bet for a good time at the cinema. The concept of bringing together films from the Mediterranean region is most intriguing, and one of this year’s most prominent participants is the Turkish film “Majority” that won the best debut film honors at the Venetian “Mostra” last year. Then there is the excellent Greek film “Attenberg” about unconventional upbringing and Spanish “Black bread” which won six Goya awards. Filmophiles, your direction has to be Split.

OTHER SUMMER AT THE STROSS @Strossmayer promenade, Zagreb Until September 2, 2011 During the summer, the beautiful Strossmayer promenade, located at the foot of the Lotrščak Tower, turns into the popular “Strossmartre” and hosts a rich cultural programme. What is certainly noteworthy in early June is the Boom Pacha Boom concert. Live performance of this playful 7-member band who plays covers of pop, doowop, twist and other dance genres of the 50s and 60s is unforgettable. If you don’t believe me, ask anyone else who has experienced it. Gypsy swing band ”Django Jet“ performs on 15th June, another opportunity to dance. Cest is d'Best @Cvjetni trg, Trg Petra Preradovića, Zagreb June 8-12, 2011 One of the favourite Zagreb festivals actually takes place on most squares and streets in the city centre, transforming them all into one large urban stage. The most popular Croatian hip-hop group The Beat Fleet performs on 9th June, but much more is yet to come. FLORAART @lake Bundek, Zagreb until June 5, 2011 The 46th International Garden Show is taking place during the first week of June. FIUMANKA REGATTA @City waterfront, Rijeka June 9-12, 2011

After the first day sail from Zadar to the concert of one of Croatia’s leading rock bands Psihomodo Pop on the second day, the 12th International Fiumanka Regatta starts at 11.00am on 11th June. A sailing event is being held all the time during the race, while entrance to all supporting events is free. Don’t forget, navigare necesse est (vivere non est necesse)! DAYS OF ANTIQUITY @old town + Amphitheatre (Pula) June 9-11, 2011 For the 10th consecutive year Pula organizes the Days of Antiquity, during which you can feel the breath of the everyday life of ancient Romans, which includes tasting a typical Roman dinner and watching gladiatorial combat in the magnificent Pula Arena. KNIGHTS TOURNAMENT @Oršić castle, Gornja Stubica June 11, as of 13:00h Oršić Castle is worth visiting at any time, but especially when it also provides you with the opportunity to experience armoured knights fencing, spectacular fires, forest bandit attacks and many other events from the Middle Ages. 26th Oldtimer rally @Kumrovec, Zagreb June 11-12, 12:00h While the first day of the event is not much more than driving around the capital and showing off, the second day is more serious and competitive. The drive starts in Zagreb and ends in Kumrovec, birthplace of late Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito, where a test of accuracy and drivers’ agility is the theme. Slovenian oldtimers meeting @City waterfront, Poreč June 11, 2011

OrganiSing an interesting event? If you want it covered in Current Croatia Events, contact us at


June 3, 2011

Pleasantly surprised with Croatia

Andrejs Žagars

The Latvian director has been to Croatia on several occasions, visited pretty much the whole coastline, so we asked him what does he like most about it? “My favorite natural site is the Palmižana island close to Hvar. As for small romantic towns, Dubrovnik is definitely a pearl of the world. I’m impressed with how the city authorities managed to preserve the historical image of Dubrovnik, there aren’t too many aggressively imposing symbols of the modern world. Trogir, Šibenik and Rovinj are amazing, they have this special charm, especially in May or October when there aren’t too many people around. I also like the variety of natural bioorganic products.” Žagars is pleasantly surprised with how easily people here communicate in English. “Being here and talking to local people also helps me get a clearer image of Croatian history, an image that you don’t get from the books because histories of small countries are full of manipulations.”

“Opera is all about passion” So far working in Zagreb has been a great experience for Andrejs Žagars because not often does he get the chance to do just opera and not much else. “I feel here as an artist, which is good. Back home I’m the general manager of an opera company, but I have an artistic background. I come from acting, I also acted in many films and I prefer doing that kind of work. In Zagreb I can be just artist, I don’t have to look after the finance or administration,” Žagars states.

We’ve worked a lot with the public, now we’re happy to have an audience across different age groups, but it was a long process getting there.” How are you able to attract young people to the opera house? “We’re doing more education, we’re going out of theatre and to schools and other institutions. Sundays we have a day time programme with two or three operas for the kids where they create opera or watch some miniopera, and of course we have a repertoire particularly for the young to get them in the opera. Fresh productions are very important, you can’t attract young professionals with old-fashioned and boring productions.”

Modern day Troubadour Žagars is in Zagreb as the director of Verdi’s “The Troubadour”, premiering at the Croatian National Theatre on 3rd of June. “The original story is set in the mediaeval period in Spain, but I’ve moved it to the 1990s and a situation of civil war, so basically it’s still a story of passionate love but in a situation of internal strife. If there are barriers to it and prejudice, love overcomes it all, and opera is all about passion. The moving in time and space was just means of communication with the audience, convincing them to believe in my interpretation.” Wouldn’t you have succeeded in convincing the audience to believe in your vision if you had staged the opera as it was originally? “Of course we can speculate about that, but I usually try to move in periods. It’s a demanding challenge and a certain risk because if it’s not done properly, then it all collapses in front of audience and critics. I’m not against traditional interpretations, the traditional form of doing opera is good, but I’m against the pretending that often happens when we set in historical periods. Singers start to pretend, change the way of communication,

Great atmosphere on stage attitude, manners, everything, and then we lose the life. Maybe it’s just my problem, but I don’t like working this way. Moving to the present day helps me connect with the audience and get them into the situation. I believe that you can move in period of time, but it is your obligation as the director to ultimately tell the story.” In recent years Žagars has done more of this international work and claims

“I’m always looking for opera houses that are more alive and more interesting to communicate with, whose managements want progressive change, and I find them especially in transition countries the same as my own.”

that his future plans are also connected more to international projects. So how did this cooperation with the Croatian National Theatre come to be? “I’m always looking for opera houses that are more alive and more interesting to communicate with, whose managements want progressive changes, and I find them especially in transition countries similar to my own. I’m not looking for cooperation with routine. I like the theatre manager here Ana Lederer and the opera director Branko Mihanović, their enthusiasm and passion correspond with my attitude towards opera.” How’s the situation in Latvia concerning opera, how satisfied are you with your work at the helm of the Latvian National Opera? “I was appointed general manager in 1996, after the reopening of the house following a five-year reconstruction, and in the past 15 years we’ve developed a very progressive company.

All operas have to think about the future, Žagars claims, because if they don’t, they’ll end up having the same situation as in Italy. “There average opera audience is 50-60 years old. Younger generations live in the new media world and you can’t attract them with something boring. You have to bring opera alive, make it touch the heart, show the passion

because that’s what opera is all about, passion and energy.” In a few words, what can the Croatian opera audience expect from The Troubadour directed by Andrejs Žagars? “It will be a great musical experience; Mikhail Sinkevich is a great conductor from the world famous Mariinsky Opera Theatre in St. Petersburg. He has already conducted in this house and has a good relationship with the orchestra. I think we succeeded in telling the story, and The Trovatore is not an easy story to tell. So it will be a clean interpretation of the opera – even though we’ve moved it to the present day and to an unnamed territory, we do not speculate further on that. The international cast is also very interesting, we have artists from all over the world who have worked in Europe, together with local singers I think they will make a great impact and provide added energy. The atmosphere is great because there is competition in a positive way, all the singers are striving to the maximum, all are motivated to do their best in this cooperation with singers they don’t have a chance to cooperate with usually.”


June 3, 2011

Dreft Fashion Week Zagreb – the strongest international fashion event in the region DFWZ is considered the strongest fashion week in the region largely due to its continuous innovation, great mix of young local and established international designers, high quality production and reputation for giving back to the local community through charity events.

Fyodor Golan, couple known for designing for Lady Gaga, have wowed the local audience with their sharply focused and well tailored collection which represents a great balance between ready to wear pieces which flirt with couture elements. Bravo guys!

Another boost of energy was the Rodnik Band who did not disappoint in entertaining the audience.

Aminaka Wilmont, a British designer showing at London Fashion Week, has shown a very strong and wearable autumn/winter collection 2011/2012 in which all of the pieces can be combined with one another. Aminaka's collection includes some real statement pieces like fur jackets and leather blazers.

Fashion show highlights One of the rare designers showing menswear was Toni Rico whose theme was Wiener Boys. Toni's show was a show-stopper, full of positive energy. Immaculate tailoring, great fall coats and touches of sportswear were the highlights of his show.

Philip Colbert's collection was inspired by London's pop culture, music and humour.

Supporting events - British Embassy sales showroom – featuring current collections of the London designers showing on DFWZ - Fashion blogger lecture – featuring world renowned streetstyle blogger Yvan Rodic – Facehunter and book signing of his new book ”Facehunter” - ”Fashion with Cream“ – sales showroom of various young and creative local designers with reasonably priced clothes and accessories. This event is a combination of coffee and shopping in café bars within the venue, where the goal was for everyone to be able to have at least one unique item from a Croatian designer in their wardrobe.

In a category of his own is Jean-Pierre Braganza who many refer to as a Karl Lagerfeld's protégé. His collection was inspired by a woman warrior and leader. The collection reflects a post-cyber world uniform and it features biker details, militaristic cuts and navy patterns.

Technology innovations

• QR code video campaign • iPhone application • live webcast via


June 3, 2011

Dražen Petrović Cup coming to life by Antonio Gotovac

Dražen Petrović – facts and figures Born: October 22, 1964, in Šibenik Died: June 7, 1993, in Germany Height: 196 cm (6’5) Position: shooting guard Played for Šibenka from his home town, Cibona Zagreb, Real Madrid, Portland Trail Blazers and New Jersey Nets. Greatest achievements: - Two Olympic silver medals, Seoul 1988 for Yugoslavia, Barcelona 1992 for Croatia and the bronze medal at Los Angeles 1984 - World Champion with Yugoslavia in Argentina 1990, bronze medalist at the 1986 World Championship in Spain - European champion in Zagreb 1989, bronze medalist at the 1987 European Championship in Athens - two-time European champion with Cibona (1985, 1986)

- two-time winner of the European Cup Winners’ Cup (Cibona 1987, Real Madrid 1989) - two-time champion of Yugoslavia (Šibenka 1983, Cibona 1985) - three-time winner of the Yugoslav Cup with Cibona (1985, 1986, 1988) - winner of the Spanish Cup with Real Madrid (1989) - Most Valuable Player of the 1986 World Championship - Most Valuable player of the 1989 European Championship - named to All-NBA Third Team in 1993 - The Dražen Petrović Trophy was awarded to the MVP of the McDonald’s Championships in the nineties (Michael Jordan was one of the awarded) - inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield in 2002 and the FIBA Hall of Fame in Madrid in 2007

I’ll never forget coming home from school on that tragic day, June 7th, 1993. I found my mother crying her eyes out on her birthday. I figured it’s because she was already seven months pregnant with my kid brother at the time. Unfortunately, it was much more than mere hormones. She had just heard the news that Dražen had been killed in a car accident in Germany. Even today, 18 years later, most people remember what they were doing when the news broke. Croatian people never fail to commemorate his passing every year in early June, but we as a nation have long been incapable of materialising our admiration for one of the country’s all-time greats. Ironically, more was done by Dražen’s international admirers. The NBA franchise New Jersey Nets retired his number 3 jersey already by the end of 1993 – Cibona Zagreb did the same with his number 10 about fifteen years later. The International Olympic Committee soon erected an avant-garde monument portraying Dražen’s silhouette outside the Olympic Museum in Lausanne – it took Zagreb municipal authorities another 10-15 years to do the same in the center of Zagreb. Croatia has been slow in catching up, but at least now there is a beautiful little museum dedicated to Dražen’s life, right in front of the Dražen Petrović Basketball Centre at the Dražen Petrović Square in the nation’s capital. Most recently it seems a group of enthusiasts have devised a way to honour not just Dražen’s sporting legacy, but also the spirit he represented, the spirit of hard work, discipline and dedication, the spirit of fair play and active involvement in sports of people of

As we commemorate 18 years since the death of reputedly Europe’s best basketball player ever, a brand new competition format is created to cherish his memory and promote the values he stood for. all age groups. A unique competition with huge potential is coming to life in Croatian basketball and its full name is the “Dražen Petrović Club Basketball Cup”. What’s so special about the Dražen Petrović Cup? Although it’s grand finale is a one-day event, the competition basically lasts all season long. Every club registered at the Croatian Basketball Federation is a participant, but not only its senior team. Clubs also participate across all their youth categories, U14, U16 and U18. Eash is awarded with points for their results on the national level in each of the four categories. The national champion earns 50 points in the Dražen Petrović Cup ranking, the runner up earns 40, the third team gets 30, etc. The U18 national championship is the only one completed to date and it was won by Dubrava, the proud first ever leader in the Dražen Petrović Cup rankings. The grand finale will take place in late September, after the European Championship in Lithuania, when the two

most successfully ranked teams iwill go head to head in the U16, U18 and senior categories, all on the same day. Whoever wins will be officially crowned the best club in the country. “Considering that this is a unique competition in the world, we figured it’s worthy of Dražen’s name. When we presented the idea to his mother Biserka, she agreed and that’s how the cup got his name,” says Željko Došen, the initiator of the whole story who very quickly gained support from the Federation and the Croatian Olympic Committee. Even though he is a former basketball player and coach, at the time when he came up with this idea, he was in no way professionally connected to basketball. It’s still too early to tell, but judging by the number of sponsors and people ready to support everything concerning the shining legacy of the great Amadeus, the final event of the Dražen Petrović Cup could be a great success. It is scheduled for September 24-25 2011.


June 3, 2011

Il Secondo by Dean Kotiga This Italian restaurant opened less than two years ago at a convenient location on Avenue Dubrovnik in Zagreb, next to the Avenue Mall. It took a while for Il Secondo to step out of the shadow of its “older brother” Boban, the famous restaurant in the centre of Zagreb known for one of the best pasta in town, but it is about time it receives its deserved place on the list of A category restaurants in the Croatian capital. The essence of Il Secondo is similar to that of Boban, but Slaven Todorovski, chef de cuisine at both restaurants, has significantly enriched the rest of the menu. Italian cuisine and pasta are still dominant, but there is a lot more to it. Every now and then, the menu is enriched with a couple of new seasonal dishes, including chestnut soup and several preparations based on asparagus. After all, there is nothing worse for a restaurant than to have always the same offer. The dry White Pinot Pilato 2008 was a great introduction to the first course – horsemeat tagliata (carpaccio) with rocket salad and grana padano on mustard and balsamic vinegar. It was the best meal I had the whole week so I would definitely recommend it, especially because it is a unique offer in town. Degrassi’s Cabernet sauvignon was the best company a horse in its posthumous state could want. I then tried the delicious black gnocchi with salmon sauce accompanied by Black Pinot Adžić, after which my selection for the main course was tuna steak with chard and potato. Tuna arrives to Il Secondo from the Adriatic on an almost daily basis and is served fresh. The steak I had there was one of the juiciest and most care-

fully prepared I have ever had. The side dish on the other hand could have used more imagination, but it was simply so perfect that it would be a sin to complain. Degrassi’s Malvasia barrique from 2006 is a rich-flavoured wine, quite suitable to go along with the steak. We then had two exquisite desserts – one was the Il Secondo cake, an icy cream with walnuts, and the other was the chocolate fondant filled with hot chocolate that fights for superiority on the plate with a bowl of very tasty ice cream. The great overall impression was disturbed only by olive oil – too bad the restaurant offers only one kind of olive oil because in a place of Il Secondo’s calibre there should be a variety of the finest oils from our country. I am glad the owner acknowledged this and promised to do something about it in the near future. Since most guests appreciate both quality and fair pricing, here is some more good news: the prices at Il Secondo are affordable, even for such unique dishes like the aforementioned tagliata. A variety

of home made products such as the focaccia and rosemary ciabatta breads, as well as those black gnocchi, point to a level higher than usual for the vast majority of restaurants in town. The interior

of Il Secondo is very well illuminated and spatially quite elaborated, which makes the atmosphere urban and lively. Musical background is unobtrusive, yet sweetsounding, with such safe bets as Joe Cocker, Carlos Santana, etc. The staff is very courteous and most efficient. The same can be said of the charming owner Ms. Iva Jurković (sister of the famous football player Zvonimir Boban – hence the name of the first restaurant). To sum up: Il Secondo might be the very best restaurant south of the Sava river, it meets the highest criteria in most fields and offers excellent value for money. With only a couple of improvements (e.g. olive oil) it would join the chosen group of Zagreb’s finest restaurants.


June 3, 2011


by Tomislav Zvonarić

“I don’t believe for a single second the accusations of sexual assault by my husband. I am certain his innocence will be proven.” Anne Sinclair, wife of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund who awaits trial in New York City charged with attempted rape of a hotel maid.

“If I’m elected, I’ll bring all my expertise as a lawyer, a minister, a manager and a woman.” Christine Lagarde, French Finance Minister, announcing her bid for the role of IMF chief at a press conference.

“Not only do I love my job, but I also like Croatia and Croats very much. Croatia is a cool country and I’m more than happy to be spending more time here.” Zoltán Áldott, President of the Management Board at the Croatian oil company INA and one of the most influential businessmen in Croatia, after it was decided that he concentrates on his job at INA and no longer serves as Executive Vice President of Exploration and Production Division of MOL Group

“Ours is not just a special relationship. It is an essential relationship — for us and for the world.” US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron, in a joint article published in the Times of London on the occasion of Obama’s UK state visit

Why did the organizers of Giro d’Italia 1930 pay the famous cyclist Alfredo Binda 22500 lire prior to the event?

consecutive victories between 1927 and 1929, winning the Giro in 1933 for the last time. Binda won a total of 41 stages in the Giro including 12 in the 1927 race alone, which also remains record until present day. Four-time winner of the Giro di Lombardia and two-time winner of the Milan – San Remo classic, Alfredo Binda was the first cyclist to win three World Championship Road Race titles. His home village Cittiglio near Varese houses a museum in his memory. After his three-peat at the Giro d’Italia (1927-29), organizers of the 1930 race paid Binda the prize money in advance to prevent him from participating. It was estimated that his dominance would kill the public interest for the race.

a) To perform wearing a sponsor’s logo. b) To perform topless. c) Not to perform at all. Alfredo Binda (1902 – 1986) was a famous Italian cyclist and an athlete ahead of his time. He set the record by winning Giro d’Italia five times, starting in 1925. A year later he came second and then had three

The premier newspaper for the English-speaking community Year 1, Volume 0 Managing Editor Antonio Gotovac

Writers Marina Bencun, La Kat, Dean Kotiga, Marija Pandžić, Veljko Skenderija.

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The first ever edition of Current Croatia, the premier newspaper for the English-speaking community