Made in Slovenia

23 Dec 2021, 12:36 PM

STA, 23 December 2021 - The Slovenian Constitution turns thirty today. Passed as the final act of legal independence from Yugoslavia, it was a modern Constitution at the time and practitioners of constitutional law say it has stood the test of time. Nevertheless, many believe it may be time for certain changes.

The Constitution is abstract enough to make it possible for the Constitutional Court to interpret it in line with modern standards, according to judge Rajko Knez, who presided the Constitutional Court until last week. This kind of flexibility is a feature of good constitutions, he told the STA.

The court's new president, Matej Accetto, likewise thinks the Constitution has stood the test of time. "However, it has been shown time and again that the Constitution must be understood, used and nurtured," he said.

Accetto highlighted the basic tenets of the Constitution - rule of law, separation of powers and independence of the judiciary - as perhaps the document's most important features in a crisis such as the Covid pandemic.

"Many messages in the Constitution are written precisely for moments when something goes wrong or does not run completely smoothly. And in such moment one needs to be aware of them and implement them accordingly," he said.

The Constitution remained conceptually unchanged but it has been amended several times, most notably in the run-up to Slovenia's accession to the EU, and more recently, when the right to clean drinking water, sign language and the golden fiscal rule were enshrined in the Constitution.

Statements by prominent jurists indicate some changes may be needed in future, though they are reserved as to what scope such changes should have.

Peter Jambrek, the first president of the Constitutional Court and one of the main authors of the Constitution, told the STA the Constitution had turned out to be very stable and firm and did not need major changes since it is "brief and clear, does not go into particularities and concrete solutions."

He believes the only potential change should be a new electoral system "if the necessary majority emerges".

Miro Cerar, a jurist who acted as secretary to the group that drafted the Constitution, proposes more far-reaching changes. He told the STA provisions on the composition and powers of the upper chamber of parliament, the appointment of ministers, election of judges and the composition of the Judicial Council are ripe for change.

Similarly, Tone Jerovšek, a former judge and one of the authors of the Constitution, singled out the appointment of ministers, which are now named by the National Assembly at the proposal of the prime minister, an arrangement he said was unique.

It would also make sense to implement changes regarding the electoral system and the upper chamber of parliament, which Jerovšek thinks should be strengthened.

But Cerar also warned that all changes must be careful and substantiated. "It would be damaging to interfere in the very foundations of the Constitution if this was not absolutely needed."

For years the most often voiced complaint about the country's Constitutional framework, at least from the ranks of jurists, has been that it opens the door too wide to the Constitutional Court, which has resulted in a very high caseload for the judges.

According to Knez, the last change of the act governing the Constitutional Court made access to the court easier, prompting him to warn the State Attorney's Office that the time it takes to process motions was becoming a problem that could end up being adjudicated by the European Court of Human Rights.

Jerovšek agrees that access to the court is too broad, as evidenced by thousands of applications the court has had to deal with during the pandemic.

He thinks the court should accept only the most glaring cases of violations, which would reduce the caseload and allow the court to delve deeper into each individual case.

You can read the constitution here

16 Dec 2021, 17:15 PM

STA, 16 December 2021 - Slovenia is already a European power in the field of artificial intelligence, said the Minister for Digital Transformation, Mark Boris Andrijanič. As he pointed out on Thursday at the European AI Forum in Ljubljana, Slovenia has the highest number of AI researchers per capita in Europe.

Slovenia hosts the UNESCO Centre for Artificial Intelligence and has an extremely vibrant AI community, minister Andrijanič pointed out in his address.

"We draw our strength from more than four decades of artificial intelligence research at the world-renowned Jožef Stefan Institute," he added.

Andrijanič also touched upon the importance of linking cutting-edge research with industry and the public sector, and highlighted Slovenia's decision to make digital transformation and AI one of its top priorities during its EU presidency.

"During Slovenia's presidency, EU ministers endorsed the general approach on the digital services act, the digital markets act, the data governance act and the network and information systems security directive, which together form the backbone of new digital legislation in the EU," he said.

According to Andrijanič, the first compromise text for the artificial intelligence act was already prepared during the Slovenian presidency. This will be the first comprehensive legislative framework for AI in the world, he pointed out.

"Artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies know no national borders or other limits of this kind. It is therefore crucial that we all work together to harness their unlimited potential," Andrijanič added.

Andrijanič spoke at the European AI Forum, a pan-European non-profit initiative addressing the field of artificial intelligence.

This year's conference addressed the key challenges of AI deployment and the legislation dealing with issues of data in AI. It was organised by the AI4SI initiative and the Association for Informatics and Telecommunications at the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

15 Dec 2021, 15:41 PM

STA, 15 December 2021 - The Slovenian register of intangible cultural heritage has been expanded with three new entries: the traditional building of nativity scenes, the traditional Slovenian festive pastry - potica, and the health profession and practice of midwifery.

The nativity scene is a popular Christian tradition, a display of art objects that represent the birth of Jesus, usually exhibited around Christmas time in different forms, with figures representing characters from the nativity story.

Nativity scenes have a long tradition in Slovenia, but they were revived particularly in the 1990s, says the website of the Culture Ministry.

In 1990, the first live nativity scene was staged in the Postojna Cave, while a life-size nativity scene was built on Šmarna Gora near Ljubljana in 1991. The first documented nativity scene in Slovenia was displayed in 1641 in a church in Gornji Grad.

The second addition, Slovenian potica, is a traditional Slovenian festive pastry made of rolled leavened paper-thin dough and filled with any of a great variety of fillings.

The characteristic potica is round with a hole in the middle, and made with a filling of walnut or tarragon. There are also variants with quark, hazelnut, pumpkin seed, poppy seed, and even salted ones with cracklings or bacon.

Potica is commonly regarded as the most recognised pastry in Slovenia. It is thought to have originated as a ceremonial type of bread that was made in the country as early as the Middle Ages. The first to mention potica was Slovenian priest Primož Trubar in 1575.

See the recipe for potica from Cook Eat Slovenia

The third addition to the register, midwifery, covers the specific knowledge and skills of childbirth support. Traditionally, midwifery was an exclusively female activity, and midwives have held a special status within the community.

As it became more professionalised, a midwifery school was founded in Ljubljana in 1753, and the first maternity hospital in Slovenia was established in 1789. Today, there is also a special midwifery course available at the Faculty of Medicine in Ljubljana.

14 Dec 2021, 21:10 PM

There’s not much time left to sort out your Christmas gifts, so as your mind races as to what will delight yourself or a loved one this year consider making a visit to a seasonal pop-up store in central Ljubljana, offering items produced by local designers with sustainability in mind.

The store will be open this Thursday and Friday, 16-17 December, at Igriška 3, Ljubljana, right by the charming  Mali Nebotičnik, or Little Skyscraper, a nice area to explore in terms of architecture, food, drink, and interesting shopping, and one that’s just set back from Slovenska cesta – easy to fit into whatever other plans you might have. Scroll past the related images below and learn more...










Here, from noon to 8pm, you’ll be able choose from a wide array of items, including: recycled silver jewellery (Tina Košak -, decorated water bottles (Darja Malešič -, clothing (Vita Ivičič -, and Petra Turk -, bags (Gojka Rak -, pet accessories (Molly and Cooper -, knitwear (Ksenja Baraga - and even time spent with a Marie Kondo Home Improvement Consultant (Tina Markun –, if you feel a little overwhelmed.
 All on 16-17 December, noon to 8pm, at Igriška 3, Ljubljana

13 Dec 2021, 13:32 PM

STA, 9 December 2021 - A pop song without which Slovenians can hardly imagine a New Year's Eve is celebrating its 50th anniversary. To mark the anniversary, a museum in Maribor honoured its singer and citizen Alfi Nipič with an exhibition which traces his 60-year career while he marked the anniversary in hospital ill with Covid-19.

The lyrics for Silvestrski Poljub were written by Dušan Velkavrh and music by Jože Privšek, while Nipič, now 77, recorded it on 8 December 1971.

The exhibition, termed I Shall Remain a Musician, is a collaboration between Nipič and the Museum of National Liberation.

It brings insight in Nipič's entire career while focussing on Silvestrski Poljub as "the crown of his songs", the museum's director Aleksandra Berberih Slana said at the opening on Wednesday.

"We're extremely happy that Alfi chose our museum as the partner for the exhibition. Fact is that the musician has left an incredible mark on the city of Maribor, Štajerska region and Slovenia over the past 60 years," she added.

The idea was that Nipič would sing at the opening, but he could not make it as he has been in hospital for Covid-19, including ten days in intensive care.

Still, he thanked the medical staff for their efforts by signing them Silvestrski Poljub in his hospital bed with an oxygen mask, posting the recording online.

Nipič inherited his talent from his mother and started singing while still in secondary school. His career started rising in the decade between 1962-1973.

The same year he recorded Silvstrski Poljub he also joined the Avsenik Brothers, the most popular Slovenian Oberkrainer or pop folk music band, until 1990.

During the 30 years he was in the band he recorded over 250 new songs, won 16 golden records and toured German-speaking countries, as well as the US and Australia, after which he went solo and formed his own pop folk music band.

His son Dejan Nipič said at the exhibition opening that his father had wanted this exhibition very much, as well as the book, which will be published in the coming months.

12 Dec 2021, 12:14 PM

STA, 10 December 2021 - A Slovenian folk music ensemble called Štirje Kovači (Four Blacksmiths) from the northern Koroška region has made it into the Guinness Book of Records as the longest active polka music band in the world. The ensemble has been making music for nearly seven decades.

The band had been striving to get into the book for a year and a half and this week it finally received a certificate confirming its Guinness feat.

Štirje Kovači have been producing music and performing for 67 years without any breaks under the leadership of accordion player and singer-songwriter Franc Šegovc.

"We're very honoured to have got into the Guinness Book of Records. This feat is a culmination of 67 years of work, hard work," Hermina Šegovc, the wife of the bandleader, told the STA. She joined the ensemble as a singer in the early 1970s.

The band was formed in 1954 by four young boys who worked at an ironwork company in Slovenj Gradec. The ensemble, which still performs and appears on TV and radio, has seven members today. The track Kam Le Čas Beži (Where Does Time Go) is the band's best-known song.

Over the past seven decades, Štirje Kovači have recorded more than 40 albums and been performing in Slovenia and overseas, including for Slovenian communities in the US and Canada.

The band's achievements have been immortalised also by an exhibition at the Koroška Regional Museum which, Hermina Šegovc said, will soon display the ensemble's latest feat as well, its Guinness world record.

10 Dec 2021, 16:37 PM

Back in May 2020 we reported on the launch of a new Slovenia-inspired apparel brand – BREG Design Co.

Despite starting up in a pandemic, BREG have survived lockdown, and even released several new designs including a new winter collection. We caught up with the creator – Sam Baldwin - to find out how things were going.

What are the new designs about?

As always, I look for interesting elements of Slovene culture, history, food, landscape or language, and base my designs on those. I find no shortage of fascinating Slovene things which inspire me.

The Slovene Grammar [] design is for anyone who ever tried to learn Slovene; a language with grammar so complex, it has been known to cause brain damage. It’s inspired by a classic brand of Slovenian cigarettes that used to be made in Ljubljana at the tobačna.


The Velika Planina [] design celebrates the iconic shape of these beautiful Shepard’s huts which are unique to Slovenia and have a really interesting form.


The Bled Block t-shirt [] plays with the town’s most iconic cake, and TR3 design [] celebrates the ‘brutal beauty’ of Ljubljana’s twin tower blocks.


And finally, BREG Classic [] is a simple design that plays with the Slovene language.


Where can people buy BREG shirts?

For the full range of designs, colours and garments, the online store is the easiest place to buy:

If you’re based in Slovenia, you can also find selected lines at our partner retailers in Ljubljana [] centre, Šiška, and Vrhnika.

How has the pandemic affected the business?

Covid appeared at exactly the wrong time for starting a new venture! I had just hung the first shirts up in a café in Ljubljana (the excellent Črno Zrno) when lockdown struck and everyone closed their doors for business. So it wasn’t quite the launch I was hoping for. (I wrote a bit about that experience here: How I started a Slovenian T-shirt Brand During a Pandemic

But in hindsight there have been some good things to come out of the Covid situation too. Online sales have been strong, especially outside of Slovenia, and the situation also gave me time to experiment with different approaches.

Despite all the travel restrictions and corona chaos, I still managed to build up a network of retailers and hundreds of shirts have been sold. My thinking was: if I can make this work during a pandemic, then I can make it work anytime.


Will there be more designs to come?

Yes. I am constantly sketching out new designs. For the shirts sold in stores in Slovenia, we normally do a limited print run of just 100 shirts. I normally prefer to then print a new design rather than repeat a previous one. So, there’ll always be fresh BREG designs coming!

I’m working with my design partner Valeriya of One Line Art, and there’ll be plenty more fresh designs coming in 2022.

To see all designs visit:


04 Dec 2021, 10:12 AM

STA, 3 December 2021 - A collection of Slovenian cultural and natural heritage, folk tales, stories and traditions was presented on Friday as part of the Google Arts & Culture portal. "This project will give many people around the world the opportunity to hear about Slovenia's natural beauty, culture and unique features," said president Borut Pahor.

Slovenia is a small but diverse country, both naturally and culturally, and Pahor believes that the Stories from Slovenia collection within the Google Arts and Culture project is of great value for Slovenia and its people.

"Those who are curious about Slovenia will now have the opportunity to see what they might be interested in, and then actually visit our country," Pahor said at Friday's presentation of the project at the Cankarjev Dom cultural centre in Ljubljana.

Google Arts and Culture Director Amit Sood explained that Google's new service was available free of charge, online or as a smartphone app. The Stories from Slovenia collection has been in the making for almost a year and, according to Sood, would surely inspire people to visit Slovenia.

The project presents Slovenia's culture, nature and its many unique features. The collection contains more than 60 different stories, folk tales and virtual tours, while visitors can also admire more than 1,200 photographs, artworks and frescoes.

Google was supported in the design and implementation of the project by the Slovenian Tourist Board, the Computer Museum, the National Museum, the Posavje Museum Brežice, the Slovenian Mountaineering Association, the Slovenian Mountain Museum, the Beekeeping Museum in Radovljica, and the National and University Library.

More than 2,000 cultural institutions from 80 countries around the world are participating in the Google Arts and Culture project.

You can visit the site here

02 Dec 2021, 12:45 PM

Christmas is coming and gifts must be bought, so here’s something to consider for the kitchen – a book that takes you on a tour of all four seasons and Slovenia’s 24 culinary regions, with more than 100 dishes over 200+ pages.


Špela Vodovc and her books

Špela Vodovc’s Cook Eat Slovenia has been available in English since 2019 (and can still be bought, here), and has now been released in a gorgeous German edition, translated by Hans Peter Kamien, whose Mein Slowenien website is an essential destination for German speakers with an interest in the country.

Since we wrote about the book when it was first released, and the German edition is the same the English one, aside from nearly all the words being different, what follows is a reprint of that, as illustrated by pictures of the English edition.

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As noted in the intro, the book takes you on a tour of all four seasons and Slovenia’s 24 culinary regions, and with more than 100 dishes over 200+ pages you’re certain to find plenty of old favourites along with some you’ve never heard of. Each recipe is presented alongside a picture of the dish itself – providing inspiration as well as some serving suggestions – and thus the book also works a practical guide to Slovenian cuisine, one that outside the kitchen you can use to spot dishes in the wild and expand the range of items you order from the menu or the market, providing a checklist of things to seek out.

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And the recipes are so easy-to-follow, no doubt due to the years of experience the author has explaining these dishes in cooking classes, that anyone who knows a frying pan from a sieve will be able to put together a shopping list, come home and produce the desired results. This is, after all, traditional, hone-style food, made using standard techniques, and the words foam, emulsion and sous vide seem to appear nowhere in the text.

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The book itself is a well-made paperback, strongly bound and suitable for the frequent use it’ll enjoy. Although written by Spela Vodovc the book was designed by Gregor Žakelj (of VBG design studio) and the photos taken by Mateja Jordović Potočnik, while the food was styled by Špela and her mother, Branka Vodovc (with the pictures taken in the latter’s home)

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As Slovenian cuisine gets more of a global reputation, due to the sterling work of its producers, chefs and promotors, we can expect more books that attempt to explain the canon to interested readers. With Cook Eat Slovenia, Špela Vodovc has set a high standard indeed, and one that’s available for just €24.99. Copies can be found in some bookstores, but the easiest way is to order online, direct from the author, here, with both English and German editions available.

02 Dec 2021, 12:12 PM

STA, 1 December 2021 - A book about Slavic cuisines written by Slovenian ethnologist Janez Bogataj has been declared one of the best books in the 25-year history of the Gourmand world cookbooks awards. The book was published by the Forum of Slavic Cultures in Slovenian and English in 2015.

The Best of the Best in 25 Years award was handed to Bogataj and the forum's director Andreja Rihter in Paris by Edouard Cointreau, the founder of the Gourmand awards, which were first given out in 1995.

At the Table with the Slavs, the English version of the book "S Slovani za Mizo", features selected foods from Slovenia, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine. It also brings gastronomic and culinary characteristics of each country.

Rihter took the opportunity to say that she was happy that the book continued to stand out not only for its design but also its content.

"It is still the only monograph in the world on Slavic cuisines," she said, as quoted by the Forum of Slavic Cultures, a Ljubljana-based international NGO.

The book has meanwhile grown into a project featuring an exhibition, food tastings, and collaborations with schools, faculties, diplomats, and organisers of book fairs.

In 2016, the book received the Gourmand award for best cookbook in Eastern Europe, while Bogataj has received a few such awards for his books. This time, his book Kranjska Klobasa (Carniolan Sausage) was also selected among the best of the best, the release says.

Learn more about the book and related project here

22 Nov 2021, 13:22 PM

STA, 22 November 2021 - The 37th Slovenian Book Fair (Slovenski knižnji sejem) will be launched in the virtual realm on Monday evening and will run until 5 December. The online platform will deliver some 60 events, including talks with authors who have left an indelible mark on the Slovenian literary scene.

Right until the very last minute, the organisers had not been sure whether to hold the fair online or in-person. Under the current Covid restrictions, the latter option could have been realised in theory, however due to the poor epidemiological situation in the country and practically zero options in practice, the fair will be held online for the second year in a row.

The organisers argued the main problem was mandatory distance between exhibitors and visitors as well as one-way flow of visitor traffic, which would, they said, make life more difficult for both sides.

This year's fair, held under the slogan Books Connect, will still feature the majority of Slovenian publishers who have applied to take part in what was first expected to be an in-person format of the fair.

The virtual version will deliver talks with authors whose books have attracted wide readership, including Erica Johnson Debeljak, Bronja Žakelj and Goran Vojnović. There will be a segment dedicated to children as well, spearheaded by author Andrej Rozman - Roza.

A number of awards will be conferred during the festival. The first to have been presented was the award for best debut, which went to Natalija Milovanović for her poetry collection Samoumevno (Taken for Granted).

Learn more at the website

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