STA, 8 April 2022 - A new creative centre that is emerging from the defunct Ljubljana bicycle factory Rog will open its doors in the summer of 2023. Rog Centre will promote cultural and creative activities, especially product making, applied arts, architecture and design.
The building of the former factory, which at the end of the 19th century housed a tannery, is part of Ljubljana's key industrial heritage and will as such be preserved at the new centre, deputy head of Rog Centre Renata Zamida told the press on Thursday.
The new creative centre will feature seven production labs, including for textile, wood processing, ceramics and glass, and green and culinary labs, for which there will be a membership fee similar to a library fee.
A total of 25 production facilities will be available free of charge based on calls for applications. The use of the facilities will be limited to three to four years. The first call is to be published this autumn.
Five residential areas will be available to users from other countries, also to encourage a cultural exchange with their countries.
The centre will also have a large area for socialising and exhibitions, a library and cafes. There will also be two smaller shops where products manufactured at the labs will be sold.
The building will have four floors and a total of 8,500 square metres. Outside the building a park will stretch at 8,000 square metres.
The building will have a solar roof and will be partly energy self-sufficient. The centre will be open around the clock.
A car park will be partly used by the centre users and partly rented out to near-by residents.
How it might look. Image: www.ljubljana.si
The Rog building, where the first bicycles were made in 1953, was the first reinforced concrete building in Slovenia, according to Zamida. A part of its façade with elements of Czech Cubism will be preserved.
The investment is estimated at about EUR 20 million and the project is partly funded by the EU.
Meta Štular, acting director of strategic development and programmes, said a very diverse programme would be offered at Rog. It will be open and accessible to all citizens.
Particularly young women will be invited to head the technological labs, while older users will be encouraged to share their knowledge as mentors to Rog users.
Rog Centre was founded by the Ljubljana municipality last May. The renovation started after an autonomous social and cultural community was evicted from the premises in January 2021 with the help of police.
Meta Štular regretted that a solution had not been found through dialogue at the time and expressed hope that some of the former Rog users would return to the renovated centre.
There are guided tours of the construction site every first Thursday of the month.
STA, 22 March 2022 - The government has adopted an initiative to revoke an agreement with Russia on scientific and cultural centres, and submitted it to the parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee for confirmation. The reason for the step is Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The Government Communication Office said the proposal was adopted at Tuesday's session of the government committee on state organisation and public affairs.
The decision was justified with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which the release described as an unacceptable and grave violation of international law and treaties, including the founding Charter of the United Nations.
The agreement, signed in 2011, created the legal basis for the Russian Scientific and Cultural Centre in Ljubljana (Ruski dom v Ljubljani), and a potential such Slovenian institution in Russia, which Slovenia has however never developed.
STA, 22 February 2022 - Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković has taken issue with the ruling Democrats (SDS) noting in a series of posts about its achievements that Ljubljana has been assessed as the safest city in Europe, saying that he does not know what SDS president and PM Janez Janša has to do with it.
Addressing the press on Tuesday, Janković said that he was happy that Janša "finally realised that Ljubljana is the most beautiful city in the world", but that he did not know what Janša had to do with it.
The statement refers to the Slovenian capital being named at the beginning of the month as the best destination in Europe in 2022 as part of the European Best Destinations project.
"This is how travellers from all over the world voted," the Ljubljana Urban Municipality said on its website, noting that as many as 92% of all votes intended for Ljubljana had come from other countries.
On that occasion, the SDS published a picture of the Triple Bridge in Ljubljana on Instagram, accompanied with the visual identity that the party uses on pre-election posters and a slogan.
Under the post, the SDS said: "More than half a million travellers from 182 countries voted for the best and safest European destinations in 2022. Our beautiful Ljubljana is in the first place!"
Janković took exception to this, wondering how the SDS could even imagine taking credit for Ljubljana being declared the safest city.
He noted the role of the ruling party in fencing off the parliament building during anti-government protests and using tear gas and water cannon on people, also in Tivoli Park.
Janković said that "Janša is afraid of the election, as he has no better ideas than copying the ideas of the Ljubljana municipality", in reference to the SDS allegedly appropriating a slogan six years ago.
He noted that when he had taken office as mayor during the first Janša government, Ljubljana had been stripped of EUR 57 million in budget funds a year, or EUR 800 million in the 15 years of his mayorship. "But the election will show the true result."
STA, 11 February 2022 - Ljubljana has been declared European Best Destination 2022 out of over 400 destinations. It is being recommended to those who love nature, city break, foodies, culture lovers, Instagrammers, lovers and families.
The organisation European Best Destinations ranked the Slovenian capital among the safest Christmas destinations in Europe in 2020, and last year Ljubljana was named the Best Green Capital of Europe.
This year, Ljubljana tops the list of 20 European best destinations, picked out of 400 destinations by a special jury based on previous successes. Travellers from around the world voted for their favourites between 20 January and 10 February, Turizem Ljubljana said in a press release on Friday.
92% of the votes for Ljubljana came from other countries, mostly from the US, Italy, Germany, Austria and Croatia. More than 528,000 people from 182 countries voted, with 75,642 picking Ljubljana as their favourite.
No other destination since 2009 has won such a high proportion of the vote from other countries, Turizem Ljubljana said.
Ljubljana is described as a "city for curious and adventurous souls" and a "treasure trove of exciting secrets and natural joys" on the website of European Best Destinations.
European Best Destinations head Maximilien Lejeune pointed to green practices in the city and the high quality of living in declaring the winner.
Turizem Ljubljana head Petra Stušek sees the title as a unique compliment to the city and its efforts to become more sustainable and to promote soft mobility, high quality of life, diverse local offerings, and inclusion.
STA, 9 February 2022 - Corwin, a Slovak developer present in Slovenia for over four years, and its Czech partner Hartenberg have purchased two large plots in the centre of Ljubljana to build several hundred new flats, new offices and a shopping mall, the company said on Wednesday. Construction is expected to start around 2024.
The first plot of almost 6,300 square metres is located along Masarykva Street and was sold to the two investors by the Slovenian bad bank BAMC.
Under the current spatial plan, housing or office buildings can be constructed on it.
The second plot extends on almost 16,500 square metres behind the Slovenijales office building south of Linhartova Street.
It was bought from Triglav Nepremičnine, insurer Triglav's real estate arm.
As the newspaper Dnevnik recently reported, offices, hotels, hospitality or retail infrastructure can be built on it but not housing.
"Both plots have the potential to strongly enrich the surroundings and significantly impact on the image of the new Ljubljana centre," Robert Mitterpach, financial director and chairman of the board at Corwin, said in the news release.
The investors have thus invited several respectable architecture studios from around the globe to take part.
Gehl Architects, a Danish studio which has also transformed Times Square in New York, was invited to prepare the main project in Linhartova Street, while Austria's AllesWirdGut will design the buildings.
Details about the Masarykova Street project, which will be part of a major renovation around the train station as part of a public-private partnership, are not yet known.
However, Corwin said that Vilharia, an office building designed by Danish Schmidt Hammer Lassen that will start being built at the end of 2022 near Ljubljana's main train station, will serve as a role model. Corwin hopes to bring together local construction experts and a leading architecture studio.
Corwin said that Vilharia was worth tens of millions of euros while it billed it as the greenest building in Slovenia.
The Slovak developer is meanwhile building a housing complex in Ljubljna's Šiška borough; Kvartet is its first major project in Slovenia.
The EUR 45 million investment will feature four 15-storey blocks of flats. Construction work, launched in August 2020, is in full swing.
STA, 1 February 2022 - Ljubljana is among the capital cities with the highest ratings in Europe in terms of urban tree cover and total green infrastructure, while it is sub-par in terms of public access to the city's abundant green spaces, shows a report published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) on Tuesday.
High-quality public green and blue spaces and infrastructure in cities, like parks, gardens, riverbanks and coastlines, are crucial for health and well-being, said the EEA briefing.
It also shows that access to such spaces differs in cities across Europe. Green infrastructure made up on average 42% of the city area in 38 EEA member countries, according to the latest data available.
In terms of the percentage of urban tree cover and total green infrastructure, Ljubljana ranked third among the EEA members' capital cities in both indicators with 67% and 50%, respectively.
The only cities with more urban tree cover were Oslo (72%) and Bern (53%), while only Oslo and Zagreb have overtaken Ljubljana in terms of total green infrastructure with 77% and 74%, respectively.
Data shows that average urban tree cover for cities in 38 EEA countries stood at 30%, with cities in Finland and Norway having the highest proportion of tree cover, while cities in Cyprus, Iceland and Malta had the lowest.
Meanwhile, publicly accessible green areas still form a relatively low proportion of total green space in cities, estimated at only 3% of the total city area on average. Ljubljana ranked below the EEA average with just 1%, trailed only by Iceland's Reykjavik.
STA, 12 January 2022 - The municipality of Ljubljana has announced a public call for the reconstruction of the Plečnik Auditorium, the former open-air amphitheatre in a clearing behind Tivoli Mansion in Ljubljana's Tivoli Park. It was designed by architect Jože Plečnik (1872-1957) and constructed in 1933, but left to decay after the Second World War.
In Plečnik's design, a wooden grandstand was placed to the west of the clearing behind Tivoli Mansion, where the terrain naturally rises, while a gravel stage overlooked Ljubljana. Above the wooden stands stood a fountain, which was later moved to a different location, next to the Ljubljanica River.
After the Second World War, the amphitheatre was left to decay. Until the mid-1960s, the area was used to host an open-air summer cinema, which was subsequently abandoned and the site was overgrown. The clearing is now surrounded by tall trees and is a protected plant habitat.
However, when the Švicarija arts centre in Tivoli was renovated a few years ago, the idea of reviving the amphitheatre was born as well. According to the plans drawn up by the architectural firm Medprostor, the wooden grandstand will be rebuilt on a steel structure, to its former extent and in its former location, with the trees and vegetation adjacent to the clearing to be fully preserved.
The stage of the reconstructed open-air theatre will be covered with grass, and the whole area will be linked with the Švicarija arts centre and Tivoli Mansion, the newspaper Dnevnik has reported.
"When planning the reconstruction, we felt it was important not to introduce new original elements, but simply to bring in modernity and also to be true to the original," said Rok Žnidaršič, the architectural project manager from Medprostor.
According to Dnevnik, Žnidaršič added that although the project followed the form and concept of Plečnik's design, it is not a "replica of the lost architectural spatial development, but rather an interpretation of it."
STA, 14 December 2021 - The city of Ljubljana has its New Year's Eve celebration programme in Congress Square ready, but is still waiting for the health authorities to say in what format, or if at all, it can go ahead with it, Mayor Zoran Janković told the press on Tuesday.
As Ljubljana's 31 December outdoor celebrations always draw thousands of people, the mayor has asked National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) director Milan Krek two weeks ago whether the celebrations could go ahead.
According to Janković, Krek said yes, telling the mayor the format could be similar to the Ljubljana Festival last summer when there had to be space between chairs.
But since one cannot sit still in winter at -7 degrees Celsius, Janković suggested NIJZ approved a free concert and told the city how many vaccinated and reconvalescent people could attend it, but received no reply.
Janković was also critical of the recent government decision to close stalls serving food and drink at Christmas markets, saying it was a senseless measure.
He also believes there is no legal basis for it, and said that one of the Ljubljana public utilities had already filed a lawsuit against the government.
He moreover criticised Prime Minister Janez Janša for posting an "offensive" tweet in which he accused Janković of working hard for as many people as possible to fall ill and for schools, kindergartens and shops to close, as he posted a video of people walking around the stalls by the river Ljubljanica.
Janković said that Ljubljana had many visitors, who were now crowding in a smaller area than before, when the stalls had been still open. He believes it would be "more normal" to send out a positive message along the lines "light is coming, let's get vaccinated".
He thus urged all unvaccinated Ljubljana residents to get a jab, arguing some 10% of the city's population is preventing the rest to live normally.
Quoting NIJZ data, he said Ljubljana has the highest vaccination rate (59%) in central Slovenia, the region with the highest vaccination rate in the country (57.5%), while another 18% of Ljubljana residents are reconvalescents.
"If we add the number of vaccinated to the number of reconvalescents, we get 77%, and if we add another 40,000 school and kindergarten kids, who account for 13% of our residents, we are at 90%," the mayor said.
STA, 8 December 2021 - Just days after the government imposed a ban on the serving of food and drinks at outdoor stalls, these reopened in the square by Ljubljana's main produce market on Wednesday, having been given the go-ahead from the city authorities.
Addressing a press conference, Andrej Orač, director of the utility operating the Ljubljana open-air markets, said market activity in Pogačar Square was allowed back in business, including hospitality.
He said the ban on sale at Ljubljana's open-air markets was incomprehensible as the goods involved were sold there throughout the year, which included the food court and stalls selling garments.
The city appears to have found a loophole, arguing that the ban affected hospitality at fairs rather than markets. The ban was imposed to prevent socialising and spread of coronavirus at Christmas markets.
Mojca Škrinjar, an MP for the ruling Democratic Party (SDS), accused the city authorities of "bending the rules", and Mayor Zoran Janković of sinking to a "new low" having demonstrated before "he doesn't care about Ljubljana people's health".
Both Orač and Janković urged residents and visitors to comply with precautionary measures and get vaccinated against Covid-19 even as Janković criticised restrictions imposed on Christmas markets.
Commenting on a tweet in which PM Janez Janša accused him of trying hard to get as many people as possible sick, Janković said the city administration had recently received a letter from the local branch of the National Institute of Public Health thanking them for their contribution to the combat against the pandemic.
For a long time now things have been bad, and strange at best, for travel, tourism and hospitality in Slovenia and beyond. Back before the masks there were big plans for 2021, with the country set to enjoy the spotlight of the title European Region of Gastronomy for the year, along with the wider attention that goes along the 6th month presidency of the EU Council. But we do at least seem closer to the end than the beginning, and fun times without restrictions could be back again, with impromptu trips, visits and activities a natural part of life as the rules fall away or are simply ignored.
Photo: JL Flanner
Which is a roundabout way of saying we don’t want to jinx things by saying Ljubljana’s baaaack or get all overheated, just that the good folk at Ljubljana Tourism are back with another “November Gourmet Ljubljana”, bringing more life to a traditionally quiet time of year and easing the city into the month-long, annual attraction that’s December. The project is a joint campaign of hospitality service providers, hotels, food producers, wine makers, brewers, distillers and public institutions.
So there’s a full month of activities and events, from the simple turn up and enjoy good food and drink to the more hands-on workshops. Together the varied program presents not only Ljubljana as the natural showcase for the best of all the varied regions of Slovenia have to offer, but also the more local delights specific to the city and it’s surroundings, as well as it’s role as a hub, attractor and connector with the broader region, with guests from around Europe.
Some of the speakers - see the details here
There are seminars and workshops, tasting events, themed meals and five-day cooking courses. There’s a series on meat and a class on confectionary, how make mini sweets and sweet snacks. There are also gin, beer and wine events, with the focus of the latter being Martinovanje on 13 November, the national coming out party for new wines and a great way to spend a day buzzed, culturally enriched and fortified by nibbles and sips in the company of others. See it all and make plans at the website..
Martinovanje some years ago
Rounding out the first week is the latest edition of the European Food Symposium. Originally scheduled for March but postponed for obvious reasons, it’s being held from 6-8 November and will bring an international collection of speakers and practitioners to the city. There’s a lot going on, including a Gourmet Ljubljana Crawl and Adventure Dinner. You can learn about the symposium and its exclusive events at the official website.
Luka Košir in the kitchen, making the dish at the top of this story. Photo: Marko Delbello Ocepek
Whether your interest in food and drink is limited to grabbing a sandwich while sipping a beer or talking to a grocer about the terroir of their carrots, you’ll find something to make you happy during the month of delights that starts today. What’s more, your venue for such pleasures will be the always charming, easy to navigate and difficult to spend a fortune in Ljubljana.