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Republika Hrvatska
Republic of Croatia
Flag of Croatia
Coat of arms of Croatia
flag coat of arms
Official language Croatian (regionally also minority languages)
Capital Zagreb
State and form of government parliamentary republic
Head of state President
Zoran Milanović
Head of government Prime Minister
Andrej Plenković
surface 56,594 km²
population 4,058,165 (as of 2020)
Population density 74 inhabitants per km²
Population development - 0.5% (estimate for 2019)
gross domestic product
  • Total (nominal)
  • Total ( PPP )
  • GDP / inh. (nom.)
  • GDP / inh. (KKP)
  • $ 60 billion ( 80th )
  • $ 121 billion ( 83rd )
  • 14,853 USD ( 60. )
  • 29,828 USD ( 54. )
Human Development Index 0.851 ( 43rd ) (2019)
currency Kuna (HRK)
independence June 25, 1991
(from Yugoslavia )
National anthem Lijepa naša domovino
National holiday May 30th
( Statehood Day )
Time zone UTC + 1 CET
UTC + 2 CEST (March to October)
License Plate MR
ISO 3166 HR , HRV, 191
Internet TLD .Mr
Phone code +385
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Croatia ( Croatian Hrvatska ? / I [ xř̩ʋaːtskaː ], officially Republic of Croatia , Croatian Republika Hrvatska ? / I ) is a state in the transition zone between Central and Southeastern Europe . Croatia is a member of the European Union , NATO , the World Trade Organization , the OSCE and the United Nations . The capital and largest city is Zagreb , the other major cities include Split , Rijeka and Osijek . Audio file / audio sample Audio file / audio sample

The national territory lies east of the Adriatic Sea and partly in the southwest of the Pannonian Plain . It borders Slovenia in the northwest , Hungary in the north, Serbia in the northeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina in the east and Montenegro in the southeast . The area of ​​the former Republic of Ragusa ( Dubrovačka Republika ), which today makes up the southernmost part of the state, has no direct land connection to the rest of the state, as the sea ​​access of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a few kilometers wide, lies in between; the area around Dubrovnik is the only exclave in the country.


At around 56,500 square kilometers, Croatia's land area is roughly twice the size of Brandenburg . Part of the land area includes the Dinarides and the Pannonian Plain .

The country lies in the transition zone between central or east- central Europe and south-east Europe . The greater part of Croatia (except Slavonia and the area around Zagreb north of the Sava ) is geographically generally assigned to the Balkan Peninsula or south-east Europe. In 2005, the Standing Committee for Geographical Names recommended that Croatia be assigned to Central Europe on the basis of a cultural-spatial concept of Central Europe. For some Croatians, the assignment to Central Europe is a means of demarcation from the negatively connoted "crisis region" Balkans. The Croatian areas along the Adriatic coast are also partially assigned to southern Europe .

The closest distance between Italy and Croatia is 20 kilometers (separated by a small strip of land from Slovenia ), while the southernmost Croatian peninsula, Prevlaka, is 69 kilometers from Albania .


The Croatian territory covers 88,073 square kilometers , of which 56,594 are land and 31,479 are sea territory. The national territory of Croatia extends over a continental northern part and a long coastal strip, at the narrow seam of which southwest of Zagreb the territory narrows extremely. The southernmost part of the coastal area (the region around Dubrovnik to the border with Montenegro) is separated from the rest of Croatia over a width of about 7.5 kilometers by the municipality of Neum, which belongs to Bosnia and Herzegovina . In order to be able to bypass the foreign national territory in the form of this Neum corridor in the future, the Pelješac Bridge is being built for 420 million euros .

The total length of Croatia's land borders is 2197 kilometers. Of this, the border with Slovenia accounts for 670, the border with Hungary 329, the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina 932, the border with Serbia 241 and the border with Montenegro 25 kilometers. In the northern Adriatic, the sea border with Slovenia is controversial (see: International conflicts between the successor states of Yugoslavia ). The length of the Adriatic coastline (mainland) is 1778 kilometers (with islands 6176).


Climate diagram

In the interior and north-east of Croatia, the predominant climate is continental . The mean maximum daily temperature in summer is around 28 ° C in the lowlands and around 5 ° C in winter. The average minimum temperatures in winter are below 0 ° C. The annual precipitation is about 750 millimeters.

The climate on the Adriatic coast, on the other hand, is much more humid and the climate is Mediterranean . The summers are mostly sunny and dry with average maximum temperatures of around 30 ° C, while the winters are rainy and mild (average daily highs around 10 ° C). In the northern part of the coast, night frosts occur more frequently in winter, while in the southern part this is only the case on a few days. The annual rainfall directly on the coast is around 1000 millimeters, slightly higher than in the interior. The annual precipitation amounts in the Croatian part of the Dinaric Mountains amount to values ​​between 1000 and 2000 millimeters.

A special weather phenomenon are the cold bora winds that occasionally occur in the coastal region and are among the strongest in the world.

Landscape zones

According to relief forms and climatic zones , Croatia can be divided into three landscape zones.

The Pannonian Plain

The Pannonian lowland consists mainly of flat land , interrupted by a few low mountain ranges , and is drained via the Save and Drava and their tributaries to the Danube . This part of the country has a temperate continental climate . This landscape zone can be subdivided into northern Croatia and Slavonia . Northern Croatia encompasses the east-central European area from the Kupa to the Hungarian border: the flat land along the Save and Kupa around the cities of Zagreb , Karlovac and Sisak , which today is the demographic and economic center of the country, the mountainous region of Zagorje (also in German: Zagorien ) north of the capital Zagreb and the Međimurje in the northernmost tip of the country between Drava and Mur . Slavonia is the lowland along the Sava ( Sava ) and Drava ( Drava ) rivers to the Danube ( Dunav ) in the east. The Baranja (north of the lower reaches of the Drava) and Western Syrmia ( Zapadni Srijem ) (the eastern tip of Croatia between the Danube and the Lower Sava) are often included in this group .

The Dinaric mountain region

Section of the Biokovo Mountains , part of the Dinaric Alps

The Dinaric mountain region (also called Central Croatia or Croatian hill country ) is characterized by central and individual high mountains , which form the watershed between the Danube and the Adriatic, with individual valleys also being completely without drainage. The climate here is mountainous. This landscape zone includes the Gorski kotar mountain range between Rijeka and Karlovac , the Lika and Krbava high valleys between the Velebit mountain range that runs along the coast and the border area with western Bosnia and part of the Dalmatian hinterland ( Zagora , Biokovo Mountains ).

The Adriatic coastal region

Coastal region in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County

The Adriatic coastal region consists largely of karstified areas. It is shaped by Mediterranean influences. The width of the coastal strip varies greatly. While it is only a few kilometers wide in some places (below the Velebit and the Biokovo Mountains), in other places it extends further inland. Most of the rivers that flow into the Adriatic in Croatia are relatively short; only the catchment area of ​​the Neretva coming from Bosnia and Herzegovina extends further inland. The Adriatic coastal region can be subdivided from north to south into the historical regions:

  • Istria - the peninsula in the northwest of the Croatian coast.
  • Hrvatsko Primorje (Croatian coastal land) around Rijeka and Senj with the islands of the Kvarner Bay
  • Dalmatia - the rugged Adriatic coast southwards from around Zadar including the offshore islands and the mountainous hinterland with historically significant cities such as Dubrovnik ( Ragusa ) and Split

Biggest islands

Croatia has a total of 1246 islands, 47 of which are permanently inhabited.

No. island Area [km²] Residents
1. Cres 405.78 3,184
2. Krk 405.78 17,860
3. Brač 395.44 14,031
4th Hvar 299.66 11,103
5. Pag 284.56 8,398
6th Korčula 276.03 16,182
7th Dugi Otok 114.44 1,772
8th. Mljet 100.41 1,111
9. Rab 90.84 9,480
10. Vis 90.26 3,617
11. Lošinj 74.68 7,771
12th Pašman 60.11 2.711
13th Šolta 58.17 1,479
14th Ugljan 51.04 6,182
15th Lastovo 40.82 835

Highest mountains

The Risnjak also forms a Croatian national park
No. Surname Height [m] Mountain range
1. Dinara (Sinjal) 1831 in the Dinara Mountains
2. Sveti Jure (St. Georg) 1761 in the Biokovo massif
3. Vaganski Vrh 1751 in the Velebit Mountains
4th Ozeblin 1657 in the Plješevica Mountains
5. Bjelolasica -Kula 1533 in the Velika Kapela Mountains
6th Risnjak 1528 in the Risnjak Mountains
7th Svilaja 1508 in the Svilaja Mountains
8th. Snježnik 1506 in Snježnik -Gebirge


53 beaches and 26 marinas are in Croatia, 2021 with blue flag in

According to an analysis by the FAO, Croatia is one of the 30 most water-rich countries in the world and takes third place in Europe with a total of 32,818 cubic meters of renewable water reserves per capita and year. The World Water Development Report 2005 of the United Nations speaks of 23,890 cubic meters of annually renewable water reserves per capita and year. Croatia lies in the blue heart of Europe .

Croatia is one of the few countries with an organized water policy. As early as 1891, the Sabor passed a water law law of the Kingdom of Croatia and Slavonia , which provides legal regulations for water bodies, river beds, the coast, water use, the regulation of water flows, as well as flood protection, water protection, water protection associations and much more. The Croatian Adriatic was according to an ADAC investigation from 2006

the cleanest part of the Mediterranean .

In the Environmental Sustainability Index of Yale University , which looks at the environmental protection situation in a country as a whole, Croatia was ranked 19th in the world in 2005.


The four largest lakes in Croatia are:

No. Surname surface Note
1. Vransko jezero 30.7 km²
2. Dubravsko jezero 17.1 km²
3. Peruća lake 13.0 km² on the Cetina river, croat. Peručko jezero
4th Prokljansko jezero 11.1 km²

The most famous lakes are the Plitvice Lakes .


Most of the rivers drain into the Black Sea (Danube, Save, Drava, Mur, Kupa and Una), the rest into the Adriatic (Zrmanja, Krka , Cetina and Neretva). The rivers in the north are very polluted, most of them the Sava between Zagreb and Sisak.

The longest rivers that flow through Croatia are the Save (Croatian: Sava , 562 kilometers) and the Drava (Croatian: Drava , 505 kilometers). Most of these rivers form the borders with Bosnia-Herzegovina and Hungary. Both rivers flow to the Danube, the Sava being the most water-rich and the Drau the fourth most water-rich tributary of the Danube. The Danube separates Croatia from the Serbian province of Vojvodina . The Croatian part of the Danube is 188 kilometers long, and Croatia borders almost exclusively on the right bank of the Danube.

The Kupa (Slovenian: Kolpa , 269 kilometers) forms a large part of the border with Slovenia . In Sisak it flows into the Save, which is navigable from there. Other rivers are the Korana , Krapina , Lonja , Mur and the Vuka .

The rivers from the Dinarides to the Adriatic are relatively short, only the Neretva , which has its source in Herzegovina, is an important river into the Adriatic.

National and natural parks

Croatia has eight national parks and eleven protected nature parks . A total of 450 areas, including 79 special reserves (botanical, geomorphological, ornithological, marine and forest reserves) are under nature protection. A total of 5846 square kilometers or ten percent of the mainland area of ​​Croatia are protected; if the protected waters are included, this results in 6129 square kilometers. Croatia has shares in the European Green Belt .

National parks

No. Surname description
1. Plitvice Lakes National Park Croatian Plitvice Lakes (waterfalls), National Park since 1949, UNESCO - World Heritage since 1979, and a.. Location of the Winnetou films
2. Paklenica National Park Climbing opportunities, karst caves, national park since 1949
3. Risnjak National Park in the mountainous region of Gorski kotar near Rijeka , national park since 1953
4th Mljet National Park Island in South Dalmatia, national park since 1960
5. Kornati National Park Croatian Kornati (island archipelago), protected since 1964
6th Krka National Park near Šibenik (waterfalls), national park since 1985, among others. Location of the Winnetou films
7th Northern Velebit National Park Diverse karst phenomena , abundance of flora and fauna in the smallest of spaces, national park since 1999
8th. Brijuni National Park also called Brioni , in front of Istria , former Tito summer residence, small safari park

Nature parks

No. Surname description
1. Kopački rit Nature Park Wetland on the Danube
2. Papuk Nature Park in central Slavonia
3. Lonjsko Polje Nature Park Wetland on the Sava
4th Medvednica Nature Park the "local mountain" of Zagreb
5. Žumberak-Samoborsko gorje nature park west of Zagreb
6th Učka Nature Park Mountains near Rijeka, separates Istria from the rest of the mainland
7th Velebit Nature Park includes the entire mountain range ( northern Velebit and Paklenica particularly protected)
8th. Vransko jezero nature park in the Zagora
9. Telašćica Nature Park at the Kornati islands
10. Biokovo Nature Park Mountain range in southern Dalmatia
11. Lastovo Nature Park Island in South Dalmatia

Geomorphological phenomena

No. Surname description
1. Crveno jezero "Red Lake" near Imotski
2. Modra špilja the “Blue Grotto” on the island of Biševo near Vis
3. Vransko Jezero the “Vrana Lake” between Zadar and Šibenik
4th Vela Draga a canyon in the Učka Nature Park
5. Bijele and Samarske stijene a nature reserve in the Kapela mountain range
6th Rožanski kuk and Hajdučki kuk a nature reserve in the Velebit massif
7th Zmajevo oko the "Dragon Eye Lake" near Rogoznica in Dalmatia

Flora and fauna

In 2004 the Croatian government declared the entire Croatian marine area an ecological reserve and a controlled fishing zone (Croatian: “ekološki i ribolovni pojas” ) in order to protect the existing and sensitive marine fauna and vegetation. The approach has been criticized by Italy , Slovenia and the rest of the EU because the law also affects fishing rights. Slovenia regards the Croatian exclusive economic zone , within the framework of the EU accession negotiations, as a unilateral predetermination (prejudice) of the borders to this state.

There are about 4000 plant species and several thousand animal species in Croatia, of which 380 fauna and 44 flora are protected.


A total of 36.83% of Croatia (2,082,702 hectares) is covered by forests . Around 95 percent of the forest is largely natural mixed forests. About 81 percent are state forests, 19 percent are privately owned. 85 percent of the forest area is made up of deciduous forests , and 15 percent is coniferous.

In the mountain regions of the Gorski kotar , the Lika , mainly coniferous forests grow, in the Pannonian lowlands mainly deciduous forests.

Mediterranean hardwoods , maquis , pine and pine forests mainly grow along the Croatian coast . Numerous, also rare, species of water rose and the wet sedge grow in the wetlands.

In the dry and hot summer months, careless behavior by locals and tourists repeatedly leads to major fires. A few years ago, for example, a devastating fire raged on the island of Brač . The Croatian government is therefore investing more and more in fire protection measures every year .


Large predators such as brown bears , wolves , golden jackals and lynxes can be found mainly in the mountainous regions of Croatia.

Birds of prey that occur include griffon vultures as well as golden and short- toed eagles . Large birds that nest in the floodplains and wetlands are the ibis and various species of herons . Numerous animal species can be found in the national parks of the north that are rarely found or even extinct in Central Europe: the white-tailed sea eagle , cormorants , kingfishers , black storks , the little tern and the bee-eater .

Land turtles , pond turtles and sea ​​turtles , lizards , geckos and snakes ( adders , otters ) live in the coastal region . Some marine mammals are also native to the Croatian part of the Adriatic. The Adriatic dolphin and in particular the Mediterranean monk seal are among the species threatened with extinction. Bluefin tuna stocks are also seriously threatened by industrial overfishing in the entire Mediterranean region. There are some endemic species in Croatia . An example of this is the occurring in underground caves in the Karst region Grottenolm .


Population development in Croatia (1992-2003) × 1000
Population pyramid Croatia 2016
Population density Croatia (2011)

According to a census carried out in 2001, Croatia had 4,437,460 inhabitants. Life expectancy in Croatia is around 78 years. For some years now, the country's population has been falling due to low birth rates .

Of the inhabitants at the time of the 2001 census, 4,399,364 (99.14%) had Croatian citizenship, 44,340 (1.00%) of them also had a second citizenship. 17,902 (0.40%) were foreign nationals, 9,811 (0.22%) were stateless. The citizenship of 10,383 inhabitants (0.23%) was unknown.

The Croatian diaspora is larger than average. There are numerous Croatian minority associations abroad. The Hrvatska bratska zajednica is the largest association in the USA . The Croatian parliament has its own members of the Croatian diaspora, who are also elected by them.

In 2017, 13.4% of the population were born abroad. The most common countries of origin were Bosnia and Herzegovina (390,000 people), Serbia (50,000) and Germany (30,000). A large part of these people are ethnic Croats.


According to the 2001 census, almost 90% of all residents consider themselves Croatians . According to the 1991 census, 78.1% of the population saw themselves as Croats and 12.1% as Serbs , many of whom fled or were expelled in the course of the consolidation of the Croatian state.

Ethnic groups according to the 2001 census
Croatians 3,977,171 (89.63%) Slovenes 13,173 (0.30%)
Serbs 201,631 (4.54%) Czechs 10,510 (0.24%)
Bosniaks 20,755 (0.49%) Roma 9,463 (0.21%)
Italian 19,636 (0.44%) Montenegrins 4,926 (0.11%)
Hungary 16,595 (0.37%) Slovaks 4,712 (0.11%)
Albanians 15,082 (0.34%) Macedonians 4,270 (0.10%)
Ethnic groups according to the 2011 census
Croatians 3,874,321 (90.42%) Slovenes 10,517 (0.25%)
Serbs 186,633 (4.36%) Czechs 9,641 (0.22%)
Bosniaks 31,479 (0.73%) Slovaks 4,753 (0.11%)
Italian 17,807 (0.42%) Montenegrins 4,517 (0.11%)
Albanians 17,513 (0.41%) Macedonians 4.138 (0.10%)
Roma 16,975 (0.40%) German 2,965 (0.07%)
Hungary 14,048 (0.33%) Others 89,582 (2.09%)
total 4,284,889 (100%)

Over the past few years, some of the Serbs who fled or expelled in the course of the Oluja military operation have returned (118,000 by January 2005), so that the Serbian population is now higher than it was at the time of the 2001 census, but still less than half that as big as before the Croatian war.

In 2005 the government launched a campaign to repatriate Serbian refugees. Potential returnees can obtain information on their return from a central point.

The main settlement area of ​​the Italian minority is the western coast of Istria , there are also small Italian language groups in eastern and central Istria , Rijeka , Dalmatia (e.g. Zadar ) and western Slavonia . Magyars (Hungarians) and Slovaks live mainly in the east, Czechs in western Slavonia . The Bosniaks , Albanians and Macedonians live all over the country, especially in the larger cities.

Amnesty International has made progress in dealing with the Roma minority in recent years ; especially in the school area and the creation of living spaces.

In mid-2006, the Simon Wiesenthal Center placed Croatia in the highest category with regard to efforts to prosecute National Socialist crimes and their successful processing.


The official language in Croatia is the standard Croatian language . Croatian or Serbo-Croatian is understood and spoken almost everywhere in the country.

In Istria , and to a lesser extent in Rijeka and on some of the Kvarner islands, Italian or an Italian dialect, Venetian, is also spoken. There are small Hungarian language islands near the border with Hungary, especially in Northeast Slavonia . There are Czech language islands in western Slavonia and Slovak language islands in eastern Slavonia . The Istrian-Romanian in the northeast and the Istrian in the southwest of Istria are threatened with extinction. Albanian and Slovenian native speakers live all over the country.

Mother tongues according to the 2011 census
1. Croatian 4,096,305 (95.6%) 9. Serbo-Croatian 7,822 (0.18%)
2. Serbian 52,879 (1.23%) 10. Czech 6,292 (0.15%)
3. Italian 18,573 (0.43%) 11. Slovak 3,792 (0.09%)
4th Albanian 17,069 (0.4%) 12th Macedonian 3,519 (0.08%)
5. Bosnian 16,856 (0.39%) 13th German 2.986 (0.07%)
6th Romanes 14,369 (0.36%) 14th Russian 1,472 (0.03%)
7th Hungarian 10,231 (0.24%) 15th Others 5,367 (0.16%)
8th. Slovenian 9,220 (0.22%)

Religious affiliation

The majority of the population belongs to the Roman Catholic Church. According to the 2011 census, in which “Catholic” was given as the standard answer, the main religions represented in Croatia are:

Religions in Croatia
1. Roman Catholic 3,697,143 (86.4%)
2. Serbian Orthodox 190.143 (4.4%)
3. Muslims 62,977 (1.5%)
4th Protestants 14,653 (0.3%)
5. Other Christs 12,961 (0.3%)
6th Other religious worldviews 5,641 (0.1%)
7th No information or agnostics / atheists 301,371 (7%)

There are no figures on the extent to which people who attribute themselves to the respective religion actually practice it in the form of religious services or the like.

Cities in Croatia

The largest cities in Croatia (over 30,000 inhabitants) as of March 31, 2011
1. Zagreb 790.017 11. Varaždin 46,946
including agglomeration 1,107,623 12th Šibenik 46,332
2. Split 178.102 13th Dubrovnik 42,615
3. Rijeka 128,624 14th Bjelovar 40.276
4th Osijek 108.048 15th Kaštela 38,667
5. Zadar 75,062 16. Samobor 37,633
6th Velika Gorica 63,517 17th Vinkovci 35,312
7th Slavonski Brod 59.141 18th Koprivnica 30,854
8th. Pula 57,460
9. Karlovac 55,705
10. Sisak 47,768


Reconstruction of a Neanderthal family at the Neanderthal site in Krapina .

Prehistory and early history

The oldest evidence of settlement in today's Croatia is around 130,000 years old. There are significant paleoanthropological sites: near Krapina there is the Neanderthal site Hušnjakovo brdo (with the Neanderthal museum ), discovered by Dragutin Gorjanović-Kramberger in 1899, and the Vindija cave . The Neolithic began with the Starčevo culture inland and the Impresso culture on the coast. This was followed by the Danilo culture and the Hvar culture on the coast, inland the Sopot / Vinča culture . Near the town of Vukovar in Vučedol-Gradac is the eponymous site of the late Eeolithic Vučedol culture . Numerous burial mounds (" Gomila ") date from the Bronze and Iron Ages .

Antiquity and Early Middle Ages

Roman amphitheater in
Pula, built under Emperor Augustus

The first Greek settlements on the east coast of the Adriatic Sea emerged in the 12th and 11th centuries BC. In the course of the Ionian and later the great Greek colonization . The founding of the settlement Split goes back to this time (Split from Greek Aspalatos or Spalatos = cave). In the 4th century BC The Greek historian Herodotus mentioned the Illyrians in his work . From the middle of the 2nd century BC The political influence of the Romans on the Illyrian tribes between the coast and the Pannonian plain grew . In the year 34 BC BC Octavian, who later became Emperor Augustus , incorporated this area of ​​Rome into Rome after a war that lasted 20 years in the Battle of Zerek. At the beginning of the 1st century, the Roman province of Dalmatia , named after the Delmatae tribe, was formed. In 293, under the rule of Emperor Diocletian, the province was divided along the Drina River . After the division of the Roman Empire into western and eastern rivers in 395, the territory of Croatia came under western rome.

Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire (550–1270)

King Tomislav Square in Zagreb - Tomislav was the first Croatian king (910)

After the dissolution of the Roman Empire, most of today's Croatia (Dalmatia, Istria and Slavonia) belonged to the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire from 550 to 1270 with multiple interruptions (temporary Croatian independence - see below) . In the 6th century, the Central Asian cavalry people of the Avars immigrated to Pannonia, which was additionally populated by the Lombards . In the 7th century, the Croats were called by the Byzantine Emperor Herakleios to their current settlement area to help him fight the Avars. According to the report of the Byzantine emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos, the Croats came from the area of ​​what is now Lesser Poland . During this time of belonging to Constantinople , the South Slavic tribes were mostly Christianized by the Byzantines in the 7th to 9th century as part of the Slavic mission , northern parts of Croatia and Slovenia were proselytized from Salzburg. The loss of power of the Byzantines after the Franconian Wars, the temporarily autonomous Croatian kingdom and the subsequent affiliation of a large part of today's Croatia to Western European rulers such as the Franconian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary mark the gradual departure from Byzantine Orthodox culture. Croatia came into the sphere of influence of the Roman Catholic Church and thus into the Western European cultural area.

The name of the Croats is first documented in a source from the 9th century. The name "Hrvat" itself has no Slavic roots, but most likely arose as a foreign name of an Iranian people for Slavs. It is assumed that the people of the "Hrvati" come from the area of ​​the Persian river (in the Sarmatian language) "Harahvaiti", which today is called "Sarasvati" due to the sound shift ("h" to "s").

In the year 879, Prince Branimir was written and addressed by Pope John VIII with “dux Croatorum”, which at the time was equivalent to recognition of the medieval Croatian state.

Croatian Kingdom (925–1102)

Around 925 Tomislav became the first king of Croatia. At the same time, this was also the first royal title in the history of the Southern Slavs. Pope John X immediately recognized this title. In 925 John X addressed him in a letter entitled rex croatorum (King of the Croats). During his rule, the Magyars invaded the Pannonian basin. Tomislav successfully defended his kingdom, which consisted of central Croatia , Slavonia and parts of Dalmatia and Bosnia , against the Hungarians.

The kingdom reached its heyday under the reign of King Petar Krešimir IV. Under his rule in 1059 the church was reformed based on the Roman rite . This was important in terms of the schism of 1054 and allegiance to Rome. The kingdom continued to exist until 1102.

Croatia in personal union with Hungary (1102–1526)

In 1102 the Hungarian king Koloman was crowned Croatian king in Biograd near Zadar and Croatia came to Hungary in personal union . Croatia kept its own administration under a Croatian Ban (viceroy or his deputy). The Pacta conventa , which regulates the relations between the Croatian nobility and the king, was traditionally also dated to the year 1102, but there is no evidence of this.

The personal union with the Kingdom of Hungary remained, with the exception of the Turkish wars in the 16th, 17th and early 18th century, and some other interruptions exist in various forms to the 1918th

Ottoman Empire (1451–1699) and Habsburgs (1527–1918)

Since the middle of the 15th century, Hungary and Croatia were exposed to attacks by the Ottoman Empire . After the defeat of the Hungarians and Croats against the Ottomans in the Battle of Mohács (1526) , Ferdinand I (HRR) was elected King of Croatia by the Croatian nobility at the meeting of Cetingrad .

The historical Croatian landscapes of Dalmatia and parts of Istria have been under the rule of the Republic of Venice since the late Middle Ages . The Republic of Dubrovnik was the only one of the areas of present-day Croatia to maintain its national independence from the 14th century to 1808.

For centuries Croatia was a battle zone against the Ottoman Empire. As a defense, the so-called military border was built, in which a significant number of Orthodox Christians also settled. At times, the residents of the military border received privileges in the form of the Statuta Wallachorum .

After the Napoleonic Wars , all of Dalmatia and Istria came under Austrian rule in 1815 , but for political reasons (“divide et impera”) they were not united with the rest of Croatia for administrative purposes, but rather became separate crown lands . From 1867, Dalmatia and Istria were part of the Austrian half of the empire , while the Kingdom of Croatia and Slavonia belonged to the Hungarian half.

In the second half of the 19th century there was a growing demand among the Croatian population for more rights of self-determination and an end to Hungary's Magyarization policy . In the revolutionary years around 1848, Ban Josip Jelačić in particular embodied the symbolic figure of Croatian interests striving for self-administration. The national aspirations were put to an end by the Austro-Hungarian Compromise and the Hungarian-Croatian Compromise in 1867. The 19th century was also marked by so-called Illyrism , a movement that implemented numerous cultural changes. The Croatian language was standardized and at the same time the idea was born to unite all southern Slavs in one state.

Establishment of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (1918–1941)

Croatia broke away from the Austro-Hungarian monarchy in 1918 at the end of the First World War . Italian troops then began to occupy Croatian territories along the east coast of the Adriatic, since Italy had been promised their annexation in the London Treaty of 1915 . In view of this, the National Council of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs decided at the end of November 1918 to immediately unite Croatia with the Kingdom of Serbia , from which the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes emerged. However, many Croatians rejected the monarchist form of government, felt they were disadvantaged and demanded the establishment of a republic for Croatia . In addition, the constitution provided for a centralized state organization and the dissolution of the historical provinces, which de facto secured the supremacy of the Serbs as the numerically largest people.

In 1928, several Croatian politicians were shot in the Yugoslav parliament, including Stjepan Radić , the leader of the Croatian faction. After a state crisis, King Aleksandar I dissolved parliament in 1929 , introduced a royal dictatorship and renamed the state the Kingdom of Yugoslavia . His power relied on the military.

At the same time, part of the Croatian political elite fled abroad. Parts of it formed the fascist Ustasha movement, led by Ante Pavelić and supported by Mussolini , which fought against the Kingdom of Yugoslavia by force. In 1934 they shot King Alexander in an assassination attempt in Marseille .

In 1939, on the eve of the Second World War, a reconciliation was attempted and the Banovina Hrvatska was created within Yugoslavia with the Cvetković-Maček Treaty .

Croatia in World War II

Memorial to the victims of the Jasenovac concentration camp

Four days after the start of the Balkan campaign , the Wehrmacht marched into Zagreb on April 10, 1941 . On April 17, 1941, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia surrendered to the Axis powers . Croatia became a German vassal state . In the period between 1941 and 1945, Croatia underwent major territorial changes. On the one hand, most of today's Bosnia and Herzegovina was added to the country. On the other hand, the coastal area (Dalmatia) had to be ceded to Italy and the area north of the Mur to Hungary. With the support of the Axis powers, the Ustasha under Ante Pavelić had already proclaimed the Independent State of Croatia ( NDH ) on April 10th . In fact, the Ustaša leader Ante Pavelić was head of state of the Independent State of Croatia under the title of Poglavnik . He established a fascist dictatorship , which hundreds of thousands of Jews , Serbs , Roma , Croatian anti-fascists and others. systematically persecuted and murdered. The Jasenovac concentration camp , which also went down in history as the “Auschwitz of the Balkans”, and other camps such as B. in Stara Gradiška or Jadovno . From the summer of 1941, the Croatian communists began an armed uprising against the Ustaše regime, which, as part of the Yugoslav partisan movement , was able to take control of a large part of the country over the course of 1942 and 1943. In addition to Tito , Andrija Hebrang was one of the leaders. After the defeat of the Axis Powers and their allies, the Yugoslav People's Liberation Army committed crimes against the losers of the war, above all in the Bleiburg massacre .

In 1942, still under German occupation, the communists had recognized the active and passive right to vote for women . Full legal, economic and social equality between the sexes was first guaranteed in the 1946 constitution. Another source mentions the introduction of active and passive voting rights as August 11, 1945.

Croatia as part of the republic of Yugoslavia (1945–1991)

After the end of the war, Croatia became one of six republics (Socialist Republic of Croatia) of the newly founded Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia , from 1963 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia ( SFRY ) , under the Tito government .

Flag of the Socialist Republic of Croatia (1945-1990)

In 1971 the Croatian Spring protest and reform movement was suppressed. After Tito's death in 1980, tensions between Croatia and the Serb-dominated Yugoslav government increased. At the end of the 1980s, aspirations for more autonomy had led to demands for independence from Yugoslavia . The Croatian Franjo Tuđman , at the side of Tito against the Ustasha had fought regime, gained popularity among the Croatian population. After the weakened Yugoslav government had allowed a multi-party system , Tuđman founded the Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) in 1990 , which soon assumed the character of a people's party. His demand for an independent Croatia sparked protests among the people of Serbian origin, who, according to the constitution at the time, represented the second nation, but the HDZ won the elections on 22/23. April or 6/7. May 1990 with 40 percent of the votes cast, 67.5 percent of the parliamentary seats. Tuđman was subsequently elected president.

Croatia as an independent state (since 1991)

War of Independence (1991–1995)

After 93.2% of the electorate voted for sovereignty in a referendum on Croatia's independence on May 19, 1991, Croatia declared its independence in June 1991 under Franjo Tuđman . The first recognition took place on June 26, 1991 by Slovenia , which had also just declared itself independent. The Yugoslav People's Army (JNA), which was de facto dominated by Serbia, tried to militarily put down the aspirations for independence. The military attempt to split off Croatian areas with both a large and a small proportion of Serbian population from Croatia and to annex them to Serbia in the medium term, culminated in the almost four-year war in Croatia, which was only followed by military successes of the Croats in 1995 in the military operation "Sturm" ( Oluja ) ended with the Erdut Agreement of November 12, 1995. The JNA withdrew from Croatia by destroying many military objects and mining strategically important zones, for example on the island of Vis furthest from the mainland or in the Danube swamps on the Croatian-Serbian border.

After the restoration of peace

In October 2001 Croatia signed a Stabilization and Association Agreement with the European Union . It guaranteed Croatia free access to the European single market, but also called for extensive economic and social reforms. The change of the economic system from socialism to a social market economy resulted in numerous economic policy measures. One focus was the further privatization of companies and the creation of investment incentives. Since June 18, 2004, Croatia was an official candidate for EU membership . However, the accession negotiations did not begin until after a decision by the EU foreign ministers on October 3, 2005, because the EU Commission believed that Croatia had not cooperated with the Hague War Crimes Tribunal until then . Further reforms were necessary in the judicial and social area. The fight against corruption was also seen as a prerequisite for full EU membership. In November 2008, Croatia was certified as making good progress and the conclusion of the accession negotiations in 2009 was announced.

However, the accession negotiations were interrupted for several months in 2009 because of a dispute with Slovenia over the border in the Bay of Piran . An agreement could only be reached in September 2009, so that the accession negotiations could be continued. In June 2011, the EU commissioner responsible for enlargement declared the negotiations "successfully concluded". Then experts from the member states examined the results negotiated with Croatia by the EU Commission, especially in the areas of justice, competition and the budget.

The European Parliament approved the accession in December 2011, whereupon the outgoing Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor and the Croatian President Ivo Josipović signed the EU accession treaty for Croatia on December 9th 2011 at the EU- Signed the summit in Brussels. In a referendum on January 22, 2012 , 67.27 percent of those who voted voted in favor of joining the EU. The turnout in the referendum was only 43.51 percent, but even with this the result of the referendum was valid in accordance with the Croatian constitution.

On July 1, 2013, Croatia became the 28th member state of the EU. The twelve Croatian representatives for the EU Parliament were elected on April 14, 2013.

Politics and administration

The constitution of December 1990 ( Ustav Republike Hrvatske ) defines the Republic of Croatia ( Republika Hrvatska ) as a state of the Croatian people and national minorities. As structural principles, it specifies the principles of democracy as well as the rule of law, social law and the unified state. The originally presidential democratic system of government was transformed into a parliamentary democracy in 2000. The basic standard for the exercise of sovereign power are the human rights provided for in the constitution. A personal representation of the national minorities is provided for sovereign institutions; their languages ​​and characters are also in official use in individual areas. State and church are separated from each other; there is no state religion.

On October 16, 2007, Croatia was elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for two years . The state has been a member of NATO since April 2009 and signed the certificate of accession to the EU on December 9, 2011 in Brussels. After the decisions at EU level and the Croatian Parliament as well as the successful referendum in January 2012 , Croatia became a member of the EU on July 1, 2013.

houses of Parliament

The seat of the Croatian Parliament

The Croatian Parliament (Sabor) , a unicameral parliament , has 151 members. The second chamber, the House of Counties (Croatian: Županijski dom ), was abolished in March 2000. The representatives are determined by proportional representation , in which a five percent clause applies to individual constituencies. There is a special constituency for Croatians abroad, for whom three seats are reserved in the Sabor; In addition, eight seats are reserved for national minorities. All citizens over the age of 18 are entitled to vote. The last parliamentary elections took place in December 2011 and November 2015 . In 2011 the social liberal “Kukuriku Coalition” made up of SDP, HNS, IDS and HSU won a majority in parliament. Including the mandates of Croatians abroad, the previously ruling conservative HDZ with its coalition parties HGS and Democratic Center had 47 seats. On 20 June 2016, the Sabor broke upon himself . In the new election in September 2016, the HDZ won 61 of the 151 mandates under its new chairman Andrej Plenković and agreed a new coalition with Most (13 seats). Minority representatives and smaller parties should also be part of the coalition.

Head of state

Acting Croatian President Zoran Milanović

The President of the Republic of Croatia (Predsjednik Republike Hrvatske) is elected directly by the people for five years. He is head of state and commander in chief of the armed forces. During his term of office he is not allowed to belong to any political party. After parliamentary elections have been held, it awards the mandate to form a government and, with parliament's approval, appoints the prime minister . Under special conditions he can dissolve parliament and call new elections. He may not refuse to issue the bills passed by parliament; If he considers a norm to be unconstitutional, he can submit it to the Constitutional Court for examination. In terms of foreign policy, he is also active in shaping foreign policy in cooperation with the government. Ivo Josipović , incumbent since February 2010, lost the runoff election on January 11, 2015 against Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović ( HDZ ), who took office as the first woman in this position in Croatia on February 15, 2015.

In the 2019/20 presidential election , Grabar-Kitarović reached the runoff again, but was defeated by the SDP candidate Zoran Milanović , who was elected as the new president. The handover took place on February 18, 2020.

When the constitution was amended on March 28, 2001, the president's strong position was limited.

Government and Administration

Acting Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković ( HDZ )

The government (Vlada Republike Hrvatske) is the executive state body and the supreme legislative authority. It consists of the prime minister (predsjednik Vlade) as well as the deputy prime ministers and ministers. Before taking office, the government must be given a vote of confidence by parliament. It can also introduce bills and, if authorized by law, issue ordinances. In the exercise of its office, it is responsible to Parliament. She can be forced to resign by parliament by means of a vote of no confidence . The parties HDZ and MOST were involved in the last ruling coalition, which was supported by independent MPs. Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković was voted out of office on June 16, 2016 by a vote of no confidence. Andrej Plenković became the new Prime Minister on October 19, 2016.

Internal state administration is carried out under the supervision of the government. The ministries take on the role of middle administrative authorities. There is also a lower administrative authority for each county. Special authorities can be created for special areas of responsibility.

Citizens have an enforceable right to local self-government. Tasks, the importance of which does not go beyond a certain area, are carried out independently by the local self-governing bodies. The right to self-government is exercised locally in 426 municipalities (općine) and 124 cities (gradovi) as well as regionally in 20 counties (županije) and the city of Zagreb under state supervision. In addition, state tasks can also be assigned to the municipalities.

Jurisprudence and Courts

The exercise of judicial power is formally independent. However, the legal process is extremely lengthy. Civil law proceedings take an average of up to ten years. The Croatian media and the EU repeatedly point to the lack of legal certainty and cases of corruption. The highest specialized court is the Supreme Court ( Vrhovni sud Republike Hrvatske ). The lower instances are divided into a general, criminal, commercial and administrative judicial process.

The Constitutional Court ( Ustavni sud Republike Hrvatske ) exercises judicial power in the field of constitutional law. The constitutional judges are elected by parliament for eight years. In the event of unconstitutionality, it can repeal laws, official acts and judgments; it also decides in disputes between the other constitutional organs. With a constitutional complaint, the citizen can turn to the constitutional court against legal acts of the authorities and courts if the professional judicial process has been exhausted. In other cases, only a special public advocate ( pučki pravobranitelj ) can conduct the proceedings. The current President of the Constitutional Court is Miroslav Šeparović.

Political parties

The largest parties in Croatia are the Christian Democratic Hrvatska demokratska zajednica ( HDZ ) and the social democratic Socijaldemokratska partija Hrvatske ( SDP ). Smaller parties are the Social-Liberal Party ( HSLS ) , the Peasant Party ( HSS ) , the People's Party ( HNS ) , the Istrian Democratic Assembly ( IDS ) , the Christian Democratic Union ( HKDU ) , the Slavonian Regional Party, the Right Party ( HSP ) , the Independent Democrats and Most (Bridge of Independent Lists) .

Political indices

Political indices issued by non-governmental organizations
Name of the index Index value Worldwide rank Interpretation aid year
Fragile States Index 46.1 out of 120 138 of 178 Stability of the country: more stable
0 = very sustainable / 120 = very alarming
Democracy index 6.50 out of 10 59 of 167 Incomplete democracy
0 = authoritarian regime / 10 = complete democracy
Freedom in the World 85 out of 100 --- Freedom status: free
0 = not free / 100 = free
Freedom of the press ranking 27.95 out of 100 56 of 180 Recognizable problems for the freedom of the press
0 = good situation / 100 = very serious situation
Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 47 of 100 63 of 180 0 = very corrupt / 100 = very clean 2020

Administrative structure

Administrative division of Croatia

Croatia is divided into 20 counties (Croatian: županija , plural: županije ) and the capital Zagreb , which itself has the powers of a county. The counties have areas between approximately 1,000 and 5,000 km². Each county has an elected county assembly (Croatian: županijska skupština ). Who stands at the head of the administration of a county prefect (Croatian: Župan ), who is elected by the Gespanschaftsversammlung and approved by the president.

The counties are in turn divided into Općine ( German  "municipalities" ), some of which have the status of a city (Croatian: grad ). Overall, the administration is divided into 124 cities and 426 municipalities. 58% of the population lives in cities.

No. County Croatian name Administrative headquarters Area (km²) Population
(2011 census)
7th Zastava bjelovarsko bilogorske zupanije.gif Bjelovar-Bilogora County Bjelovarsko-bilogorska županija Bjelovar 2,652 119,743
12th Flag of Brod-Posavina County.svg Brod-Posavina County Brodsko-posavska županija Slavonski Brod 2,043 158,559
19th Flag of Dubrovnik-Neretva County.png Dubrovnik-Neretva County Dubrovačko-neretvanska županija Dubrovnik 1,783 122,783
18th Zastava Istarske županije.svg Istria County Istarska županija Pazin 2,820 208,440
4th Flag of Karlovac county.svg Karlovac County Karlovačka županija Karlovac 3,622 128,749
6th Flag of Koprivnica-Križevci County.png Koprivnica-Križevci County Koprivničko-križevačka županija Koprivnica 1,746 115,582
2 Flag of Krapina-Zagorje-County.svg Krapina-Zagorje County Krapinsko-zagorska županija Krapina 1,224 133.064
9 Flag of Lika-Senj County.png Lika-Senj County Ličko-senjska županija Gospić 5,350 51,022
20th Flag of Medjimurje.svg Međimurje County Međimurska županija Čakovec 730 114.414
14th Zastava Osječko-baranjske županije.png Osijek-Baranja County Osječko-baranjska županija Osijek 4.152 304,899
11 Flag of Požega-Slavonia County.png Požega-Slavonia County Požeško-slavonska županija Požega 1,845 78.031
8th Flag of Primorje-Gorski Kotar County.png Primorje-Gorski kotar County Primorsko-goranska županija Rijeka 3,582 310.195
3 Flag of Sisak-Moslavina County.png Sisak-Moslavina County Sisačko-moslavačka županija Sisak 4,463 172.977
17th Flag of Split-Dalmatia County.svg Split-Dalmatia County Splitsko-dalmatinska županija Split 4,534 455.242
15th Flag of Šibenik County.svg Šibenik-Knin County Šibensko-kninska županija Šibenik 2,939 109,320
5 Flag of Varaždin County.png Varaždin County Varaždinska županija Varaždin 1,261 176.046
10 Flag of Virovitica-Podravina County.png Virovitica-Podravina County Virovitičko-podravska županija Virovitica 2,068 84,586
16 Flag of Vukovar-Syrmia County.svg Vukovar-Syrmia County Vukovarsko-srijemska županija Vukovar 2,448 180.117
13 Flag of Zadar County.png Zadar County Zadarska županija Zadar 3,642 170,398
1 Flag of Zagreb County.svg Zagreb County 1 Zagrebačka županija Zagreb 3,078 317,642
21 Flag of Zagreb.svg City of Zagreb 1 Degree Zagreb Zagreb 641 792.875

1 The Flag of Zagreb.svgcapital Zagreb , which forms a city and county at the same time, is not to be confused with the county of Zagreb in the surrounding area . Flag of Zagreb County.svg


The Croatian Army has around 21,500 soldiers in its peacetime strength. The number of reservists is 102,700 soldiers, of which about 32,360 are on standby. A total of 1,612,000 Croatian citizens stand by in case of defense.

The defense budget of the Republic of Croatia in 1997 was around 1.1 billion USD (1997), a little over 5% of the gross national product; In 2017 it was around $ 0.772 billion (1.4% of GDP ).

The Commander-in-Chief of the Army of Croatia is the President of the Republic of Croatia. The Sabor , the Croatian parliament, is responsible for the political control of the armed forces and the decision-making power over the establishment of the defense budget and strategic development.

Accession to NATO

Knin , August 2011

Since the 1990s, Croatia sought membership in NATO . The volatility of the alleged war criminal Ante Gotovina in particular was an obstacle for a long time. Membership came into force on April 1, 2009.

Assignments abroad

From November 2003, Croatian troops were part of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan ( ISAF ) headed by NATO (formation of a regional development team for trade in the city of Kunduz and demilitarization programs); ISAF was replaced on January 1, 2015 by Mission RS .

The Croatian armed forces are also used for peacekeeping and peacekeeping measures within the framework of the United Nations :



The gross domestic product (GDP) of Croatia was 45.8 billion euros in 2016. The gross domestic product per capita was 10,992 euros in the same year. After the outbreak of the financial crisis in 2007 , the country was stuck in a crisis for years. Croatia lost around one sixth of its economic power by 2014. However, since 2015 there have been increasing signs of economic recovery. The economy grew by 1.6 percent in 2015 and 3 percent in 2016. Nevertheless, Croatia still has a high unemployment rate of 16.3% and youth unemployment is very high at around 43%.

Croatia was a member of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) until it joined the EU in July 2013 ; the European Union is the country's main trading partner.

In the Global Competitiveness Index , which measures a country's competitiveness, Croatia ranks 74th out of 137 countries (as of 2017-2018). In 2017, Croatia ranked 95th out of 180 countries in the Economic Freedom Index . The EU funding programs are intended to help increase competitiveness and open up the economy in the future.

In the “ Global Gender Gap Report 2015” of the World Economic Forum , Croatia was ranked 59th worldwide. This report examines, for example, wage differences between women and men, the participation of women in politics and key economic positions in a country.

Key figures

All GDP values ​​are given in US dollars.

year 1993 1995 2000 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
(purchasing power parity)
36.02 billion 42.41 billion 54.51 billion 76.28 billion 82.38 billion 88.94 billion 92.54 billion 86.36 billion 86.17 billion 87.66 billion 87.28 billion
GDP per capita
(purchasing power parity)
7,790 9,524 12,441 17.173 18,556 20,049 20,872 19,499 19,505 20,483 20,450
GDP growth
−8.0% 6.6% 3.8% 4.2% 4.8% 5.2% 2.1% −7.4% −1.4% −0.3% −2.2%
(in percent)
1,518.5% 2.0% 4.6% 3.3% 3.2% 2.9% 6.1% 2.4% 1.0% 2.3% 3.4%
(in percent)
14.8% 14.5% 20.6% 17.6% 16.5% 14.7% 13.0% 14.5% 17.2% 17.4% 18.6%
Public debt
(as a percentage of GDP)
... ... 33% 41% 39% 38% 40% 49% 58% 65% 71%
year 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
(purchasing power parity)
88.11 billion 89.61 billion 92.71 billion 96.86 billion 101.34 billion
GDP per capita
(purchasing power parity)
20,703 21,144 22,052 23,227 24,424
GDP growth
−0.6% −0.1% 2.3% 3.2% 2.8%
(in percent)
2.2% −0.2% −0.5% −1.1% 1.1%
(in percent)
19.8% 19.3% 17.1% 14.8% 12.2%
Public debt
(as a percentage of GDP)
82% 86% 85% 83% 78%

Geostrategic position

Croatia is located at the intersection of the two pan-European transport corridors Central Europe - Turkey ( Corridor X ) and Adriatic - Ukraine and - Baltic States (Corridor V).

There are also important oil pipelines running through Croatia, e. B. the Adriatic connection of the oil pipeline friendship .


Fields in Hrvatsko Zagorje

Half (53.16%) of the land area is used as agricultural land. In 2007, 7.2% of economic income was generated from agriculture, with around 2.7% of the population working in this sector. In 2004, 9% of both exports and imports were achieved by the sector. The cultivated land areas mainly include the fertile soils in the Sava-Drau interstitial land, which are used intensively. The main fruits grown are sugar beets , potatoes , wheat and corn . Some special crops are also grown in climatically favored locations, especially wine and fruit . In southern Dalmatia, tobacco and citrus fruits are used for high yields. In animal husbandry, cattle , sheep and pig breeding dominate . In Dalmatia, fishing is an important source of income.


Croatia is relatively rich in natural resources. Before the outbreak of the Yugoslav wars in 1991, the mining industry was one of the most important employers. Natural gas , crude oil , hard coal , lignite , bauxite , iron ore and china clay ( kaolin ) are among the most important raw materials in Croatia. In some regions there are also small deposits of calcium , natural asphalt , silica , mica and salt . In addition, graphite and building materials (especially concrete raw materials) are mined.


Freight port in Pula

The predominant industrial operations in Croatia are petroleum refineries , iron and steel works , shipyards , chemical companies and production facilities for food , machinery , cement and concrete , metal goods and textiles . The formerly important mining industry has been recording declines in production for several years. Many of Croatia's industrial plants were destroyed or damaged in the Croatian War. The reconstruction of the plants ties up a lot of financial resources and prevents further development in some other production areas. As a result of the war in their own country, industrial production fell by 42.5% in 1991. The Croatian economy began to grow in 1993, and by 1996 most branches of industry again saw significant increases in productivity. Important industrial companies are the mineral oil and gas group Industrija nafte (INA) (around 17,000 employees), the electrical engineering manufacturer Končar Group and the food groups Agrokor (around 36,000 employees), Podravka and Kraš .


The banking system is consolidated and the country's largest banks have merged with or were taken over by major Italian and Austrian banks. The largest banks in Croatia include Zagrebačka banka , Privredna banka , Splitska banka , Raiffeisenbank Austria , HVB Croatia banka , OTP banka and Karlovačka banka . The only major bank that has not been bought by foreign banks is Hrvatska Poštanska Banka - the Croatian Postbank. KentBank is a private bank .


Campsite near Prapratno

Croatia is known for its coast with hundreds of offshore islands. On the "World Tourism Barometer", which among other things. measures the popularity of tourist destinations, the country ranks 18th in the world. Around 10 million people travel to Croatia every year. In the record year of 2008, they generated sales of around 7.5 billion euros. Income from tourism amounted to EUR 6.6 billion in 2011 and EUR 7 billion in 2012. The tourism industry thus accounts for around a fifth of the country's GDP and represents an important pillar of the economy in the tertiary sector.


In Croatia, primarily oil, coal and water are used to generate electrical and thermal energy. In addition, the Krško nuclear power plant in Slovenia , which was built in a joint project between Croatia and Slovenia, supplies the north of Croatia, especially Zagreb , with electricity. Hydropower plants are mostly to be found in the coastal region of Croatia. The largest hydroelectric power plant in Croatia is located on Perućko jezero (Peruća Lake) near Sinj . Renewable energies have also been subsidized in Croatia since a resolution passed in March 2007 .

24.5% of electricity is obtained from hydropower , 15.8% from nuclear energy and 27.5% from fossil fuels, 30.9% is purchased on the electricity market (as of 2011). Wind energy made up a share of 1.3%; in 2010 it was 0.8%.

State budget

According to estimates by the CIA , the state budget in 2012 comprised the equivalent of US $ 23.42 billion in expenditure , which was offset by revenues of US $ 21.56 billion. The deficit is given as 3.2% of GDP .
According to the CIA, the national debt for 2012 is estimated at 68.2% of GDP.

Infrastructure, transport and telecommunications

The highway network in Croatia (2009)

Road traffic

Motorway A1 Zagreb - Split , near
Maslenica, completed in 2005

The Croatian motorway network is one of the youngest in Europe. Many kilometers of motorway were only recently completed and an end to the brisk construction activity is not yet in sight. The main project was the A1 Zagreb - Split motorway , which was completed in spring 2005 and provides a continuous motorway connection between the two largest Croatian cities. Some important construction projects should be completed by 2008. These include the extension of the motorway to Ploče in southern Dalmatia , better transport solutions for Rijeka (further bypass), the motorway connection to Osijek , the motorway expansion to Sisak and the motorway connections to Serbia , Slovenia and Austria . The expansion of numerous rest stops along all Croatian motorways is currently being pushed ahead. Likewise, accidents should be avoided using the latest video surveillance technology. The Croatian motorway tunnels are among the safest in Europe.

Rail transport

Regional train from Zagreb to Savski Marof

The rail transport in Croatia operated by Hrvatske željeznice , which was privatized in 2006, is underdeveloped with a route network of 2974 kilometers and not very competitive with the bus network, which usually serves routes cheaper and at shorter intervals. Since 2005, travel on the railway line Zagreb-Rijeka and on to Knin and Split the tilting trains of the series 7123 , the more comfortable a much shorter journey time and allow as before. In contrast, the outdated railcars are on other routes, especially in the east to Slavonia . In addition to the completed modernization of the Zagreb – Split line, a new railway line is to be built from Botovo on the Hungarian border via Zagreb to Rijeka. This also includes considerations for a new line from Zagreb to Rijeka . According to information from 2012, however, completion is not expected before 2025.

Air travel

An A320 of Croatia Airlines in Zagreb

The government invests inter alia. in the expansion of the airports of Zagreb and Brač . The most important airports are

Maritime transport and inland waterway transport

Ferry in the port of Rijeka , the commercial and economic center of Croatia on the Adriatic

There are several important Adriatic ports in Croatia. The largest port on the eastern side of the Adriatic is Rijeka , followed by the industrial port of Ploče and the passenger port of Split. Vukovar on the Danube is an important inland port .

Telecommunication and internet

The telecommunications sector in Croatia is already well developed, especially in terms of cellular networks , and has made the greatest progress in recent years compared to other economic sectors in Croatia. This can also be seen from the fact that the telecommunications sector in this country contributes a higher share of GDP than is the case in the old EU countries (over 5%). Legislation in this area is also already at European level. As a result of the liberalization of the market in 2005, more and more alternative telecommunications operators are entering the Croatian market.

In Croatia there are currently (as of 2018) the mobile network operators A1 Hrvatska , Hrvatski Telekom and Tele2 , with the mobile network discounter Bonbon and Tomato also competing with each other. The two largest networks guarantee an area coverage of over 98%. The introduction of new technologies such as WAP , GPRS or MMS was also carried out quickly. Similarly, UMTS and LTE available. The Croatian telecommunications sector is still considered to have good growth potential as the market has not yet been fully saturated.

Broadband internet access is not available across the country. The expansion is to be accelerated through targeted growth incentives. In 2005, frequency licenses for Internet radio networks were issued in Croatia . The Internet infrastructure is to be expanded throughout Croatia, in particular through new WiMAX radio networks . It was decided to cover entire cities and regions with this technology.

In 2019, 79 percent of Croatia's population used the internet .

Culture and society

The University of Zadar is one of the oldest universities in Europe. It was in 1396 as Universitas Jadertina founded

In terms of culture and architecture , the north and north-east of Croatia was shaped by its long shared history with Hungary and Austria in the Baroque architectural style . The south of the country, the coastal region of Istria , the Kvarner Bay, the Hrvatsko primorje and Dalmatia, on the other hand, were architecturally influenced mainly in the Renaissance style by the former sea power Venice (1409 to around 1815).


Modern rock and pop music as well as traditional tamburica (guitar-like musical instrument) and klapa (male choir) music are widespread in Croatia . Many Croatian artists also celebrate international successes such as B. 2Cellos , Tomislav Miličević ( 30 Seconds to Mars ), Krist Novoselić (former band member of Nirvana), Sandra Nasić (Guano Apes) and many more. m.

Cultural history

The name of the garment “ tie ” goes back to the name of a Croatian people . Croatian soldiers in the 17th century wore a similar piece of clothing around their necks, a collar with a fringe, which made them easy to tell apart. The word "cravate" is mentioned for the first time in the French encyclopedia in the 17th century when Croatian soldiers were staying at the court of Louis XIV in Paris. The French word for the Croats is Croates , which can easily be deduced from the word cravate or in German “tie”. (For details, see: History of the tie ).


Croatia has several universities (Croatian sveučilište ), including five polytechnical and 14 public and private universities of applied sciences (Croatian veleučilište ). The country's seven universities are located in Dubrovnik , Osijek , Pula , Rijeka , Split , Zadar and the capital Zagreb . In addition, the individual universities maintain numerous institutes in other cities in Croatia, such as B. in Varaždin . Another 40 or so research institutes or major scientific projects are summarized in an official website.

The oldest genuine Croatian scientific institution is Matica hrvatska , which was established in the Danube Monarchy to maintain culture and language.


According to the 2007 regulation, compulsory schooling applies to children between the ages of 7 and 18. Compulsory schooling is completed eight years in elementary school, after which school attendance is continued for three years up to 11th grade at a technical school or four years up to 12th grade at a grammar school.

In Croatia, mother tongue tuition for ethnic minorities is offered in both primary and secondary schools (grammar schools) in the following languages: Czech, Hungarian, Italian, Serbian and German. In 2008/09, 459 teachers were deployed across the country to teach the total of 3207 Serbian students in the Serbian language. In second place came mother tongue teaching for 2,139 Italian students by 374 teachers. German-language lessons are only offered at one elementary school.

Around every fourth Croat speaks English, every seventh German.

The illiteracy rate among those over the age of 15 was 1.2% of the total population in 2010, according to the CIA.


In March 2016, the government dismissed the director general of the public broadcaster HRT. According to Reporters Without Borders, this was replaced by a "loyal to the government" director.

Printed matter

The press in Croatia is mostly concentrated in the capital Zagreb. The most important daily newspapers include Večernji list , Jutarnji list , Slobodna Dalmacija and Novi list . The most popular weekly magazines are Globus , Nacional and Hrvatski list . Since 2005, more and more small-format newspapers have been establishing themselves. These include 24 sata and the free newspapers Metropola and Metro .

Television / transmitter

Croatia has a dual television and radio system . Hrvatska radiotelevizija (HRT) emerged from the state-run Radio Televizija Zagreb in 1991 and currently broadcasts five channels. Local private television stations have existed in Croatia since the 1980s. In the course of the liberalization of the past few years, national private broadcasters have also established themselves on the Croatian television market.

The private channels RTL Televizija and Nova TV as well as RTL 2 , RTL Kockica , CMC and Doma TV can be received freely throughout Croatia via DVB-T and DVB-T2 as well as via cable. Many other programs are included for a fee in the various Pay TV packages that can be received via DVB-T2, DVB-C and DVB-S. HRT1 (only news, reports and films as well as series from Croatia), HRT4 (except for sports broadcasts) and HRT International and Z1 from Zagreb can also be received unencrypted via satellite throughout Europe.


In addition to the state radio stations of HRT and the nationally broadcast private radio stations Otvoreni radio , Narodni radio and Radio Marija , there have been dozens of local private radio stations in Croatia since the early 1990s.


The only major Croatian film production company is Jadran Film , which was involved in the Karl May films in the 1960s . Numerous Croatian actors are also known to the international audience, including Goran Višnjić , Ivana Miličević , Mira Furlan , Miroslav Nemec (German crime scene), Dunja Rajter , Antonija Šola and Mimi Fiedler . The best-known Croat in the film business, however, is probably the Oscar winner Branko Lustig . Lustig produced, among other things. Schindler's List, Gladiator and Hannibal. He also played in numerous national and international film productions.


A specifically Croatian sport is picigin , a popular beach ball game in shallow water that was developed in Split at the beginning of the 20th century.

Sporting successes

Major sporting events

UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage of Humanity

The Croatian world cultural or natural heritage sites classified according to the year of registration
1. 1979 Historical complex of the city of Split with the palace of Emperor Diocletian
2. 1979, 1994 Old town of Dubrovnik
3. 1979, 2000 Plitvice Lakes National Park
4th 1997 Episcopal complex of the Euphrasian Basilica in the historic center of Poreč
5. 1997 Historical city of Trogir
6th 2000 Cathedral of St. Jacob (Katedrala svetog Jakova) in Šibenik
7th 2008 Stari Grad plain on the island of Hvar


1. Čakovec Museum of the Međimurje Region
2. Dubrovnik

Museum of Local History, Ethnographic Museum, Cathedral Treasury, Archaeological Museum, Museum of Modern History and the birth house of Marin Držić .
3. Gospić Museum Lika; Nikola Tesla's biographical collection is located in nearby Smiljan in the house where Nikola Tesla was born
4th Hlebine Naive Art Gallery, Museum Collection of Ivan Generalić
5. Karlovac Karlovac City Museum
6th Klanjec Gallery of the sculptor Antun Augustinčić
7th Krapina Evolution museum and site of the prehistoric man Hušnjakovo, Museum Ljudevit Gaj
8th. Kumrovec Ethno-Museum Staro Selo (Old Village) with old original houses; the house where Josip Broz Tito was born
9. Makarska Malacological Museum (Shell Collection), Makarska City Museum
10. Osijek Museum of Slavonia, Gallery of Fine Arts
11. Pazin City Museum Pazin, Ethnographic Museum of Istria
12th Pula Archaeological Museum of Istria
13th Split Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments, Archaeological Museum Split , Gallery of the sculptor Ivan Meštrović
14th Trakošćan Trakošćan Castle Museum with a large collection of old weapons
15th Varaždin Varaždin City Museum in the Old Castle - Historical Section and Entomological Section (Insect Collection)
16. Zadar Zadar Archaeological Museum, Zadar Folk Museum, Maritime Museum, permanent exhibition of sacred art
17th Zagreb Archaeological Museum, Ethnographic Museum, Croatian Museum of Naive Art, Modern Gallery Zagreb, Museum of the City of Zagreb, Mimara Museum with works of art from all eras, Museum of Art and Crafts, Natural Science Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Strossmayer Gallery of Old Masters, Technical Museum

Holidays in Croatia

date German name Croatian name Remarks
January 1st New Year Nova godina
6th January Holy Three Kings Sveta tri kralja
Easter Monday Easter Monday Uskrsni ponedjeljak moving date
1st of May Labor Day Praznik rada
60 days after Easter Corpus Christi Tijelovo moving date
June 22 Day of the anti-fascist struggle Dan antifašističke borbe
30th May National holiday Dan državnosti
5th of August Victory Day and Homeland Gratitude Dan pobjede i domovinske zahvalnosti
15th of August Assumption Day Velika Gospa
1st of November All Saints Day Svi sveti
November 18 Memorial day for the victims of the Homeland War and Memorial day for the victims of Vukovar and Škabrnja Dan sjećanja na žrtve Domovinskog rata i Dan sjećanja na žrtvu Vukovara i Škabrnje
25 December Christmas , Boxing Day Božić
December 26th Boxing Day , the second Christmas Day Blagdan svetog Stjepana

See also

Portal: Croatia  - Overview of Wikipedia content on the topic of Croatia


Web links

Wiktionary: Croatia  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Croatia  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Croatia  - tourist guide
Wikisource: Croatia  - Sources and full texts

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Coordinates: 45 °  N , 15 °  E