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Republic of Hrvatska
Republic of Croatia
Flag of Croatia
Coat of arms of Croatia
flag coat of arms
official language Croatian (regionally also minority languages)
capital city Zagreb
form of government and government parliamentary republic
head of state President
Zoran Milanovic
head of government Prime Minister
Andrej Plenkovic
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/pop. (nom.)
  • GDP/pop. (PPP)
Human Development Index 0.851 ( 43rd ) (2019)
currency Kuna (HRK)
independence 25 June 1991
(of Yugoslavia )
national anthem Lijepa naša domovino
national holiday 30 May
( Statehood Day )
time zone UTC+1 CET
UTC+2 CEST (March to October)
License Plate MR
ISO 3166 HR , HRV, 191
Internet TLD .Mr
telephone area code +385
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Croatia ( Croatian Hrvatska ? / i [ xř̩ʋaːtskaː ], officially Republic of Croatia , Croatian Republika Hrvatska ? / i ) is a country 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 , other major cities include Split , Rijeka and Osijek .

The national territory lies east of the Adriatic Sea and partly in the south-west of the Pannonian Plain . It borders Slovenia to the northwest, Hungary to the north, Serbia to the northeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast . The territory 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 few kilometers wide access to the sea ​​of ​​Bosnia and Herzegovina lies in between; the area around Dubrovnik is the country's only exclave .


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

The country is located in the transition zone of central or east-central Europe and south- eastern Europe . The part of Croatia along the Adriatic coast is geographically generally assigned to the Balkan Peninsula or Southeastern Europe. In 2005, the Standing Committee for Geographical Names recommended Croatia to be assigned to Central Europe on the basis of a cultural-spatial concept of Central Europe. For some Croats, the assignment to Central Europe is a means of differentiation from the negatively connoted “crisis region” of the 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 of Slovenia ), while the southernmost Croatian peninsula of 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 to a continental northern part and a long coastal strip, at the narrow seam 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 foreign territory in the form of this Neum Corridor in the future, the Pelješac Bridge is being built at a cost of 420 million euros.

The total length of land borders of Croatia is 2197 kilometers. Of these , 670 kilometers are on the border with Slovenia , 329 kilometers on the border with Hungary , 932 kilometers on the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina , 241 kilometers on the border with Serbia and 25 kilometers on the border with Montenegro . In the North Adriatic, the maritime border with Slovenia is disputed (see: International conflicts of the successor states of Yugoslavia ). The length of the Adriatic coast (mainland) is 1778 kilometers (with islands 6176).


climate diagram

In the interior or north-east of Croatia, the climate is mainly continental . The average 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 . So summers are mostly sunny and dry with average highs around 30°C, while winters are rainy and mild (average daily highs around 10°C). In the northern part of the coast, night frosts occur frequently in winter, while this is only the case for a few days in the southern part. At around 1000 millimetres, the annual precipitation directly on the coast is slightly higher than inland. The annual precipitation sums in the Croatian part of the Dinaric mountains amount to values ​​between 1000 and 2000 millimeters.

A special weather phenomenon is the occasional cold Bora wind that occurs in the coastal region and is one of the strongest in the world.

landscape zones

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

The Pannonian Plain

The Pannonian Plain consists mainly of flat land , interrupted by a few low mountain ranges , and is drained towards the Danube via the Sava and Drava and their tributaries . This part of the country has a temperate continental climate . This landscape zone can be divided into Northern Croatia and Slavonia . Northern Croatia includes the east-central European area from the Kupa to the Hungarian border: the lowlands along the Sava and Kupa around the cities of Zagreb , Karlovac and Sisak , which today forms the demographic and economic center of the country, the mountainous region of Zagorje (in German also: Zagorien ) north of the capital Zagreb and the Međimurje in the northernmost tip of the country between Drava and Mura . Slavonia is the lowlands along the Sava ( Sava ) and Drava ( Drava ) rivers to the Danube ( Dunav ) in the east. 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 also included in this group .

The Dinaric Mountain Region

Section of the Biokovo Mountains , a part of the Dinaric Alps

The Dinaric mountain region (also called Central Croatia or Croatian hill country ) is characterized by low mountain ranges and individual high mountain ranges , which form the watershed between the Danube and the Adriatic Sea, with individual valleys also being completely drainless. The climate here is mountainous. This landscape zone includes the mountainous region of Gorski kotar between Rijeka and Karlovac , the high valleys of Lika and Krbava between the Velebit mountain range running along the coast and the border area with western Bosnia and part of the hinterland of Dalmatia ( Zagora , Biokovo Mountains ).

The Adriatic Coastal Region

Coastal region in Dubrovnik-Neretva County

The Adriatic coastal region consists largely of karst areas. It is characterized by Mediterranean influences. The width of the coastal strip varies greatly. While in some places (below Velebit and Biokovo Mountains) it is only a few kilometers wide, in other places it reaches further inland. However, the majority of the rivers that flow into the Adriatic Sea 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 divided from north to south into the historical regions:

  • Istria - the peninsula in the north-west of the Croatian coast.
  • Hrvatsko Primorje (Croatian Littoral) 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] resident
1. Cres 405.78 3.184
2. Krk 405.78 17,860
3. Brač 395.44 14,031
4. hvar 299.66 11.103
5. Pag 284.56 8,398
6. Korčula 276.03 16,182
7. 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. Losinj 74.68 7,771
12. Pašman 60.11 2,711
13. Solta 58.17 1,479
14 Ugljan 51.04 6.182
15 Lastovo 40.82 835

highest mountains

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

bodies of water

53 beaches and 26 marinas are marked with a Blue Flag in Croatia 2021

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

Croatia is one of the few countries with an organized water management policy. As early as 1891, the Sabor passed a water law law of the Kingdom of Croatia and Slavonia , which provides legal regulations for bodies of water, riverbeds, 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 survey from 2006

the cleanest part of the Mediterranean Sea .

In 2005, Yale University 's Environmental Sustainability Index , which considers the state of environmental protection in a country as a whole, ranked Croatia 19th in the world.


The four largest lakes in Croatia are:

No. Surname surface notice
1. Vransko jezero 30.7 km²
2. Dubravsko jezero 17.1 km²
3. Peruća Lake 13.0 km² at Cetina river, croat. Peručko jezero
4. Prokljansko jezero 11.1 km²

The most famous lakes are the Plitvice Lakes .


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

The longest rivers that flow through Croatia are the Sava (Croat.: Sava , 562 km) and the Drava (Croat.: Drava , 505 km). These rivers largely form the borders with Bosnia-Herzegovina and Hungary. Both rivers flow to the Danube, with the Sava being the most water-rich tributary of the Danube and the Drau the fourth most water-rich. 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 side of the Danube.

The Kupa (Slovene: Kolpa , 269 km) forms much of the border with Slovenia . It flows into the Sava in Sisak , 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 nature 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, adding the protected waters results in 6129 square kilometers. Croatia has shares in the Green Belt of Europe .

national parks

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

natural parks

No. Surname description
1. Kopacki rit Nature Park Wet biotope on the Danube
2. Papuk Nature Park in Central Slavonia
3. Lonjsko Polje Nature Park Wet biotope on the Sava
4. Medvednica Nature Park the "local mountain" of Zagreb
5. Žumberak-Samoborsko gorje Nature Park west of Zagreb
6. Učka Nature Park Mountains near Rijeka, separating Istria from the rest of the mainland
7. Velebit Nature Park includes the entire mountain range ( northern Velebit and Paklenica specially protected)
8th. Vrana Lake Nature Park in the Zagora
9. Telašćica Nature Park at the Kornati
10 Biokovo Nature Park Mountain range in southern Dalmatia
11. Lastovo Nature Park Island in southern Dalmatia

geomorphological phenomena

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

Flora and fauna

In 2004, the Croatian government declared the entire Croatian sea area an ecological protection area and a controlled fishing zone (Croat.: "ekološki i ribolovni pojas" ) to protect the existing and sensitive marine fauna and vegetation. The approach has been criticized by Italy , Slovenia and the rest of the EU , as the law also affects fishing rights. Slovenia regards the Croatian exclusive economic zone as part 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 species of fauna and 44 species of flora are protected.


A total of 36.83% of Croatia (2,082,702 hectares) is covered by forests . About 95 percent of the forest stock is largely natural mixed forest. About 81 percent are state forests, 19 percent are privately owned. Deciduous forests make up 85 percent of the forest area, while coniferous forests account for 15 percent.

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

Mediterranean sclerophyllous shrubs , maquis , pine trees and pine forests grow along the Croatian coast . Numerous rare species of water lily 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, 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 lynx are mostly found in the mountainous regions of Croatia.

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

Tortoises , terrapins and sea ​​turtles , lizards , geckos and snakes ( vipers , otters ) live in the coastal region . Some marine mammals are also native to the Croatian part of the Adriatic Sea. The Adriatic dolphin and in particular the Mediterranean monk seal are among the endangered species. Bluefin tuna stocks are also severely threatened by industrial overfishing throughout the Mediterranean. There are some endemic species in Croatia . An example of this is the olm found in underground caves of the karst region .


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

According to a census conducted in 2001, Croatia had 4,437,460 inhabitants. Life expectancy in Croatia is about 78 years. In recent years, the country has experienced a declining population development 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 nationality of 10,383 inhabitants (0.23%) was unknown.

The Croatian diaspora is larger than average. There are numerous Croatian minority associations abroad. The largest association is the Hrvatska bratska zajednica 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 was foreign-born. The most common countries of origin were Bosnia and Herzegovina (390,000 people), Serbia (50,000) and Germany (30,000). A large proportion of these individuals are ethnic Croats.


According to the 2001 census, almost 90% of all residents consider themselves Croats . According to the 1991 census, 78.1% of the population still 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%) Other 89,582 (2.09%)
total 4,284,889 (100%)

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

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

The main settlement area of ​​the Italian minority is the western coast of Istria , alongside there are 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 the west of Slavonia . The Bosniaks , Albanians and Macedonians live scattered throughout the country, mostly in the larger cities. A small minority are also the long-established Arbanasi , who are descendants of 18th-century Albanian refugees who now live exclusively in Zadar.

Amnesty International has noted progress in dealing with the Roma minority in recent years ; especially in schools and the creation of living quarters.

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


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

Italian , or an Italian dialect called Venetian, is also spoken in Istria , and to a lesser extent in Rijeka and on some of the Kvarner islands . There are small Hungarian language islands near the border with Hungary, especially in north-eastern Slavonia . There are Czech language islands in western Slavonia and Slovak language islands in eastern Slavonia. Istro- Romanian in the north-east and Istrian in the south-west 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%)
4. Albanian 17,069 (0.4%) 12. Macedonian 3,519 (0.08%)
5. Bosnian 16,856 (0.39%) 13. German 2,986 (0.07%)
6. Romani 14,369 (0.36%) 14 Russian 1,472 (0.03%)
7. Hungarian 10,231 (0.24%) 15 Other 5,367 (0.16%)
8th. Slovenian 9,220 (0.22%)

religious affiliation

Zagreb Cathedral

The majority of the population belongs to the Roman Catholic Church. According to the 2011 census, where “Catholic” was the default 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%)
4. Protestants 14,653 (0.3%)
5. Other Christs 12,961 (0.3%)
6. Other religious worldviews 5,641 (0.1%)
7. No details or agnostics / atheists 301,371 (7%)

There are no figures available on the extent to which the people who identify themselves with the respective religion actually practice it in the form of church 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. Varazdin 46,946
including agglomeration 1,107,623 12. Šibenik 46,332
2. Split 178.102 13. Dubrovnik 42,615
3. Rijeka 128,624 14 Bjelovar 40,276
4. Osijek 108,048 15 Kaštela 38,667
5. Zadar 75,062 16 Samobor 37,633
6. Velika Gorica 63,517 17 Vinkovci 35,312
7. Slavonski Brod 59.141 18 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 settlements in what is now Croatia is around 130,000 years old. There are significant paleoanthropological sites: the Hušnjakovo brdo Neanderthal site discovered by Dragutin Gorjanović-Kramberger in 1899 near Krapina (with the Neanderthal Museum ) 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, and the Sopot/ Vinča culture inland . The eponymous site of the late Eneolithic Vučedol culture is located in Vučedol-Gradac near the town of Vukovar . Numerous burial mounds (“ gomila ”) date from the Bronze and Iron Ages .

Antiquity and early Middle Ages

Roman amphitheater built under Emperor Augustus in Pula

The first Greek settlements on the east coast of the Adriatic Sea arose in the 12th and 11th centuries BC. in the course of the Ionian and also later the great Greek colonization . The founding of the settlement of Split goes back to this time (Split from gr. Aspalatos or Spalatos = cave). In 2021 new archaeological finds were discovered that point to a Greek settlement of Dalmatia in the 8th century BC. and 4th century B.C. indicate. In the 4th century B.C. The Greek historian Herodotus mentioned the Illyrians in his work . From the middle of the 2nd century B.C. Roman political influence grew over the Illyrian tribes between the coast and the Pannonian plains . In the year 34 BC Octavian , later Emperor Augustus , annexed this area to Rome after a 20-year war at 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 reign of Emperor Diocletian , the province along the Drina River was divided. After the division of the Roman Empire into Western and Eastern Roman Empire in 395, the territory of Croatia came to Western Roman Empire.

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 and Byzantine Empires from 550 to 1270 with several interruptions (temporary Croatian independence - see below) . In the 6th century, the Central Asian cavalry people of the Avars immigrated to Pannonia, which was also settled by the Lombards . In the 7th century, the Croats were summoned to their current settlement area by the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius to help him fight against the Avars. According to the report of the Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos, the Croats originated from the area of ​​today's Lesser Poland . During this period of belonging to Constantinople , the southern Slavic tribes were mostly Christianized by the Byzantines in the 7th to 9th centuries as part of the Slavic mission , northern parts of Croatia and Slovenia were evangelised from Salzburg. The Byzantines' loss of power after the Frankish Wars, the temporarily autonomous Croatian kingdom and the subsequent affiliation of much of today's Croatia to Western European dominions such as the Frankish Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary mark the gradual removal from Byzantine Orthodox culture. Croatia fell 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 9th-century source. The name "Hrvat" itself has no Slavic roots, but most likely came about as a foreign name for Slavs by an Iranian people. It is believed that the Hrvati people came 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 879, Pope John VIII wrote to and addressed Prince Branimir as “dux Croatorum”, which at the time was tantamount to a 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 South 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 reign, 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 in accordance with the Roman rite . This was significant 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 king of Croatia in Biograd near Zadar and Croatia became a personal union with Hungary . Croatia retained its own administration under a Croatian ban (viceroy or his deputy). The Pacta conventa , which regulates the relationship of the Croatian nobility to the king, was also traditionally dated to 1102, but there is no evidence for this.

The personal union with the Kingdom of Hungary continued in various forms until 1918, with the exception of the Turkish wars in the 16th, 17th and early 18th centuries and a few other interruptions.

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

From the mid-15th century, Hungary and Croatia were under attack from the Ottoman Empire . After the Hungarians and Croats were defeated by the Ottomans in the Battle of Mohács (1526) , the Croatian nobility at the Cetingrad Assembly elected Ferdinand I (HRR) Croatian king.

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 today's Croatia that was able to retain its state 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 set up, in which a significant number of Orthodox Christians also settled. At times, residents of the military frontier 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 were not administratively united with the rest of Croatia for political reasons (“divide et impera”), but 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 were part of the Hungarian half of the empire.

In the second half of the 19th century, the Croatian population demanded more rights to self-determination and an end to Hungary 's Magyarization policy. During the revolutionary years around 1848, Ban Josip Jelačić in particular embodied the symbolic figure of Croatian interests striving for self-government. However, 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 what is known as Illyrianism , a movement that implemented numerous cultural changes. The Croatian language was standardized and at the same time the idea of ​​uniting all southern Slavs in one state was born.

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

Croatia broke away from the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918 at the end of World War I. Italian troops then began to occupy Croatian areas along the east coast of the Adriatic Sea, since Italy had been promised their annexation in the 1915 Treaty of London . In view of this, at the end of November 1918, the National Council of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs decided on the immediate union of Croatia with the Kingdom of Serbia , which then became the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes . However, many Croats rejected the monarchist form of government, felt disadvantaged and demanded the founding of a republic for Croatia . In addition, the constitution provided for a centralized state organization and the dissolution of the historical provinces, which ensured de facto supremacy for the Serbs, who were the largest people in terms of numbers.

In 1928 several Croatian politicians were shot dead in the Yugoslav Parliament, including Stjepan Radić , the leader of the Croatian faction. After a national crisis, King Aleksandar I dissolved parliament in 1929, introduced a royal dictatorship and renamed the state the Kingdom of Yugoslavia . His power rested 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 violently against the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. In 1934, they assassinated King Alexander in Marseille .

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

Croatia in World War II

Monument to the victims of the Jasenovac concentration camp

Four days after the start of the Balkan campaign , on April 10, 1941, the Wehrmacht marched into Zagreb . 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 significant territorial changes. On the one hand, the largest part 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 Ustaša under Ante Pavelić had already proclaimed the Independent State of Croatia ( NDH ) on April 10 . In fact, the Ustasha leader Ante Pavelić was head of state of the Independent State of Croatia under the title of Poglavnik . He set up a fascist dictatorship that divided 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", gained notoriety , as did other camps such as e.g. B. in Stara Gradiška or Jadovno . From the summer of 1941 an armed uprising of the Croatian communists against the Ustasha regime began, which, as part of the Yugoslav partisan movement , was able to bring a large part of the country under their control in the course of 1942 and 1943. Along with 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 in 1945, most notably the Bleiburg massacre .

In 1942, still under German occupation, the communists had recognized active and passive women's suffrage . Full legal, economic and social equality between the sexes was first guaranteed in the 1946 constitution. A different source names August 11, 1945 for the introduction of active and passive voting rights.

Croatia as part of Yugoslavia (1945–1991)

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

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

In 1971 the protest and reform movement Croatian Spring was crushed. After Tito's death in 1980, tensions between Croatia and the Serb-dominated Yugoslav government increased. At the end of the 1980s, demands for independence from Yugoslavia had developed out of efforts for more autonomy . The Croatian Franjo Tuđman , who fought alongside Tito against the Ustasha regime, was very popular with the Croatian population. After the weakened Yugoslav government allowed for a multi-party system , Tuđman founded the Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) in 1990, which soon took on the character of a people's party. His demand for an independent Croatia triggered protests among the Serbs, who according to the constitution at the time represented the second nationality, but the HDZ won the elections on November 22nd and 23rd. April or 6th/7th May 1990 with 40 percent of the votes cast, 67.5 percent of the seats in Parliament. Tuđman was subsequently elected President.

Croatia as an independent state (since 1991)

War of Independence (1991–1995)

After on May 19, 1991 in a referendum on Croatia's independence, 93.2% of the electorate voted for sovereignty, Croatia declared its independence in June 1991 under Franjo Tuđman . The first recognition came on June 26, 1991 by Slovenia , which had also just declared independence. The Yugoslav People's Army (JNA), which was de facto dominated by Serbia, attempted to crush the independence movement militarily. The military attempt to separate Croatian areas with both a large and small proportion of Serb population from Croatia and to annex them to Serbia in the medium term resulted in the almost four-year war in Croatia, which only ended after military successes by the Croats in 1995 in the military operation "Storm" ( Oluja ) ended with the Erdut Agreement of 12 November 1995. The JNA completed its withdrawal from Croatia by destroying many military objects and laying mines in strategically important zones, such as on the island of Vis, which is the furthest away from the mainland, or in the Danube swamps on the Croatian-Serbian border.

After peace is restored

In October 2001 Croatia signed a Stabilization and Association Agreement with the European Union . It secured Croatia free access to the European single market, but also demanded extensive economic and social reforms. The change in 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 has been an official EU candidate country . However, the accession negotiations only began after a decision by the EU foreign ministers on October 3, 2005, since the EU Commission believes that Croatia had only insufficiently cooperated with the Hague war crimes tribunal up to that point . Further reforms were necessary in the area of ​​justice and social affairs. Furthermore, the fight against corruption was seen as a basic requirement for full EU membership. In November 2008, good progress was confirmed for Croatia and a conclusion of the accession negotiations for 2009 was announced.

However, the accession negotiations were interrupted for several months in 2009 due to a dispute with Slovenia over the border in the Bay of Piran . It was not until September 2009 that an agreement was reached, so that the accession negotiations could be continued. In June 2011, the EU Commissioner responsible for enlargement declared the negotiations "successfully completed". After that, experts from the member states examined the results negotiated by the EU Commission with Croatia, especially in the areas of justice, competition and the budget.

The European Parliament approved the accession in December 2011, after which the outgoing Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor and the Croatian President Ivo Josipović signed the EU accession treaty for Croatia on 9 December 2011 at the EU Brussels summit signed. In a referendum on January 22, 2012 , 67.27 percent of those voting voted in favor of joining the EU. Participation in the referendum was only 43.51 percent, but even then the result of the referendum was valid according to 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 December 1990 Constitution ( 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 security and unitary statehood. The originally presidential-democratic system of government was transformed into a parliamentary democracy in 2000. The basic yardstick for the exercise of sovereign power is the human rights provided for in the constitution. Personal representation of the national minorities is planned for sovereign institutions; their languages ​​and characters are also in official use in some areas. Church and state are separate; 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 EU accession document in Brussels on December 9, 2011. After the resolutions 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 MPs. The second chamber, the House of Counties (Croatian: Županijski dom ), was abolished in March 2000. The deputies are elected by proportional representation , in which a five percent clause , based on individual constituencies, applies. There is a special constituency for Croatians living 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" of SDP, HNS, IDS and HSU won a majority in parliament. Including the mandates of Croats abroad, the previously governing conservative HDZ with its coalition parties HGS and Democratic Center had 47 seats. On June 20, 2016, the Sabor disbanded . In the new elections in September 2016, the HDZ, under its new chairman Andrej Plenković , won 61 of the 151 mandates and agreed a renewed 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 directly elected by the people for five years. He is the head of state and supreme commander of the armed forces. During his term of office, he may not belong to any political party. After parliamentary elections are held, he gives the mandate to form a government and appoints the prime minister after parliamentary approval . Under special conditions, he can dissolve parliament and call new elections. He may not refuse to draft bills passed by Parliament; if he considers a norm to be unconstitutional, he can submit it to the constitutional court for review. In terms of foreign policy, he is also actively involved in cooperation with the government. Ivo Josipović , incumbent since February 2010, lost the runoff on 11 January 2015 to Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović ( HDZ ), who took office as the first woman to hold that position in Croatia on 15 February 2015.

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

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

Government and Administration

Acting Prime Minister of Croatia Andrej Plenković ( HDZ )

The Government (Vlada Republike Hrvatske) is the executive body of state and the supreme legislative authority. It consists of the Prime Minister (predsjednik Vlade) and 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 performance of her duties she is accountable to Parliament. Parliament can force her to resign if she passes a vote of no confidence . The HDZ and MOST parties were involved in the government coalition that was last in office, and it was supported by independent members of parliament. 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.

The internal state administration is carried out under the supervision of the government. The ministries have the position 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 that do not extend beyond a specific 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 towns (gradovi) and regionally in 20 counties (županije) and the city of Zagreb under state supervision. In addition, government tasks can also be transferred to the municipalities.

jurisprudence and courts

The exercise of judicial power is formally independent. However, the court processes are extremely lengthy. Civil law proceedings last up to ten years on average. The Croatian media and the EU repeatedly point out 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 general, criminal, commercial and administrative courts.

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 annul laws, official acts and judgments; it also decides on disputes between the other constitutional bodies. With the constitutional complaint, the citizen can turn to the constitutional court against legal acts of the authorities and courts if the ordinary courts of law have been exhausted. In other cases, only a special citizen's attorney ( pučki pravobranitelj ) can conduct the proceedings. The acting 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 Party of Law ( HSP ) , the Independent Democrats and Most (Bridge of Independent Lists) .

Political Indices

Political indices published by non-governmental organizations
Index name index value World Rank interpretation aid year
Fragile States Index 46.1 out of 120 138 of 178 Country stability: 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 Index 85 out of 100 Freedom status: free
0 = not free / 100 = free
Press Freedom Index 27.95 out of 100 56 out of 180 Recognizable problems for press freedom
0 = good situation / 100 = very serious situation
Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 47 out of 100 63 out of 180 0 = very corrupt / 100 = very clean 2020

administrative division

Administrative divisions 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 about 1,000 and 5,000 km². Each county has an elected County Assembly (Croatian: županijska skupština ). At the top of the administration of a county is the County Administrative Board ( Croatian: župan ), who is elected by the County Assembly and confirmed by the President.

The counties are in turn divided into Općine ( German  "communities" ), 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 designation administrative headquarters Area (km²) Population
(2011 census)
7 Zastava bjelovarsko bilogorske zupanije.gif Bjelovar-Bilogora County Bjelovarsko-bilogorska županija Bjelovar 2,652 119,743
12 Flag of Brod-Posavina County.svg Brod-Posavina County Brodsko-posavska županija Slavonski Brod 2,043 158,559
19 Flag of Dubrovnik-Neretva County.png Dubrovnik-Neretva County Dubrovačko-neretvanska županija Dubrovnik 1,783 122,783
18 Zastava Istarske županije.svg Istria County Istarska Zupanija Pazin 2,820 208,440
4 Flag of Karlovac county.svg Karlovac County Karlovačka županija Karlovac 3,622 128,749
6 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
20 Flag of Medjimurje.svg Međimurje County Međimurska županija Čakovec 730 114,414
14 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 Primorye-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
17 Flag of Split-Dalmatia County.svg Split-Dalmatia County Splitsko-dalmatinska županija Split 4,534 455,242
15 Flag of Šibenik County.svg Šibenik-Knin County Šibensko-kninska županija Šibenik 2,939 109,320
5 Flag of Varaždin County.png Varazdin County Varazdinska Zupanija Varazdin 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-Srmia County Vukovarsko-srijemska županija Vukovar 2,448 180.117
13 Flag of Zadar County.png Zadar County Zadarska Zupanija 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 Grad Zagreb Zagreb 641 792,875

1Flag of Zagreb.svg The capital Zagreb , which is both a city and a county, should not be confused with the surrounding Zagreb County . 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 are ready for defense.

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

The Supreme Commander of the Croatian Army is the President of the Republic of Croatia. The Sabor , the Croatian parliament, is responsible for political control of the armed forces and has the power to decide on the military budget and strategic development.

Joining NATO

Knin , August 2011

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

foreign assignments

Croatian troops were part of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan ( ISAF ) under NATO direction from November 2003 (formation of a regional Kunduz trade construction team and demilitarization programmes); ISAF was replaced by Mission RS on January 1, 2015 .

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



The gross domestic product (GDP) of Croatia in 2016 was EUR 45.8 billion. 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 in crisis for years. By 2014 Croatia had lost about a sixth of its economic power. However, since 2015 there have been increasing signs of economic recovery. The economy grew by 1.6 percent in 2015 and by 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 the 2017 Economic Freedom Index , Croatia ranked 95th out of 180 countries. The EU funding programs are intended to help increase competitiveness and open up the economy in the future.

In the World Economic Forum 's " Global Gender Gap Report 2015" , Croatia was ranked 59th in the world.


All GDP values ​​are 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
(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
(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 or - Baltic States (Corridor V).

Important oil pipelines also run through Croatia, e.g. 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 came from agriculture, with about 2.7% of the population working in this sector. In 2004, 9% of both export and import was achieved by the sector. The cultivated land areas include, above all, the fertile soils in the Sava-Drava inter-river country, which are used intensively. The main crops grown are sugar beets , potatoes , wheat and corn . Some special crops are also cultivated in climatically favorable locations, above all wine and fruit . In southern Dalmatia, high crop yields are achieved with tobacco and citrus fruits . Cattle , sheep and pig breeding dominate in livestock farming . Fishing is an important source of income in Dalmatia .


Croatia is relatively rich in mineral resources. Before the outbreak of the Yugoslav wars in 1991, the mining industry was one of the most important employers. Natural gas , petroleum , 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 (mainly concrete base materials) are mined.


Cargo port in Pula

The predominant industries in Croatia are oil refineries , iron and steel works , shipyards , chemical companies and production plants 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 during 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 domestic war, industrial production fell by 42.5% in 1991. From 1993 the Croatian economy recorded growth rates, and by 1996 significant increases in productivity could again be recorded in most sectors. Important industrial companies are the mineral oil and gas group Industrija nafte (INA) (about 17,000 employees), the electrical engineering manufacturer Končar Group and the food groups Agrokor (about 36,000 employees), Podravka and Kraš .


Banking is consolidated and the country's largest banks have merged with or been 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 up by foreign banks is Hrvatska Poštanska Banka – Croatian Postal Bank. A private bank is KentBank .


Campsite near Prapratno

Croatia is known for its coastline with hundreds of offshore islands. On the "World Tourism Barometer", which u. a. measures the popularity of tourist destinations, the country ranks 18th in the world. About 10 million people travel to Croatia every year. In the record year of 2008, they generated sales of around EUR 7.5 billion. Income from tourism amounted to EUR 6.6 billion in 2011 and EUR 7 billion in 2012. As a result, the tourism industry contributed about a fifth of the country's GDP (more than any other EU country); it was and is an important part of the service sector .


Crude oil, coal and water are primarily used to generate electrical and thermal energy in Croatia. Alongside this, the Krško nuclear power plant in Slovenia , built in a joint project between Croatia and Slovenia, supplies electricity to northern Croatia, primarily Zagreb . Hydroelectric power plants are mostly found in the coastal region of Croatia. The largest hydroelectric power station in Croatia is located on Perućko jezero (Lake Peruća) near Sinj . Since a decision in March 2007, renewable energies have also been subsidized in Croatia.

24.5% of electricity is generated from hydroelectric power , 15.8% from nuclear energy and 27.5% from fossil fuels, with 30.9% being purchased on the electricity market (as of 2011). Wind energy accounted for 1.3%, up from 0.8% in 2010.

state budget

According to estimates by the CIA , the state budget for 2012 included expenditure equivalent to US $23.42 billion , compared with income equivalent to 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 motorway network in Croatia (2009)

road traffic

Motorway A1 ZagrebSplit completed in 2005 , near Maslenica

The Croatian motorway network is one of the youngest in Europe. Many kilometers of motorway have only recently been completed and an end to the brisk construction activity is not yet in sight. The main project here was the A1 ZagrebSplit motorway , which was completed in spring 2005 and provides a continuous motorway connection between the two largest Croatian cities. By 2008, some important construction projects should have been completed. 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 in the direction of Serbia , Slovenia and Austria . The expansion of numerous service areas along all Croatian motorways is currently being pushed ahead. Accidents should also 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 is not very competitive with the bus network, which usually serves routes cheaper and at shorter intervals. Class 7123 tilting trains have been running on the Zagreb–Rijeka railway line and on to Knin and Split since 2005, enabling a much more comfortable and shorter journey than before. This contrasts with the outdated railcars on other routes, particularly 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 border with Hungary via Zagreb to Rijeka. This also includes considerations for a new Zagreb–Rijeka line . However, according to information from 2012, completion is not expected before 2025.

air traffic

The government invests i.a. in the expansion of the airports of Zagreb and Brač . The main airports are

sea ​​transport and inland navigation

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

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

telecommunications and internet

The telecommunications sector in Croatia is already well developed, especially in terms of mobile 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 telecom sector in this country accounts for a higher share of GDP than in the old EU countries (over 5%). Legislation in this area is also already at European level. As a result of market liberalization in 2005, more and more alternative telecom 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 discounters Bonbon and Tomato also competing with each other. The two largest networks guarantee coverage of more than 98%. New technologies such as WAP , GPRS or MMS were also introduced quickly. UMTS and LTE are also available. The Croatian telecommunications sector is still considered to have quite good growth potential as the market has not yet reached full saturation.

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

In 2019, 79 percent of Croatian residents used the internet .

culture and society

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

From a cultural and architectural point of view, the north and north-east of Croatia was characterized by its long common history with Hungary and Austria in the Baroque style . The south of the country, the coast of Istria , the Kvarner Bay, Hrvatsko primorje and Dalmatia , on the other hand, were architecturally influenced mainly in the Renaissance style by the earlier sea power Venice (1409 to about 1815).


The first Croatian literature appeared in the 11th century. Canonical authors of Croatian literature include Marko Marulić , Marin Držić , Ivan Gundulić , Ivan Mažuranić , August Šenoa , Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić , Antun Gustav Matoš , Miroslav Krleža , Marija Jurić Zagorka and more.


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 are also internationally successful, e.g. 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 item of clothing " tie " goes back to the name of a Croatian people . Croatian soldiers in the 17th century wore a similar garment around their necks, a fringed collar, which made them quite easy to tell apart. The word "cravate" is first mentioned in the French encyclopedia in the 17th century when Croatian soldiers were in Paris at the court of Louis XIV . The French word for the Croats is Croates , which easily suggests the word cravate , or "tie" in German. (For more, see: History of the tie ).


Building of the University of Rijeka

Croatia has several universities (Croatian sveučilište ), including five polytechnics 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, e.g. B. in Varaždin . Another 40 or so research institutes and large-scale scientific projects are summarized on an official website.

The oldest genuinely Croatian scientific institution is Matica hrvatska , which was established in the Danube monarchy to cultivate culture and language.


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

In Croatia, mother tongue education for ethnic minorities is provided in both primary and secondary schools (gymnasia) in the following languages: Czech, Hungarian, Italian, Serbian and German. In 2008/09, 459 teachers were deployed across the country to teach the 3,207 Serbian students in Serbian. In second place came mother tongue instruction for 2,139 Italian students by 374 teachers. German-language instruction is only offered at one primary school.

About every fourth Croatian speaks English, every seventh German.

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


In March 2016, the government sacked the director general of public broadcaster HRT. According to Reporters Without Borders, he was replaced by a "pro-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 widely read weekly magazines are Globus , Nacional and Hrvatski list . Since 2005, more and more small-format newspapers have become established. These include 24 sata and the free newspapers Metropola and Metro .


Croatia has a dual television and radio system . Hrvatska radiotelevizija (HRT) emerged from the state radio Televizija Zagreb in 1991 , which currently broadcasts five channels. There have been local private television stations in Croatia since the 1980s. In the course of liberalization in recent years, private broadcasters broadcasting nationally 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 free of charge throughout Croatia via DVB-T and DVB-T2 as well as cable. Many other programs are included for a fee in the different Pay TV packages, which 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 as well as Z1 from Zagreb can also be received unencrypted via satellite throughout Europe.


In addition to the state radio station HRT and the nationally broadcast private 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 , among others, in the 1960s . Numerous Croatian actors are also known to international audiences, including Goran Višnjić , Ivana Miličević , Mira Furlan , Miroslav Nemec (Tatort), Dunja Rajter , Antonija Šola and Mimi Fiedler . The best-known Croatian in the film business, however, is probably Oscar winner Branko Lustig . merry produced i.a. Schindler's List, Gladiator and Hannibal. He has also acted in numerous national and international film productions.


A specifically Croatian sport is picigin , a popular shallow-water beach ball game developed in Split in the early 20th century.

Sporting achievements

Major sporting events

UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage of Humanity

Croatian World Cultural or Natural Heritage Sites ranked by year of inscription
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
4. 1997 Episcopal complex of the Euphrasian Basilica in the historical core of Poreč
5. 1997 Historical town of Trogir
6. 2000 Cathedral of Saint James (Katedrala svetog Jakova) in Šibenik
7. 2008 Stari Grad plain on Hvar island


1. Čakovec Museum of the Međimurje Region
2. Dubrovnik

Museum of Local Lore, Ethnographic Museum, Treasury of the Cathedral, Archaeological Museum, Museum of Modern History and the Birthplace of Marin Držić .
3. Gospić Lika Museum; Nikola Tesla 's biographical collection is in the house where he was born in nearby Smiljan
4. hlebine Gallery of naïve art, museum collection of Ivan Generalić
5. Karlovac Karlovac City Museum
6. Klanjec Gallery of the sculptor Antun Augustinčić
7. Krapina Museum of evolution and site of prehistoric man Hušnjakovo, Museum Ljudevit Gaj
8th. Kumrovec Ethno-Museum Staro Selo (Old Village) with old original houses; the birthplace of Josip Broz Tito
9. Makarska Malacological Museum (collection of shells), Makarska City Museum
10 Osijek Museum of Slavonia, Gallery of Fine Arts
11. Pazin City Museum of Pazin, Ethnographic Museum of Istria
12. Pula Archaeological Museum of Istria
13. Split Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments, Archaeological Museum of Split , Gallery of sculptor Ivan Meštrović
14 Trakoscan Castle Museum Trakošćan with a large collection of old weapons
15 Varazdin Varaždin City Museum in the Old Castle – historical department and entomological department (insect collection)
16 Zadar Zadar Archaeological Museum, Zadar Folk Museum, Maritime Museum, Permanent Exhibition of Sacred Art
17 Zagreb Archaeological Museum, Ethnographic Museum, Croatian Museum of Naive Art, Modern Gallery Zagreb, Museum of the City of Zagreb, Mimara Museum with artworks from all eras, Museum of Arts and Crafts, Natural History Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Strossmayer Gallery of Old Masters, Technical Museum

Holidays in Croatia

date German designation Croatian designation Remarks
January 1st New Year Nova godina
6th January Holy Three Kings Sveta tri kralya
easter monday easter monday Uskrsni ponedjeljak moving date
1st of May Labor Day Praznik Rada
60 days after Easter Corpus Christi Tiyelovo moving date
June 22 Day of Antifascist Struggle Dan antifašističke borbe
30th May national holiday Dan državnosti
5th of August Day of Victory and Homeland Gratitude Dan pobjede i domovinske zahvalnosti
15th of August Assumption Day Velika Gospa
November 1st 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 Bozic
December 26th Stephen's Day , Boxing Day Blagdan svetog Stjepana

See also

Portal: Croatia  - Overview of Wikipedia content related to Croatia


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Coordinates: 45°  N , 15°  E