Field trip to Zadar
As one of the diplomatic and trade missions accredited to Croatia which visited the Zadar County on Thursday 26th April 2018 and Friday 27th April 2018, our Office was hosted by Mr Božidar Longin, Zadar County Prefect, together with the representatives of the Croatian Chamber of Economy – Zadar County Chamber, the Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts and the local Development Agencies.
This important meeting was attended by many economic advisers and trade representatives of foreign embassies resident in the Republic of Croatia: Australia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Greece, India, Indonesia, Israel, Qatar, Kazakhstan, Hungary, Macedonia, Poland and Turkey.
In the framework of this study visit, we were presented with numerous potentials, primarily the Port of Gaženica and Zadar Airport, the mariculture companies Cromaris - http://www.cromaris.hr/en, Marikomerc doo - http://www.marikomerc.com/en, Pelagos Net Farma (http://pelagos-net.hr/) and the Company HSTEC - http://www.hstec.hr/en/about-us - which develops tailor-made innovative products, offers creative solutions in the field of industrial automation and whose big client in Belgium is Omco Group.
Moreover, we visited various tourist complexes such as Iliria Tourism Company and Resort - https://ilirijabiograd.com/ and the agricultural cooperative Mašvina - Olive and Wine - https://www.masvin-polaca.hr/?lang=en.
Mr Longin emphasized that Zadar needs additional accommodation capacities and will amplify to at least 2000 high-class beds.
The main goal of this visit, organized by the County of Zadar in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs, was to present the economic potential of the county, i.e. to promote the local economy through a system of economic diplomacy, and to open the possibility of new business co-operation and market expansion.
Noting that the Zadar County has made a number of important contacts in the last 25 years on an international scale, the county prefect Bozidar Longin also presented new opportunities that will help the City of Zadar to become a very important traffic hub.
He added how proud he was by the fact that the Zadar port entered the Maritime Silk Road, as the second port in Europe. This is definitely a great step forward and a guarantee for the future.
On behalf of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Assistant Minister Joseph Gene Petrić said they wanted to show the economic and tourism potential of Croatia in terms of infrastructure and trade development.
Our Attaché, Mr. Antonio Garcia, also explained the local press the concept of the Zagreb Economic Club and those field trips.
Exhibition of Gaston in City of Rijeka Museum
The cooperation between Brussels Invest&Export, WBI and Zagrebačka Naklada (the Croatian publisher of Gaston) on the occasion of inauguration of the Honorary Consulate for Primorje-Gorski Kotar, Istria and Lika-Senj Counties was the origin of an exhibition of 60 years of Gaston in the City of Rijeka Museum.
The exhibition, which attracted mostly French speaking audience, was followed by the projection of the movie and will remain opened until May 13th.
Inauguration of the Honorary Consulate
The festive inauguration of the Honorary Consulate of the Kingdom of Belgium in Opatija took place on Wednesday, April 25, in the Cultural Center Gervais.
H.E. Ambassador Philippe Benoit presented the new Honorary Consul, Mr. Ivan Kovačić.
As our Honorary Consul, Mr. Kovačić holds consular jurisdiction for Primorje-Gorski Kotar, Istria and Lika-Senj Counties (see above).
Earlier in the day, Ambassador Benoit and Mr. Kovačić, together together with Deputy Chief of Mission De Meyer and our Attaché
Antonio Garcia, met the Mayor of Opatija, Mr. Ivo Dujmić.
The inauguration evening was a success: the excellent musical performance of the Belgian musician Thomas Baeté was followed by a reception offering a selection of premium Belgian beers.
This year, for the fourth time, our office was an exhibitor at the Zagreb international tourism trade fair Place2Go.
As in the previous editions, our goal was to promote Brussels as a touristic destination.
To organise our stand, we contacted all interesting museums of the City of Brussels, as well as the big monuments and our recurring partner Visit.Brussels (https://visit.brussels/en).
Moreover, we showed on a 65“ TV a 25' mix of videos about the City of Brussels, musea, minuments, drink spots in Brussels and the Smurf Experience (this year, the Blue Guys turn 60 ☺).
As a matter of fact, we offered our visitors samples of Belgian chocolate.
Last but not least, we displayed the Place2Go and Meridijani magazines reports on Brussels.
Visit to Demateh
Demateh is a Croatian firm founded by Mr Božidar Pavlek in 1996.
Its headquarters are located in the outskirts of Zagreb (Rakitje), on the crossroads between major highways that connect Croatia with the West.
The company Demateh works in the field of automation and industrial logistics in the whole Balkan region. They produce belts and software for the supply chain in the industry; When the raw products arrive in the factory, they it go through all the processes from sorting out to packaging in one continued action until they are ready to be sent out to the buyers. That kind of system is efficient and economic. They are also providing a maintenance service for their products.
There are already well established in the Croatian market as we can see from their collaboration with major Croatian companies like Dukat, Ledo, Jamnica, Pan Pek, Meggle, Konzum, Zvijezda, …
Due to its location in a Balkan country, Demateh has a lot of business relations with neighboring countries.
Moreover, there have established partnerships with companies based in Austria, Belgium and Norway.
Their long-term vision of the company is to expand their business to other European countries like Belgium. They want to establish new partnerships, to export their product and to improve their skills by learning from foreign companies.
Concert BREL EMOTIONS
On Feb. 28th at the Zagreb Puppet Theatre, our Attaché Antonio Garcia introduced the concert Brel Emotions by the French Group “Jeff” (https://cdt49.media.tourinsoft.eu/upload/Brel-Emotions.pdf).
In a few minutes, he went through the intense life of the Belgian singer, actor, director and one-man show artist Jacques Brel (1929-1978).
Organized by the Alliance Française Zagreb (http://zagreb.alliance-francaise.hr/), this performance was the informal start of the Month of the French Language and Culture (Fête de la Francophonie).
60 years of Gaston
Author: E.L..S/I.S./HRT, February 21, 2018
Probably, there are only few of those who never enjoyed reading comics. There are different heroes in them, but also anti-heroes. One of them is certainly Gaston Lagaffe, a Belgian 'anti-hero' strip celebrating its 60th birthday. In Croatia, a movie about it will be released soon.
The French Institute has a fun show opened. It is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Belgian comics Gaston. In line with the Brisel exhibition, the Belgian Embassy in Croatia and Zagreb's publisher of this popular comic reminded Croatian comic strip lovers of the humorous Gaston.
Gaston, one of the most famous products of the Belgian-French school of comics, was more than 60 years old conceived as an anti-hero, the most common booklet that was supposed to fill the gaps in Spiru's magazine, a very popular strip magazine today, says Krešimir Maligec, editor of the Croatian edition Gaston. Gaston became so popular among readers that he was quickly overwhelmed and got his own comic magazine and started to go out and collect we can already tell tens of millions of fans around the world.
One of these fans is Mr. Antonio Garcia, a Belgian with a Croatian address. He encouraged this exhibition, and his experience of Gaston was interesting. Gaston Lagaffe could be the protector of the lazy people in the office, he does everything except work, he reads, he inventes, does everything, and sleeps mostly, and yet he is the philosopher worried about the welfare of his neighbour, colleague, but in his own way, Antonio Garcia, a Belgian attaché consider.
Croatian readers and fans met with Gaston in the early 80's of the last century through the popular comic strip that was then released and massively bought on kiosks, and somewhere in the late 1980s the hard-pressed strip albums were done.
The war stopped much of everything, and so did Gaston, but ten years ago, one of the publishers re-launched his release. Out of a total of 19 volumes, has been published so far 15 and one special.
Gaston's film will soon be released in Croatian cinemas. It also celebrates the round anniversary of that hero who 60 years ago was created by one of the most famous Belgian comic draftsman.
Andre Franquin, in 1957 began to design Gaston as an addition, and later as a stand-alone figure in comics. Gaston became popular so required his own drawing studio. He was soon joined by a writer of scenarios. At this exhibition it is possible to read few things about them, to see its development, explains Maligec.
Gaston overlived his creator. But he can be proud because he has created a hero strip or more precisely the anti-hero loved by all generations, both today's children and those older than Gaston himself.
City Council Meeting on co-operation between City of Virovitica and Belgian Investors - October 26, 2017
The Mayor of Virovitica Ivica Kirin and the deputy mayor Vlasta Honjek - Golinac and their associates held a meeting with Antonio Garcia, Export and Investment Attaché at the Embassy of Belgium in Croatia.
The topic of the talks was the economic cooperation between the Belgian companies and the City of Virovitica through the Embassy.
It was agreed that the City would send a presentation and a letter of intent to the Belgian investors, as well as data on the connecting transport routes.
Moreover, on that occasion Mayor Ivica Kirin introduced to the Attaché the project Megazone, one of the largest economic zones in Croatia, and in the future in this part of Europe.
The meeting also emphasized that, from this area, foreign investors from this area can easily operate with the markets of South East Europe.
The 17th "Days of Oris"
The 17th "Days of Oris" (http://oris.hr/en/days-of-oris/news/days-of-oris-17-programme,1409.html) took place in Zagreb on 14 and 15 October.
Oris (http://www.oris.hr/en/about-us/) is the informal Croatian order of architects but also a very active NGO in the field of conservation and development of the architectural heritage. It has been bringing high-level world architects to Zagreb since 2001 (http://oris.hr/en/days-of-oris/previous-days-of-oris/days-of-oris-1).
Last year, the Belgian Ambassador and the Economic and Commercial Attaché visited these Days for the first time, under the leadership of the Flemish firm Reynaers Aluminum and its young Croatian subsidiary (https://www.reynaers.com/dealers/reynaers-aluminium-croatia). Various interviews were held later with Andrija Rusan (firstname.lastname@example.org), President of Oris, especially during the visit - with a view to a possible action - by Nathalie Brison (Wallonia-Brussels Architectures - http://www.wbarchitectures.be/en/).
Andrija Rusan, President of Oris and host of the Days of Oris.
This year, one step forward was taken: with the sponsorship of Reynaers (airplane ticket), the Ambassador of Belgium (accommodation at the Residence) and the Belgian Trade Office in Zagreb (local transfers... and Belgian chocolate on the stands), the architect Jo Taillieu (http://www.architectendvvt.com/about_us/jo_taillieu/) was the first Belgian invited to present his work and that of his associates (http://www.architectendvvt.com/about_us) to public knowledge: Croatian and foreign colleagues, but also students in architecture and interior design, entrepreneurs and local officials.
The Days of Oris have two components: the academic component (see program above) with its awards (this year was Catalan, with the Grand Prix Oris-Roca awarded to RCR Arquitectes from Olot (Catalonia) and presented by the newly appointed Delegate of the Catalan Government in Croatia), and the "Fair and B2B" component (a.o. stands of Reynaers Aluminum, but also of Betafence, another Belgian spearhead in Croatia).
Nina Timmermans (Reynaers Aluminium Belgium), Antonio Garcia (Belgian Commercial Attaché, Zagreb) and Jo Taillieu (architect and speaker) at the Days of Oris.
Diplomacy day in Karlovac
The day of diplomacy was held in Karlovac on the 26th of September 2017, organized by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, the Karlovac County Development Agency “KARLA” and the Karlovac County. This event brought together more than 25 representatives of foreign embassies, including ambassadors and other diplomats accredited in the Republic of Croatia.
The distinguished guests were welcomed by the Karlovac county prefect Damir Jelić, the mayor of Karlovac Damir Mandić and the director of the development agency "KARLA" Vinko Šegrt. After introductory presentations on the importance of Karlovac, its culture, natural heritage, its economic and touristic potential, as well as its importance in the European Union, we had the opportunity to visit the first freshwater fish aquarium in the Republic of Croatia - Aquatica.
After the Aquatica tour, we proceeded to visit to the Karlovac Grammar School, paying special attention to the exhibition of didactic tools used by Nikola Tesla during his studies. The visit continued with an educational tour of the Homeland War Museum in Turanj and a visit to the Karlovac brewery (Heineken Croatia).
The closing part of the gathering took place in the Old Town of Dubovac, where, along with a tour of the museum's display and a beautiful view of the Karlovac nature, the delicacies of Karlovac County were presented to the guests. Representatives of the Economic Office of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium to the Republic of Croatia responded to this invitation and during the day of diplomacy in Karlovac, saw a great deal of opportunities for cooperation and the development of Karlovac County.
Visiting Omco Croatia d.o.o.
On May 9th, The Ambassador of Belgium in Croatia, Mr. Philippe Benoit, and our Economic Attaché Antonio Garcia visited the 100% Belgian-owned company Omco Croatia d.o.o.
The European leading manufacturer of moulds for glass bottles celebrated this year its 20th anniversary, showing a significant development : starting with 115 employees in 1997, Omco gives now work to 650 people, 10% of which have been here from Day 1.
On the following link you will see a few pictures taken during the visit of the production unit, part of a 100.000 m2 site:
Omco is and remains by far the biggest Belgian investment in Croatia.
Belgian Ambassador and Attaché visited Fidelta
On April 12th, the Belgian Ambassador Philippe Benoit and Export and Investment Attaché Antonio Garcia visited the company Fidelta, a branch of the Galapagos Group (http://www.glpg.com/).
They were welcomed by the new Managing Director, Mrs Adrijana Vinter, PhD, MBA, who replaced the now retired Phil Dudfield.
The main topic of the meeting was the wish of Fidelta to expand its Zagreb premises.
To this purpose, they look for an investor/owner who would erect a custom-made building for a contract research organization (CRO) like Fidelta.
Belgian Beers in Slavonia
In the framework of the Month of Francophonie (March 2017), our Attaché was honoured and pleased to support the presentation of several Belgian breweries by Mr. Andréas Radoux.
Saturday March 25th, the founder of AR Pivo Import (https://www.facebook.com/AR-) and his son Arnaud ended up another Croatian Road Show.
This time, the Francophonie lead our Belgian Beer Poets from Zagreb to Split and from Dubrovnik to Osijek.
In front of some 40 enlightened amateurs, Dr Pivo scanned our minds and concluded that the best anti-stress therapy was… brewing beer.
Therefore, we knew it all before tasting several Belgian craft beers : Malheur (Flanders), Petrus Aged Red (Flanders), and mostly the big discovery: Impératrice (Wallonia).
Have to mention two beautiful absents: Sara and Joseph, brewed in the small city of Silenrieux.
Thanks to the owner of the Kafić Uzdravlje (Cheers Café, whose name comes from a very popular American series of the 1980’s) we noticed that several Belgian beers were already put forward.
We hope that the beers of AR Pivo Import will be sooner or later distributed by another famous local stakeholder : Mr. Tibor Kainz, owner of the Kušaonica Piva (Beer Tasting House) and of the web shop http://gajba.hr, which sells a range of more than 150 special beers.
Last but not least, the surprise took the shape of a Croatian-Belgian lady whose belgitude and francophonie charmed more than one, the undersigned in first place.
Mrs. Ivana Šojat is not only a novel writer, a famous publisher and much awarded translator, she is also candidate to the Town Hall of Osijek in the municipal elections of May 2017.
Antonio Garcia, Andréas Radoux and Ivana Šojat
Place2Go - International Tourism Fair
Bernhard Wodl, Regional Director of the Lufthansa group for Croatia, Slovenia, BIH and Serbia with Antonio Garcia, Attaché for Export&Investments - BIE Croatia.
More than 15000 visitors have attended the Fair and the different presentations of destinations as Indonesia, India or Turkey.
Our main attraction was a fountain of chocolate, the precious liquid was a courtesy of PURATOS KONDING Ltd.
Our A-Team's chocolate work
Even the Croatian Minister of Tourism, Mr Gari Capelli, visited our stand and left it with a couple of samples...
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Visit Brussels without (yet) leaving Zagreb at Place 2 Go on stand 29 March 17th to 19th 2017