Report creation date: 14.10.2008 - 10:01
Countr(y/ies): Croatia
Chapter(s): 1,2,21,22,23,24,241,242,243,244,245,246,3,31,32,33,4,41,42,421,422,423,424,425,426,427,428,429,4210,43,5,51,511,512,513,514,515,516,517,518,519,52,53,531,532,533,534,535,536,537,538,539,5310,6,61,62,63,64,7,71,72,73,8,81,811,812,813,82,821,822,83,831,832,84,841,842,9,91,92

Croatia/ 1. Historical perspective: cultural policies and instruments

After the Second World War, Croatia was one of the republics confirming the second Yugoslav Federation. Its cultural policy was designed to accomplish the ideological mission of building up a socialist culture. Art was governed by the canon of socialist realism and science and education were governed by the canon of dialectic and historical materialism. Culture was concentrated in towns and disseminated through trade unions.

The 1960s and 1970s were a time when cultural professionalism and decentralisation were emphasised as a reflection of the country's multiethnic character. Ideological control over culture loosened, followed by political liberalisation that ended with the emergence of the "Croatian Spring" in 1971. This was a national movement in which cultural and educational institutions played a main role, mainly Matica Hrvatska (a publishing house established in the 19th century with branches around Croatia) and the Zagreb University. Despite the ensuing political repression over those supporting this national movement, the decentralisation of cultural and other public policies continued and led to greater autonomy of the republics in the federation.Zagreb, King Tomislav Place

From the 1970s to the end of the 1980s the introduction of self-management in culture and other public fields led to the establishment of quasi-market measures. Instead of grants from the budget, special funds were created and their allocation was decided by bodies composed of providers and recipients of services. This new system became increasingly embroiled in the main political clash between federal centralists and republican co-federalists. These political clashes led to war and the eventual dissolution of Yugoslavia.

In the 1990s, the cultural policy of independent Croatia was politically and administratively centralised and incorporated in everyday life with special emphasis on the symbols of national tradition. It was designed to foster a sense of national cohesion, especially at the beginning of the period when the country was drawn into war. In the formal sense, the policy was formulated in general terms emphasising pluralism, a market approach, freedom of creativity, professionalism and de-ideologisation. Cultural planning and funding gave priority to activities of "national interests" in culture and left all other activities to the market and to NGOs.

Since 2000, when the new coalition government was elected, there has been a broader implementation of cultural policy in the sense of a pluralist cultural orientation. A more balanced approach to tradition and a new evaluation of the national and the multicultural components is being undertaken with steps towards further decentralisation and direct co-operation with NGOs.

The current government was appointed in 2004. Since that time, there have not been any major shifts in cultural policy development and overall cultural policy strategy. Major reforms were undertaken in the book sector, as well as in the audiovisual sector and performing arts, with the adoption of new laws. There was also a reorganisation in the government with a new division of portfolios and reduction in the number of ministries. As a result, the Ministry of Culture became responsible for the protection of nature and biodiversity.

The period since 2005 has been marked by the beginning of negotiations for Croatia's full membership in the European Union which has given a new impetus for reforms in all sectors including the cultural and audiovisual sector.

Croatia/ 2. Competence, decision-making and administration

2.1 Organisational structure (organigram) 

Croatia/ 2. Competence, decision-making and administration

2.2 Overall description of the system

Decision-making and the implementation of cultural policy involve procedures and interaction between the Ministry of Culture, the government and the Parliament, on the one hand, and consultative arts councils, local government and self-government, cultural institutions, NGOs, and individual artists and their associations, on the other.

The Ministry of Culture drafts laws and other important documents for the government, which passes them on to the Parliamentary Committee for Science, Education and Culture, after which they undergo parliamentary discussion and enactment. The Ministry of Culture plays a part in drafting the budget and decides on the allocation of budgetary funds to various cultural fields.

The latest major change to the cultural policy system has been the adoption of the Law on Cultural Councils (2001) and its subsequent changes (2004). Cultural Councils are consultative bodies, first introduced in 2001 as semi-arm's length bodies (they were described as semi-arm's length because they were independent in making decisions about the distribution of funds, but it was the Ministry of Culture which managed and distributed subsidies). With the 2004 legislative changes, Cultural Councils became consultative bodies to the Minister of Culture with reduced autonomy but a similar mandate: i.e. proposing goals for cultural policy and measures for achieving them, offering professional assistance to the Minister of Culture, working out a long-term national cultural programme, and giving opinions on the distribution of grants.

The following cultural councils were established by law: film and cinematography, music and performing arts, theatre arts, visual arts, books and publishing, the new media culture and the Council for international relations and European integration. Specific laws established three other Councils (cultural heritage, archives and libraries). While the previous laws offered a possibility for local government to introduce cultural councils on a local and regional level, the new law made it mandatory for all counties and cities with more than 30 000 inhabitants. The intention of the legislator was to contribute to the process of decentralisation but the effects of this change have not been assessed. This legislation guarantees local cultural self-government in the fields of archives, libraries, protection of cultural property and the theatre.

Besides existing cultural councils, there are other councils and committees established by the government having direct and indirect impact on the formulation of cultural policies, such as the government committees for national minorities, youth, gender equality, civil society and others.

Croatia/ 2. Competence, decision-making and administration

2.3 Inter-ministerial or intergovernmental co-operation

The Ministry of Culture regularly co-operates with other ministries to bring general and related laws into harmony with cultural legislation. They also co-operate in fields in which the competencies of various ministries are involved, such as the protection of cultural heritage (with the Ministry of the Interior), conservation and protection of historical town centres (with the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Planning and Construction), drafting media legislation (with the Ministry of the Marine, Tourism, Transport and Development), and in appointing cultural attachés or organising cultural events abroad (with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

Some important areas of culture, however, do not fall fully under the responsibility of the Ministry of Culture, such as art education, research and minority cultural groups. For example, while the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports takes the lead role for arts education, the Ministry of Culture provides some funding in the form of bursaries for artists and support for continuous education. There is a shared responsibility for research between these two Ministries. The Ministry of Culture and the Government's Office for National Minorities share responsibility for ethnic minority cultural groups.

Prospects for closer inter-ministerial co-operation are hindered by the strict division of developmental issues by sector. The only links are financial and economic, i.e. the budget and economic growth, and the issue of EU membership, which has been singled out as the common goal. Co-operation between national, regional and municipal levels of government continues to be a very important segment of cultural policy, particularly investment projects in renewing old institutions or building and setting up new cultural institutions such as libraries, archives, museums and theatres.

Croatia/ 2.4 International cultural co-operation

2.4.1 Overview of main structures and trends

The government has listed international cultural co-operation among its priorities and established a Cultural Council for International Relations and European Integration in 2004. The aim of this Council is to better coordinate and plan international cultural cooperation activities. In addition to its consultative role in the distribution of grants, the Cultural Council for International Relations and European Integration also has the task to make proposals to improve the coordination of those involved in planning and participating in international exchanges. In May 2006, the Council produced public Guidelines for planning international cultural co-operation, which can be found at the web site of the Ministry of Culture ( Following the proposals made by the Cultural Council, the Ministry made some changes in the rules for distributing grants. In 2006, the Ministry introduced a second (spring) deadline for financing projects of international cultural cooperation, besides the regular call for proposals for financing cultural projects in September.

The government continues with the policy of signing bilateral agreements and programmes of cultural cooperation. It is important to stress that the majority of projects financially supported by the Ministry of Culture are not based on the traditional form of "government to government cooperation" but on direct contacts between artists and arts and cultural organisations.

The government has listed, as one of the priorities, strengthening cultural cooperation within the region of South Eastern Europe. The cooperation is based on existing links between artists and arts managers; bilateral and regional programmes of cooperation; cooperation within the framework of international organisations such as UNESCO or the Council of Europe; cooperation within regional organisations such as the Council of Ministers of Culture of Southeast Europe (the Charter, signed in Copenhagen on 31 March 2005), the network of ministers responsible for cultural heritage sponsored by UNESCO, the Danubian Region, the Alps Adriatic Working Community, the Central European Initiative, the Quadrilateral Initiative, etc. Special projects include post-war reconstruction, the return of stolen cultural objects, support for mobility, and cooperation in the field of policy-making, cultural itineraries etc. In April 2007, Croatia took over the presidency of the Council of Ministers of Culture of South-East Europe.

Croatia/ 2.4 International cultural co-operation

2.4.2 Public actors and cultural diplomacy

The Ministry of Culture (on the national level) and larger cities (on the local level) are major founders of international cultural cooperation projects and initiatives. The Ministry of Culture cooperates with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its Department for International Cultural Cooperation, which is responsible for coordination of work of cultural attachés. As Croatia does not have publicly mandated cultural agencies or institutes abroad for cultural co-operation, Croatian embassies are the most important focal points for the promotion of Croatian culture abroad.

The Ministry of Culture operates all major instruments used in international cultural relations including state guarantees, bilateral agreements and programmes, as well as sector-specific agreements such as co-production agreements.

The Ministry of Culture allocates around 15.7 million HRK (app. euro 2 150 000) for international cultural cooperation, which includes the Funds received by the Ministry through the Lottery Fund (the amount varies depending on the income of the State Lottery, but it amounts to about euro 200 000 for international cultural cooperation).

Croatia/ 2.4 International cultural co-operation

2.4.3 European / international actors and programmes

In June 2007, Croatia signed the Memorandum of Understanding with European Communities, thus becoming a full member of the EU Culture programme. The Ministry of Culture published by-laws, introducing rules for co-financing of Croatian participants in the Culture programme, with the aim to stimulate applications in the first period of the Croatian participation in the Programme.

Croatia is an active member of UNESCO and the Council of Europe and participates in numerous projects initiated or supported by these organisations. Croatia is in the process of negotiations for full membership of the European Union. It has ratified almost all normative instruments of both organisations that refer to culture and cultural heritage.

The UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions has been ratified by the Croatian Parliament on 12 May 2006 (Official journal reference: NN-MU 5/2006) and the instrument of ratification was submitted to UNESCO on 31 August 2006. The Ministry of Culture is responsible for implementing and monitoring of the Convention, together with the National Commission for UNESCO. At the first Conference of the Parties of the Convention in June 2007, Croatia was elected among 24 members of the Intergovernmental Committee, for the period of four years.

Croatia/ 2.4 International cultural co-operation

2.4.4 Direct professional co-operation

Some important multilateral co-operation projects, coordinated or supported by the Ministry of Culture, include:

In the past few years, it is possible to observe a greater interest from cultural operators and artists for participation in various international networks. Several Croatian theatres are members of the European Theatre Convention and Croatian artists participate in several platforms and networks supported by the Culture 2000 programme (i.e. Triathlon Network, project SEAS, Gemine Muse etc.) While it is still difficult to obtain extra-budgetary funds for cultural cooperation projects and networking in Croatia, financial support is mostly provided by the Ministry of Culture and local communities.

Croatia/ 2.4 International cultural co-operation

2.4.5 Cross-border intercultural dialogue and co-operation

Much effort is being invested in support for cross-border co-operation projects, both by the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Education. Initiatives are usually carried out by NGOs which apply for government funding. Co-operation programmes include joint education programmes, co-operation in promoting common heritage, student camps etc. An important role in initiating and supporting such initiatives was played by the Stability Pact, through the "Working Table on Education and Youth".

For more information, see our Intercultural Dialogue section.

Croatia/ 2.4 International cultural co-operation

2.4.6 Other relevant issues

Programmes that support "culture in development" are not designed as special measures outlined and proclaimed by cultural policy and Croatia did not have a tradition of funding such projects abroad. Following the war and subsequent stabilisation processes in South-East Europe, Croatia initiated symbolic support and co-operation projects (mainly focussing on transfer of knowledge and exchange of experiences) in the region of South-East Europe.

Croatia has a large Diaspora around the world from North and South America, Australia and New Zealand to Western European countries particularly Germany, Switzerland and Austria. An independent organisation / institution "Croatian Heritage Association" (Matica Hrvatska) established by the government, and funded through the Ministry of Culture, supports and coordinates cultural programmes for Croatians abroad. The Ministry of Culture also supports special radio programmes aimed at the Croatian Diaspora, as well as satellite programmes on Croatian television.

Croatia/ 3. General objectives and principles of cultural policy

3.1 Main elements of the current cultural policy model

See also 2.2 for a description of the cultural policy system, including Cultural Councils and 4.1 for the list of cultural policy priorities pursued since 2000.

The general objectives of the current policy are: cultural pluralism (aesthetic and multiethnic), creative autonomy, the increase and diversification of sources for financing culture, polycentric cultural development, encouraging cultural participation as a new quality of life and co-operation between the public and the private sector to increase efficiency, quality, employment and innovation. The most ambitious goal is, bringing culture into the focus of interest in the country. The "Strategy of Cultural Development - Croatia in the 21st Century", drawn up in co-operation between the Ministry of Culture and a team of independent experts and accepted in the Croatian Parliament in early 2002, gives a detailed presentation of these goals and the necessary instruments to achieve them. However, it seems that few efforts have been made to follow-up on this Strategy, both by the previous and by the current government. There is currently no indication that the administration is planning to work on any alternative or new overall strategy with the exception of some sector specific strategies or policy documents (such as the Strategy on digitisation in the cultural sector)

Democratisation was elaborated in the proposals contained in the Cultural Development Strategy and its goals to increase active participation in culture and to popularise art and culture in schools and through the media.

Decentralisation is still an important subject of debate in Croatian cultural policy and practice. There are ongoing discussions to extensively reform and decentralise public administration in all fields. Experts in the Ministry of Culture and the Croatian Law Centre (NGO) have drafted a model of cultural decentralisation covering financing, infrastructure, decision-making and planning based on polycentric development corresponding with Croatian cultural and historical regions. However, as result of the first reactions to the announced reforms, the process slowed down considerably. This was primarily due to lack of funds on the local level, which is the main reason for not following-up with the plans for further decentralisation of other policies such as education, health and others. There is continuous pressure on the central government to enable fiscal decentralisation, which is a necessary precondition for any other efforts in this direction. The model of cultural decentralisation is to be publicly debated, revised, and then, if possible, gradually implemented.

Experts consider that decentralisation will be ensured when regional Culture Councils are established, as anticipated by the law (see 2.2). Also, the regional councils are to establish city and county cultural councils to further decentralise the decision-making process. The process of decentralisation is also supported through the provisions in the Law on the Protection and Preservation of Cultural Goods (1999), which regulates the distribution of funds collected through the "monument annuity" fund. This law ensures that 60% of the funds collected are used by the local governments in their respective city / municipality for the protection of cultural heritage.

Croatia/ 3. General objectives and principles of cultural policy

3.2 National definition of culture

The Cultural Development Strategy (2002) defines culture as follows:

"All forms of intellectual and artistic expression of symbolic social identity, belonging, behaviour and customs, and such industrial products, including the media, produced for spending leisure and shaping people's attitudes".

This strategy emphasises the importance of culture for Croatia and elaborates 14 different concepts, all focusing on "culturally sustainable development". In other words, the

"development of human interests and activities that will progressively decrease the drain on natural reserves and the existing capacities of the infrastructure and settled areas, and will at the same time use art, science, education, and cultural games and customs to encourage the enjoyment of values that stimulate closeness among people".

Croatia/ 3. General objectives and principles of cultural policy

3.3 Cultural policy objectives

The principles of promoting identity and diversity, supporting creativity and participation in cultural life were set up in 1990 as part of the declared cultural policy objectives in Croatia. Today, these principles are being put into practice in the following way:

Croatia/ 4. Current issues in cultural policy development and debate

4.1 Main cultural policy issues and priorities

In the past 6 years, there has been a change from one cultural policy model to another (see 1). The most important priorities of the cultural policy, introduced at the beginning of 2000 were, among others: building up the functions, work methods and public respect for the new Culture Councils; creating mixed funds for cultural investment; renewing and readapting the cultural infrastructure remaining from the socialist period; finalising a complete registry of cultural monuments; and furthering the use of information technology in culture.

Cultural policy priorities of the current government (elected in 2004) include:

However, given that there is a lack of systematic monitoring and analysis of the impact of cultural policies, it is difficult to assess the value and impact of these policy priorities and policy changes. This is probably also the reason why public debates about cultural policy models and solutions, in most of the cases, become very political and ideological with less attention on statistics, indicators, impact assessment or independent analysis of different models.

Croatia/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.1 Cultural minorities, groups and communities

There are 16 officially organised minorities in Croatia: Serbs, Montenegrins, Italians, Hungarians, Jews, Austrians, Albanians, Germans, Slovenians, Ukrainians, Ruthenians, Czechs, Slovaks, Bosniacs, Macedonians and Roma. All of them receive state support through the Government Office for Ethnic and National Communities and Minorities. The total population of Croatia is 4.43 million. According to the 2001 census, Croats made up 89.63% of the population and 7.47% were ethnic minorities (the remaining % did not respond to the census). The political and legal basis for the enjoyment of civic rights by representatives of national minorities is derived from the Constitution (1990, rev. 2001) and Constitutional Law on National Minorities (2002).

Minority cultural activities are predominantly traditional, e.g., preserving language, nurturing folk traditions, music and art, organising exhibitions, acting and reciting groups. The cultural activities of the Jewish and Italian minorities are two exceptions, for which interest in the cultural life of Croatia is more general. The cultural activities of the other minorities seem to awake little interest.

The Ministry of Culture supports various programmes through the distribution of grants in all art and cultural fields. Ten libraries act as reference libraries for national minorities, namely: City Library Beli Manastir (Hungarian); Public Library Bjelovar (Czech); City Library Karlovac (Slovenian); City Library Pula (Italian); Public Library Našice (Slovak); Library Bogdan Ogrizović Zagreb (Albanian); Libraries of the City of Zagreb (Rutheninan and Ukranian); City and University Library Osijek (Austrian). The Ministry also provides support for the establishment of the Serbian Cultural Association Prosvjeta (Serbian) and the Jewish Community in Zagreb (Jewish).

Several bilateral agreements on cooperation in the field of culture and education include references to the cultural needs of national minorities and the activities of their respective associations and institutions.

The Ministry of Culture supports programmes proposed by national minorities based on their artistic or cultural excellence and following the procedure and criteria that applies for all other programmes. However, there is a special fund for supporting activities and projects by national minorities, administered by the Government's Council for National Minorities, which includes also cultural projects in the fields of arts and heritage, media, events and festivals as well as various projects promoting education, social cohesion and intercultural dialogue. The government has also adopted a National Programme for the Support of Roma activities and programmes which includes special provisions referring to education and cultural activities of representatives of the Roma national group.

Croatia/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.2 Language issues and policies

The official language is Croatian. Laws passed in May 2000 regulate the status of minority languages and alphabets and their official use on the local level. The laws are especially effective in areas where language groups are concentrated e.g. the use of the Serbian language and Cyrillic alphabet in East Slavonia, Italian in Istria, etc. These laws were received favourably by the ethnic minority groups.

Croatian Radio and Television have special and regular news programmes in several minority languages. Local radio stations also have special programmes in minority languages.

The school curricula include supplements in minority languages (language, literature, history, art and music); there are optional programmes for mother tongue learning at various summer schools.

Apart from these supplementary minority language classes in school, language pluralism is not widely debated due to the low numbers of linguistic minorities in Croatia.

Croatia/ 4.3 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.3 Intercultural dialogue: actors, strategies, programmes

Promotion of intercultural dialogue is a relevant issue in Croatia and appears on the agenda of cultural, media, educational and social policies. However, there are no explicitly formulated policies for the promotion of intercultural dialogue nor is there a special fund or support scheme. It is important to note that due to recent Croatian history and the consequences of the homeland war, the issue of integration and re-integration of minorities, coexistence, as well resettlement of refugees and displaced persons have been for some time very high on the list of political priorities. It is also important to note that Croatia is not a country receiving any substantial number of immigrants other than those from neighbouring countries. This is why the issue of intercultural dialogue within the country remains largely an issue of integration and creating equal opportunities for existing minorities.

There are numerous NGOs and initiatives, both on national and regional levels, focussing on issues of intercultural dialogue. Examples of good practice include: BEJAHAD - Jewish cultural scene - a project that has been taking place on the island of Hvar for six years. The programme consists of a week-long series of cultural programmes, activities and debates where, every year, the Jewish community invites one of the other minority groups. A special segment of BEJAHAD is the programme called "Bejahad after Bejahad", which extends to a year-long series of activities taking place in Croatia and in other countries of South East Europe. The 2006 Bejahad was marked by a public appeal launched by the Jewish and Muslim Community asking for the promotion of intercultural and inter-religious dialogue and the programme continued in 2007.

Another programme is a literary seminar "The Days of Vladan Desnica" named after a famous Croatian writer of Serbian nationality. The seminar promotes intercultural dialogues through debates about literature and broader topics.

An international conference "Dialogue in today's world" took place in Zagreb in March 2006 organised by the representatives of the Catholic Church and University, together with the Cultural Centre of the Iranian Embassy in Zagreb and the Muslim community, involving various religious communities focusing on inter-religious dialogues in Europe today. The government of the Republic of Croatia takes steps to promote all activities that promote dialogue between different faith groups. The government has signed agreements with the minority faith groups on the issues of common interest - with the Serbian Orthodox Church in Croatia; the Islamic religious community in Croatia; the Evangelic Church in Croatia; the Reformed Christian Church in Croatia; the Evangelical Pentecostal Church in Croatia, which additionally represents the Christ Pentecostal Church in Croatia; the Adventist Church in Croatia, which represents the Reformed movement of the Seventh-day Adventists; the Baptist Union Churches in Croatia, which represent the Churches of Christ; the Bulgarian Orthodox Church in Croatia; the Croatian Old Catholic Church; and the Macedonian Orthodox Church in Croatia. In 2003, the government adopted the Agreement between the government of the Republic of Croatia and the Jewish Community in Croatia, which the Community refused to sign. Presently, the Draft of an agreement between the government and the Co-ordination of Jewish Communities in the Republic of Croatia and the Jewish faith group Bet Israel in Croatia is under preparation.

For more information, see:
Database of Good Practice on Intercultural Dialogue and our Intercultural Dialogue section.

Croatia/ 4.3 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.4 Social cohesion and cultural policies

Croatia is not a country with any significant immigration, which is why the issue of social cohesion is also looked at primarily in the context of ensuring that all minorities, as well as all social groups, have equal access to public services such as education, social security, health protection, culture etc. (see also 4.2.3).

In the field of culture, transition did not bring many changes in relation to the functioning and financing of public cultural institutions (other than cultural industries); the latter are heavily subsidised and offer cultural programmes and services whose prices are much lower in comparison to other services. In that context, it is understandable why there are not so many debates about accessibility of culture and cultural activities.

The existing network of community cultural centres (domovi kulture) assists in bringing cultural programmes and projects closer to vulnerable communities and helps to balance the often unequal cultural offer which is mostly centralised in larger urban centres.

The National Foundation for the Promotion of Civil Society is a central body which supports programmes targeted at the promotion of social cohesion.

Croatia/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.5 Media pluralism and content diversity

There has been much debate about media legislation, media pluralism and diversity in Croatia during the past few years. As a consequence, media laws, even the new ones, have been changed and amended several times. The main focus of the debates in the electronic media was on the privatisation of the third channel of Croatian television. One of the most important debates in 2003/2004 in the field of print media was the discussion about media concentration because one of the most important publishers (Europa Press Holding) bought another one of the six main daily newspapers. Even though Croatian legislation includes regulations on quotas and responsibility of broadcasters and media owners with regard to the diversity of contents, there is no systematic monitoring and therefore it is impossible to assess to which extent the provisions of different laws are being respected.

Media production in the arts, humanities, cultural history and identity is mostly broadcast on Croatian TV First Channel and Croatian Radio Three (completely intended for "highbrow" culture). "Highbrow" culture has a constant share of 4% in the total radio broadcasting. Local television and radio stations broadcast a considerably larger amount of commercial programmes than the national stations, primarily because the former are solely dependent on the market. While daily press covers cultural life and social / political events, three specialised weekly and bi-monthly magazines (Zarez, Vijenac and Hrvatsko slovo) write extensively about art and culture.

Anti-trust measures were included in the Law on Electronic Media (2003) and improved with the new Law on Electronic Media (2007), as well as in general Anti-trust Laws. The question of anti-trust measures has been greatly discussed in the context of the process of joining the EU, prompted by requests to harmonise legislation with European standards.

There are specific training programmes for journalists that are organised by the Association of Journalists and particularly by the International Centre for Education of Journalists in Opatija. The debate in the past few months focused on hidden-advertising and the question of independence of journalists, not only from politics, but also from media owners and the main sponsors.

Croatia/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.6 Culture industries: policies and programmes

There is no programmed and systematic support for the culture industries in Croatia, other than through regular subsidies of the Ministry of Culture and local communities. The cultural industries are still not generally recognised as potentially interesting for investment nor are they perceived, by the public, as a profit-driven sector. However, some sectors such as publishing or film and music distribution and production are almost entirely privatised and generate funds from a variety of sources including public funding, sponsorship but also direct investment and their own income. The products of domestic cultural industries are mostly distributed and consumed in the domestic market with the exception of pop-music and soap-operas, which are successfully exported throughout the region. Films also find their way to international audiences (mainly through festivals) and there are a few writers whose works are translated and distributed internationally. Liberalisation of the audio-visual market and the presence of private broadcasters on the Croatian market will, to a certain extent, boost the domestic audio-visual production which includes both the advertising sector but also independent productions (mostly entertainment programmes).

Lack of appropriate statistics for this sector makes it impossible to assess the turnover or employment figures for most cultural industries in Croatia.

There are some attempts to design local strategies for the promotion of cultural industries, the most interesting example being the city of Split where a group of researchers from the University of Split undertook a mapping exercise and made some strategic proposals for the further development of creative industries in the city.

Croatia/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.7 Employment policies for the cultural sector

Statistics regarding employment in the cultural sector are based on a narrow definition of cultural activities which do not include cultural workers employed in other sectors. Within independent artistic professions, statistics recognise only artists in the traditional sense (i.e. actors, musicians, painters, etc.) but not other professions (such as designers or others employed mostly in small businesses).

According to the Strategy on the Cultural Development of Croatia (2002), employment in the cultural sector follows some of the general trends observed in many other European countries, primarily regarding more flexible employment with all the benefits and challenges that it brings. The biggest percentage of those employed in the cultural sector is financed from public funds (state or municipal and local level).

There is no specific policy or campaign in this field, only some general and indirect measures through taxation and social policies (see 5.1.4 and 5.1.5).

The salary levels of employees working in public cultural institutions can be compared with others employed in the public sector. The statistics do not show the differences in remuneration between single self-employed person and large cultural institutions like the national and university library or the national theatre. The data available only shows the average wages and salaries and are not broken down according to the earnings of subgroups.

Croatia/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.8 New technologies and cultural policies

Information and communication technologies (ICT) are increasingly being used as a "bridge" towards particular segments of the culture industries, between culture and other sectors, and towards the public.

ICT companies are increasingly giving support to cultural activities through sponsorships and donations. However, neither side is doing this according to any government programme.

ICT use is increasing in particular culture industries, such as librarianship and keeping archives, which are leading to new employment.

The number of Internet users in Croatia is also growing rapidly: from 2.1% active users in 1999, to 12% in 2001, 23.2% in 2004 and 33% in 2005. Data from 2006 shows that, although about 45% of citizens have access to Internet, the percentage of users is less at 35%.

With the creation of the Cultural Council for Media Art, the financing of artists working with new technologies became more transparent and they gained easier access to public funds. One of the most active promoters of new media culture is the Multimedia Institute, a non profit organisation in Zagreb, which, through the idea of net.culture, promotes different perspectives on the issues raised by the use of new technologies and media in contemporary culture, presenting discourses from civil (activists), technical and media cultural scenes. The Multimedia Institute is also a focal point of CLUBTURE - a network of non-for profit and independent cultural organisations, clubs and initiatives operating as a programme platform for exchange. In the first five years since the independent cultural organisations established a CLUBTURE Network, they have organised more than 1 000 programmes around Croatia and they initiated a media project and Magazin za hakiranje stvarnosti 04. The Network advocates for new cultural policies, at national, regional and local levels. It has initiated projects of regional cooperation and education programmes.

Croatia/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.9 Heritage issues and policies

The Law on the Preservation of Cultural Assets (1999) states that every monument must have an owner and that licences will be granted for restoration and conservation work. Application of this law is continuously monitored and improved. However, it seems that in practice people still do not trust private owners and investment partnerships. The number of well-presented and well-managed archaeological sites is growing.

In recent years the media and the public have become more aware of issues connected with cultural heritage.

Although the Law on Archive Material and Archives (1997) has made it possible for units of local administration and self-government to found archives, and also provides for new independent private archives (founded by companies, universities, political parties, religious organisations, the media and so on), there has not been any marked interest in their establishment nor have conditions been created for founding public archives outside the existing state and private system. In the past four years, branches of state archives have been established in three cities, as well as a new archival institution, Memorial-documentation centre, about the Homeland war.

The network of public libraries is not evenly spread out over the Croatian territory. Due to the different levels of information technology development and availability, several library systems are not in use. However, the Ministry of Culture and local authorities are investing in the improvement of the library system. In the past four years, 33 cities have opened either new or newly restored libraries as joint investments between local authorities and the Ministry of Culture.

The war in Croatia and the transition processes affected museums in many ways: physical damage, destruction and theft of museum property, decrease in the number of professional staff and a drastic fall in the number of museum visitors. In 1998, a uniform legal system was introduced, museums became independent (partner-museums), and definitions were given for institutions that could work as museums or care for the movable cultural heritage, for standards of computer networking, supervision over work and professional levels. Holdings were reviewed to establish the number and the condition of items in the museum collections. However, these changes led to many disputes among museum branches and institutions, and in some local units the very existence of museums or collections was jeopardised.

The government, together with local authorities, is investing in the construction and reconstruction of new museums and galleries (Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb, Narona Museum Vid, Museum of the Krapina Prehistoric Man Krapina, Novigrad Lapidarium, etc.) and is planning the establishment of new museums (Homeland War Museum Zagreb, Archaeological Museum Osijek, Museum of Sacral Art Split, Museum of Croatian Emigration Zagreb, etc.) While investment in cultural infrastructure is seen by many as very positive, there is also some criticism expressed by those who believe that there is no adequate investment in modernisation and strengthening of the capacities of existing museums.

One of the greatest weaknesses in the treatment of the heritage in Croatia was the relative neglect of the traditional rural heritage. The main reasons for this were the neglect of the rural economy, a great decrease in the rural population and the small interest among the rest of the population in old traditions and public resources, as well as the fact that developmental investment is concentrated on a limited number of areas thus marginalising others. In summer 2006, the Minister of Culture announced the introduction of special loans and support schemes for rural heritage. This will be also one of the priorities for the programming of EU pre-accession funds in Croatia.

A National Working Group (set up in 2005) presented the National Programme for Digitalisation of Cultural Heritage (including archives, libraries and museums) to the Minister of Culture, in September 2006. This programme aims at improving digitalisation of cultural heritage and includes educational and "operational" components. Special funds were earmarked for this programme in the 2007 cultural budget. The main institutions for implementation of this Programme are the National and University Library and State Archives.

For more information, see
European Heritage Network: Country profile Croatia

Croatia/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.10 Gender equality and cultural policies

There are no specific programmes or campaigns in this field that focus on culture and cultural policies. However, gender issues are systematically monitored and adequate policies are designed by the government and parliament bodies for the promotion of gender equality.

Croatia/ 4. Current issues in cultural policy development and debate

4.3 Other relevant issues and debates

In 2002, there was a protest of independent artists and a public debate with the Ministry of Culture over the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Social Affairs' presentation of the draft of a new Law on Retirement Benefits and Health Insurance in the Cultural Sector. Accordingly, the contributions of artists whose activity is not regulated in regular employment contracts would be increased up to 19.5% for retirement benefits and up to 16% for the costs of health insurance payments. The protesters against thus demanded that artistic creativity obtain a special status within the fiscal system since "artworks are of general public significance". After two years of negotiations and debate with the old and the new government, new rules were introduced that guarantee the continuation of the existing system of state support. However, it was agreed that a monitoring system would be strengthened and that "income limitation" (or property census) would be introduced in order to avoid misuses (see 5.1.4). A status for independent artists remains one of the burning issues in Croatia where an overall reform of the system is needed.

In early 2004, the new government was challenged by a protest against the proposed changes to the Law on Cultural Councils because it was seen by the cultural community as the minister's intention to limit the independent decision-making powers introduced by the 2001 Law on Cultural Councils. Regardless of the protests, the Parliament adopted the new law. Those working in the non-institutional art scene mobilised themselves on such a level that the government was forced to amend the law and to preserve the Cultural Council responsible for "media art". According to the statements of the Minister of Culture at the time of the adoption of the law (spring 2004), the Ministry intended to undertake an evaluation of the existing legislation and practices and intended to propose an overall reform of both the decision-making and financing structures for culture. However, there does not seem to be any initiative to follow-up on this announcement.

The Ministry of Culture has invited a group of experts to make proposals to reform the book policy in Croatia which includes redistribution of subsidies, a system of acquisitions as well as introduction of fixed book prices and a public lending rights scheme. The trigger that provoked a fierce public debate starting in April 2004 was the phenomena of the sale of books with daily newspapers which, according to the Association of Publishers, has had an extremely negative impact on the Croatian book market. As a consequence some changes were introduced, i.e. bursaries for writers and translators, Fixed Book Prices, as well as support schemes for bookshops for the promotion of Croatian writers and literature.

Fierce debates on the proposed Theatre Law took place at the end of 2005. Criticisms were made by the Union of cultural workers as well as by some prominent theatre directors and actors during the first reading of the proposed law in Parliament (December 2005). The Law was adopted in spring 2006 and came into force on 1 January 2007 (see 5.3.2).

The beginning of negotiations for full membership of Croatia in the EU (October 2005) sparked increased interest among artists and cultural workers in EU issues and debates, in particular, the opportunities to obtain EU funding, reforms of tax policy (especially regarding the VAT) as well as cultural and national identity in the context of EU integration.

The Ministry of Culture has supported an initiative launched by the Association of Producers and the Association of Film Directors on the reform of audiovisual legislation. The new Law on Audiovisual Activities was adopted in 2007 and, consequently, the newly created Croatian Audiovisual Centre will resume responsibilities for the production, promotion and distribution of films from January 2008 (see also 5.3.6).

The Croatian Parliament was the first European parliament to ratify the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions on 12 May 2006.

Croatia/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.1 Constitution

The Constitution of the Republic of Croatia (adopted in 1990, amended in 2001) guarantees the freedom of scientific, cultural and artistic creativity and prescribes that the state is obliged to stimulate and help their development (Article 69). It guarantees freedom of thought and expression, freedom of the media, freedom of speech and public activities, and prohibits censorship (Article 38). The Constitution also guarantees the right to a healthy life and environment and demands of government bodies and legal entities to pay attention to the protection of human health, nature and the human environment. The sea and other natural resources and items of special cultural, historic, economic or ecological significance enjoy special protection by the state (Articles 69 and 52).

In addition, comprising a number of articles concerning culture directly, the Constitution contains some provisions with indirect relevance. Above all, this refers to norms defining the competence of various governmental bodies and the scope of local autonomy (Article 2, paragraph 2).

Croatia/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.2 Division of jurisdiction

There is no one single law regulating the division of jurisdictions. Specific laws regulate different fields and prescribe whether the local and regional authorities or the state are responsible for establishing and financing institutions in that particular field.

Decentralisation has been a much-debated topic in the past ten years. The new Law on Cultural Councils (2004) includes the responsibility to establish cultural councils at city and country levels (decentralisation of decision-making process) but there has not been any successful attempt to consider some form of fiscal decentralisation.

The provisions in the Law on the Preservation of Cultural Assets (1999) regulating the distribution of funds collected through the "monument annuity" fund ensures that a certain percentage of funds is distributed by the local government in the city / municipality where the annuity has been collected (see 5.3.3).

See also 2.2 and 5.2.

Croatia/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.3 Allocation of public funds

The Law on Financing Public Needs (1990 amended in 1993) classifies public needs which can be financed in three ways: from the budget, from public funds, and through public enterprises. The Law on the Administrative Boundaries of Counties, Towns and Municipalities (1998 amended in 2000) establishes the administrative structure of the Republic of Croatia for the purposes of classifying those activities to be financed from the different budgets at particular levels.

General laws regulating the financing of culture include the Law on Financing Public Needs in Culture (1990 amended in 1993) and subsequently adopted Rules for determining cultural projects reflecting public needs and the Law on Cultural Councils (2004).

Cultural councils are consultative bodies and the minister has the discretion to accept or reject their proposals and make the final decision.

With regard to the compulsory public tendering, cultural institutions have to follow the general rules about public procurement.

Croatia/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.4 Social security frameworks

The legislator has acknowledged the special status of independent artists in comparison with other workers. Although the law prescribes a revision of their status every five years, the number of independent artists for whom health and social security benefits (including pension) were paid for by the budget has been constantly growing over the past years. With the recent changes in the by-laws of the Association of Independent Artists a more efficient system was put in place including the introduction of a ceiling set at 5 000 HRK per month. This means that independent artists earning less then 5 000 HRK per month, will continue to receive health and social security benefits paid from the state budget. Those which earn more than this amount will no longer be entitled to additional state support.

Independent artists have the right to retirement and disability insurance and to health insurance. Contributions are paid from the state budget (see also 4.3).

For more information, see our Status of Artists section

Croatia/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.5 Tax laws

Although legal incentives exist to encourage private support for culture, it can still be considered "marginal" compared to the funding provided by the public sector. The same is true for foundations and funds, despite the Law on Foundations and Funds that was passed in 1995.

Independent artists have the right to receive specific tax benefits. An income of less than 20 000 HRK a year is not taxed (approximately 2 740 euros). Compensation for per diems and travel expenses is not considered part of the income. 25% of authors' fees are not taxed, and another 40% are recognised as business expenses.

Donations made for cultural purposes to associations and other legal entities engaged in cultural activities are not taxed. Donations of up to 2% of the donor's total annual income are recognised as such by law, while donations exceeding this sum must have a certificate issued by the Ministry of Culture.

A zero VAT rate on books has been introduced and additional taxes on cinema tickets have been abolished. Regular VAT rate of 22% applies to other cultural goods and services. To date, much of the debate on the impact of EU enlargement on culture has been focussed on tax policies and a possible re-introduction of a higher VAT rate on books.

Croatia/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.6 Labour laws

There is no specific legislation regulating labour relations for the cultural field. There is also no systematic monitoring of trends regarding cultural employment. However, according to the Strategy for Cultural Development in Croatia (Katunarić, 2001) the labour market shows some general trends towards more flexible employment similar to those observed in other European countries. The State Institute for Statistics produces annual reports based on a very narrow definition of culture (see 4.2.6).

There is a unified system of salaries for those working in the public sector both for those employed in state-established cultural institutions and those working in the city or municipal cultural institutions.

There is a Union for workers employed in the cultural sector. However, there is no tradition of negotiating collective bargaining agreements seems to be a need to clarify the position and rights of those who are employed in institutions vis-ŕ-vis self-employed or freelance artists and cultural workers. It can be expected that this issue will be put on the agenda in the near future.

For more information, see our Status of Artists section

Croatia/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.7 Copyright provisions

The Law on Author's Rights and Neighbouring Rights was adopted in November 2003 (amended in 2007) and brought Croatian regulations into line with EU regulations.

The Croatian model follows the droit d'auteur tradition. Both in theoretical deliberations and in legal texts, it follows the continental European tradition on the protection of moral rights which has been incorporated in the text of the new law passed in 2003.

The law includes provisions for the "fair use" of copyright material for educational purposes without remuneration. It regulates the use of "private copying" and adequate remuneration through provisions for blank tape levies.

According to Croatian legislation, authors and performers have exclusive rights of public performance while the owners of secondary rights (i.e. phonogram producers) have the right of remuneration for secondary use. The process of negotiations for full membership in the EU may bring some additional changes in the existing legislation as a consequence of the further harmonisation with the acquis communautaire, particularly with regard to the anticipated enforcement of the public lending right provisions.

Croatia/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.8 Data protection laws

The Law on the Data Protection has been in force since 2003 (NN103/2003) but so far, there have been no discussions about its relevance for cultural organisations.

Croatia/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.9 Language laws

The Croatian Constitution determines the use of language in the public sphere. According to the Law on Croatian Radio-Television (2003), the HRT fosters the use of the Croatian language and Latin alphabet in radio and television programmes and promotes creativity in the dialects of the Croatian language. Similar provisions bind all other radio and television activities.

Croatia/ 5.2 Legislation on culture

Since acquiring independence in 1990, new laws in the field of culture were passed and many have gone through several stages of revision and amendment.

Cultural institutions are registered legal and physical entities that may be private or public. The most important and the largest cultural institutions have been set up as public institutions.

There is no unified law on culture. General laws and regulations that influence culture and cultural policy include the Institutions Law, Associations Law, Tax and Custom Regulations, Law on the Implementation of the State Budget, laws that regulate the organisation and work of public administration bodies and units of local administration and self-government, etc.

Specific laws and regulations that completely or predominantly relate to culture are:

In the past four years, the main legislative changes happened in the fields of:

Croatia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.1 Visual and applied arts

There is no specific legislation in these fields.

Croatia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.2 Performing arts and music

The new Law on Theatres was passed in the Croatian Parliament in spring 2006 and came in force from 1 January 2007. This law brings some reforms to the rules and criteria for funding theatres and theatre groups, as well as managing public theatres, including four national theatres. The law establishes theatre councils as the bodies responsible for monitoring the programme and business plans of theatres. The law also brings some innovation regarding the status and more flexible employment rules for artists and others employed in public theatres.

Croatia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.3 Cultural heritage

Cultural property may be publicly or privately owned and may be exported only in exceptional cases. The most important obligations are care and maintenance of the property and public accessibility, with the right, under certain conditions, to receive compensation from the budget for some maintenance costs. The owners of cultural property enjoy tax and duty benefits.

The Law on the Protection of Cultural Assets, 1999 introduced the obligation of paying a "monument annuity" in case a cultural asset is used in a printed work, for promotion, or when an income or profit is made from an economic activity performed in an immovable cultural asset. This law was amended in 2003 aiming to improve the system of collecting and distributing funds collected from monument taxes. The recent changes reflect EU regulations regarding the trafficking and return of cultural goods.

There is special legislation (the Law on Archive Material and Archives, 1997 amended in 2000) on the protection of archival material and its handling, librarianship, and the preservation of films and film material of historic, artistic and other cultural significance.

Croatia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.4 Literature and libraries

The Law on Library Activities and Libraries (1997 amended in 1998 and 2000) is the main legal source for librarianship. Library activities defined in this law include the acquisition, collection, classification, maintenance, setting professional technical methods, access to books and other library materials, the conduct of bibliographic-information and documentation services. Libraries may be autonomous or components of other legal entities; they can be public or privately owned and are normally organised as institutions. Before being permitted to operate as a library, it must meet certain professional standards, including employing the required number of specialised trained staff, etc.

Croatia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.5 Architecture and environment

Since 2004, the preservation of nature has been added to the Ministry of Culture's list of responsibilities. Protection of the environment as well as legislation regarding urban planning is within the competence of the Ministry of the Environment, Planning and Construction. The Law on the Preservation of Nature (162/03) regulates the protection of the following: national parks, nature parks, strict reservations, special reservations, forest parks, protected landscapes, nature monuments, monuments of park architecture, and certain plant and animal species. There are a large number of secondary pieces of legislation as well as separate laws about each national park and some nature parks. Croatia is in the process of amending its legislation to comply with EU standards.

Croatia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.6 Film, video and photography

The new Law on Audiovisual Activities (adopted in 2007) regulates the performing, organising and funding of audiovisual activities as fundamental components of contemporary culture. It establishes a public institution - Croatian Audiovisual Centre - which is responsible for the production, financing, promotion and distribution of audiovisual activities. The Law also introduces a new system for financing audiovisual activities, where funds will be secured from the state budget as well as from annual gross income gained from the performing of audiovisual activities by Croatian TV, television broadcasters at the national and regional level, as well as cable service providers and operators in fixed and mobile telecommunication networks and Internet service providers (see also 4.3).

Croatia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.7 Culture industries

There is no overall legal framework to specifically promote and develop the cultural industries. There are neither fixed book price regulations nor film promotion laws. The government and in some cases local and regional authorities are subsidising book production, music and the recording industry and film (see 5.3.6). The Ministry of Culture also subsidises the promotion of Croatian films at the most relevant film festivals through financing of copies, promotion materials, dubbing and translating films etc.

The government announced in 2004 that it is preparing a reform of state support for the culture industries including new policies for books, film and new media (see also 4.2.6). Some innovations were introduced as a consequence of this proposed reform, such as bursaries for writers and translators and fixed book price regulations in the form of an Agreement between publishers and relevant ministries.

Croatia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.8 Mass media

The Law on Electronic Media (2003) follows the main principles outlined in the Television without Frontier Directive regarding the amount of Croatian and European audio-visual works as well as the amount of programmes produced by independent producers. It regulates commercial television and radio broadcasting and its provisions regarding content also apply to the public service broadcaster, HRT.

The Law on Electronic Media also defines the basic criteria and procedures for awarding licenses. The Council for Electronic Media, an independent regulatory body, awards licences to private radio and television broadcasters. The Minister of Culture, based on proposals made by the Council, issues the rules regarding the content and the procedure for each public tender regarding license. The Council, the Agency for Telecommunications and the respective broadcaster are signatories to the licenses contract.

The Fund for the Promotion of Diversity and Pluralism of Electronic Media created by the new Law on Electronic Media obliges the HRT to contribute 3% of revenues generated from licence fees to the Fund. The Fund is responsible for promoting the production and broadcasting of electronic media content of public interest on local and regional level, especially programmes important for the right of the citizens to public information, national minorities, promotion of cultural creativity, and development of education, science and art. This has been only recently adopted and it is expected that the Council for Electronic Media will soon adopt the rules for distributing funds collected through this Fund.

Following recommendations after the screening process for the Chapter on Information Society and Media, the government announced some minor changes to the Law on Electronic Media in order to bring Croatian media legislation fully in-line with the acquis communautaire.

Croatia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.9 Legislation for self-employed artists

Special laws regulate:

See also 4.3, 5.1.4 and 5.1.5.

For more information, see our Status of Artists section

Croatia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.10 Other areas of relevant legislation

Information is currently not available.

Croatia/ 6. Financing of culture

6.1 Short overview

Resources for financing culture come mostly from the state budget. In 1992, culture received 0.52% of the state budget, in 1996 0.66%, in 1999 0.8%, and in 2001 1.1%. In 2003, the total budget of the Ministry of Culture was 641 729 660.77 HRK and in 2004 the total budget of the Ministry of Culture was 734 102 565.82 HRK, this represented an 11% increase. In 2006, the budget of the Ministry of Culture was 877 865 062 HRK.

According to the Statistical Yearbook, the structure of personal consumption in households in 2002 showed that 7% of total household expenditures included recreation and culture.

Croatia/ 6. Financing of culture

6.2 Public cultural expenditure per capita

Information is currently not available.

Croatia/ 6. Financing of culture

6.3 Public cultural expenditure broken down by level of government

Unfortunately, the latest data on public cultural expenditure by level of government is from the year 2000. The Ministry of Culture is currently finalising its analysis of a recent survey. Preliminary results show that the share of public cultural expenditure by level of government has not changed much since 2000.

Table 1:     Public cultural expenditure by level of government, in %, 1999 and 2000




Ministry of Culture






City of Zagreb












Source:      Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia.

Croatia/ 6. Financing of culture

6.4 Sector breakdown

The total budget of the Ministry of Culture for 2006 was 877 865 062 HRK. The table below includes figures for the running costs of the Ministry of Culture, salaries for employees in public cultural institutions (broken down by sectors) and figures for investment in cultural infrastructure. The Ministry of Culture is also providing funding for three major public institutions: the Croatian News Agency, the Matica Hrvatska and the Croatian Heritage Foundation.

Table 2:     State cultural expenditure: by sector, in HRK, 2006

Field / Domain / Sub-domain


% of total

Cultural Goods

284 833 067


Cultural Heritage

205 915 956


Historical Monuments

137 788 589


Museums and visual arts

68 127 367



52 607 046



26 310 065



78 677 884


Visual Arts (including design)



Performing Arts

78 677 884


Music, Theatre and Musical Theatre

75 177 884



3 500 000



83 455 300


Books and Press

33 470 000



33 470 000





Audio, Audiovisual and Multimedia

49 985 300



35 000 000


Radio * Voice of Croatia

12 000 000


Television* satellite programme for North America

2 985 300



84 971 772



84 971 772



4 018 200


Cultural Relations Abroad

13 000 000


Administration (Ministry of Culture)

67 953 572


Educational Activities



Not allocable by domain*
Protection of nature
Croatian Heritage Association and Matica Hrvatska
Professional associations
Awards, Social and Pension Funds for artists
Investment (infrastructure)

780 000
74 940 178
15 450 000
20 340 000
6 000 000
42 556 284
5 000 000
180 860 577



877 865 062


Source:      Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia.
*                 Other financial transfers to cultural institutions financed from the state budget not allocable by domain.

Croatia/ 7. Cultural institutions and new partnerships

7.1 Re-allocation of public responsibilities

Joint decision-making by the Ministry of Culture and representatives of the cultural sector was established on the national level through the establishment of several Culture Councils in the following fields (Law on Culture Councils, NN, No. 53/01): film and cinematography, music, theatre arts, fine arts, architecture and town planning, books and publishing, the media. While these were initially (in 2001) intended to be independent councils, the new law reduced their autonomy in 2004 (see 2.3). In addition, the Cultural Council for Architecture and Town Planning was abolished in 2004 and a new Cultural Council for International Relations and European Integration was established.

Both public and private cultural consumption are not continuously and systematically monitored. The absence of this kind of information affects the quality of decision-making, especially decisions aimed at decreasing the existing disproportions in the level of cultural development throughout Croatia.

Croatia/ 7. Cultural institutions and new partnerships

7.2 Status/role and development of major cultural institutions

In 2000, several laws were changed and amended to reflect the intentions of the new government to embark on a process of decentralising responsibility for culture. The right to appoint and approve directors and to found a public institution has been transferred from the state to the counties, towns and municipalities. Cultural institutions are now usually founded by towns, more rarely by counties, and sometimes by the wealthier municipalities.

The status and number of state-owned institutions has remained almost unchanged. The negative experiences in privatising culture industries (especially publishing) markedly slowed down or stopped the process of privatisation. However, public cultural institutions have not been closed. The legislation in force prescribes that every decision to close an institution must be approved by the Ministry of Culture; a provision to preserve the existing level of cultural infrastructure. In November 2006, the government announced that income tax will no longer be collected in the cities where companies have their headquarters (mostly in the capital city of Zagreb) but rather in the cities where the income is being made. This will significantly increase budgets of some smaller and middle-size cities in Croatia and decrease the budget of the City of Zagreb. This could have some impact on the funding of culture but it is impossible to predict to which extent and when these changes could take place.

Croatia/ 7. Cultural institutions and new partnerships

7.3 Emerging partnerships or collaborations

In 2000, co-operation was established between the Ministry of Culture and the Open Society - Croatia (Soros Foundation), a partnership that offered significant support to the non-profit cultural sector. The most important project was the development of a national cultural information portal CultureNet Croatia. It was originally realised as a joint venture between the Ministry of Culture, Open Society - Croatia Institute, Croatian Telecommunications, Microsoft Croatia and the European Cultural Foundation. Today, CultureNet Croatia is a portal managed by the Ministry of Culture as part of its regular activities.

A more significant contribution to recent culture funding comes from donations and sponsorship. The precise amounts and / or indication of trends cannot, however, be given due to incomplete statistical data. These contributions are given mostly on a project basis.

Croatia/ 8. Support to creativity and participation

8.1 Direct and indirect support to artists

On the state level, cultural creativity is supported - both directly and indirectly - in three ways:

Croatia/ 8.1 Direct and indirect support to artists

8.1.1 Special artists funds

Every year the Ministry of Culture organises special competitions to support artistic creativity. A special prize (Marin Držić Prize) to stimulate contemporary playwriting is awarded through a public competition. In addition to a monetary prize, a Croatian theatre stages the premiere of the prize-winning play. There is also a national prize to support modern Croatian composers to write music, but in this case the prize-winning works are not given their first public performance. Finally, there are yearlong competitions in filmmaking and publishing to ensure continuous support to creativity in these fields.

Guest recitals held in smaller communities are additionally financed; the resources are allocated to musicians through a general annual competition. About 260 recitals are financed in this way every year, and each guest recital must include at least one work by a living Croatian composer.

Cultural institutions also offer support. An example is the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb, which occasionally and in addition to its regular activities requests special resources for commissioning a new Croatian opera.

Finally, the Ministry issues special decisions to approve support. In 2002, the expenses of performers for acquiring copyright and for buying music scores are being compensated from a special fund.

Croatia/ 8.1 Direct and indirect support to artists

8.1.2 Grants, awards, scholarships

The Vladimir Nazor Prize, the most important national award, is a monetary grant given every year for achievements of special value in all the fields of culture. It is also granted to artists for their life's work. Although, it is a state prize given by the Ministry, the decisions about the winners are taken by independently chosen experts and renowned artists from the different fields represented. In 2005, the Ministry of Culture established a new award "Ico Velikanović" for literary translators. The Ministry of Culture also gives awards for the protection of heritage "Vicko Andrić" and the protection of nature "Ivo Horvat".

The central professional art and culture associations (in the field of literature, theatre, film etc.) also give many awards. These awards evaluate artistic achievements, and can be given in recognition of the work of an individual, group or institution.

Special institutions or cultural events and festivals give prizes. There are numerous examples such as the Orlando Award for the best performance at the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, the "Golden Arena" Award at the Pula Film Festival and many others.

Since 2004, the Ministry of Culture has been awarding grants to individual writers and translators. Finally, companies such as publishing houses also give prizes in the form of financial support, usually in literature.

The total number of awards and prizes is very large. For example, 31 major awards are granted in the field of professional music. Nevertheless, only some of them are monetary. Some of these are public awards while some are granted by professional associations. 

The Ministry of Culture does not grant educational scholarships. The Ministry of Education, Science and Sports is responsible for granting scholarships.

In some areas, e.g. dance and cultural management, there is no adequate university-level education in Croatia. Students try to acquire their training abroad; however, resources for this training are limited. To rectify the situation, the Ministry of Culture grants funds for short-term professional training in Croatia and abroad from the funds set aside for international cultural co-operation and other programmes.

Croatia/ 8.1 Direct and indirect support to artists

8.1.3 Support to professional artists associations or unions

The Ministry of Culture provides support for the activities of artists associations or unions in the form of grants and subsidies for their regular activities. The Ministry also approves grants for individual members of these associations or unions to spend time at special artist's centres and various other forms of cooperation (within Croatia and internationally).

Croatia/ 8.2 Cultural consumption and participation

8.2.1 Trends and figures

Participation trends stabilised in the mid-1990s, but participation is still considerably lower than it was in the 1980s. The reasons are: a lower standard of living, changed habits in cultural consumption (greater consumption within the home), and the disappearance of the outlets through which tickets were sold en masse, an infrastructure typical of the 1980s which has not yet been replaced by new electronic systems to provide information about and sell tickets. A special section for selling tickets is being planned within the national cultural information portal (CultureNet Croatia). Major theatres, concert halls or festivals offer on-line booking-services.

There are no special surveys monitoring the participation of national minority groups or immigrant groups in cultural life.

Table 3:     Number of visitors in specific cultural fields (in thousands), 1983-2002


Professional theatres



Children and amateur theatres

Professional orchestras and choirs


1 101

21 324






2 738






2 295






2 743






2 935

1 402





2 766

1 474



Source:      National Bureau of Statistics (Statistički ljetopis Republike Hrvatske).

Note:         Data for 2001 cannot be compared with the data for 2000 as they have for the first time included data for the Museums in Dubrovnik which explains the significant increase in the total number of visitors in all Croatian museums while in fact, most of the museums reported a minor, if any, increase in the number of visitors.

Croatia/ 8.2 Cultural consumption and participation

8.2.2 Policies and programmes

An increasing number of cultural institutions have special departments for marketing and public relations and there are more media campaigns promoting cultural events and activities. While it is difficult to assess the effects of these efforts, there are visible examples of some institutions which are able to attract more visitors through seemingly successful campaigns. One of the most successful examples is certainly the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Zagreb.

Special categories of the population (school children, disabled persons and senior citizens) pay only 50% of the full ticket price for some events. There are also reduced cards or tickets available such as the "Zagreb ticket" or "Dubrovnik card" which can be used to buy cheaper tickets for various cultural events. Other cities in Croatia are introducing different incentives in order to increase participation.

Generally speaking, participation is not something that is being systematically promoted by the Ministry or local communities. There are very few surveys and statistical information or analysis that could result in designing polices to link participation in cultural life to the broader issues of civil participation.

Croatia/ 8.3 Arts and cultural education

8.3.1 Arts education

Special arts education is carried out in schools of applied arts and design, music and dance schools, and at the university level (music, fine arts and dramatic arts academies).

Applied arts and design programmes are new and now available in 13 secondary schools.

Music is taught in 76 music schools (23 of them are secondary schools) at 90 different locations which are homogeneously distributed throughout the regions. This can be considered an example of good practice. About 16 500 pupils, 1 500 teachers and 240 other staff are part of the system.

Dance is taught in 8 dance schools, 2 of which are secondary schools for classical ballet and contemporary dance.

The Bologna process on higher education is bringing substantial changes to the higher education system in Croatia, which has a great impact on arts education as well. As the year 2006 is the first year of the application of the Bologna process, it is still too early to make any assessment about the impact of the changes.

Croatia/ 8.3 Arts and cultural education

8.3.2 Intercultural education

A national curriculum for "democratic society and human rights" has been developed, which also includes intercultural education. Various elements from this curriculum are included in different subjects on the primary and secondary level and have been promoted through the new Croatian National Education Standard (HNOS), which is in the process of being introduced in all schools. Development of the curricula in Croatia has, for many years, been supported by UNESCO, the Council of Europe, the OSCE, the Stability Pact as well as other international and intergovernmental organisations. Amnesty Croatia is just one example of an NGO working actively on these issues.

Intercultural education is the central element of school curricula in those areas which were occupied during the war and where there is a special need to build an inclusive education system.

Croatia is also a member of the Task Force for Education about the Holocaust and participates in the project on the revision of text books and curricula.

For more information, see our Intercultural Dialogue section

Croatia/ 8.4 Amateur arts, cultural associations and community centres

8.4.1 Amateur arts

According to data from the Ministry of Culture, the number of cultural associations is rapidly increasing by about 30 new associations per year. One of the reasons is the new legislation introduced in 2001 which provides greater tax benefits than before (see also 5.2). According to data from the Government Office for Associations (February 2001) there were a total of 18 981 associations; 2 174 of these are in the cultural field. Associations play a traditionally important role in cultural life, maintaining professional standards in culture and providing inspiration for overall cultural policy.

One of the main characteristics of cultural life in Croatia is a diversified landscape of amateur cultural activities which usually take place in halls and in schools; considered to be the most evenly distributed form of cultural infrastructure in the country. Although the Ministry of Culture considers that local authorities should take responsibility for amateur activities, it nevertheless provides considerable funding. The reasons for the Ministry's support are:

Financial support coming from the Ministry of Culture represents approximately 0.68% of their total programme resources. In the opinion of the Croatian Culture Assembly (the central umbrella organisation of amateur activities) this contribution is insufficient and too much of it is shared among a small number of events in comparison to funds allocated to culture and art associations to run basic activities and acquire equipment.

Table 4 indicates the number of amateur associations which are members of the Croatian Culture Assembly. As many amateur associations are not members of the Assembly, it is safely assumed that the total number is much higher.

Table 4:     Amateur associations belonging to the Croatian Culture Assembly (CCA), 2002

Type of amateur association

Total number belonging to the CCA

Folklore groups


Theatre groups


Art groups


Literary groups


Dance groups


Wind orchestras


Tambura orchestras




Majorette groups




Source:      Report of the Croatian Culture Assembly (Izvještaj Hrvatskog sabora kulture), 16 April 2002.

Croatia/ 8.4 Amateur arts, cultural associations and community centres

8.4.2 Cultural houses and community cultural clubs

Cultural centres are mostly established by local authorities or run by NGOs on the local (city or municipal) level. There are a growing number of such centres (especially in smaller cities) involved in different aspects of cultural lives from traditional amateur arts activities to new media (see also 4.2.8). A Network of so-called "Zajednica pučkih otvorenih učilišta" (Croatian Association of Community Centres) are community cultural and educational centres offering educational programmes for children, youth or adults and cultural programs. All of these centres are mostly funded by local authorities but there are no statistics or data available on the state level that would give some indication of their penetration, impact and overall budgets.

Croatia/ 9. Sources and Links

9.1 Key documents on cultural policy

Antolović et al.: Media Legislation of the Republic of Croatia. Biblioteka kulturni razvitak: knjiga 6. Ministarstvo kulture RH, 2003. 

Central Bureau of Statistics of the Republic of Croatia: Statistički ljetopis Republike Hrvatske 2001.2002. (Statistical Yearbook of the Republic of Croatia). Zagreb: Državni zavod za statistiku RH, 2001, 2002. 

Cvjetičanin, B. & Katunarić, V. (ur.): Strategija kulturnog razvitka: Hrvatska u 21. stoljeću. (The Strategy of Cultural Development: Croatia in the 21st Century). Zagreb: Ministarstvo kulture RH., 2001. 

Cvjetičanin, B.; Katunarić, V. (eds.): Cultural Policy in Croatia: National Report. Strasbourg: European Programme of National Cultural Policy Reviews, 1999. 

Landry, C.: From Barriers to Bridges: Re-imagining Croatian Cultural Policy. Strasbourg: European Programme of National Cultural Policy Reviews, 1999. 

Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia: Kulturni razvitak. (Cultural Development). Zagreb: Glasilo Ministarstva kulture RH. 

Republic of Croatia: Legislativa u području kulture. (Cultural Legislation). Legislation (in Croatian). See

Republic of Croatia: Narodne novine - Službeni list Republike Hrvatske. (Official Gazette of the Republic of Croatia). Legislation (in Croatian). See

Croatia/ 9. Sources and Links

9.2 Key organisations and portals

Cultural policy making bodies

Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia (Ministarstvo kulture RH)

Head Office for the Protection of the Cultural Heritage (Project list)

Professional associations

Croatian Composers Society (Hrvatsko društvo skladatelja)

Croatian Culture Assembly (Hrvatski sabor kulture)

Croatian Film Directors Guild (Društvo hrvatskih filmskih redatelja)

Croatian Freelance Artists' Association

Croatian Musicians' Union

Updated list of professional associations can be found at:

Cultural research and statistics

Overview of Cultural Statistics

Croatian ITI Centre - International Theatre Institute (Hrvatski centar ITI)

Croatian State Archive (Hrvatski državni arhiv)

Culturelink Network

Museum Documentation Centre (Muzejski dokumentacijski centar)

National and University Library (Nacionalna i sveučilišna knjižnica) 
(in Croatian)

Culture / arts portals

CultureNet Croatia  
Links to all relevant cultural sites in Croatia.

Net-culture club Mama (Klub net-kulture Mama)

Theater Portal

Book Portal

Film Portal


The Council of Europe/ERICarts "Compendium of Cultural Policies and Trends in Europe, 9th edition", 2008