Thursday, 01 June 2023
Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas - The editor and big chief of The Dubrovnik Times. Born in the UK he has been living and working in Dubrovnik since 1998, yes he is one of the rare “old hands.” A unique insight into both British and Croatian life and culture, Mark is often known as just “Englez” or Englishman. He is a traveller, a current affairs freak and a huge AFC Wimbledon fan.


As part of the activities to maintain public beaches and bathing areas, the City of Dubrovnik has installed floating protective barriers on beaches and bathing areas within the administrative area of the City of Dubrovnik. This includes locations in the city centre as well as in Mokošica, Lozica, Štikovica, Zaton, Orašac, Trsteno, and Brsečine, extending to various bathing areas on Koločep, Lopud, Suđurađ, and Šipanska Luka.

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Every year, the City of Dubrovnik invests significant funds in the maintenance and procurement of new barriers to ensure the safety of beach users. Citizens are encouraged to inform the competent Administrative Department for Tourism, Economy, and the Sea if they notice any damages to the barriers.

Since the floating barriers are solely owned by the City of Dubrovnik, no one other than the contracted service provider is authorized to move or alter the extent of the protected area. Citizens are kindly requested to report any interventions by unauthorized third parties to the relevant administrative department.

In the context of the recent cryptocurrency-related fraud that occurred in Croatia, journalists asked Minister of Finance Marko Primorac about when the market would be better regulated. He responded that several legislative initiatives and reforms are currently being worked on, including addressing this issue.

"We will strive to rectify certain damages and improve the situation beyond its previous state," he stated.

When asked about the cryptocurrency market, Boris Vujčić, the Governor of the Croatian National Bank (HNB), said that the HNB has been warning from the beginning that it is not regulated, and anyone involved should exercise extreme caution.

"We have made it very clear that if you enter that market, be prepared to potentially lose the amount you invest," Vujčić stated.

In the range of tens of millions of euros - that's how much a Rijeka-based cryptocurrency company is estimated to have defrauded its clients. What seemed like a good opportunity has turned into a nightmare. The company owners are unreachable, and the police are conducting an investigation.

Investment in cryptocurrencies has turned into enormous risk for hundreds of people. They invested money through a company in Rijeka, and now it appears they have lost everything. Losses are estimated in the tens of millions of euros. The affected investors have reached out to a blockchain association for advice.


Dubrovnik Airport could well have a new name, dedicated to a famous Dubrovnik-born scientist. A meeting was held regarding the addition of scientist Ruđer Bošković's name to Dubrovnik Airport. Just as Liverpool has John Lennon Airport, and New York has JFK Airport, soon Dubrovnik could have an airport named after a locally born public figure.

The meeting represents a significant step towards the realization of a longstanding initiative to honour the renowned and historically significant Croatian scientist, Ruđer Bošković, who was born in Dubrovnik. The official procedures required to implement this initiative were initiated during today's meeting. The necessary actions will be carried out through appropriate acts at the Society Assembly in coordination with the Government of the Republic of Croatia.

The meeting was initiated by County Prefect Nikola Dobroslavić and attended by the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Franković, as well as the representative of the Municipality of Konavle, who is also the President of the Supervisory Board of Dubrovnik Airport, Mario Curić. Other participants included the Director of Dubrovnik Airport, Viktor Šober, with his colleagues, the Mayor of Dubrovačko Primorje Municipality, Nikola Knežić, and the councillor in the City Council of Dubrovnik, Krešimir Marković.

The initiative to add Ruđer Bošković's name to the name of Dubrovnik Airport was initiated during the commemoration of the 300th anniversary of the great scientist's death, and now it will be implemented operationally.

During the meeting, it was emphasized that we have not adequately honoured Ruđer Bošković, for his contributions to humanity. Therefore, this initiative represents a fitting tribute to his legacy.

Ruđer Bošković was a renowned Croatian scientist and polymath who lived from 1711 to 1787. He was a physicist, astronomer, mathematician, philosopher, diplomat, and poet. Bošković made significant contributions to various fields of science, including mathematics, astronomy, physics, and philosophy. His contributions to science and philosophy had a profound impact on the understanding of the natural world and continue to be recognized and celebrated today.

The City of Dubrovnik has started cleaning up the neglected area of the Lapad Summer Cinema with the aim of making it functional for movie screenings and other cultural and artistic events suitable for this outdoor stage.

This morning, members of the Dubrovnik Fire Department began clearing the grass and low vegetation as the first step in the revitalization of this space.

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A program is being prepared to bring the summer cinema to its intended purpose, with the goal of revitalizing the once-beloved gathering place for the residents of Lapad and all others who spent summer evenings enjoying movies under the stars. The intention is to repurpose the space for other cultural performances during the summer months, providing additional entertainment options for both locals and tourists outside the historic city centre.

During the works and as needed, parking spaces in the immediate vicinity of the Lapad Cinema will be temporarily unavailable for parking, stated the City of Dubrovnik.


In the Dutch light airplane that crashed on Saturday in Croatia, all passengers, most likely three of them as planned, were confirmed dead on Sunday through the investigation at the crash site of the Cirrus 20 aircraft conducted by the Karlovac Police and the Chief Air Accident Investigator.

As reported on Sunday by the State Attorney's Office, 'the investigation and determination of all circumstances of the Cirrus 20 airplane crash are underway in the forested area of Malo Libinje in the municipality of Ogulin.'

The Chief Air Accident Inspector, Danko Petrin, stated from the accident site that all passengers on the Dutch airplane had died and that the aircraft was severely damaged, with the wreckage being further destroyed by fire.

He added that the on-site investigation, led by the County State Attorney's Office, is currently ongoing, followed by data collection.

"We need to obtain information from air traffic control, the communication they had with the pilot, radar data, and other information, and then we will have a complete picture and, hopefully, an answer to the question of what happened and why," Petrin said.

He dismissed the speculation that the cause of the plane crash was bad weather, stating that they "rely solely on facts" and that poor weather conditions do not automatically mean they are the cause of the plane crash.

Petrin also confirmed that it was a Dutch airplane with three passengers from the Netherlands according to the flight plan, and the identity of the passengers and the exact time and cause of their death will be determined through an autopsy, which should provide answers.


The Representation of the European Commission in Croatia considers the Croatian model of establishing a system for fact-checking information in the public sphere and the network of fact-checkers relevant for every EU member state, emphasizing that it is the only such project funded by the Next Generation EU instrument.

As part of the project for establishing fact-checking, public calls were completed in early May, inviting associations and scientific-educational institutions interested in fact-checking, as well as evaluators of applications for the part of the project that received nearly four million euros in non-refundable funds.

Deputy Head of the EC Representation and Head of the Media Department, Andrea Čović Vidović, highlighted in an interview for Hina that the European Commission welcomes this initiative of the Ministry of Culture and Media and the Agency for Electronic Media (AEM).

"To the best of our knowledge, it is the only such project in the European Union funded by the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, i.e., the Next Generation EU instrument. The project's goals align with what the European Commission insists on when it comes to media and social media and are certainly relevant for every member state," Čović Vidović said.

She also emphasized that the European Commission appreciates the project's focus on combating disinformation, misinformation, and fake news in the public sphere, ensuring safety in consuming media content, as well as strengthening credible media reporting and media literacy.

Unverified information on social media a problem 

Furthermore, as stated in the project invitation, the idea is to strengthen the capacities and competencies of existing information verifiers, establish new independent fact-checkers, and enhance the fact-checking system and procedures in media newsrooms to make the media more resilient to disinformation.

"The communication aspect and the dimension related to encouraging and creating media content on the fight against disinformation are also important and commendable. Our unique opportunity for this lies in social media, which offers the best reach. Through communication on social networks, we often encounter user comments that contain unverified misinformation and frequently spread fake news. In such cases, our task is debunking - to demystify false information and provide accurate and truthful information to those users, as well as to everyone who sees user comments," she added.

In this regard, she announced a workshop on June 15 at the House of Europe in Zagreb, which will discuss the importance of digital literacy in the fight against fake news and misinformation. The target group is media representatives working on social media in media newsrooms, and the goal is to initiate a conversation about social responsibility when it comes to this topic, especially regarding the protection of young audiences from information manipulation, she emphasized.

Čović Vidović also referred to the recent statement by Vice-President of the EC, Věra Jourová, expressing doubt that numerous lawsuits against the media and journalists in Croatia can be classified as strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPP suits).

"No member state is immune to strategic lawsuits against public participation. A detailed report on the state of the media in member states for 2023 will be presented as part of the Commission's regular Rule of Law Report, which is published in mid-year. The report will provide information on the current estimated state of SLAPP suits in all member states, including Croatia," Čović Vidović said.


How has banking changed over the centuries? More importantly when was the last time you actually went into a bank?

There is a huge generational gap here. Anyone over the age of sixty regularly takes a ticket and waits patiently for their number to flash. Whilst the rest of the population are pointing their mobile phone at a QR code to pay the phone bill. “Oh, I just don’t trust banking online, I could get hacked, I want to speak to someone human,” said my mother. She isn’t the only one.

Unfortunately, the bank that I use for a few things doesn’t even give me the chance of actually walking through the door and taking a ticket. They closed their Dubrovnik branch a couple of years ago, meaning that if I want to see someone face-to-face I have a 500 km roundtrip.

Now, I should really have disengaged myself from this bank years ago anyway, the service and general conditions are, well let’s just say less than perfect. On the flip side actually disentangling yourself is like a fly escaping from a spider’s web. The more you wriggle the more cocooned you become.

But there comes a time, when straw breaks the camel’s back, when enough is enough.

“Can you just pay the water bill?” asked my wife. I flashed my mobile at the QR code on the bill – rejected. I tried again. Same problem. So I jumped onto the app and yes both my current account and savings account were showing zero.

I didn’t expect them to say “you are a millionaire” but I thought I had enough to pay a water bill.

I dived in more and there was indeed some cash there but I had reserved funds of 10 billion euros! WTF!

This is when I could have done with an actual physical bank. I phoned the hotline and spent five minutes (at least) listening to an instrumental version of the Love Story! Could they have chosen a worse song. “Could you please send us an email and we will look into it,” came the answer from the bank operator.

Am I the worst money launderer in the world? 

I knew that emailing this bank was a hit and miss situation. They answered roughly 50 percent of the time. But I tried. And waited. And waited. The following day I received an answer. A reply that left me laughing in confusion.

“Your account has been blocked because it is necessary to conduct an in-depth analysis of the client. The Bank has an internal act Regulations on the Implementation of the Law on prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing prescribed periodically perform re-depth analysis.” I was being checked for money laundering and financing terrorist organisations!!

I could possibly be the worst money launderer in the world!! At the time I had a grand total of 89 euro in my current account. I laundered less than 100 euro. If I was in the Mafia, I’d have been kicked out for embarrassing them. Not so much a “GoodFella” more a “PoorFella.”

And which terrorist organisation was I supposed to be funding? I couldn’t even afford to take my terrorists out for ćevapi! The worst funded terrorist organisation ever. Forget a high speed chase in some sports car, I could just about afford to buy them all a bus ticket!

Don't Google how much is a nuclear bomb! 

The cost of a nuclear bomb is around $200 million. I Googled it, which in hindsight was probably a bad idea. I then Googled can I buy a bomb for 89 euro, another bad idea. And got the answer - No results!

Clearly, the amount in the account hadn’t stopped the bank from thinking I was living like a James Bond villain. Jetting from exotic locations to warzones on a private jet. The reality was that I couldn’t even buy a ticket with Ryanair!

I really wanted to write a sarcastic email to the bank, but then held myself back as the would probably lower the chances of getting a reply even more. So I wrote a bland one, and got a reply the next day. “To update your personal dana remotely you can send us photographs of the front and back side of your ID card from your e-mail adress,” was the reply.

Firstly, there were two spelling mistakes – dana and not data – and address with one d. But never mind.

Secondly, of course I had to do this remotely as you have moved your bank to another city! After a couple of days, the accounts were active again.

Finally. I’m sure that there are money launderers breathing a sigh of relief that they can use my services again. Only joking (just in case the bank reads this and puts me on the wanted list again.) 

Read more Englishman in Dubrovnik…well, if you really want to


About the author
Mark Thomas (aka Englez u Dubrovniku) is the editor of The Dubrovnik Times. He was born and educated in the UK and moved to live in Dubrovnik in 1998. He works across a whole range of media, from a daily radio show to TV and in print. Thomas is fluent in Croatian and this column is available in Croatia on the website – Dubrovnik Vjesnik


The real estate market in Dubrovnik continues to experience an increase in residential property prices in 2023. Positive trends are becoming more prominent, but due to a lack of supply, properties are becoming less accessible for young families, both in the Dubrovnik area and other coastal cities and in Zagreb, according to Nada Burum, Vice President of the Professional Group of Real Estate Agents in Dubrovnik and a member of the Real Estate Business Association Council at the Croatian Chamber of Economy, reports Dubrovački Vjesnik.

She also reflected on the state of the market last year when investments in real estate were seen as a way to preserve the value of money amid increased inflation. Burum believes this was a smart move for those who were able to do so.

"The introduction of the euro in real estate transactions brought technical relief. Properties were purchased hastily due to the announcement of increased interest rates on housing loans. The post-pandemic period emphasizes the importance of quality living. Finally, the Croatian State Housing Agency (APN) is becoming a thing of the past! These are all new and changing conditions in which the real estate sector must operate. The values of older apartments will gradually align with reality, and their prices should not continue to rise at the same rate as new construction. The market will show the extent of differentiation," said Burum.

Rising real estate prices in Dubrovnik 

In recent years, property prices in Dubrovnik have been rising at a higher rate than realized. Overall, prices have experienced a significant increase.

"It is important to recognize that market segmentation is gradually occurring in Dubrovnik. This is a new trend. Recently, prices of apartments have significantly differed based on factors such as the view of the sea and other characteristics, relative to the year of construction and preservation level. The arrival of foreign buyers, the lack of new construction projects, and an excellent tourist season are factors influencing this situation. Dubrovnik has entered a new phase. Considering the current dynamics of the global real estate market, Dubrovnik emphasizes its attractiveness as an investment destination," Burum said when asked why Dubrovnik is so appealing to foreign investors.

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Based on her experience, luxury properties continue to be highly sought after. Although there are not many of them, especially in destinations like Dubrovnik, they attract financially ready buyers.

They are looking for luxury villas for private use and for high-end tourism, which is gaining more popularity on the Adriatic coast. These villas are rented at extremely high nightly rates. There has also been a significant change regarding building land; the interest has sharply increased, resulting in high prices for land near or with a sea view. Recently, EU citizens have been coming to search for properties where they can live in Dubrovnik for about half a year. They stay for a while, get to know the city, and confirm their intention to purchase real estate. They know exactly what they want.

“Dubrovnik is known as one of the most expensive cities in Croatia in terms of real estate prices, but it is influenced by various factors. Firstly, it is a historic and branded city. However, it has a great reputation among foreign investors for another reason: it is still cheaper than other globally popular destinations. Therefore, it is attractive to them both in terms of price and as a peaceful city where they often create a second home. Our office still records around 40% of foreign buyers, some of whom are Croatian emigrants," said Burum, the owner of IMB real estate agency.


The Voice of Dubrovnik


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