- The International Women's Club
- Voluntary services
- Working in Croatia
- Language lessons - schools and private teachers
- Customs and etiquette
- Special celebrations

The IWC is open to women of all nationalities living in Zagreb (25% of the membership is Croatian). There is a General Meeting once a month and the Club organises a varied programme of regular activities, fundraising events and visits for its members. It is an excellent way to get involved and meet other people. Monthly meetings at The Sheraton Hotel (usually held at 10:00 on the second Tuesday of each month, but it is advisable to check). The Club closes for the summer in mid-June and re-opens in September.

Independent voluntary organisations, impossible under comunism, have been developing in Croatia. Generally small and still in the early stages of development, they tend to be short on funds and friends and long on ideas. Practical organisational help from those with relevant experience (in fundraising, database management, lobbying, newsletter-publishing, etc.) is welcome. Even occasional help with final polishing of English translations, so necessary for getting funding from abroad, can be invaluable.

A job is, for most of us, one of the best ways to really integrate and feel part of society. If you are a foreign national who wishes to work in Croatia you will have to be aware of the following. The Government issues a quota for the number of foreigners who can be employed in Croatia and each year it is filled up almoust immediately. A company that intends to employ a foreigner has to convice the authorities they cannot hire a Croatian national for that particular job. This is all laid down in the Act on Foreigners of 2003.  This international companies are limited in their posibilities to employ foreigners, even if they want to.
The international organisations now presents in Zagreb are generally reducing their staff, and may even close their offices her, as Croatia approaches EU memberships.
For most josbs, speaking (and writing) Croatian is essential. Croatia has a well-educated work force and young people have a good knowledge of English. It will be hard to complete unless one has special skills that other Croatians do not have.
The following website may be of interest: Some jobs are advertised in English.

When you are a newcomer to Zagreb, one of the most difficult things is the language. English is spoken by many people, but it is useful to have a basic knowledge for shopping, etc. Regular contact with a Croatian speaker (neighbour, cleaning lady or babysitter) is a great help to start with. A useful website, has many of the Croatian words and phrases you will hear around you every day. The web page is in English and Spanish.
There are many independent teachers offering Croatian lesons in Zagreb. The best way to find one is by word of mounth recommendation.
Several established language schools exist in Zagreb. Bear in mind that if you join a class not all the  students will have the same first language and progress may be slower than with one-to-one tuition. Confirm the course fees before starting, because it is common pratice for schools to charge almoust double if course fees are being paid by a company. In Croatia 'school hour' is 45 minutes long and most lessons run for two school hours, i.e. 1 ½ hours.


Sunday  Nedjelja
Monday  Ponedjeljak
Tuesday  Utorak
Wednesday  Srijeda
Thursday  Četvrtak
Friday  Petak
Saturday  Subota


January  Siječanj
February  Veljača
March  Ožujak
April  Travanj
May  Svibanj
June  Lipanj
July Srpanj
August  Kolovoz
September  Rujan
October  Listopad
November  Studeni
December  Prosinac


Until 10:00 it is correct to say 'dobro jutro' ('good morning'). After 10:00 until dusk (which of course depends on the season), you should say 'dobar dan' ('good day'). After dusk, the correct greetings is 'dobra večer' ('good evening'). When you leave somewhere at night, you should say 'laku noć' ('good night'). 'Goodbye' is 'doviđenja'. In Zagreb, 'bok' is used with close friends only, for both 'hello' and goodbye'.
In Croatia it is not customary to kiss acquaintances on meeting, only family and close friends. Shaking hands is always polite and, when you meet someone for the first time, you should announce your name as you do so – 'Drago mi je' (Nice to meet you), 'Ja sam Jane' (I'm Jane).

There is an important difference between visiting unannounced and being invited to someone's house. It is quite usual in Croatia to drop in on someone's house. It is quite usual in Croatia to drop in on someone without having telephoned beforehand, but there are some occasions when you must not do so unless you have been invited. When a visitor arrives at your home they should always be offered something to drink and, if you are eating, it is customary to invite them to join you as well (even if they were not expected). Croatians are very generous with food and drinks, even those with very little, and they do not always understand foreigners' portion control. On a first invited visit to someone's house, etiquette demands that a Croatian brings flowers. For a dinner invitation, flowers or chocolates and a bottle of wine are customary, with possibly sweets for the children. A child invited to a party should take a toy or small present, not just sweets.

Working hours have changed considerably in the last few years. When the day started at 06:00 it was customary for many people to eat gableci or marenda (a cooked mid-morning meal) and you will still see this offered at many restaurants. A big lunch would then be prepared at home after work and eaten around 16:30. Supper in the evening might be just a sandwich or a cake, after a strol in the town. The cake shop (slastičarna), serving coffee, soft drinks and cakes, is a very popular place for meeting your friends and chatting over a cup of coffee.
It is polite to say 'dobar tek' (literally, 'good appetite') to anyone who is eating. (You should either repeat 'dobar tek', if are drinking in company, you should always raise your glass and say 'Živjeli' (cheers).

There are no hard and fast rules about tipping. As a foreigner, and particulary in a hotel, then a tip is expected, (but should not be too large), but it really does depend where you are. In general, any amount will be gratefully appreciated. It is customary to round up the bill in a rastaurant. You may find attendants in public lavatories who have their charges displayed but, if not, 2-3 KN is adequate. Cloakroom (coat check) attendants should receive the same. Taxi drivers will be grateful if you round up the fare. N.B. After 22:00, 20 % will be added automatically. If you are brave and the journey is long, you can often negotiate the fare with the driver when you hail the taxi. Approximately 10% can be added to your hairdresser's bill.

Summer holidays
From the middle of June until the end of August, schoolchildren are on holiday and many people will leave Zagreb for family homes in the countryside or on the coast. (The 'official' holoday season runs from mid-July to the end of August, so those are the dates to avoid if you want to escape the crowds on the coast and the more expensive hotel rates). When Zagreb empties of people, traffic is light and parking is easy. Many shops reduce their opening hours and often will have a break in the middle of the day. You will find that some shops and restaurants close comletely for a week or two; look for the sign 'godišnji odmor' (annual break) on the door.

All Saint's Day (1st November) is now a public holidays and has great significance throughout Croatia. In Zagreb, hundreds of people make their way on foot or are brought by special buses to Mirogoj cemetery, to spend time at the graves of family and friends, praying, lighting candles and arranging flowers.If you have the chance, you should try to visit Mirogoj at this time. Hardly a grave is left unadorned and the sight of many thousands of candles at night is very moving.

On the evening before the 6th December, children clean their shoes and put  them in the window, to await a visit from St. Nicholas, bringing sweets and small presents. He is always accomapanied by his 'devil' friend, Krampus, who leaves a silver or gold-sprayed birch twig (you may have seen them sold in the markets)- just to remind them what might happen if they are naughty children.

On 24th December, families gather (by invitation only) for a special dinner of bakalar (salt dried cod) with potatoes, or some other fish dish and special cakes. After this, they open the presents under the three and then go to Midnight Mass.

Families with young children usually go to church on Christmas morning, 25th December, when traditional Christmas songs are sung. There is a family lunch of duck, goose or suckling pig (sometimes turkey), but it is customary for friends to drop in uninvited for a drink and one of the many tiny cakes which will have been prepared (sometimes as many as sixteen different varieties).

New Year's Eve in the past was a bigger holiday than Christmas, but this is changing. By tradition, people will go out to a restaurants rather than entertain at home, and then move on to celebrations centred on Jelačić Square. Fireworks are popular, particulary rockets, held in the hand as they are lit an fired into the air.

Fašnik: Carnivals take place all over Croatia in February, celebrating the end of winter. Dont't miss the local Fašnik in Samobor or, if you want to go slighty further afield, then visit Rijeka. Advertisements around Zagreb will give you information about dates and times. In the week leading up to the start of Lent, you may be visited by groups of children wearing fearsome masks and chanting 'maškare'. It is customary to offer them krafni (a special kind of doughnut), chocolate or a few coins.

Easter: Traditionally, children make nests from grass and leave them in the window for the Easter Bunny, who brings sweets and presents. On Easter Saturday families boil and paint eggs-at the traditional family lunch (invitees only) on Easter Day, these eggs will be knocked one against the other to see whose is the strongest. Before lunch on Easter Day everyone goes to church with food carried in covered baskets, so it can be blessed.

Birthdays and Name Days: Birthdays are celebrated with the giving of cards and presents and friends and family are invited for a special meal. Name Days, only for those with the most popular Croatian names, are particulary celebrated outside Zagreb. If you know anyone having a Name Day celebration it is customary to visit (unannouced) or to call and congratulate them. There are no presents given.

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