Project number: UK/13/LLP-LdV/TOI-615
Croatian kuna (HRK)
Geographical position: Croatia extends from the foothills of
the Julian Alps in the north-west and the Pannonian Plain in
the east, over the Dinara mountain range in its central region,
to the Adriatic coast in the south. There are 1,185 islands, the
largest ones are Krk and Cres. 67 islands are inhabited.
Capital: Zagreb with 779,145 inhabitants
Climate in Croatia: Northern Croatia has a continental cli-
mate; Central Croatia has a semi-highland and highland cli-
mate, while the Croatian coast has a Mediterranean climate.
Population of Croatia: 89% Croats. National minorities in-
clude Serbs, Muslims, Slovenes, Italians, Hungarians, Czechs,
Slovaks, and others.
Official language: Croatian 96%, other 4% (Serbian, Italian,
Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, and German)
Roman Catholic 87.8%, Orthodox 4.4%, other Christian 0.4%,
Muslim 1.3%, other and unspecified 0.9%, none 5.2% (2001
Coat of arms
3 Country profile CROATIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com3 Country profile CROATIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
Most Croatians are Roman Catholic, and religion is a unifying
factor of Croatian culture. Though religion is not discussed in
the workplace, Catholicism has a great impact on everyday
life and many businesses close for Roman Catholic holidays.
Each town and city has a patron saint and celebrates the
saint’s feast day with ceremonies and festivals. Catholic reli-
gion has also played a large part in the historical and cultural
development of Croatia, and continues to be seen in every-
day Croatian life.
Croatians are very proud of their country and heritage and
can take criticism personally. Because of this, Croatians may
come off as being haughty and pretentious and can seem
slightly arrogant to foreigners. Croatians feel a strong sense
of nationalism after years of foreign control, and often refer
to their country as ‘Our Beautiful Homeland’.
During the Thirty Years’ War in the 17th century, the
traditional small, knotted neckerchiefs worn by Croa-
tian mercenaries aroused the interest of Parisians who
for some reason immediately took to the new fashion
accessory. The term for this new trend, cravat, derives
from the Croatian word.
Croatia’s currency, Kuna, was named after Kuna, a small
rodent, whose fur was used for payment in the region
many centuries ago. The animal is called ‘Marten’ in
English. Kuna is subdivided into 100 lipa. The word lipa
means “linden (lime) tree”.
4 Country profile CROATIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com4 Country profile CROATIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
Croatian Slavoljub Penkala invented a mechanical pencil
in 1906. The patent was registered in 35 countries and his
company TOZ–Penkala is still in operation today in Zagreb.
The world’s first torpedo was built Constructed by Ivan Lu-
pis Vukic in Rijeka Istria in the 19th century. was the worlds
Ivan Vucetic, criminologist and anthropologist, was born on
the island of Hvar (later emigrated in to Argentina, and was
known as Juan). He became was the pioneer of scientific
dactiloscopy (identification by fingerprints), and his meth-
ods of identification are used worldwide.
Croatia has successfully established macroeconomic
stabilisation. Though the state still has a large presence
in the economy, GDP is rising and the Croatian market is
experiencing moderate expansion. Croatia spent the first
five years of its independence fighting the presence of the
Serbian military, and has only recently begun to improve
living standards and to make critical economic changes.
Tourism and an increase in consumer spending have also
refined Croatia’s economic climate. A member of NATO
and the UN, Croatia also joined the EU in July 2013.
Learnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com5
Croatians enjoy irony and dark humour and will often laugh
at difficult situations and personal flaws. Croatians find
humour in sarcasm and do not typically change their tone
of voice or facial expression when telling a joke. For these
reasons, it can be difficult for foreigners to understand
Croatian humour. Croatians tend to tease others, especially
foreigners, but mean no ill intent and expect you to behave
the same towards them.
5 Country profile CROATIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com5 Country profile CROATIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
Arguably the greatest genius of the 20th century, Nikola
Tesla was born in modern-day Croatia. While he was born of
Serbian parents, Tesla is celebrated around the country, from
statues to events in his honour. He developed the alternating
current method of delivering electricity (AC) as well asand
power generation systems by which almost all electrical
power is still delivered today. Tesla developed the processes
that led to the radio as well as other forms of wireless deliv-
ery. Neon and fluorescent lighting, the radar, faxes and other
Tesla’s other ideas were yearsfar ahead of his time.
Before 18th century, Croats used an alphabet which was
called “glagoljica” or Glagolitic. Modern Croatian uses the
Latin alphabet and is a standardized variety of the Ser-
bo-Croatian language used principally in Croatia, Bosnia
and Herzegovina, the Serbian province of Vojvodina and
other neighbouring countries.
The Serbian, Bosnian and Croatian languages are all very
similar in the spoken form. In fact, they differ even less
than American, British, and Australian English do from one
another. All three languages share three primary dialects,
and differ primarily in terms of vocabulary. As far as the
written language, differences exist in that Serbian uses
a Cyrillic alphabet while Croatian uses a Latin alphabet.
The Serbian, Bosnian and Croatian languages are all very
similar in the spoken form. In fact, they differ even less
than American, British, and Australian English do from one
another. All three languages share three primary dialects,
and differ primarily in terms of vocabulary. As far as the
written language, differences exist in that Serbian uses a
Cyrillic alphabet while Croatian uses a Latin alphabet.
Learnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com66 Country profile CROATIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com6 Country profile CROATIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
1 January: New Year’s Day
New Year’s Day is a pub-
lic holiday in many places
around the world and Croa-
tia is no exception.
6 January: Epiphany
Epiphany is celebrated to
commemorate the visit of
the Biblical Magi to the Baby
Moveable Sunday in spring:
The resurrection of Jesus
Christ is celebrated on Easter
Moveable Monday in
spring: Easter Monday
Easter Monday is the day
following Easter Day.
1 May: May Day
Many public events are or-
ganized all over the country,
and military style bean soup
is given out to all people as
a symbol of a real workers’
dish as well as red carna-
tions as a symbol of blood of
Moveable date – 60 days
post Easter, Corpus Christi
Corpus Christi is a Christian
observance that honors the
Anti-Fascist Struggle Day
It marks the beginning of the
uprising of Croatian anti-fas-
cist Partisans against Ger-
man and Italian occupying
25 June: Statehood Day
It is a day to celebrate the
country’s 1991 declaration
of independence from Yugo-
Victory and Homeland
Thanksgiving Day and the
Day of Croatian defenders
It is held as a memorial to
the War of Independence
Assumption of Mary
The feast day of the Assump-
tion of Mary celebrates the
day that God assumed the
Virgin Mary into Heaven
following her death.
It and marks the day in 1991
when the Croatian parlia-
ment decided to terminate
the constitutional links
between Croatia and Yugo-
1 November: All Saints’ Day
On this day people light can-
dles and visit the graves of
25 December: Christmas
Christmas is a family holiday
spent together with family
and loved ones.
St. Stephen’s Day
This day commemorates
the life of St. Stephen, a
Christian deacon in Jerusa-
lem who was known for his
service to the poor and his
status as the first Christian
7 Country profile CROATIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com7 Country profile CROATIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
Dubrovnik is one of the most prominent tourist attractions in Croatia and the Mediterra-
nean. In the Middle Ages, it became the only city-state in the Adriatic to rival Venice and
achieved a remarkable level during the 15th and 16th centuries. Dubrovnik boasts spec-
tacular churches, monasteries, fountains and the famous walls that surround the old city.
The Plitvice Lakes are considered to be one of the most beautiful natural destinations in
Europe. This system of 16 interlinked lakes and a large forest complex around it are fa-
mous for their unique colors and a wide variety of rare animal and bird species.
Hvar town, set in a picturesque natural bay, with the Pakleni island chain protecting it to
the south, is a popular port for yachts sailing around the Adriatic, especially in the sum-
The area around Rovinj city has been described as an “outstanding scenic wonder” be-
cause of the pristine beauty of the indented coastline and its forests.
The sixth largest Croatian island, Korcula is separated from the mainland by a narrow
strait. The ancient Korcula city is among the most beautiful towns on the Croatian coast
and is known for the alleged house of birth of Marco Polo.
The amphitheater in Pula is the sixth largest surviving Roman arena and one of the best
preserved Roman monuments in Croatia. The Pula Arena was built around the 1st century
AD and could seat over 26,000 spectators.
The island of Mljet is one of the larger islands off the coast of Southern Croatia. With 72%
of the island covered by forests and the rest dotted by fields, vineyards and small villages,
Mljet is a perfect place to relax.
The 6th century Euphrasian Basilica is the top attraction of Poreč, a 2,000 year old town in
Istria. It is one of the best examples of early Byzantine architecture in the Mediterranean
region and has retained its original shape, though accidents have altered a few details.
Croatia has become an increasingly popular tourist hotspot over the last few
years. In 2012, Croatia had 11.8 million tourist visitors, and in 2013 over 14 million
tourists and 73.25 million nights. With its rocky, indented shore and more than a
thousand islands, Croatia boasts one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline
that Europe has to offer. In addition, many of Croatia’s coastal towns and cities
have a fascinating history and are filled with the historical remains of Roman and
8 Country profile CROATIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com8 Country profile CROATIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
Croatian cuisine is as diverse as the country’s past. The turbulent history of differ-
ent nations’ influences (ancient Greeks and Romans, Italians, Turks, French) left its
mark on both culture and food. Croatian cuisine can be divided into coastal and
interior, the first being more Mediterranean, and the latter more continental.
1. Pršut is a dry-cured ham, an essential part of every type of celebration in Croatia and
every restaurant menu. Traditionally it is cut in thin, long slices and served with cheese
and olives as an entree or a healthy snack in between meals.
2. Paški sir is cheese from Pag Island made entirely from
milk produced by sheep grazing freely local sparse
grass, various herbs and aromatic plants. The result
of all this is its special flavor which has been rec-
ognized globally and awarded year after year.
During its preservation it is coated with olive
oil and wrapped in cloth. The most popular
varieties of Paški sir are the mature ones
due to their strong, distinctive taste. Tradi-
tionally it is cut in thick triangle slices and
served with pršut, or grated over seafood
3. Ispod peke is a term describing a meth-
od of food preparation. The cook puts
ingredients (in most cases it’s lamb, octo-
pus or veal, paired with seasoned potatoes)
into a stone oven under a heavy metal cover,
placing the hot coals on its top. The ingredi-
ents are left to cook slowly in their own juices.
4. Pašticada is a traditional meat dish from Dalmatia.
Beef is the main ingredient which is marinated for 24
hours in red wine, garlic and various herbs such as rosemary
and sage, before cooking it for a few hours. Its taste is enriched
with dry plums, carrots, onions, cloves and nutmeg, and therefore the re-
sulting sauce is thick, dark and rich in flavors. Traditionally pašticada is served with home-
made potato gnocchi.
Learnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com99 Country profile CROATIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com9 Country profile CROATIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
5. Crni rižot is a black seafood risotto with cuttlefish and squid as main ingredients. Its
name and black color are a result of squids’ ink which gives this delicacy its distinctive
Mediterranean flavor and personality. Traditionally it is sprinkled with grated cheese.
6. Riba na gradele i blitva is traditionally the most common combination in Dalmatia:
mixed grilled fish paired with chard boiled with potatoes. Fresh fish prepared on gradele
(i.e. grilled on woodfire), seasoned with garlic, parsley and olive oil, is something you’ll
see locals preparing all along the coast. It is not the rule, but in most cases people round
it with sweet tasting chard, an ideal vegetable for hot summer days. This is one of those
Croatian dishes which perfectly embody Dalmatian tradition of simple yet delicious quali-
7. Brudet is a fish stew traditionally made in Istria and Dalmatia. It ismade of several
types of fish, put in layers in a single pot and cooked in tomato sauce. You’re not allowed
to stir the ingredients but only shake the pot from time to time. The dish is prepared at
low tem-peratures, allowing the fish to cook slowly in its own juices. Traditionally brudet
is served with thick, gold polenta.
8. Tartufi are truffles, rare and highly valued mushrooms. They grow underground and
only specially trained dogs can locate them. Though small and unsightly, they are of su-
perb, distinctive flavor and fragrance. Traditionally in Istria, slivers of white or black truffle
garnish the taste and look of omelettes, pastas and venison sauces.
9. Fuži i pljukanci are yet another dish traditional for Istria. It is actually a homemade
pasta which comes in various sorts, of which fuži and pljukanci are the most famous ones.
They are completely handmade and hand-rolled. In most cases, they are served either
with tartufi or some sort of thick game sauce. The most popular traditional combination
is with boškarin sauce – a sort of ox native to Istria.
10. Janjetina s ražnja, or lamb on the spit, is the most popular method of preparing lamb
in Croatia. The whole lamb is rotated slowly above hot coals, resulting in succulent roast
meat no one can resist. Traditionally it is served very simply – with green salad and scal-
10 Country profile CROATIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com10 Country profile CROATIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
• Croatoa was founded in the first half of the 7th century on the ruins of the Roman Em-
• Dubrovnik, being an independent state at that time, was the first nation to formally rec-
ognize the United States as a nation when it declared independence from Great Britain.
• Hum in Istria, with a varying population of 18 – 23 people, holds the Guinness World Re-
cord for being the smallest town in the world.
• Almost 10% of Croatia is made up of 11 nature parks, eight national parks and two na-
• The White House in the USA was built using stones from the Island of Brač (as well as
the Parliament building and New Palace in Vienna, Austria, the parliament building in Bu-
dapest, Hungary and the Diocletian palace in Split).
• The oldest university of Croatia is the University of Zagreb, established in 1669.
• The Dalmatian dogs got their names from
the south coastal region called Dalmatia.
• Croatia is the homeland of the world re-
nowned traveler Marco Polo, who was born
in the island of Korčula in 1254.
• The first hydro power plant was “Iskrice”,
made in Šibenik and built on Krka river in
• In Croatia, people can start voting at the
age of 16 if they have a job, but have to wait
until they turn 18 if they are unemployed.
• In the Dinaric Alps in Croatia lives the
Olm (Proteus anguinus); it is the only
cave-dwelling chordate species found in
Europe. This creature can survive ten years
without food and lives blind and in the dark.
1111 Country profile CROATIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com11 Country profile CROATIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
• Generally Croatians’ communicate in a
direct and straightforward manner, but
there is, however, an emphasis on being re-
spectful and diplomatic so as not to offend
• Many Croatian people speak in a loud
voice and have an animated communica-
tion style. Softly spoken people may be
seen as lacking in confidence.
• Humour is often used in communication
and is not meant to be offensive but a way
of making light of difficult situations or a
person’s flaws, and it is common to respond
in a similar fashion.
Non Verbal Communication
• Personal space is usually respected in Cro-
atian culture. People generally don’t touch
each other when communicating until a
familiar relationship is established.
• Direct eye contact is usually expected and
appreciated. Avoiding eye contact can be
taken as a sign you do not like the person;
however, making eye contact with eyes
wide open can suggest that a person does
not agree with what is being said.
Working practices in Croatia
Croatians are very fashion-conscious and
will always dress according to the latest
western styles. Croatians dress to reflect
their level of professionalism.
Deadlines are more flexible than in western
business culture, and work is often finished
at the last minute.
Working relationships in Croatia
Croatians are personable and will want to
know about your family and where you are
from. Do not talk about money or person-
al problems – Croatians view this as a sign
of weak character, and the discussion will
leave your colleagues feeling uneasy.
Personal space is important, but a large dis-
tance indicates dislike. Eye contact is also
essential and is viewed as a sign of respect.
Croatians are often direct and view
soft-spoken or shy people as vulnerable and
Business practices in Croatia
Meetings are often lengthy and do not
tend to follow an agenda. Small talk usu-
ally precedes negotiations at meetings. It
is important to initially build a relationship
before discussing business matters.
Most professionals are addressed accord-
ing to their qualification or their position
at work. Titles according to education are
Bachelor (prvostupnik), Master (magistar
struke), Doctor of Science or Doctor of
Arts (dr. sc. or dr. art.), Doctor of Medicine
(doktor medicine). If you are unsure of
titles, use “Gospodin” for Mr, “Gospodja”
for Mrs and “Gospodična” for Miss). Only
close friends and family members tend to
use first names. Never address someone by
their first name without being invited to do
Learnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com1212 Country profile CROATIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com12 Country profile CROATIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
DOS AND DON’TS
Do show respect towards everyone you
meet, including people that you do not
know, as Croatians will often acknowledge
strangers in passing.
Do ask Croatians for their opinions on the
subject matter at hand, as they will be
happy to assist you and this will help you
earn their trust.
Do translate one side of your business
card into Croatian. While not a necessity,
this shows respect and will impress your
Croatian business partners.
Don’t discuss religion, war, and other for-
mer Yugoslavian ethnicities. These sub-
jects are taboo in Croatian culture.
Don’t openly criticise your Croatian col-
leagues. Croatians are very proud and
easily offended, so make suggestions
rather than complaints and avoid direct
As Croatians like to know their new ac-
quaintances and business partners very
well there might be some mixing of busi-
ness with pleasure, but try not to over-
step the boundaries.
It is important to avoid:
• mixing confidential and intimate discus-
sion on personal and business level
• personal financial questions
• any subject or question that might show
that you have lost respect for them or that
may cause them to lose respect for you.
• discussions concerning the political and
military history of Yugoslavia, collapse of
communism, the war in Bosnia-Herzegov-
ina (1992-1995), and anything related to
• raising the thumb, index, and middle
finger at once, because it is a Serbian
gesture and is connected to Serbian na-
• discussing comparisons between the
nationalities of the former Yugoslavian
states, as this may also be found offen-
For many Croatian-born people, religion
is an important part of their lifestyle with
the majority belonging to the Roman
Catholic faith. Be mindful of discussing
any subjects that may offend those of the
Christian faith, such as divorce, euthana-
sia, family planning, and alternative be-
Don’t make plans for your Croa-
tian colleagues at the weekend
without their consent. Weekends
are considered family time and
Croatians do not tend to let busi-
ness interfere with their personal
Learnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com1313 Country profile CROATIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com13 Country profile CROATIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
Croats are a South Slavic ethnic group at the crossroads of Central Europe, Southeast
Europe, and the Mediterranean. Croats mainly live in homeland Croatia, Bosnia and
Herzegovina and nearby countries Serbia and Slovenia. Likewise, Croats are an officially
recognized minority in Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Montenegro, Romania,
Serbia, and Slovakia.
PEOPLE IN CROATIA
Croats are noted for their cultural diversity,
which has been influenced by a number
of other neighboring cultures through the
ages. The strongest influences came from
Central Europe and the Mediterranean
where, at the same time, Croats have made
their own contribution.
People stand close to one another and talk
loudly. Strangers stare openly at one an-
other. Formality is maintained in language
and behavior when people do not know
each other well. Strangers nod their heads
in passing. In stores, offices, and places of
business, people use formal language for
greetings and good-byes. Failure to greet
someone in a context that requires a greet-
ing, or an overly familiar greeting, are seri-
ous breaches of etiquette. People who are
on friendly terms greet each other more
informally and usually kiss on both cheeks.
Young people are expected to offer the first
greeting to older people, and women to
The formal “you” is used unless people are
age mates, good friends, or co-workers or
have reached a stage where the dominant
person invites the person of lesser status to
address him or her informally.
14 Country profile CROATIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com14 Country profile CROATIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
Meeting and Greeting
• Greetings at first meetings will tend to
be formal and reserved.
• A handshake, direct eye contact and the
appropriate greeting for the time of day
• “Dobro jutro” (good morning), “dobro
dan” (good day), and “dobro vecer” (good
• Address people with their honorific
titles plus surname. If you are unsure of
titles then use “Gospodin” for Mr, “Gos-
podja” for Mrs and “Gospodice” for Miss).
• Only close friends and family members
tend to use first names. Never address
someone by their first name without be-
ing invited to do so.
• Close friends may greet each other with
an embrace and a kiss on each cheek.
Again, wait until the Croatian initiates this
form of greeting.
• At social gatherings hosts introduce
guests, usually starting with the women
and then moving on to the men in a rough
approximation of age order, oldest to
• Wait to be shown where to sit.
• Table manners are Continental, i.e. the
fork is held in the left hand and the knife
in the right while eating.
• At formal meals, the napkin is unfolded
and placed on the lap.
• Do not begin eating until the host sig-
nals to begin.
• Refusing second helpings initially is po-
lite. After the host insists you should take
• Leaving a small amount of food on your
plate indicates that you are finished eat-
Gift Giving Etiquette
• If invited to someone’s house, bring
flowers for the hostess. The host may be
given a box of chocolates or a bottle of
• Do not give chrysanthemums as they
are used at funerals and for gravestones.
•When giving flowers, make sure there
are an odd number of stems.
• Gifts are generally opened when re-
CUSTOMS AND ETIQUETTE
Learnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com1515 Country profile CROATIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com15 Country profile CROATIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
• With more than 90% of Croatian-born
people belonging to the Roman Catho-
lic church, many of the Croatian cultural
values stem from religious beliefs. These
include family and marriage, morality, de-
votion and compassion.
• Honour is an important principle in Croa-
tian culture, and it is closely linked with the
values of family. Making personal sacrifices
to benefit your family is highly regarded.
• Children are expected to respect their
elders and are generally raised with strict
• The elderly are traditionally seen as a
source of knowledge and information on
culture, traditions and history, and they
are valued both within the family and the
• Good health is also valued in Croatian
culture for without it one cannot enjoy
their family and faith.
An unofficial class system is based on one’s
family name and professional status rather
than wealth. Communist Party membership
challenged this class system, although it
was not uncommon for prominent fami-
lies to join the party. In more recent years,
Croats increasingly became discontented
with the socialist government, particularly
people who were well educated, profes-
sional, and from prominent families. Most
high-status individuals speak English well
and are likely to speak one other Europe-
an language. Dialect is also an indicator of
social status. People from a city have higher
status than people from villages, though
many urban dwellers have village family
connections. High-status individuals are
usually Croats. They may be of mixed eth-
nicity but are members of a predominantly
Croatian family. Jewish families are likely
to be of relatively high status. Ethnic Alba-
nians are usually at the bottom of the social
system, and Gypsies are completely outside
Croatia was one of the six republics of the
former Yugoslavia. Croats think of them-
selves as more closely linked with Austria
than with the other territories and cultures
of the former Yugoslavia. They do not refer
to themselves as a Balkan country but as a
16 Country profile CROATIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com16 Country profile CROATIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
FAMILY IN CROATIA
• As many Croatians are Catholic, monogamy is strictly
followed and marriage is encouraged. Most Croa-
tians marry in their early twenties. Croatian-born
people may choose whom they wed; however,
they generally marry people of similar nation-
ality, religion and social status. Divorce is
• Extended families are valued and nur-
tured within Croatian culture.
• Traditionally, married couples lived
with the husband’s parents and were
expected to have more to do with his
relatives. Childcare was shared with
grandparents, and grandfathers tra-
ditionally spent quality time with the
• The elderly enjoy higher status than
younger members of the family.
• Traditionally, Croatia was a patriarchal so-
ciety, however women were encouraged to
join theworkforce during the Socialist rule and
now experience a fairly equal status with men. Rural
women often worked alongside their husbands, whilst
maintaining the household.
• Women are still viewed as responsible for the housework and pri-
mary childcare, whilst pursuing higher education or maintaining a career. However, many
men share some of the home duties and actively raise their children.
The Relative Status of Women and Men
Croatia is portrayed as a patriarchal society, but women have fairly equal status with men.
Men enjoy more privileges and have a higher status, and many families prefer sons to
daughters. Women are represented in most professions, politics, and the arts and are not
likely to take a secondary role in public life. Women are as likely as men to pursue higher
education. Status differences are as marked between older and younger people, and be-
tween professional or working-class individuals, as they are between the genders. Gender
differences are more pronounced among farmers and the working classes than among
17 Country profile CROATIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com17 Country profile CROATIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
Business dress code
The dress code is formal in Croatia. Croatian
business people wear suits to the office and
to business meetings. Men wear suits with
a jacket and tie, while women tend to have
a wider range of options. Women’s busi-
ness attire is formal and must not be too
revealing. In any case, dressing well is a sign
of respect, demonstrating your attitude to
business and attention to detail.
Structure and hierarchy
Croatians value authoritative superiors and
respect the knowledge, education, confi-
dence and experience that come with sta-
Croatia’s collectivist society has significantly
impacted business culture. Decisions are
usually made without consultation, and
managers do not need to provide explana-
tions as to why a decision was reached. Usu-
ally only one person makes major decisions
and takes credit for success.
Meeting schedules are not very rigid in Cro-
atia. There may be an agenda but it serves
more as a guideline for the discussion than
• Be prepared for lengthy meetings. People
may go off on tangents, and time is never a
factor in bringing a meeting to a close.
• There may be some small-talk at the be-
ginning of meetings. This would become
more important as the relationship devel-
ops. Never jump straight into business, as
this may come across as rude.
• At least initially, be sure to temper your
communication style if you are used to
being quite direct. Building the relationship
is more important initially and should be
Professionalism is extremely
important in Croatian busi-
ness culture. Always main-
tain an appropriate rela-
tionship with your Croatian
colleagues, as respect will
decrease if the relationship
becomes too personal.
18 Country profile CROATIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com18 Country profile CROATIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
• Greetings should include a firm handshake and direct eye contact, a weak hand
shake means that you are weak and no direct eye contact can be taken to mean that
you are hiding something.
• Remain standing until you are invited to sit down as there might be a seat reserved
especially for you.
• Always maintain direct eye contact while speaking.
• Punctuality is expected and taken extremely seriously.
• Expect some small talk and getting-to-know-you conversation before business is dis-
• Business is conducted slowly. You will have to be patient and not appear ruffled by
the strict adherence to protocol
• Companies tend to have a hierarchical structure, with decision-making power held
at the top of the company.
• Do not try to schedule meetings on Friday afternoons, as many Croatians leave for
their country cottages after lunch.
• Many businesses are closed in August.
• Letters should be addressed to the company rather than to a specific person. This
prevents a letter from being held up if the person it is addressed to is away from the
In Croatian culture, it is very important to pay particular attention to your time-keep-
ing skills. It is considered good manners, whether attending a business meeting or social
lunch, to be punctual. A 15-minute grace period is normal in social settings, but might well
be frowned upon in a formal business environment where punctuality is appreciated.
Small presents like a book or a souvenir representing the country you are visiting from
would be acceptable. Expensive presents are not recommended, and most companies
have a ceiling on the value of the gift that can be accepted. Most business people would
not expect gifts to be presented at the first meeting.
Bribery and corruption
Bribery is used by both foreign and local businesses in order to acquire contracts or to cut
through bureaucratic red tape when they are starting a new business. The main problem in
Croatia seems to be the legal system, which has a backlog of over a million cases waiting to
Learnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com1919 Country profile CROATIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com19 Country profile CROATIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com