The reconstructed autonym *Slověninъ is usually derived from the word slovo ("word"), originally denoting "people who speak (the same language)," i. e. people who understand each other. This is in contrast to the Slavic word denoting German people, namely *němьcь, meaning "silent, mute people" (from Slavic *němъ "mute, mumbling"). The word slovo ("word") and the related slava ("glory, fame") and slukh ("hearing") originate from the Proto-Indo-European root *ḱlew- ("be spoken of, glory"), cognate with Ancient Greek κλέος (kléos "fame"), as in the name Pericles, Latin clueo ("be called"), and English loud.
The modern Slovene state originates from the Slovene National Liberation Committee (SNOS) held on 19 February 1944. They officially named the state as Federal Slovenia (Federalna Slovenija), a unit within the Yugoslav federation. On 20 February 1946, Federal Slovenia was renamed the People's Republic of Slovenia (Ljudska republika Slovenija). It retained this name until 9 April 1963, when its name was changed again, this time to Socialist Republic of Slovenia (Slovene: Socialistična republika Slovenija). On 8 March 1990, SR Slovenia removed the prefix "Socialist" from its name, becoming the Republic of Slovenia; it remained a part of the SFRY until 25 June 1991.
Roman Emona's south wall (reconstruction) in present-day Ljubljana
The area that is present-day Slovenia was in Roman times shared between Venetia et Histria (region X of Roman Italia in the classification of Augustus) and the provinces Pannonia and Noricum. The Romans established posts at Emona (Ljubljana), Poetovio (Ptuj), and Celeia (Celje); and constructed trade and military roads that ran across Slovene territory from Italy to Pannonia. In the 5th and 6th centuries, the area was subject to invasions by the Huns and Germanic tribes during their incursions into Italy. A part of the inner state was protected with a defensive line of towers and walls called Claustra Alpium Iuliarum. A crucial battle between Theodosius I and Eugenius took place in the Vipava Valley in 394.
The Slavic tribes migrated to the Alpine area after the westward departure of the Lombards (the last Germanic tribe) in 568, and under pressure from Avars established a Slavic settlement in the Eastern Alps. From 623 to 624 or possibly 626 onwards, King Samo united the Alpine and Western Slavs against the Avars and Germanic peoples and established what is referred to as Samo's Kingdom. After its disintegration following Samo's death in 658 or 659, the ancestors of the Slovenes located in present-day Carinthia formed the independent duchy of Carantania, and Carniola, later duchy Carniola. Other parts of present-day Slovenia were again ruled by Avars before Charlemagne's victory over them in 803.
The Carantanians, one of the ancestral groups of the modern Slovenes, particularly the Carinthian Slovenes, were the first Slavic people to accept Christianity. They were mostly Christianized by Irish missionaries, among them Modestus, known as the "Apostle of Carantanians". This process, together with the Christianization of the Bavarians, was later described in the memorandum known as the Conversio Bagoariorum et Carantanorum, which is thought to have overemphasized the role of the Church of Salzburg in the Christianization process over similar efforts of the Patriarchate of Aquileia.
In the mid-8th century, Carantania became a vassal duchy under the rule of the Bavarians, who began spreading Christianity. Three decades later, the Carantanians were incorporated, together with the Bavarians, into the Carolingian Empire. During the same period Carniola, too, came under the Franks, and was Christianised from Aquileia. Following the anti-Frankish rebellion of Liudewit at the beginning of the 9th century, the Franks removed the Carantanian princes, replacing them with their own border dukes. Consequently, the Frankish feudal system reached the Slovene territory.
By the 11th century, the Germanization of what is now Lower Austria, effectively isolated the Slovene-inhabited territory from the other western Slavs, speeding up the development of the Slavs of Carantania and of Carniola into an independent Carantanian/Carniolans/Slovene ethnic group. By the late Middle Ages, the historic provinces of Carniola, Styria, Carinthia, Gorizia, Trieste, and Istria developed from the border regions and were incorporated into the medieval German state. The consolidation and formation of these historical lands took place in a long period between the 11th and 14th centuries, and were led by a number of important feudal families, such as the Dukes of Spannheim, the Counts of Gorizia, the Counts of Celje, and, finally, the House of Habsburg. In a parallel process, an intensive German colonization significantly diminished the extent of Slovene-speaking areas. By the 15th century, the Slovene ethnic territory was reduced to its present size.
In the 14th century, most of the territory of present-day Slovenia was taken over by the Habsburgs, the Hungarian clan Záh administering the territories connecting Slovenia with Slovakia and Moravia was exterminated in 1330 and the Slovenes permanently lost the connection with their Slovak kinsmen. The counts of Celje, a feudal family from this area who in 1436 acquired the title of state princes, were Habsburgs' powerful competitors for some time. This large dynasty, important at a European political level, had its seat in Slovene territory but died out in 1456. Its numerous large estates subsequently became the property of the Habsburgs, who retained control of the area right up until the beginning of the 20th century. Patria del Friuli ruled present western Slovenia until Venetian takeover in 1420.
At the end of the Middle Ages, the Slovene Lands suffered a serious economic and demographic setback because of the Turkish raids. In 1515, a peasant revolt spread across nearly the whole Slovene territory. In 1572 and 1573 the Croatian-Slovenian peasant revolt wrought havoc throughout the wider region. Such uprisings, which often met with bloody defeats, continued throughout the 17th century.
Due to limited opportunities, between 1880 and 1910 there was extensive emigration, and around 300,000 Slovenes (i.e. 1 in 6) emigrated to other countries, mostly to the US, but also to South America (the main part to Argentina), Germany, Egypt, and to larger cities in Austria-Hungary, especially Vienna and Graz. The area of the United States with the highest concentration of Slovenian immigrants is Cleveland, Ohio. The other locations in the United States where many Slovenians settled were areas with substantial industrial and mining activities: Pittsburgh, Chicago, Pueblo, Butte, northern Minnesota, and the Salt Lake Valley. The men were important as workers in the mining industry, because of some of the skills they brought from Slovenia. Despite this, the Slovene population increased significantly. Literacy was exceptionally high, at 80–90%.
World War I brought heavy casualties to Slovenes, particularly the twelve Battles of the Isonzo, which took place in present-day Slovenia's western border area with Italy. Hundreds of thousands of Slovene conscripts were drafted into the Austro-Hungarian Army, and over 30,000 of them died. Hundreds of thousands of Slovenes from Gorizia and Gradisca were resettled in refugee camps in Italy and Austria. While the refugees in Austria received decent treatment, the Slovene refugees in Italian camps were treated as state enemies, and several thousand died of malnutrition and diseases between 1915 and 1918. Entire areas of the Slovene Littoral were destroyed.
The proclamation of the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs at Congress Square in Ljubljana on 20 October 1918
The Slovene People's Party launched a movement for self-determination, demanding the creation of a semi-independent South Slavic state under Habsburg rule. The proposal was picked up by most Slovene parties, and a mass mobilization of Slovene civil society, known as the Declaration Movement, followed. This demand was rejected by the Austrian political elites; but following the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the aftermath of the First World War, the National Council of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs took power in Zagreb on 6 October 1918. On 29 October, independence was declared by a national gathering in Ljubljana, and by the Croatian parliament, declaring the establishment of the new State of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs.
The map showing the present territory of Slovenia, with traditional regional boundaries; the Slovene-speaking areas annexed by Italy after WWI are shown in stripes
On 1 December 1918, the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs merged with Serbia, becoming part of the new Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes; in 1929 it was renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The main territory of Slovenia, being the most industrialized and westernized compared to other less developed parts of Yugoslavia, became the main center of industrial production: Compared to Serbia, for example, Slovenian industrial production was four times greater; and it was 22 times greater than in North Macedonia. The interwar period brought further industrialization in Slovenia, with rapid economic growth in the 1920s, followed by a relatively successful economic adjustment to the 1929 economic crisis and Great Depression.
Slovenia was the only present-day European nation that was trisected and completely annexed into both Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy during World War II. In addition, the Prekmurje region in the east was annexed to Hungary, and some villages in the Lower Sava Valley were incorporated in the newly created Nazi puppet Independent State of Croatia (NDH).
During World War II, Nazi Germany and Hungary annexed northern areas (brown and dark green areas, respectively), while Fascist Italy annexed the vertically hashed black area (solid black western part being annexed by Italy already with the Treaty of Rapallo). Some villages were incorporated into the Independent State of Croatia. After 1943, Germany took over the Italian occupational area, as well.
Axis forces invaded Yugoslavia in April 1941 and defeated the country in a few weeks. The southern part, including Ljubljana, was annexed to Italy, while the Nazis took over the northern and eastern parts of the country. The Nazis had a plan of ethnic cleansing of these areas, and they resettled or expelled the local Slovene civilian population to the puppet states of Nedić's Serbia (7,500) and NDH (10,000). In addition, some 46,000 Slovenes were expelled to Germany, including children who were separated from their parents and allocated to German families. At the same time, the ethnic Germans in the Gottschee enclave in the Italian annexation zone were resettled to the Nazi-controlled areas cleansed of their Slovene population.Around 30,000 to 40,000 Slovene men were drafted to the German Army and sent to the Eastern front. The Slovene language was banned from education, and its use in public life was limited to the absolute minimum.
Partisans fighting for Trieste and Primorje region, 1945
After the resistance started in summer 1941, Italian violence against the Slovene civilian population escalated, as well. The Italian authorities deported some 25,000 people to the concentration camps, which equaled 7.5% of the population of their occupation zone. The most infamous ones were Rab and Gonars. To counter the Communist-led insurgence, the Italians sponsored local anti-guerrilla units, formed mostly by the local conservative Catholic Slovene population that resented the revolutionary violence of the partisans. After the Italian armistice of September 1943, the Germans took over both the Province of Ljubljana and the Slovenian Littoral, incorporating them into what was known as the Operation Zone of Adriatic Coastal Region. They united the Slovene anti-Communist counter-insurgence into the Slovene Home Guard and appointed a puppet regime in the Province of Ljubljana. The anti-Nazi resistance however expanded, creating its own administrative structures as the basis for Slovene statehood within a new, federal and socialist Yugoslavia.
In 1945, Yugoslavia was liberated by the partisan resistance and soon became a socialist federation known as the People's Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Slovenia joined the federation as a constituent republic, led by its own pro-Communist leadership.
Approximately 8% of the entire Slovene population died during World War II. The small Jewish community, mostly settled in the Prekmurje region, perished in 1944 in the holocaust of Hungarian Jews. The German speaking minority, amounting to 2.5% of the Slovenian population prior to WWII, was either expelled or killed in the aftermath of the war. Hundreds of Istrian Italians and Slovenes that opposed communism were killed in the foibe massacres, and more than 25,000 fled or were expelled from Slovenian Istria in the aftermath of the war.
After the failure of forced collectivisation that was attempted from 1949–53, a policy of gradual economic liberalisation, known as workers self-management, was introduced under the advice and supervision of the Slovene Marxist theoretician and Communist leader Edvard Kardelj, the main ideologue of the Titoist path to socialism. Suspected opponents of this policy both from within and outside the Communist party were persecuted and thousands were sent to Goli otok.
The late 1950s saw a policy of liberalisation in the cultural sphere, as well, and limited border crossing into neighboring Italy and Austria was allowed again. Until the 1980s, Slovenia enjoyed relatively broad autonomy within the federation. In 1956, Josip Broz Tito, together with other leaders, founded the Non-Aligned Movement. Particularly in the 1950s, Slovenia's economy developed rapidly and was strongly industrialised. With further economic decentralisation of Yugoslavia in 1965–66, Slovenia's domestic product was 2.5 times the average of Yugoslav republics.
Opposition to the regime was mostly limited to intellectual and literary circles, and became especially vocal after Tito's death in 1980, when the economic and political situation in Yugoslavia became very strained. Political disputes around economic measures were echoed in the public sentiment, as many Slovenians felt they were being economically exploited, having to sustain an expensive and inefficient federal administration.
Slovenian Spring, democracy and independence
In 1987 a group of intellectuals demanded Slovene independence in the 57th edition of the magazine Nova revija. Demands for democratisation and more Slovenian independence were sparked off. A mass democratic movement, coordinated by the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, pushed the Communists in the direction of democratic reforms.
Slovenian Territorial Defense Units counterattacking the Yugoslav National Army tank who entered Slovenia during the Ten-Day War, 1991
The initial revolutionary events in Slovenia pre-dated the Revolutions of 1989 in Eastern Europe by almost a year, but went largely unnoticed by international observers. On 23 December 1990, more than 88% of the electorate voted for a sovereign and independent Slovenia. On 25 June 1991, Slovenia became independent through the passage of appropriate legal documents. On 27 June in the early morning, the Yugoslav People's Army dispatched its forces to prevent further measures for the establishment of a new country, which led to the Ten-Day War. On 7 July, the Brijuni Agreement was signed, implementing a truce and a three-month halt of the enforcement of Slovenia's independence. At the end of the month, the last soldiers of the Yugoslav Army left Slovenia.
Four major European geographic regions meet in Slovenia: the Alps, the Dinarides, the Pannonian Plain, and the Mediterranean. Although on the shore of the Adriatic Sea near the Mediterranean Sea, most of Slovenia is in the Black Seadrainage basin. The Alps—including the Julian Alps, the Kamnik-Savinja Alps and the Karawank chain, as well as the Pohorje massif—dominate Northern Slovenia along its long border with Austria. Slovenia's Adriatic coastline stretches approximately 47 kilometres (29 mi) from Italy to Croatia.
The term "Karst topography" refers to that of southwestern Slovenia's Karst Plateau, a limestone region of underground rivers, gorges, and caves, between Ljubljana and the Mediterranean. On the Pannonian plain to the East and Northeast, toward the Croatian and Hungarian borders, the landscape is essentially flat. However, the majority of Slovenian terrain is hilly or mountainous, with around 90% of the surface 200 m (656 ft) or more above sea level.
Over half of the country (11,823 km2 or 4,565 sq mi) is covered by forests. This makes Slovenia the third most forested country in Europe, after Finland and Sweden. The areas are covered mostly by beech, fir-beech and beech-oak forests and have a relatively high production capacity. Remnants of primeval forests are still to be found, the largest in the Kočevje area. Grassland covers 5,593 km2 (2,159 sq mi) and fields and gardens (954 km2 or 368 sq mi). There are 363 km2 (140 sq mi) of orchards and 216 km2 (83 sq mi) of vineyards.
Solution runnels (also known as rillenkarren) are a karst feature on the Karst Plateau, as in many other karst areas of the world.
Slovenia is in a rather active seismic zone because of its position on the small Adriatic Plate, which is squeezed between the Eurasian Plate to the north and the African Plate to the south and rotates counter-clockwise. Thus the country is at the junction of three important geotectonic units: the Alps to the north, the Dinaric Alps to the south and the Pannonian Basin to the east. Scientists have been able to identify 60 destructive earthquakes in the past. Additionally, a network of seismic stations is active throughout the country. Many parts of Slovenia have a carbonate ground, and an extensive subterranean system has developed.
The first regionalisations of Slovenia were made by geographers Anton Melik (1935–1936) and Svetozar Ilešič (1968). The newer regionalisation by Ivan Gams divided Slovenia in the following macroregions:
According to a newer natural geographic regionalisation, the country consists of four macroregions. These are the Alpine, the Mediterranean, the Dinaric, and the Pannonian landscapes. Macroregions are defined according to major relief units (the Alps, the Pannonian plain, the Dinaric mountains) and climate types (submediterranean, temperate continental, mountain climate). These are often quite interwoven.
Protected areas of Slovenia include national parks, regional parks, and nature parks, the largest of which is Triglav National Park. There are 286 Natura 2000 designated protected areas, which comprise 36% of the country's land area, the largest percentage among European Union states. Additionally, according to Yale University's Environmental Performance Index, Slovenia is considered a "strong performer" in environmental protection efforts.
Climate types Slovenia 1970–2000 and climograms for selected settlements.
Slovenia is located in temperate latitudes. The climate is also influenced by the variety of relief, and the influence of the Alps and the Adriatic Sea. In the northeast, the continental climate type with greatest difference between winter and summer temperatures prevails. In the coastal region, there is sub-Mediterranean climate. The effect of the sea on the temperature rates is visible also up the Soča valley, while a severe Alpine climate is present in the high mountain regions. There is a strong interaction between these three climatic systems across most of the country.
Precipitation, often coming from Bay of Genoa, varies across the country as well, with over 3,500 mm (138 in) in some western regions and dropping down to 800 mm (31 in) in Prekmurje. Snow is quite frequent in winter and the record snow cover in Ljubljana was recorded in 1952 at 146 cm (57 in).
Compared to Western Europe, Slovenia is not very windy, because it lies in the slipstream of the Alps. The average wind speeds are lower than in the plains of the nearby countries. Due to the rugged terrain, local vertical winds with daily periods are present. Besides these, there are three winds of particular regional importance: the bora, the jugo, and the foehn. The jugo and the bora are characteristic of the Littoral. Whereas the jugo is humid and warm, the bora is usually cold and gusty. The foehn is typical of the Alpine regions in the north of Slovenia. Generally present in Slovenia are the northeast wind, the southeast wind and the north wind.
The Soča River flows through Triglav National Park
Lake Bohinj, largest Slovenian lake, one of the two springs of the Sava River
The territory of Slovenia mainly (16,423 square kilometers or 6,341 square miles, i.e. 81%) belongs to the Black Sea basin, and a smaller part (3,850 square kilometers or 1,490 square miles, i.e. 19%) belongs to the Adriatic Sea basin. These two parts are divided into smaller units in regard to their central rivers, the Mura River basin, the Drava River basin, the Sava River basin with Kolpa River basin, and the basin of the Adriatic rivers. In comparison with other developed countries, water quality in Slovenia is considered to be among the highest in Europe. One of the reasons is undoubtedly that most of the rivers rise on the mountainous territory of Slovenia. But this does not mean that Slovenia has no problems with surface water and groundwater quality, especially in areas with intensive farming.
Slovenia is distinguished by an exceptionally wide variety of habitats, due to the contact of geological units and biogeographical regions, and due to human influences. Around 12.5% of the territory is protected with 35.5% in the Natura 2000 ecological network. Despite this, because of pollution and environmental degradation, diversity has been in decline.
Slovenia is home to an exceptionally diverse number of cave species, with a few tens of endemic species. Among the cave vertebrates, the only known one is the olm, living in Karst, Lower Carniola, and White Carniola.
More than 2,400 fungal species have been recorded from Slovenia and, since that figure does not include lichen-forming fungi, the total number of Slovenian fungi already known is undoubtedly much higher. Many more remain to be discovered.
Slovenia is the third most-forested country in Europe, with 58.3% of the territory covered by forests. The forests are an important natural resource, and logging is kept to a minimum. In the interior of the country are typical Central European forests, predominantly oak and beech. In the mountains, spruce, fir, and pine are more common. Pine trees grow on the Karst Plateau, although only one-third of the region is covered by pine forest. The lime/linden tree, common in Slovenian forests, is a national symbol. The tree line is at 1,700 to 1,800 metres (5,600 to 5,900 feet).
The executive and administrative authority in Slovenia is held by the Government of Slovenia (Vlada Republike Slovenije), headed by the Prime Minister and the council of ministers or cabinet, who are elected by the National Assembly (Državni zbor Republike Slovenije). The legislative authority is held by the bicameralParliament of Slovenia, characterised by an asymmetric duality.[clarification needed] The bulk of power is concentrated in the National Assembly, which consists of ninety members. Of those, 88 are elected by all the citizens in a system of proportional representation, whereas two are elected by the registered members of the autochthonous Hungarian and Italian minorities. Election takes place every four years. The National Council (Državni svet Republike Slovenije), consisting of forty members, appointed to represent social, economic, professional and local interest groups, has a limited advisory and control power.The 1992–2004 period was marked by the rule of the Liberal Democracy of Slovenia, which was responsible for gradual transition from the Titoist economy to the capitalist market economy. It later attracted much criticism by neo-liberal economists, who demanded a less gradual approach. The party's president Janez Drnovšek, who served as prime minister between 1992 and 2002, was one of the most influential Slovenian politicians of the 1990s, alongside President Milan Kučan (who served between 1990 and 2002).
The 2005–2008 period was characterized by over-enthusiasm after joining the EU. During the first term of Janez Janša's government, for the first time after independence, the Slovenian banks saw their loan-deposit ratios veering out of control. There was over-borrowing from foreign banks and then over-crediting of customers, including local business magnates.
After the onset of the financial crisis of 2007–2010 and European sovereign-debt crisis, the left-wing coalition that replaced Janša's government in the 2008 elections, had to face the consequences of the 2005–2008 over-borrowing. Attempts to implement reforms that would help economic recovery were met by student protesters, led by a student who later became a member of Janez Janša's SDS, and by the trade unions. The proposed reforms were postponed in a referendum. The left-wing government was ousted with a vote of no confidence. Janez Janša attributed the boom of spending and overborrowing to the period of left-wing government; he proposed harsh austerity reforms which he had previously helped postpone. Generally, some economists estimate that left and right parties attributed to over-loaning and managers' takeovers; reason behind was that each block tried to establish economic elite which will support political forces.
Judicial powers in Slovenia are executed by judges, who are elected by the National Assembly. Judicial power in Slovenia is implemented by courts with general responsibilities and specialised courts that deal with matters relating to specific legal areas. The State Prosecutor is an independent state authority responsible for prosecuting cases brought against those suspected of committing criminal offences. The Constitutional Court, composed of nine judges elected for nine-year terms, decides on the conformity of laws with the Constitution; all laws and regulations must also conform with the general principles of international law and with ratified international agreements.
Officially, Slovenia is subdivided into 212 municipalities (eleven of which have the status of urban municipalities). The municipalities are the only bodies of local autonomy in Slovenia. Each municipality is headed by a mayor (župan), elected every four years by popular vote, and a municipal council (občinski svet). In the majority of municipalities, the municipal council is elected through the system of proportional representation; only a few smaller municipalities use the plurality voting system. In the urban municipalities, the municipal councils are called town (or city) councils. Every municipality also has a Head of the Municipal Administration (načelnik občinske uprave), appointed by the mayor, who is responsible for the functioning of the local administration.
There is no official intermediate unit between the municipalities and the Republic of Slovenia. The 62 administrative districts, officially called "Administrative Units" (upravne enote), are only subdivisions of the national government administration and are named after their respective bases of government offices. They are headed by a Manager of the Unit (načelnik upravne enote), appointed by the Minister of Public Administration.
Traditional regions and identities
Traditional regions were based on the former Habsburgcrown lands that included Carniola, Carinthia, Styria, and the Littoral. Stronger than with either the Carniola as a whole, or with Slovenia as the state, Slovenes historically tend to identify themselves with the traditional regions of Slovene Littoral, Prekmurje, and even traditional (sub)regions, such as Upper, Lower and, to a lesser extent, Inner Carniola.
In 2004–2006, the economy grew on average by nearly 5% a year in Slovenia; in 2007, it expanded by almost 7%. The growth surge was fuelled by debt, particularly among firms, and especially in construction. The financial crisis of 2007–2010 and European sovereign-debt crisis had a significant impact on the domestic economy. The construction industry was severely hit in 2010 and 2011. In 2009, Slovenian GDP per capita shrank by 8%, the biggest decline in the European Union after the Baltic countries and Finland. An increasing burden for the Slovenian economy has been its rapidly ageing population.
In August 2012, the year-on-year contraction was 0.8%, however, 0.2% growth was recorded in the first quarter (in relation to the quarter before, after data was adjusted according to season and working days). Year-on-year contraction has been attributed to the fall in domestic consumption, and the slowdown in export growth. The decrease in domestic consumption has been attributed to the fiscal austerity, to the freeze on budget expenditure in the final months of 2011, to the failure of the efforts to implement economic reforms, to inappropriate financing, and to the decrease in exports.
Due to the effects of the crisis it was expected that several banks had to be bailed out by EU funds in 2013, however needed capital was able to be covered by the country's own funds. Fiscal actions and legislations aiming on the reduction of spendings as well as several privatisations supported an economic recovery as from 2014. The real economic growth rate was at 2.5% in 2016 and accelerated to 5% in 2017. The construction sector has seen a recent increase, and the tourism industry is expected to have continuous rising numbers.
Slovenia's total national debt at the end of September 2011 amounted to 15,884 million euros, 44.4% of GDP. In August 2012, the three main ratings agencies downgraded Slovenian sovereign debt. A 2013 story about Slovenia allegedly being in need of a bailout was attributed by Finland's Europe Minister Alexander Stubb to "financial sharks" who wanted to capitalize on the story by creating self-fulfilling prophecies. At the time, Die Welt ranked Slovenia among the three least financially vulnerable European countries, topped only by Germany and Estonia.
Services and industry
A graphical depiction of Slovenia's product exports in 28 color-coded categories.
Almost two-thirds of people are employed in services, and over one-third in industry and construction. Slovenia benefits from a well-educated workforce, well-developed infrastructure, and its location at the crossroads of major trade routes.
The level of foreign direct investment (FDI) per capita in Slovenia is one of the lowest in the EU, and the labor productivity and the competitiveness of the Slovenian economy is still significantly below the EU average. Taxes are relatively high, the labor market is seen by business interests as being inflexible, and industries are losing sales to China, India, and elsewhere.
High level of openness makes Slovenia extremely sensitive to economic conditions in its main trading partners and changes in its international price competitiveness. The main industries are motor vehicles, electric and electronic equipment, machinery, pharmaceuticals, and fuels. Examples of major Slovenian companies operating in Slovenia include the home appliance manufacturer Gorenje, the pharmaceutical company Krka, the oil distributing company Petrol Group and Revoz a manufacturing subsidiary of Renault.
In 2011 electricity production was 14,144 GWh and consumption was 12,602 GWh. Hydroelectric plants produced 3,361 GWh, thermal plants produced 4,883 GWh, and nuclear plants produced 5,899 GWh.
A new 600 MW block of Šoštanj thermal power plant finished construction and went online in the autumn of 2014. The new 39.5 MW HE Krško hydro power plant was finished in 2013. By 2018, the 41.5 MW HE Brežice and 30.5 MW HE Mokrice hydro power plants will be built on the Sava River. Construction of ten hydropower plants on the Sava River with a cumulative capacity of 338 MW is planned to be finished by 2030. A large pumped-storage hydro power plant Kozjak on the Drava River is in the planning stage.
At the end of 2011 at least 87 MWp of photovoltaic modules and 22 MW of biogas powerplants were installed. There is a plan and obligation that at least 500 MW of wind power will be installed by 2020. Solar hot water heating is gaining popularity in Slovenia.
Slovenia offers tourists a wide variety of natural and cultural amenities. Different forms of tourism have developed. The tourist gravitational area is considerably large, however the tourist market is small. There has been no large-scale tourism and no acute environmental pressures; in 2016, National Geographic Traveller's Magazine declared Slovenia as country with the world's most sustainable tourism.
The nation's capital, Ljubljana, has many important Baroque and Vienna Secession buildings, with several important works of the native born architect Jože Plečnik and also his pupil, architect Edo Ravnikar.
Important parts of tourism in Slovenia include congress and gambling tourism. Slovenia is the country with the highest percentage of casinos per 1,000 inhabitants in the European Union. Perla in Nova Gorica is the largest casino in the region.
Most of foreign tourists to Slovenia come from the key European markets: Italy, Austria, Germany, Croatia, Benelux, Serbia, Russia and Ukraine, followed by UK and Ireland. European tourists create more than 90% of Slovenia's tourist income. In 2016, Slovenia was declared the world's first green country by the Netherlands-based organization Green Destinations. On being declared the most sustainable country in 2016, Slovenia had a big part to play at the ITB Berlin to promote sustainable tourism.
The location at the junction of major geographic units and the area being traversed by major rivers have been the reasons for the intersection of the main transport routes in Slovenia. Their course was established already in the Antiquity. A particular geographic advantage in recent times has been the location of the intersection of the Pan-European transport corridors V (the fastest link between the North Adriatic, and Central and Eastern Europe) and X (linking Central Europe with the Balkans) in the country. This gives it a special position in the European social, economic and cultural integration and restructuring.
Motorways in Slovenia in December 2018; capital Ljubljana lies in the intersection of north-south and west-east main directions
The road freight and passenger transport constitutes the largest part of transport in Slovenia at 80%. Personal cars are much more popular than public road passenger transport, which has significantly declined. Slovenia has a very high highway and motorway density compared to the European Union average. The highway system, the construction of which was accelerated after 1994, has slowly but steadily transformed Slovenia into a large conurbation. Other state roads have been rapidly deteriorating because of neglect and the overall increase in traffic.
The existing Slovenian railways are out-of-date and can't compete with the motorway network. Due to this fact and the projected increase in traffic through the port of Koper, which is primarily by train, a second rail on the Koper-Divača route is in early stages of starting construction. With a lack of financial assets, maintenance and modernisation of the Slovenian railway network have been neglected. Due to the out-of-date infrastructure, the share of the railway freight transport has been in decline in Slovenia. The railway passenger transport has been recovering after a large drop in the 1990s. The Pan-European railway corridors V and X, and several other major European rail lines intersect in Slovenia. All international transit trains in Slovenia drive through the Ljubljana Railway Hub.
The major Slovenian port is the Port of Koper. It is the largest Northern Adriatic port in terms of container transport, with almost 590,000 TEUs annually and lines to all major world ports. It is much closer to destinations east of the Suez than the ports of Northern Europe. In addition, the maritime passenger traffic mostly takes place in Koper. Two smaller ports used for the international passenger transport as well as cargo transport are located in Izola and Piran. Passenger transport mainly takes place with Italy and Croatia. Splošna plovba, the only Slovenian shipping company, transports freight and is active only in foreign ports.
Slovenia is among the European countries with the most pronounced ageing of its population, ascribable to a low birth rate and increasing life expectancy. Almost all Slovenian inhabitants older than 64 are retired, with no significant difference between the genders. The working-age group is diminishing in spite of immigration. The proposal to raise the retirement age from the current 57 for women and 58 for men was rejected in a referendum in 2011. In addition, the difference among the genders regarding life expectancy is still significant. The total fertility rate (TFR) in 2014 was estimated at 1.33 children born/woman, which is lower than the replacement rate of 2.1. The majority of children are born to unmarried women (in 2016, 58.6% of all births were outside of marriage).In 2016, life expectancy was 78.2 years (74.6 years male, and 82 years female).
In 2009, the suicide rate in Slovenia was 22 per 100,000 persons per year, which places Slovenia among the highest ranked European countries in this regard. Nonetheless, from 2000 until 2010, the rate has decreased by about 30%. The differences between regions and the genders are pronounced.
Depending on definition, between 65% and 79% of people live in wider urban areas. According to OECD definition of rural areas none of the Slovene statistical regions is mostly urbanised, meaning that 15% or less of the population lives in rural communities. According to this definition statistical regions are classified:
The official language in Slovenia is Slovene, which is a member of the South Slavic language group. In 2002, Slovene was the native language of around 88% of Slovenia's population according to the census, with more than 92% of the Slovenian population speaking it in their home environment. This statistic ranks Slovenia among the most homogeneous countries in the EU in terms of the share of speakers of the predominant mother tongue.
Slovene is a highly diverse Slavic language in terms of dialects, with different degrees of mutual intelligibility. Accounts of the number of dialects range from as few as seven dialects, often considered dialect groups or dialect bases that are further subdivided into as many as 50 dialects. Other sources characterize the number of dialects as nine or as eight.
Front cover of a bilingual passport in Slovene and Italian
Hungarian and Italian, spoken by the respective minorities, enjoy the status of official languages in the ethnically mixed regions along the Hungarian and Italian borders, to the extent that even the passports issued in those areas are bilingual. In 2002 around 0.2% of the Slovenian population spoke Italian and around 0.4% spoke Hungarian as their native language. Hungarian is co-official with Slovene in 30 settlements in 5 municipalities (whereof 3 are officially bilingual). Italian is co-official with Slovene in 25 settlements in 4 municipalities (all of them officially bilingual).
Romani, spoken in 2002 as the native language by 0.2% of people, is a legally protected language in Slovenia. Romani-speakers mainly belong to the geographically dispersed and marginalized Roma community.
German, which used to be the largest minority language in Slovenia prior to World War II (around 4% of the population in 1921), is now the native language of only around 0.08% of the population, the majority of whom are more than 60 years old.Gottscheerish or Granish, the traditional German dialect of Gottschee County, faces extinction.
A significant number of people in Slovenia speak a variant of Serbo-Croatian (Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, or Montenegrin) as their native language. These are mostly immigrants who moved to Slovenia from other former Yugoslav republics from the 1960s to the late 1980s, and their descendants. In 2002, 0.4% of the Slovenian population declared themselves to be native speakers of Albanian and 0.2% native speakers of Macedonian.Czech, the fourth-largest minority language in Slovenia prior to World War II (after German, Hungarian, and Serbo-Croatian), is now the native language of a few hundred residents of Slovenia.
Regarding the knowledge of foreign languages, Slovenia ranks among the top European countries. The most taught foreign languages are English, German, Italian, French and Spanish. As of 2007, 92% of the population between the age of 25 and 64 spoke at least one foreign language and around 71.8% of them spoke at least two foreign languages, which was the highest percentage in the European Union. According to the Eurobarometer survey, as of 2005 the majority of Slovenes could speak Croatian (61%) and English (56%).:21
A reported 42% of Slovenes could speak German, which was one of the highest percentages outside German-speaking countries. Italian is widely spoken on the Slovenian Coast and in some other areas of the Slovene Littoral. Around 15% of Slovenians can speak Italian, which is (according to the Eurobarometer pool) the third-highest percentage in the European Union, after Italy and Malta.
In 2015 about 12% (237,616 people) of the population in Slovenia was born abroad. About 86% of the foreign-born population originated from other countries of the former Yugoslavia state as (in descending order) Bosnia-Herzegovina, followed by immigrants from Croatia, Serbia, North Macedonia and Kosovo.
By the beginning of 2017 there were about 114,438 people with a foreign citizenship residing in the country making up 5.5% of the total population. Of these foreigners 76% had citizenships of the other countries from the former Yugoslavia state (excluding Croatia). Additionally 16.4% had EU-citizenships and 7.6% had citizenships of other countries.
Ethnic composition of Slovenia (according to the 2002 census)
The number of people immigrating into Slovenia rose steadily from 1995 and has been increasing even more rapidly in recent years. After Slovenia joined the EU in 2004, the annual number of immigrants doubled by 2006 and increased by half yet again by 2009. In 2007, Slovenia had one of the fastest growing net migration rates in the European Union.
As to emigration, between 1880 and 1918 (World War I) many men left Slovenia to work in mining areas in other nations. The United States in particular has been a common choice for emigration, with the 1910 US Census showing that there were already "183,431 persons in the USA of Slovenian mother tongue".[dubious – discuss] But there may have been many more, because a good number avoided anti-Slavic prejudice and "identified themselves as Austrians." Favorite localities before 1900 were Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, as well as Omaha, Nebraska, Joliet, Illinois, Cleveland, Ohio, and rural areas of Iowa. After 1910, they settled in Utah (Bingham Copper Mine), Colorado (especially Pueblo), and Butte, Montana. These areas attracted first many single men (who often boarded with Slovenian families). Then after locating work and having sufficient money, the men sent back for their wives and families to join them.
Before World War II, 97% of the population declared itself Catholic (Roman Rite), around 2.5% as Lutheran, and around 0.5% of residents identified themselves as members of other denominations.
Catholicism was an important feature of both social and political life in pre-Communist Slovenia. After 1945, the country underwent a process of gradual but steady secularization. After a decade of persecution of religions, the Communist regime adopted a policy of relative tolerance towards churches. After 1990, the Catholic Church regained some of its former influence, but Slovenia remains a largely secularized society. According to the 2002 census, 57.8% of the population is Catholic. In 1991, 71.6% were self-declared Catholics which means a drop of more than 1% annually. The vast majority of Slovenian Catholics belong to the Latin Rite. A small number of Greek Catholics live in the White Carniola region.
Despite a relatively small number of Protestants (less than 1% in 2002), the Protestant legacy is historically significant given that the Slovene standard language and Slovene literature were established by the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. Primoz Trubar, a theologian in the Lutheran tradition, was one of the most influential Protestant Reformers in Slovenia. Protestantism was extinguished in the Counter-Reformation implemented by the Habsburg dynasty, which controlled the region. It only survived in the easternmost regions due to protection of Hungarian nobles, who often happened to be Calvinist themselves. Today, a significant Lutheran minority lives in the easternmost region of Prekmurje, where they represent around a fifth of the population and are headed by a bishop with the seat in Murska Sobota.
Besides these two Christian denominations, a small Jewish community has also been historically present. Despite the losses suffered during the Holocaust, Judaism still numbers a few hundred adherents, mostly living in Ljubljana, site of the sole remaining active synagogue in the country.
In the 2002, around 10% of Slovenes declared themselves as atheists, another 10% professed no specific denomination, and around 16% decided not to answer the question about their religious affiliation. According to the Eurobarometer Poll 2010, 32% of Slovenian citizens responded that "they believe there is a god", whereas 36% answered that "they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force" and 26% that "they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, god, or life force".
Slovenia's education ranks as the 12th best in the world and 4th best in the European Union, being significantly higher than the OECD average, according to the Programme for International Student Assessment. Among people age 25 to 64, 12% have attended higher education, while on average Slovenes have 9.6 years of formal education. According to an OECD report, 83% of adults ages 25–64 have earned the equivalent of a high school degree, well above the OECD average of 74%; among 25- to 34-year-olds, the rate is 93%. According to the 1991 census there is 99.6% literacy in Slovenia. Lifelong learning is also increasing.
Responsibility for education oversight at primary and secondary level in Slovenia lies with the Ministry of Education and Sports. After non-compulsory pre-school education, children enter the nine-year primary school at the age of six. Primary school is divided into three periods, each of three years. In the academic year 2006–2007 there were 166,000 pupils enrolled in elementary education and more than 13,225 teachers, giving a ratio of one teacher per 12 pupils and 20 pupils per class.
After completing elementary school, nearly all children (more than 98%) go on to secondary education, either vocational, technical or general secondary programmes (gimnazija). The latter concludes with matura, the final exam that allows the graduates to enter a university. 84% of secondary school graduates go on to tertiary education.
The most picturesque church[original research?] is the medieval and Baroque building on Bled Island. The castle above the lake is a museum and restaurant with a view. Near Postojna there is a fortress called Predjama Castle, half hidden in a cave. Museums in Ljubljana and elsewhere feature unique items such as the Divje Babe Flute and the oldest wheel in the world. Ljubljana has medieval, Baroque, Art Nouveau, and modern architecture. The architect Plečnik's architecture and his innovative paths and bridges along the Ljubljanica are notable.
Potica as part of traditional Slovenian Easter breakfast
Slovenian cuisine is a mixture of Central European cuisine (especially Austrian and Hungarian), Mediterranean cuisine and Balkan cuisine. Historically, Slovenian cuisine was divided into town, farmhouse, cottage, castle, parsonage and monastic cuisines. Due to the variety of Slovenian cultural and natural landscapes, there are more than 40 distinct regional cuisines.
Each year since 2000, the Festival of Roasted Potatoes has been organized by the Society for the Recognition of Roasted Potatoes as a Distinct Dish, attracting thousands of visitors. Roasted potatoes, which have been traditionally served in most Slovenian families only on Sundays—preceded by a meat-based soup, such as beef or chicken soup—have been depicted on a special edition of post marks by the Post of Slovenia on 23 November 2012. The best known sausage is kranjska klobasa.
Historically the most notable Slovenian ballet dancers and choreographers were Pino Mlakar (1907‒2006), who in 1927 graduated from the Rudolf Laban Choreographic Institute, and there met his future wife, balerina Maria Luiza Pia Beatrice Scholz (1908‒2000). Together they worked as a leading dancer and a choreographer in Dessau (1930–1932), Zürich (1934–1938), and State opera in München (1939‒1944). Their plan to build a Slovenian dance centre at Rožnik Hill after the World War II was supported by then minister of culture, Ferdo Kozak, but was cancelled by his successor. Pino Mlakar was also a full professor at the Academy for Theatre, Radio, Film and Television (AGRFT) of the University of Ljubljana. Between 1952 in 1954 they again led State opera ballet in München.
The most notable music festival of Slovene music was historically the Slovenska popevka festival. Between 1981 and 2000 the Novi Rock festival was notable for bringing rock music across Iron curtain from the West to the Slovenian and then Yugoslav audience. The long tradition of jazz festivals in Titoist Yugoslavia began with the Ljubljana Jazz Festival which has beem held annually in Slovenia since 1960.
Slovene film actors and actresses historically include Ida Kravanja, who played her roles as Ita Rina in the early European films, and Metka Bučar. After the WW II, one of the most notable film actors was Polde Bibič, who played a number of roles in many films that were well received in Slovenia, including Don't Cry, Peter (1964), On Wings of Paper (1968), Kekec's Tricks (1968), Flowers in Autumn (1973), The Widowhood of Karolina Žašler (1976), Heritage (1986), Primož Trubar (1985), and My Dad, The Socialist Kulak (1987). Many of these were directed by Matjaž Klopčič. He also performed in television and radio drama. Altogether, Bibič played over 150 theatre and over 30 film roles.
During the medieval era, secular music was as popular as church music, including wandering minnesingers. By the time of Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, music was used to proselytize. The first Slovenian hymnal, Eni Psalmi, was published in 1567. This period saw the rise of musicians like Jacobus Gallus and Jurij Slatkonja.
Modern composers include Uroš Rojko, Tomaž Svete, Brina Jež-Brezavšček, Božidar Kantušer and Aldo Kumar. Kumar's Sonata z igro 12 (A sonata with a play 12), a set of variations on a rising chromatic scale, is particularly notable.
Harmony singing is a deep rooted tradition in Slovenia, and is at least three-part singing (four voices), while in some regions even up to eight-part singing (nine voices). Slovenian folk songs, thus, usually resounds soft and harmonious, and are very seldom in minor. Traditional Slovenian folk music is performed on Styrian harmonica (the oldest type of accordion), fiddle, clarinet, zithers, flute, and by brass bands of alpine type. In eastern Slovenia, fiddle and cimbalon bands are called velike goslarije.
A number of conceptual visual art groups formed, including OHO, Group 69, and IRWIN. Nowadays, the Slovene visual arts are diverse, based on tradition, reflect the influence of neighboring nations and are intertwinned with modern European movements.
In 1841, Janez Puhar (1814–1864) invented a process for photography on glass, recognized on 17 June 1852 in Paris by the Académie Nationale Agricole, Manufacturière et Commerciale.Gojmir Anton Kos was a notable realist painter and photographer between First World War and WW II.
^As defined by the Act Regulating the Coat-of-Arms, Flag and Anthem of the Republic of Slovenia and the Flag of the Slovene Nation ("Zakon o grbu, zastavi in himni Republike Slovenije ter o slovenski narodni zastavi") from 1994 and published on the web page of the National Assembly of Slovenia. The question whether the entire Zdravljica or only its seventh stanza constitutes the Slovenian national anthem remains unresolved. Whereas the Constitution of Slovenia determines the title of the poem, the act about the anthem specifically determines its seventh stanza. It has been argued[by whom?] that the act contradicts the constitution and that the question should be resolved by the Slovenian Constitutional Court.
^ abcŠkrk, Mirjam (1999). "Recognition of States and Its (Non-)Implication on State Succession: The Case of Successor States to the Former Yugoslavia". In Mrak, Mojmir (ed.). Succession of States. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 5. ISBN9789041111456.
^Černe, Andrej (2004). Orožen Adamič, Milan (ed.). "Gateway to Western, Central, and Southeastern Europe"(PDF). Slovenia: A Geographical Overview. Association of the Geographical Societies of Slovenia: 127. ISBN961-6500-49-X. For centuries, the territory of Slovenia has been crossed by traditional transportation routes connecting northern Europe with southern, eastern, and western Europe. Slovenia's location in the northwestern part of the Mediterranean's most inland bay on the Adriatic Sea where the Alps, the plateaus of the Dinaric Alps, and the western margins of the Pannonian Basin meet gives [it] a relatively quite advantageous traffic and geographical position distinguished by its transitional character and the links between these geographical regions. In the wider macroregional sense, this transitional character and these links have not changed since prehistoric times.
^Murovec, Nika; Kavaš, Damijan (December 2010). Introducing the National Context: Brief Presentation of the National Context(PDF). SWOT Analysis: Status of the Creative Industries in Ljubljana. Ljubljana: Inštitut za ekonomska raziskovanja [Institute for Economic Research]. p. 5. Archived from the original(PDF) on 8 March 2016. For millennia, Slovenia has been at the crossroads of trade and cultural routes leading from north to south, from east to west.
^Vuk Dirnberk, Vojka; Tomaž Valantič. Statistični portret Slovenije v EU 2011 [Statistical Portrait of Slovenia in the EU 2011] (PDF) (in Slovenian and English). Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia. 1854-5734. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
^Blažič, Mateja; Arih, Andrej; Nartnik, Irena; Turk, Inga (26 March 2008). "Endangered Species". Environmental Agency of the Republic of Slovenia, Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
^"Country Introduction". European state of the environment 2010 – contributions from Slovenia. Environmental Agency of the Republic of Slovenia, Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
^Fajić, Lejla, ed. (September 2011). "Tabela 2b: Dodana vrednost po dejavnostih in bruto domači proizvod" [Table 2b: Added Value by Activities and Gross Domestic Product]. Jesenska napoved gospodarskih gibanj 2011: statistična priloga [Autumn Prediction of Economic Movements 2011: Statistical Appendix] (PDF) (in Slovenian). Ljubljana: Institute for Macroeconomic Analysis and Development (UMAR/IMAD), Republic of Slovenia. p. 45.
^Debeljak, Irena; Turk, Matija. "Potočka zijalka". In Šmid Hribar; Mateja Torkar; Gregor Golež; Mateja Podjed; Dan. Drago Kladnik; Drago. Erhartič; Bojan Pavlin; Primož. Jerele, Ines. (eds.). Enciklopedija naravne in kulturne dediščine na Slovenskem – DEDI (in Slovenian). Archived from the original on 15 May 2012. Retrieved 12 March 2012.
^Bertalanič, Renato (2003). "Značilnosti vetra v Sloveniji" [Characteristics of Wind in Slovenia]. Klimatografija Slovenije(PDF) (in Slovenian). Meteorology Office, Slovenian Environment Agency. Archived from the original(PDF) on 9 February 2006.
^Perko, Franc, ed. (2008). "Habitats of wild game in Slovenia, guidelines and conditions for the preservation and protection of wild game and their habitats, and provision of coexistence with humans". Resolution on National Forest Programme. Federation of Forest Associations of Slovenia. Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food, Slovenia. pp. 87–104. Archived from the original on 8 September 2012.
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