The last part of the interview with H.E. Ms Andrea Gustović-Ercegovac
Ambassador of the Republic of Croatia in the Hague on a private note: about our work and her private impressions.
Beata Bruggeman-Sękowska: Can you share with us your favorite places in Croatia?
Very difficult question because Croatia is very divers and I like many places in Croatia. We have inland with a lot of hills and fields and wine routes, and on the other side we have the most beautiful coast. One of my favourite place is Žumberak Hills, just half an hour drive from Zagreb, the capital, but when you come there you feel so peacefull and relaxed, surrounded by wonderful nature. In the continental part oasis of wild life in meanders of Danube called Kopački rit is astonishing. On the coastal part my favorite peninsula is Istra which is also called small Toscana, due to numerous mediaeval cities on the top of scenically hills. It is hard not to mention 16 Plitivice lakes which make wonderful waterfalls or city of Dubrovnik, mixture of the old medieval town and mediterranean cuisine and nice people all around.
I and my company try to promote and intensify the knowledge about CEE especially in the Netherlands and the knowledge about the Netherlands in the CEE countries. Although the CEE countries are no longer behind the Iron Curtain and are enjoying freedom, so little is still known about CEE and so much can be still achieved together. How would you assess the purpose of my activity?
I think your activity is very visionary. CEE was for decades isolated and due to that still preserved many good things which modern life sometimes wipes off. In spite of the thing that CEE is for 25 years opened and westernized in many aspects people are still reluctant to visit and do business in this part of Europe. People tend to forget that these countries were very developed before communism, with a lot of culture and rich intellectual life.
Croatia’s accession negotiations, although coloured by European political uncertainty on further enlargement and the changing institutional architecture, carry strategic significance and an important stabilisation impact for Southeast Europe, supporting the European future of this region.
You became the Ambassador of Croatia in the Netherlands in 2015. What were you first impressions of the country?
Constant changes of weather; so many flowers on so little soil; people are never in a hurry; a lot of water; rich architecture (both old and modern); physical activities are high on priorities of people; Bikes – there are thousands of them on the street and you really have to be very carefull when you drive or just walk around. It is not completely low land as they told me. My residence is on a small hill where I have a nice view, but I agree that most of it is low and so wonderfull to walk around and enjoy.
What do you admire in the Netherlands and the Dutch?
What impressed me is how Dutch people make land out of water through hard work. Your battle with water is amazing. What the human being is capable of ! Second thing is how you managed to preserve tradition and the same time be very open minded and modern. Usually people tend to gravitate towards one or the other. You have a good recipe to be both at the same time, and at the same time not losing advantages of both. The third thing is that in spite of a good standard that you managed, people didn’t lose the contact with real life and nature. This is something you should keep in future in spite of many temptations.
What Croatia can still learn from the Netherlands and vice versa ?
Croatia is a young democracy. We are still in process of developing ourselves, especially since we became members of the EU and NATO. The Netherlands can be a great example to us in our development and democracy growth. The way how business is run here can be very educational for our companies. Our country has a great potencial for expanding the business sector, but we could use some of the Netherlands know-how (like lower taxes or better laws).We are partially a mediterranean country, always full of life, where people are very connected with each other and caring about everyone. Sometimes with development came alienation and one should be aware of. Touristic sector has long tradition in Croatia so some of our tips and tricks can be also usefull.
What would be the message you would like to share with the readers at the end of this interview?
Come to visit Croatia, it is so close and you will love it !
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Photo: Embassy of the Republic of Croatia
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