Slovenia is one of the EU’s smallest and youngest members, yet it is still a country with a rich and long history and an unbelievable geographical diversity; Slovenia is home to a nation that achieves top results on the world level when it comes to science, the economy, culture and sports.
Officially, the history of Slovenia begins in the 7th century AD with the setting up of the state of Carinthia, one of the most democratic and modern states of the time. After centuries of being dominated by large European nations and dynasties, at the end of World War I Slovenians join with Croats and Serbs to form the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians, later the Kingdom of Yugoslavia; upon the end of World War II, Slovenia becomes part of the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia, later the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In 1991, the Republic of Slovenia embarks on the path of independence, and in 2004 it also becomes a member state of the EU..
This small piece of land lying between the Alps, the Mediterranean, the Dinaric Alps and the Pannonian Plain boasts a diversity that could be the envy of many a large country. Because this is the meeting point of all these areas, Slovenia offers the taste and flavour of both the Alpine world, the discovery of one of the most beautiful European underground caves and other particular features of the Karst, along with the enjoyment of the Adriatic Sea all within just a few hours. More than half of Slovenian territory is covered with forests and therefore Slovenia is known as a green country that also boasts an above-average quantity of fresh water sources.
Culture is another strong building block of the nation’s identity; over the centuries, Slovenia has also made important contributions to the common European identity. Thus both in literature – from the first Slovenian books and the beginnings of the printed publications of the religious reformer Primož Trubar (1508–1586), the unsurpassable lyric poetry of the “Godfather” of the Slovenian movement Dr France Prešeren (1800–1849), and other eminent poets and writers, to the rich treasure trove of modern poetry and literature – and in the arts – one need only mention Slovenian impressionists, with Ivan Grohar (1867–1911) heading the list, and the timeless genius of architect Jože Plečnik (1872–1957) – and in particular in sports, where we are especially known for successful achievements in winter sports, team sports, and alpinism, Slovenians, despite being a small nation, walk proudly side by side with the leading European nations and other countries of the world.
Economy Having had a most successful and positive experience with its transition to a market economy, the economy of this post–industrial state today stands on solid ground in both certain traditional sectors like craftsmanship and agriculture and in quickly developing flagship economic sectors such as the tourism industry, ecology and environmental protection, the pharmaceutical industry, and high–end technology. That is why Slovenia, especially in comparison to other countries in transition, is also above–average when it comes to the seamless adoption of parameters of the knowledge society.
Science and innovation
In 2009, the European Innovation Barometer (PRO INNO EUROPE, EIS 2009) placed Slovenia in the category of Innovation Followers together with France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Ireland, Luxembourg, Cyprus and Estonia. This category pools countries that are close behind the leading European innovation countries: Germany, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. In the field of innovation and scientific achievements – from the findings of the polymath and “technologist” Janez Vajkard Valvazor (1641–1693), the logarithms of the mathematician Jurij Vega (1754–1802), and the law on radiation of the then leading Slovenian physicist Jožef Stefan (1835–1893), through to the Nobel Prize for achievements in the field of biology, chemistry and medicine granted to physician Friderik Pregl (1869–1930), the breakthrough innovations by entrepreneur Janez Puh (1862–1914), and the visionary ideas by the rocket and space science engineer Herman Potočnik (1892–1929), to mention just the most distinctive achievements – Slovenia has always been ranked among the best in the world.
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(Official government portal with information on Slovenia for foreigners.With the permission of the Government Office of RS for Information).
Photography: Maruša Bertoncelj, arhiv Fotona, arhiv Svetloba d.o.o., AoutPhoto, Damjan Širca, Zvone Kosovelj