Peter Verlič, Source: Grosuplje Municipality

Peter Verlič: Grosuplje Goes Green

Peter Verlič: Grosuplje Goes Green

Interview with the Mayor of Grosuplje, Slovenia

Peter Verlič was born on 13 December 1962 in Ljubljana. Since 1998 he has served as a municipal councillor, elected to the Municipal Council of the Municipality of Grosuplje on the list of Slovenian Democratic Party.

In 2010, Verlič was elected as Mayor of the Municipality of Grosuplje for the first time in local elections. The extraordinary breakthroughs that the Municipality of Grosuplje achieved during his first mandate resulted in his re-election with the vast majority of citizens's votes in the elections of 2014. A third consecutive reelection followed in 2018.

Grosuplje is located in central Slovenia. Photo by Grosuplje Municipality

Mayor Verlič, please describe the beautiful municipality of Grosuplje in a few sentences.

Municipality of Grosuplje is a medium-sized Slovenian municipality located on the southeast edge of the Slovenian capital, or as I also like to say, where the Ljubljana marshes disappear and a landscape characteristic of the Dolenjska region begins. It spreads on 134 km2 and has a population of 21,265 inhabitants.

It is known primarily for its rich cultural and historical heritage, and natural beauties, and with developed craft and industry, as a city, which is only a twenty-minute drive from Ljubljana and along the highway towards Zagreb.

Proudly I would also like to mention that in the recent years we have adopted a long-term municipal development strategy 2015-2020 - 3G strategy (named after the successful introduction of the public transport line 3G). It highlights the town’s Economic, Hospitable and Global Orientation, as well as its environmentally friendly and sustainable orientation (Grosuplje Goes Green). With our period of implementing the 3G strategy slowly coming to an end, we are already progressing with a new even more ambitious one that is developmental and, more importantly, even greener.

Let me on this occasion kindly invite you to visit our website, to know us better, or if you want to find even more information. At the same time no website can replace a personal visit, therefore I also warmly invite you to visit our beautiful places, where there is always something interesting going on and where a warm greeting and friendly handshake always await you. Welcome to the Municipality of Grosuplje.

Grosuplje is environmentally friendly and sustainable orientated. Please tell us more about the initiative “Grosuplje Goes Green”. 

The municipality of Grosuplje is extremely development-oriented, creates an environment that is favourable for the economy and through its projects, it pursues the goals of an economical, hospitable and global municipality. Before our eyes, there is always a green future.

Only in this way will life in our municipality be nice, friendly, only in this way the quality of life of our citizens will be improved. Only in this way will the future of our citizens and all citizens of the European Union be bright, will it move in the right direction.

In our municipality, special attention is paid to sustainable mobility. The very development strategy of our municipality is named after the city bus of the 3G line, which in the field of using public transport with a new friendlier approach to passengers, with its more favourable and easier use meant a turn in the positive direction.

A passenger-friendly approach has also been extended to train by introducing a single ticket. Today, in addition to the bus and train station in Grosuplje, we are building a parking garage within the park & ride system, with the aim of encouraging even more of our citizens to use public transport, relieving the highway towards the capital, contributing to reducing CO2 emissions.

Because we want to breathe fresh air, drink clean water, because we respect nature and our planet. By building sidewalks, we also encourage walking and arranging cycle paths for cycling.

Among many other green projects, the development of active and green tourism has been gaining importance in our municipality especially recently. We would like to bring our natural assets and cultural sights closer to our citizens, as well as to enchant them and to impress visitors from elsewhere.

The magic and diversity of the flora and fauna can be admired throughout the Radensko Polje Landscape Park throughout the four seasons. And it is the landscaped park that is currently receiving the most attention in the field of tourism. It is the subject of two successful European projects, the first through the Interreg SI-HR program, the second through the LIFE program.

Within the framework of the projects, we will establish, among other things, the Šica Nature Conservation Centre in Radensko Polje, arrange teaching and interpretation trails, an outdoor classroom, we will also build entrances and fences that will allow amphibians to safely cross the roads during their migration, and erect information boards, observatories and a lookout tower.

In addition to all this, it is particularly important to raise awareness among our citizens and visitors about the importance of protecting our environment. We also want to raise the awareness of the importance of nature conservation among our children.

Active tourism is also well connected with green tourism, especially with the regulation of three-lane trails and walking, hiking and biking trails. We are aware that movement, recreation and sports are also an important part of a healthy lifestyle, especially in nature. We will combine this so nicely with the development of green tourism, but in the future, as a fit community, we will also focus more on the regulation of recreational and sports areas in our municipality.

The regulation of footpaths and cycle paths, at the same time, promotes walking and cycling, which in turn is part of the aforementioned promotion of sustainable mobility, which includes, in particular, walking, cycling and the use of environmentally friendly public transport. Our projects this way beautifully, intricately, pursue the same goals.

The municipality is well known for its natural beauties, which are the most attractive among them?

Slovenia is a green country and in 2016, it was also named the very first Certified Green destination in the world with the capital city Ljubljana being the European Green Capital in the same year and constantly ranking as one of the top sustainable destinations in the world.

We Slovenians love our green country. And I can claim that even more sure about citizens of our municipality. Therefore, we focus our care on maintaining natural and cultural treasures.

In our municipality, we highlight four natural and cultural sights. They are the cave of Županova Jama (Mayor’s cave), the karstic site of Radensko Polje, Tabor Cerovo and Magdalenska Gora.

Županova Jama (Mayor's Cave) is made up of seven beautiful halls. It was discovered in 1926 by the then-mayor of Šentjur, Jože Perme. The cave is 360 metres long and despite its small size, it boasts all the typical stalactites and other formations.

In addition to the stalactites, the cave-dwelling fauna is also interesting. The inhabitants of the underground world are adapted to darkness and cold conditions of the cave. Cave crickets, cave snails, cave beetles and several species of bats live here.

Radensko polje is a karst field and is classified as a Natura 2000 site. It keeps changing its image all the yearlong. Plants provide a colourful blanket in springtime later complemented by a magic natural phenomena of varying water levels and a fascinating ice armour during wintertime.

On its four-square kilometres, we can find all the phenomena typical of a karst polje. But the humid grasslands give Radensko polje their most valuable characteristics. They provide living space to numerous endangered plants and animals.

In the sensitive plant world, we can find rare types of plants such as Siberian Iris, Marsh Orchid, Marsh Gentian and others. The karstic marsh world is also a home to numerous species of animals, insects and amphibians, among which human fish (Proteus anguinus). The diversity of the polje is completed by numerous species of endangered birds and butterflies.

Tabor Cerovo is the anti-Turkish fortification, which was on the lookout ground built at the end of the 15th century. The local farmers built the walls around the little Church of St. Nicholas in order to protect themselves against the Turkish invasions of the Slovene territory.

Tabor above Cerovo is one of the few anti-Turkish fortifications that have been preserved until today. The two-level walls with numerous loopholes and three towers represent the peasant architecture of the highest level. Tabor Cerovo is one of the most important cultural-historic monuments in Slovenia.

The Magdalene mountain area was once the site of a prehistoric settlement with man-made terraces and ramparts. The long tradition of archaeological research and rich findings place the Magdalene Mountain among one of the most famous archaeological sites in Slovenia.

Among the more important objects found are bronze situlae, weapons and other military equipment, various brooches and jewellery. A decorative plate shaped as a four-sided cross decorated with horse heads inspired the coat of arms of the commune.

An archaeological path leads past the still visible remains of the Iron Age hill fort. It provides us with an insight into the lives of its ancient inhabitants.

In the last few years, in addition to the four mentioned above, the Log below the village of Cerovo has also gained its important place among the tourist attractions in our municipality, where we are invited by the beautifully ornithological - botanical circular educational path »On the track of the kingfisher«. Let me also mention, that the European footpath E6 also runs through the commune of Grosuplje.

At the same time Grosuplje has a rich cultural calendar with 3 major events every year. What is the municipality for its cultural programme this year?

It's true, as you say, there is always a lot going on in our municipality. But in particular, three major events should be highlighted throughout the year, a Cycling marathon of the three communities, a 3-day festival Autumn in Grosuplje and Hiking to the cultural heritage trail of Šmarje - Sap.

Sports and recreational event

The cycling marathon of the three municipalities takes place every first Sunday in June in the municipalities of Grosuplje, Ivančna Gorica and Dobrepolje, starting at Kolodvorska cesta in Grosuplje.

Participants can choose between four tracks of different climbs and lengths, all three are intended for better recreational athletes, whereas for mountain bikers there is a separate track and in recent years, the family cycling marathon is also a novelty. It is intended for parents with children and especially for those who like to enjoy the unspoilt nature.

For those who would also like to spend their day recreationally in nature, but prefer hiking to cycling, a guided walk to one of our natural or cultural sights is organized.

The festival called Grosuplje in autumn takes place every third weekend in September. Each year a more visited and widely known event in the city centre, where sports, cultural, tourist and other associations, organizations and entrepreneurs present themselves with their interesting stands. A rich cultural, recreational sports and active green programme accompanies this event together with a programme for children, where people are socializing with music, food and drinks. In short, this is an event, where everyone is entertained. This year will be the 10th anniversary of the event.

And later in the month of September or in October, you can hike across the Šmarje - Sap cultural heritage trail under the guidance of a professional guide in the company of many hikers. The trail is 10 km long and is fully marked, among other things; it also leads us to an important site from Iron Age above the Šmarje valley - to Magdalena Gora.

Because of the closeness to the Slovenian capital, what joint initiatives and projects are you implementing with Ljubljana?

We cooperate very well with the City of Ljubljana. Successful cooperation was already indicated in 2011 by the introduction of the 3G city line, which is the first major project of our municipality since I took up the office of mayor, and after which the development strategy of our municipality was named.

We are continuing our successful cooperation with the City of Ljubljana and with Tourism Ljubljana now also in the field of tourism. We believe that many tourists visiting our beautiful capital would also be inspired by any of the aforementioned attractions in its vicinity, in our municipality. In cooperation with Tourism Ljubljana, we would like to invite Ljubljana visitors in a friendly way with short trips to our municipality and thus enable them to get to know the beauties of our country even closer.

I should also mention that our municipality, in cooperation with the City of Ljubljana and other municipalities in the Ljubljana Urban Region, is also currently applying for the title European Capital of Culture 2025.

How can be useful to your administration?

Such a portal is certainly welcome. First of all, because it allows us to get to know the mayors of Europe in an easy way, we may notice that our views on the future development of our municipalities are similar and that we may face similar challenges.

It creates a sense of greater connection between citizens of different municipalities within the European Union, a sense of homeliness. Citizens of the European Union increasingly feel that we are one family.

At the same time, the portal is an opportunity for us to share our good practices, or maybe those with similar project ideas can also come up with something in common. And what is the most important, we together can make improvements, we together can make a Europe even a better place to live. And our Europe can be a good example to the world.

What will be the main goals you are planning to work on in the near future to make Grosuplje a better place to live in?

With well-maintained road links, kindergartens and schools, health facilities and a new modern wastewater treatment plant, our priorities now represent the arrangement of recreational and sports areas. Some of our projects planned for the future are Koščak Hill City Park, where we will arrange a trim track, picnic area, playground, dog park and other facilities. Grosuplje Sports Park - where various sports fields and a multipurpose hall will find their place. We are also planning to build a new Grosuplje Cultural Centre.

In short, we want to enable our citizens to spend even more quality leisure time, whether it be recreation, sports or various cultural contents that will pleasantly enrich our daily lives. As we said, we also want to give even more importance to the green pearls of our beautiful municipality. You know, Grosuplje goes green.

To find out more about Grosuplje, visit the profile of the municipality.



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