Come and visit Ozalj - a small town with rich history and hardworking people proud of their heritage
Interview with Gordana Lipšinić, Mayor of Ozalj in Croatia
- 2020. november 17., kedd, 10:30
- Monika Dimitrova
Gordana Lipšinić was born on 18 March 1960. She holds a Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Zagreb. Since 2013, she has served as the mayor of Ozalj.
Ozalj is a town in central Croatia, situated on Kupa River. Photo by Ozalj Municipality
Mayor Lipšinić, please present Ozalj to our audience in a few sentences.
The Town of Ozalj, with its area of 179.4 km2 and around 8000 inhabitants, is located in the central part of Croatia - along the middle stretch of Kupa river. It is characterized by it interesting geographical features, such as the southern spurs of the Žumberak mountains, the gentle hills in the wine area of Vivodina and Vrhovac, the wide and fertile Kupa valley, and the Vodenica (537 m) and Sv. Gera (1178 m) heights. A small town but with a rich history and great importance for Croatian culture.
It is inhabited by hardworking people, proud of their heritage (both cultural and natural) and who are also friendly hosts. We invite you all to come and visit Ozalj, the next time you are in Croatia!
Slovenia is located only few kilometers away from Ozalj. Have you ever had common projects with some of the Slovenian municipalities?
Sure, there is a long tradition and many cross-connections with the Slovenian people. Strong connections with the town of Metlika and various business and cultural projects made our nearest neighbors (the Slovenian region Bela Krajina is 17 km from here) a very natural and trustworthy partner.
So far, we have had 2 Interreg projects and I am looking forward to the next one - it is always a great experience to work with good friends. Our services (from fire departments to libraries) are so close and we are just waiting for the Schengen entry to make this collaboration even bigger and stronger.
Croatia has been a member of the EU for only a few years, but your municipality has already managed to implement some successful EU funded projects. How have they improved the quality of life here?
There are several great projects which make me very proud. Our territory is big (180 km2) and it is not so easy to manage and fulfill all expectations, but with EU-funded projects and networking it becomes so much easier.
We are one of the few small cities in this region to have a complete drainage system and aquathon. Our zoning and entrepreneurial infrastructure are officially the best in our county and one of the best in Croatia. We are proud of our small companies and craftsmen. Ozalj has a really low rate of unemployment, thanks to a really healthy economy. Thanks to these big projects the quality of life in rural areas has gotten better - they have helped to stop negative demographic trends.
Please tell us about the most important social initiatives of the municipality in recent years.
I would like to underline a few of these. For 2 years, Ozalj was the municipality in Croatia counting with the biggest support for agriculture (per capita, for family farms).
We have enriched child care since 2017. In fact, we got the title “Ozalj – friendly to children”, thanks to the various activities and engagements focused on kids, that had been organized.
Third, we have had a great collaboration with Red Cross Ozalj, implementing programmes for older people from rural areas (such as, daily activities, food and transportation to the hospital). Finally, I am also very proud of the project to show support for talented pupils and students.
What are your thoughts on TheMayor.EU portal as a unifying platform for Europe’s municipalities and how can it be useful to you and your citizens?
Great, in the first place – we need to create more platforms and present more information about our activities and plans (there is a similar portal in Croatia, with great results and impact). It can be a useful tool for participation and inclusion for all our citizens. Additionally, we would like to communicate with people abroad who have roots in our town, the younger generations and the diaspora. I would like to thank you for this opportunity and I sincerely hope that this is not our last collaboration.
What are the main goals that you are planning to work on in the near future to make Ozalj a better place to live in?
First, we need to finish several important infrastructural projects – in the first place creating a business zone, as well as to stimulate the development of ecologically acceptable technologies. Another priority is also fostering “investments” in young educated people (in the form of scholarships and various grants) in order to keep them in our region and to attract young families who would like to come and live in Ozalj (for example, digital nomads and others).
We are aware of the need to proceed with the development of our tourism potential, what with the amazing nature, perfect location, and proximity to airports and highways that we have… I will try to find a way to design a successful scenario in which small family farms will play a bigger role in the provision of local food, healthy environment and networking.
To find out more about Ozalj, visit the profile of the municipality.
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