Could less be more for Advent in Zagreb this year? This year’s five-week-long Advent celebrations in the capital are set to have a smaller offer and less ”cottages” in order to reduce consumerism and improve the overall quality of what is on offer.
As Marta Duic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 11th of November, 2018, at the presentation of this year’s Advent in Zagreb, which has held the title of the best in Europe for three years now, it has been announced that the emphasis of the event, which will last from the 1st of December to the 6th of January, will be placed more onto cultural events in order to reduce the atmosphere of consumerism and restore the true Christmas spirit.
The novelties this year will be the city’s various locations, Advent in Maksimir, Advent on Old Tkalča, where traditional crafts will go hand in hand with the spirit of some of Zagreb’s oldest townhouses in Gradec and Kaptol, and the ”Film Advent” in Kino Europa will be presented. As they say from the Zagreb Tourist Board this year, there will be three locations less than last year, and although they couldn’t precisely quantify the number, there will be a decrease in cottages in the city.
During last year’s Advent, 110,707 people spent up to half a billion kuna in Zagreb alone, with most of them spening as much as 139 euros per day, the number of overnight stays and arrivals was also 23 percent higher in the first thirty days of Advent in Zagreb than in 2016. Poslovni Dnevnik asked those who earn their money during Advent in Zagreb what they think about reducing the number of cottages, but it seems that everyone involved understands the good intentions of the organisers, as they themselves think the crowds are by far the biggest problem.
Saša Frid, who for three years at Advent in Zagreb recalls that the sheer wave of people is what is causing “chaos” for those working, and most of those with stands and/or cottages simply cannot produce the right quantities to meet the wishes of all of those visiting.
“The first three weekends are a real hit, and only when that crowd goes down is there any room to improve the offer, since it was physically impossible and technically hard to do before then. It would be great to have as few industrial and as many domestic products as possible, but I think it will be difficult to change all of that because to most, Advent still looks like a chance just to make money,” noted Frid.
Matej Đorđević, co-owner of the Time restaurant, who will also take part in Advent in Zagreb this year, argues that the problem is not really to do with stands or Advent cottages, but the fact that this event in Zagreb brings “a sea” of people into Zagreb from all over Croatia and Europe.
“Our city is simply incapable of dealing with such a massive inflow of people and it’s therefore necessary that the city infrastructure itself is gradually adapted. However, the fact remains that Advent in Zagreb has ”made” the city (in touristic terms) and that’s an immense tourist achievement for this city, for which the leadership of the Zagreb Tourist Board is the most deserving,” stated Đorđević.