Pimp My Pump: Bringing Art to Zagreb’s Public Drinking Water

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Photo credit Zeljko Rus
Photo credit Zeljko Rus

A few months ago, I read an article about a journalist in his 50s who decided to try and live for a week without the Internet and return to the communications era of his youth. He spent an illuminating but very frustrating week in London trying to get through the basics of his day without resorting to going online. 

One of the observations which stayed with me from his article was his experience of walking the streets of London. Every other pedestrian, he noted, was looking down into their phones as they walked, while the journalist was looking up at the street signs to check he was going the right way. And not just the street signs. Walking around the city without the distraction of the smartphone in hand, he was able to view the city as he had not done in years, and admire all its beauty. 

Zagreb due to the pandemic is a little like that these days. Take yourself out of your phone and look around the city as you walk. The Zagreb Tourist Board has placed a strong emphasis on oudoor activities and the city’s parks, lakes and open spaces. The Around Zagreb initiative with the Zagreb County Tourist Board has been an unqualified success, opening up the city’s tourism offer to a diverse range of additional options.

Watch out as you wander the streets of the city, and see if you can spot some of the quirky art projects around the Croatian capital. As previously reported early this year, Street Triptych and Little Zagreb were new additions to the Zagreb scene (check out the videos above and below), and since May 31, there is a new addition to look out for, focusing o sustainability and an important source of life itself. Drinking water.

Is the water safe to drink? 

One of the most common questions asked on holiday in a strange country. The answer in Croatia, of course, is an emphatic yes. The drinking water in Croatia has always been excellent, and many tourists do not realise that you can drink the water from the fountains and city pumps. Rather than buying plastic bottle after plastic bottle, a little education can encourage a little more sustainability, replenishing an empty plastic water bottle, rather than tossing it aside and buying another. 

In order to highlight this, Zagreb has unveiled the Pimp My Pump initiative, merging its world-famous street art with a very sustainable message, while highlighting the availability of public drinking water all over the city. 


In cooperation with the Pimp My Pump Association, some 20 public water pumps (known locally as Iron Franceks (Željezni Franceki in Croatian) have been given a colourful makeover and a lot more visibility. Each pump is themed, some with local personalities, some with more of a global appeal, and each with their own individual story which you can learn via a QR code.

Looking to entertain the kids while delivering a message of sustainability? There are 20 pumps in all, dotted all around the centre, a rather unique way to entertain the little ones while you stroll around the Zagreb Great Outdoors. 


The pumps are located close to several of Zagreb’s major tourist attractions, and if you wanted to enjoy the magic and tranquillity of Bundek Park, for example, there are five pumps to be found there alone. A great way for the kids to run around and burn all that energy, only to be looking for water to quench their ensuing thirst. And where better to do that that with fresh drinking water dispersed by the likes of Homer Simpson into a reusable plastic bottle?

You can get more information about the project, as well as download a PDF of the map above from the official tourism board website.

For the latest news about Zagreb, click here.


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