The Republic of Croatia is a sovereign state since 1991. Since the new Croatian Constitution in 1990, Croatia is a parliamentary democracy. The country is candidate for the European Union, the connection is scheduled for July 1, 2013. The currency is the Kuna (HRK). A Kuna is one hundred Lipa. The price level is lower than in the Netherlands. There is no time difference in Croatia with the Netherlands. The extension number of Croatia is 385. The plugs and voltage (220 volts) are the same as in the Netherlands. The crime figures are much lower in Croatia than in the Netherlands, although it is always wise looking after your stuff.
The Croatian culture is rich with diversity and influences. The culture is divided into a Central European and Mediterranean culture and also features Balkans. The fountain pen, the parachute and the necktie (cravat) were invented in Croatia. The country has a long artistic, literary, musical and culinary tradition. One of the most important national symbols is šahovnica, the red and white checkerboard, which can be found in the flag and coat of arms of Croatia. The Croatian cuisine has Ottoman, Italian and Slovenian influences.
Croatia is a sunny country with different climates. The area near the Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik, Split and the popular holiday region Istria enjoys a Mediterranean climate with sunny, warm, dry summers and mild winters.The inland is mountainous, higher up the mountains it is colder in summer and in winter it freezes and there is sometimes a light snow. The inland has a continental climate, with dry, hot summers and cold and wet winters.
The Croatian landscape is diverse with grasslands, lakes, hills,, a beautiful rocky coastline along the Adriatic Sea and has numerous islands. The azure blue sea and beautiful coastline makes the country increasingly popular with tourists. The country is about as large as the Netherlands and Belgium together. The most famous is the Drava river, a tributary of the Donau. Off the coast are 1,185 islands, of which 66 are inhabited. The largest islands are Krk (with a bridge to the mainland) and Cres. At some places there are still mines, these are always well marked, but it is not advisable to walk off the paths.
The traffic in Croatia does not differ very much with that of the Netherlands. One can not make phone calls while driving and one should not drink alcohol in traffic. The speed limit is 50 km within the urban area and 90 km beyond. On the highway it is 130 km. The most frequently used airports are Split, Zagreb and Dubrovnik and in the summer also Pula and Zada. The flight time from Brussels to Amsterdam and Croatia is 2 hours average. The ferry between the islands is maintained by the company Jadrolinija.
The official language is Croatian, written in Latin letters. In the province of Istria is also the Italian language recognized. Croatian is a South Slavic language closely related to the Bosnian, Serbian and Montenegrin language. Many Croatians speak German well.
Croatia has constitutional freedom of religion. The majority (87.83%) is Catholic, there are Orthodox and Muslim minorities. When visiting monasteries and churches, it is necessary to wear appropriate clothing, shorts or short skirts are not appreciated.
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