Discover the Enchanting Oasis of Zagreb: A Central European Haven for Comfort, Investment, and Rich History


Robert Eduard Antal » Urban Innovation » Urban Development Thrives in Zagreb: Key Projects & Initiatives

Contributions and Roles of Member Cities in the Eurocities Network: Focus on Zagreb, Croatia

Innovation and Sustainability

Zagreb, as a member of the Eurocities network, is committed to advancing innovation and sustainability. The city has established ambitious goals to reduce CO2 emissions, promote green technology, and foster a sustainable urban environment.

Key sustainability goals include:

  • Reducing the city’s carbon footprint through energy-efficient infrastructure.
  • Implementing renewable energy projects to decrease dependence on fossil fuels.
  • Encouraging sustainable transportation options like cycling and electric public transport.
  • Promoting green building standards in new developments and retrofits.

Smart City Initiatives

Zagreb leverages advanced technology to improve urban life through various smart city initiatives. These initiatives aim to create a cleaner, more efficient, and interconnected urban experience.

Official City Website:

Examples of Smart City Projects

  • Installation of smart sensors for air and water quality monitoring.
  • Development of intelligent traffic management systems to reduce congestion.
  • Implementation of digital healthcare platforms to enhance public health services.
  • Integration of smart lighting systems to save energy and improve public safety.

Cultural and Social Projects

Zagreb is deeply invested in cultural and social projects that foster community engagement and support vulnerable groups. These projects aim to enhance cultural vibrancy and social cohesion within the city.

Examples of Cultural and Social Initiatives

  • Hosting multicultural festivals to celebrate diversity and inclusion.
  • Creating support programs for the elderly and individuals with disabilities.
  • Offering art and music therapy workshops for mental health support.
  • Developing affordable housing projects to combat homelessness.

Urban Planning and Development

Zagreb undertakes significant urban development projects to enhance livability and address the impacts of climate change. These projects focus on creating sustainable, resilient, and dynamic urban spaces.

Examples of Urban Development Projects

  • Revitalizing public parks and green spaces to improve urban biodiversity.
  • Expanding pedestrian zones to promote walkability and reduce vehicular traffic.
  • Constructing eco-friendly residential complexes with green roofs and solar panels.
  • Developing flood management systems to protect against extreme weather events.

Youth and Education

Zagreb creates a vibrant environment for students and young professionals by investing in education and youth-oriented initiatives. These efforts aim to nurture talent, innovation, and lifelong learning.

Examples of Youth and Education Initiatives

  • Establishing technology hubs and incubators for young entrepreneurs.
  • Offering scholarships and training programs to enhance skill development.
  • Organizing internships and apprenticeship programs in collaboration with local businesses.
  • Providing recreational and educational facilities for youth engagement and development.

Benefits of Participation in Eurocities

Zagreb reaps numerous benefits from participating in the Eurocities network, including:

  • Access to a vast network of European cities for knowledge sharing and collaboration.
  • Opportunities to participate in joint projects and initiatives that drive innovation.
  • Increased visibility on the European stage, attracting investment and tourism.
  • Enhanced ability to influence EU policies and funding structures for urban development.
  • Support in achieving sustainable development goals through shared resources and expertise.

City Name

Zagreb, Croatia


Zagreb is the capital and largest city of Croatia, situated in the northwest region of the country. The city lies along the Sava River, at the southern slopes of the Medvednica mountain. Zagreb enjoys a strategic position as it connects Central Europe with the Adriatic Sea.


Zagreb has a population of approximately 790,000 inhabitants. The demographic makeup predominantly consists of ethnic Croats, but there are also communities of Serbs, Bosniaks, Slovenes, and other ethnic groups. The city is known for its diverse cultural and social fabric.

Economic Overview

The economy of Zagreb is driven by several key industries, including manufacturing, trade, information technology, and the service sector. The city is a national hub for business and finance, contributing roughly 30% to Croatia’s GDP. Major companies have their headquarters in Zagreb, and it serves as a vital economic engine for the country.

Historical Significance

Zagreb has a rich history dating back to Roman times. It gained prominence in the Middle Ages, becoming a key center of trade. The city evolved significantly under Austro-Hungarian rule, with a boom in cultural and architectural developments in the 19th century. During the 20th century, Zagreb played a significant role in the Croatian struggle for independence, becoming the capital city upon the country’s declaration of independence in 1991.

Cultural Attractions

  • Zagreb Cathedral: A historical and architectural landmark, known for its twin spires and Gothic design.
  • Museum of Broken Relationships: A unique museum that explores the theme of breakup and relationships.
  • Art Pavilion: One of the oldest and most prominent art galleries, hosting various exhibitions and events.
  • Maksimir Park: A large public park with beautiful landscapes, a zoo, and recreational facilities.
  • Zagreb Film Festival: An annual event celebrating international and Croatian cinema.

Education System

Zagreb boasts a comprehensive education system. Primary and secondary education is mandatory and free, provided by public schools. The city is home to several esteemed higher education institutions, including the University of Zagreb, the largest and oldest university in Croatia, offering a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs in various fields of study.

Transportation Infrastructure

Zagreb has an advanced transportation network. The city features an extensive public transit system comprising trams, buses, and trains operated by ZET (Zagreb Electric Tram). Franjo Tuđman Airport, located about 17 km from the city center, serves as the main international gateway. Additionally, Zagreb is well-connected to other major Croatian cities and European destinations via highways and rail connections.

Urban Development Projects

Zagreb is undergoing several urban development projects focusing on sustainability and quality of life. Major initiatives include the redevelopment of the Sava waterfront, expansion of green spaces, and investments in smart city technologies to enhance public services and energy efficiency.

Environmental Initiatives

The city has launched various environmental sustainability initiatives. Zagreb is committed to reducing carbon emissions with a target of becoming carbon-neutral by 2050. Efforts include promoting public transportation, expanding cycling lanes, implementing comprehensive waste recycling programs, and developing green infrastructure.

Quality of Living

Zagreb offers a high quality of living with an excellent healthcare system, low crime rates, and abundant public amenities. The city has numerous parks, cultural venues, and recreational facilities that contribute to a vibrant lifestyle. Healthcare is both accessible and of high quality, with several hospitals and specialized clinics located within the city.

Quality of Life Indexes

  • Livability Ranking: Zagreb often ranks highly in livability indexes due to its affordability, healthcare quality, and cultural offerings.
  • Health Index: The city has a robust healthcare system with modern medical facilities, contributing positively to its health index rating.
  • Environmental Quality Score: Efforts in sustainability and green initiatives have earned Zagreb favorable environmental quality scores in various assessments.

Profile: Mayor Tomislav Tomašević


Tomislav Tomašević

Current Position

Mayor of Zagreb, Croatia

Political Affiliation

Political Party: We Can! (Možemo!)


  • Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, University of Zagreb (2005)
  • Master’s Degree in Environment, Society, and Development, University of Cambridge (2013)

Professional Background

Before becoming mayor, Tomislav Tomašević had a substantial career marked by active engagement in local government and environmental issues. His professional trajectory includes:

  • Coordinator for Environmental Protection Programs at the Green Action (Zelena Akcija), a prominent environmental organization in Croatia.
  • Member of the Zagreb City Assembly, where he focused on urban planning, public transport, and waste management policies.
  • Work in the private sector with a focus on sustainable urban development and consultancy roles involving environmental impact assessments.

Achievements as Mayor

Since taking office, Mayor Tomislav Tomašević has led several key projects and initiatives aimed at enhancing the quality of life in Zagreb. Highlights of his achievements include:

  • Sustainability: Implemented expansive green city initiatives, including the promotion of renewable energy sources and the development of green public spaces.
  • Urban Development: Launched comprehensive urban regeneration projects, focusing on renovating historic districts and improving public infrastructure.
  • Technological Advancements: Advocated for Zagreb’s transformation into a smart city, introducing digital governance platforms to improve municipal services and citizen engagement.

Vision for the Future

Mayor Tomašević’s vision for Zagreb is centered around creating a resilient, inclusive, and technologically advanced city. His future plans include:

  • Smart City Initiatives: Expanding the use of smart technologies for efficient city management, traffic control, and public safety.
  • Environmental Sustainability: Furthering policies to reduce carbon emissions, enhance waste recycling programs, and protect urban biodiversity.
  • Community Engagement: Increasing citizen participation in decision-making processes through public consultations and e-governance tools.

Personal Life

Beyond his political duties, Tomislav Tomašević is known for his commitment to community service and environmental activism. His hobbies and interests include:

  • Outdoor activities such as hiking and cycling, reflecting his passion for nature and sustainability.
  • Active participation in local community events and environmental clean-up initiatives.
  • Engaging in urban gardening projects and supporting local food sustainability movements.

Awards and Honors

  • Recipient of the Green Ribbon Award by UNEP in recognition of his environmental activism and contributions to sustainable urban development.
  • Named one of the “Top 100 Young Leaders in Europe” by the EUYLA for his innovative leadership and impact on local governance.

Zagreb, Croatia: Quality of Life and Cost of Living

Quality of Life


Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, holds a safety index of 61.95, according to Numbeo. This places it among reasonably safe cities, where residents and visitors feel secure in their daily activities. The presence of efficient law enforcement and the general civility of its population contribute to this high sense of safety.


Healthcare in Zagreb boasts a quality index of 67.87, reflecting the availability and excellence of medical services. The city has numerous hospitals, clinics, and specialized medical institutions that provide comprehensive care. The University Hospital Centre Zagreb is one of the largest and most advanced hospitals in the region, further exemplifying the high standard of healthcare services available.


Zagreb exhibits a pollution index of 36.1, indicating a relatively low level of pollution compared to other European cities. The city authorities maintain rigorous environmental regulations, ensuring clean air and well-maintained public spaces. Efforts are continually made to improve waste management and promote green initiatives.


The transportation index for Zagreb stands at 36.5, illustrating an efficient and comprehensive public transport network. The city’s transport system includes a reliable tram network, buses, and an expanding network of bike-sharing schemes. The well-organized public transportation system facilitates easy and affordable movement across the city.


Zagreb is a significant educational hub in Croatia, hosting several notable institutions such as the University of Zagreb. Founded in 1669, it is the oldest continuously operating university in Southeastern Europe and provides high-quality education across various disciplines. The city’s numerous primary and secondary schools also maintain high educational standards, ensuring a robust foundational education for younger residents.

Cost of Living


The average monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in Zagreb’s city center is approximately €500. This relatively affordable housing cost allows a wide range of residents, including students and young professionals, to live comfortably in well-located and convenient areas.

Groceries and Dining

  • Monthly grocery costs for a single person: Approximately €160
  • Average cost for a meal at an inexpensive restaurant: Around €8

Groceries and dining out in Zagreb are quite affordable, which contributes significantly to the overall low cost of living. The local food markets and numerous eateries offer culinary options that cater to various tastes and budgets.


Utility costs for an 85m2 apartment in Zagreb average around €160 per month. This includes essential services such as electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage disposal, reflecting the city’s relatively low utility expenses.


A monthly pass for public transport costs about €40, making commuting around the city economical for residents. The extensive tram and bus network ensures that public transport is a practical option for most of the population.


  • Fitness club membership: Approximately €38/month
  • Cinema ticket: Roughly €5

Leisure activities in Zagreb are quite affordable, allowing residents to engage in various forms of entertainment and maintain an active lifestyle without high costs. The city’s cultural offerings, gyms, and entertainment venues provide ample opportunities for relaxation and recreation.

Zagreb’s Role in the Eurocities Network

As a member of the Eurocities network, Zagreb actively collaborates with other major European cities to address urban challenges and enhance the quality of life for its residents. This participation aids Zagreb in sharing best practices, innovative solutions, and sustainable development initiatives, ensuring continuous improvement in urban living standards.

In summary, Zagreb, Croatia offers a harmonious balance of high quality of life and affordable living costs. With reasonably priced housing, cost-effective groceries, moderate utility bills, inexpensive public transport, and budget-friendly entertainment, the city provides an attractive living environment. Its role in the Eurocities network underscores its commitment to urban excellence and the well-being of its residents, making it a compelling choice for both living and visiting.

Data source: Numbeo

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