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Osijek

Osijek

Osijek, located in the Pannonian basin, represents the fourth largest city in Croatia and the largest in the Eastern part of the country. As the administrative centre for the Osijek-Baranja County, Osijek is also the economic and cultural centre of the historic region Slavonia.

The history of the city is well presented by its historic remains and architectural monuments. Osijek is a settlement dating back to the Roman times when the military camp and the civil settlement Mursa was formed, the remains of which were found and preserved in and under the buildings of the newly constructed university campus in the Lower Town. Middle ages are represented by the Fortress located on the banks of river Drava, while the city centre has a beautiful baroque character. Possible minefields in agricultural, forest and wetland areas around the city represent a warning of the still present problem.

The population of the city is 108.048 (2011). Just like all around Croatia, in Osijek too the number of the population is slightly shrinking, primarily due to young people moving to West-European countries. According to current estimations/forecast about 30.000 people are expected to leave the county within the next ten years. The pulling / brain draining effect of the capital city Zagreb (220 km) is negligible in the border region.
Osijek has traditionally been a university city, higher education facilities dating back 300 years ago. Currently 18.000 students attend the 20 faculties of the Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek.
Osijek used to be one of the strongest industrial centres of Croatia in the 19th and 20th century. Nowadays it is behind the Croatian average. The Economic Development Strategy of the City of Osijek, builds on the asset of human capital, newly graduating university students, when defining a shift from the most represented activities such as processing, construction and chemical industry towards the intelligent city concept. In the period 2008-2013 the number of computer programming companies increased by 48% in Osijek-Baranja County. (Statistical data is collected on county level.)

As the city is located in a fertile area, agriculture is also significant, despite the lack of a comprehensive national agricultural policy. Slavonia used to be called the bread basket of former Yugoslavia.

However, the unemployment rate is high (no exact figure is known as data is collected on county level) and investment in the city and the surrounding area is low. The main focus of the Municipality in terms of social security and inclusion are the marginalised groups, such as young unemployed, low income (elderly and retired) and disabled people.

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