Art and culture have a special place in Slovenia’s history, as in many respects they helped to compensate Slovenes for their lack of national, political and governmental institutions. It is thus understandable that even today Slovenes have a very intense relationship with their national culture. To a great extent, pride in the national culture still represents a compensation for the old lack of national sovereignty. Slovenia is probably the only country in the world which has a national holiday devoted to culture.

Books and literature

In Slovenia literature is still the most prestigious and respected form of art. The first writing in Slovene dates back to the end of the first millennium, and the Freising Manuscripts, which are actually kept at the Bavarian state library in Munich.

Special places in Slovenian literature go to Primož Trubar, who produced the first book in Slovene in 1550, and France Prešeren, whose poem A Toast is the country’s national anthem.

In 2010, Ljubljana was selected by Unesco to be the World Book Capital. In 2012, Maribor was  the European Capital of Culture.

Cultural institutions

Slovenia has a very well-developed network of cultural institutions, organisations and associations, comparable with the wealthiest and most progressive countries in Europe. There are professional opera and ballet companies in Ljubljana and Maribor, and a number of professional theatre groups. Cultural life is rich and varied at the museums, galleries and cultural centres, pride of place among which is taken by Cankarjev Dom in Ljubljana.

Cultural events

There is an exceptional range of cultural events in Slovenia to satisfy the most discerning of visitors. In the summer in particular it hosts several first-rate festivals, attracting world-renowned artists and performers.

Government support

The small size of the market means that the vast majority of artistic and cultural activities in Slovenia enjoy significant support and subsidies from the government, and funding from local authorities. The exception of course is the entertainment industry, notably pop and jazz, where the performers have to rely on their own ingenuity to earn their dues as the artists that the certainly are.

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