A society on the sunny side of the Alps

Art and culture hold a special place in Slovenian everyday life. Photo: Primož Lavre

Slovenia occupies an exceptional position at the meeting point of the Alps and Mediterranean and includes the mysterious Karst and expansive Pannonian plains.

The Republic of Slovenia is a parliamentary democracy. It is a social state. The official language is Slovenian. In bilingual areas, that is in municipalities with the Italian and Hungarian ethnic minorities, Italian and Hungarian, respectively, are also official languages.

Slovenia has a population of two million people.

Urban areas and the countryside

The river bank in the old part of Ljubljana. Photo: UKOM archive

Just over a third of people live in urban areas with a population of over 10,000, while the remainder live in the countryside. Since Slovenia does not have an urban metropolis, it is safe to say that almost all its inhabitants live a mere stone’s throw from a meadow or a forest, so that they can enjoy the advantages of both rural and city life.

The majority of Slovenes live in their own flats or houses. In general, households are not big. However, there is a shortage of flats intended for young families, while property prices (particularly in Ljubljana) have surged.

The people of Slovenia have a right to their own religious beliefs. As the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia states that nobody is obliged to declare their religious or other beliefs, there are no exact figures on numbers within various religious groups.

Social security and health care

Slovenes have always loved walking for exercise. Photo: UKOM archive

The state ensures the functioning of social care institutes, creates the conditions for private social work activities, and stimulates and supports the development of self-help, charity work, programmes enabling a more independent life for the disabled, and voluntary work.

Health care system  includes a number of measures aimed at improving general public health, promoting preventive medicine, the early discovery of diseases, the care and rehabilitation of the sick and injured, and regulating the rights relating to compulsory and voluntary health insurance, which ensures social security in case of illness, injury, childbirth or death.

Free time and recreation

Slovenes want to stay fit, and out of all outdoor activities, walking is the easiest to organise, so it is very popular. Every Slovenian town has its ‘home summit’, which is usually a small mountain, popular with the locals, who climb it in great numbers at weekends.

Hiking and mountaineering are also popular.