Last updated in March 2017
Relations between Germany and Croatia are very close. An important element in relations is the large number of Croats currently living in Germany (more than 260,000) and the former guest workers who have since returned to Croatia. In addition, over two million German tourists visit Croatia every year. The two countries also enjoy close relations in the economic sphere and in science and technology.
There are regular mutual visits by politicians, the most recent being the visit by Croatian Prime Minister Plenković to Germany on 12 December 2016 and Foreign Minister Stier’s visit to Berlin on 14 December 2016. Former Foreign Minister Steinmeier had previously visited Croatia on 30 April 2015. Croatia’s President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović paid an official visit to Berlin in March 2015.
The Mixed Croatia-Bavaria and Croatia-Baden-Württemberg Commissions meet regularly. Mutual visits by members of the German Bundestag, the Minister-Presidents of the German Länder (federal states) and their parliaments and Croatian members of parliament as well as regular contacts between civil servants, business representatives, scientists, academics, students and interested individuals ensure a lively exchange at all levels. Germany continues to assist Croatia after its accession to the European Union through numerous projects designed to strengthen market-based economic structures, modernise the country’s administration, reform the judiciary and promote energy efficiency and renewable energy. This support is provided mainly in the form of advisory and training measures, conducting studies and organising visits and placements for Croatian civil servants, business staff and other experts in Germany. In the past, humanitarian aid measures were also conducted with German support. These included repairing houses destroyed in the war, mending and modernising infrastructure and clearing mines.
Economic relations are extremely close. Germany is Croatia’s principal trading partner, followed by Italy, Slovenia and Austria. Among foreign direct investors in Croatia, Germany ranks third, after the Netherlands and Austria. In addition to major investments by German businesses including DAX-listed companies, numerous small and medium-sized German companies have set up subsidiaries in Croatia. With more than 2 million German tourists visiting Croatia each year they make up the largest group of foreign visitors. In 2016 the number of German tourists increased by 7.2 percent compared with the previous year.
A reciprocal investment protection agreement entered into force in August 2000 and a double taxation accord in December 2006.
The German-Croatian Chamber of Industry and Commerce, which has more than 380 registered member companies, has been operating in Croatia since 2003. Germany Trade & Invest likewise has an office in Zagreb.
Bilateral cultural cooperation is based on the German-Croatian Cultural Agreement of 26 August 1994, which entered into force on 23 January 1998. Priority areas of cooperation are promoting mobility in science and higher education and maintaining and strengthening the prominent role of the German language in the Croatian education system (almost 30 percent of all students at Croatia’s schools learn German as their first or second foreign language). The principal cultural intermediaries active in Croatia are the Goethe-Institut, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Central Agency for Schools Abroad (ZfA) with a coordinator for the German Language Certificate (DSD) and a further eight programme teachers at Croatian grammar schools.
The German International School in Zagreb (DISZ) was founded in 2004. It provides instruction from kindergarten age up to the German university entrance examinations (Abitur) and cooperates closely with the French School in Zagreb on the Eurocampus.
This text is intended as a source of basic information. It is regularly updated. No liability can be accepted for the accuracy or completeness of its contents.