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Jun 25 2021

Slovenia's Statehood Day

This state holiday is always celebrated on June 25th. In Slovenian, it is known as 'Dan državnosti'.

This holiday is Slovenia's national day and commemorates Slovenia's declaration of independence from Yugoslavia on June 25, 1991.

Meet Lieutenant Colonel  Žiga Pretnar with the Slovenian Armed Forces at SHAPE. We asked him a few questions about his country and about the Slovenia's Statehood day.

Read his answers below:



Lieutenant Colonel Žiga Pretnar

1. What do you miss most about home?

The profession of arms has to some extent conditioned us to adapt to a lifestyle of constant change, deployments, flexibility and absence from home. Having the option to be together with family here in Belgium makes the situation a lot easier. We made Belgium our home away from home. Nevertheless, coming from the Alps, I must confess I do miss the mountains, hills and valleys from the Homeland.

2. What have you found rewarding about working in such a multinational environment as SHAPE?
As I have been very fortunate and have had many opportunities to work, learn, and immerse myself in international military environments before, I must say that SHAPE provides a unique opportunity to experience Allied strategic Headquarters at its best. As any large international organization, I found SHAPE focuses on three key elements – the mission, the established procedures and, most importantly, the people who make the organisation. It is not only our common goals and values that unite us, it is the critical and creative thinking applied to our different opinions, perspectives and approaches that make us stronger. Indeed - stronger together. The relationships built here at SHAPE will stretch over miles and last for years to come.

3. What is something unique about Slovenia that others might not know?

Despite its small size, Slovenia´s diverse topography boasts with Alpine mountain ranges, vast Panonian and Danubian lowlands and hills, Wine-rich karstic regions, and a Mediterranean coastline. Add a rich history, friendly and warm people, and you have yourself a fairytale-like country! One historically interesting fact is the World´s oldest wooden wheel, discovered near the capital Ljubljana, which dates over 5150 years ago. Slovenia also boasts as one of the most forested, biodiverse and environmentally friendly countries.

4. During normal non COVID times how would you usually celebrate this national day?

I have to point out, 2021 marks a very special anniversary for all Slovenians – the 30th anniversary of our independence, celebrated on Statehood day on June 25th. As the memories of independence and the war, which followed, are still very much alive and present, various commemorations and events are organized in cities and towns around the country, the main event being held in the capital Ljubljana. Most people take this opportunity to spend time with family and friends, honor the veterans, enjoy nature and celebrate the fact that we have our own place on the sunny side of the Alps. I plan on doing the same here in Belgium, regardless of the weather.

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