Dolenja vas, Slovenia

The municipality Dolenja vas with the main village of the same name consists of six individual villages and has a population 930. Politically the municipality of Krško (25,000 inhabitants) belongs to the region Srednjeposavje, lies on the left bank of the Save and is mostly wooded and rich in drinking water springs.

In the immediate vicinity is the atomic power plant Krško, that on the one hand dominates the landscape and limits the possibilities for farming, but on the other offers the population numerous jobs. Gravel excavation in the Save valley had negative effects on the landscape, left large areas that were then used as landfill sites. In the meantime there are several renaturation projects in this area, with the positive result that for example a recognized bird sanctuary has already emerged.

Dolenja vas has a very rich history. The area was already colonised by the Illyrians and Celts, attested to by several cairns from 1700 B.C. During the 2nd World War the area was occupied and many families were deported. The revitalisation of the village after the war welded the inhabitants close together; which can be seen up until today in many areas of village life.

Farming plays an important role in the landscape, the conservation of cultural heritage and the ecological balance. It is characterised by numerous small farms, some of which have specialised in fruit and wine, with low income and harvests. The efforts of the small agricultural farms that operate in harmony with nature and the landscape are supported by the actively employed population groups.

The largest employer is the atomic power plant. A regional development agency supports the creation of jobs with various projects. Examples for initiatives and arrangements to develop new job possibilities are, amongst others, a water sport and recreation facility, retraining measures – also in the direction of new self employment –, a driving skills and safety centre and the Business Park Vrbina, where more than 800 new jobs will be created.

The community spirit manifests itself in a rich cultural and social life. Especially active is the Žarek culture club which has a female choir, an amateur theatre group, a literature group and a folk song group. The culture club Libna is engaged in the conservation of traditional handcraft skills (embroidery, lace-making, painting, pottery). The knowledge of the traditions are passed on to the younger generation through the organisation of exhibitions and seminars. A modest amount of extra money can be achieved through the sale of these products.

The erection of a new multifunctional culture building with the motto „The soul seeks its path from generation to generation“ is a very important building block for the committed village community and its club life. With it the village community wants to underline that modern infrastructure should support socio-cultural development. Especially remarkable and exemplary in this connection is that the necessary investments for the construction of this culture building in the amount of 400,000 € are raised completely from the resources and work of the municipality citizens.

Being prepared to privately commit themselves to a high degree for the good of the community shows that the village community is more interested in ideals than in material goals. The conservation of the cultural and historical heritage, a caring togetherness and a transfer of knowledge and skills are at the forefront and manifest themselves in a community house that is available for all – the youth, the clubs, the old, for social and medical care and that serves as a point of contact for tourists also for addiction prevention events and educational purposes.

The village impresses especially in the social and cultural areas, where, based on a pronounced citizen commitment, measures are taken that significantly contribute to the consolidation of the village community and to the enrichment of the infrastructure dependent quality of life. For this Dolenja vas was awarded a „European Village Renewal Award for Special Achievements in multiple fields of Village Development“.