Koprivnica – Croatian industrial base
Historians say that the people of Koprivnica inhabited the area between the river Drava in the north and the slopes of Bilogora in the south since the 13th century. However, the official town history began somewhat later, on November 4th 1356, when Ludwig I of the Anjou dynasty, by his royal grace, declared Koprivnica a free royal town and marked this occasion by claiming the annual tax of 40 silver marks from its inhabitants. Since the mid 90’s of last century, this date is officially celebrated as the Day of the city.
Koprivnica is situated near the Croatian-Hungarian border, only about two hundred kilometers by air from the old European centres such as Vienna and Budapest and only 90 kilometers by car from the state capital of Zagreb. Koprivnica is the center of the fertile Podravina region and the seat of the world-famous food company Podravka. It is also an important traffic hub due to the railway corridor Budapest – Rijeka and the road connecting Vienna – Osijek as well as the administrative, economic, sports and cultural centre of the Koprivnica-Križevci county.
This is an urban north Croatian jewel with unique main square and a 36,000m² park in the middle of the city, which never fails to impress visitors. With its 32 000 inhabitants, Koprivnica counts among smaller Croatian county centres, but due to strong industry – food company Podravka and its pharmaceutical company Belupo, the Carlsberg brewery, and factories Hartmann Croatia and Bilokalnik (paper packaging industry) – it is a top Croatian economic force.
Koprivnica played an important role in the civil war from 1991 to 1995, when Croatia won its independence. Many of its inhabitants were directly involved in the battles for Croatian liberation, and the strongest Croatian food company Podravka, literally fed the victorious Croatian Army in those years.
Podravka directly influences the town’s image, along with its most famous product- Vegeta- a spice mix which is sold in over 50 countries and has become word -renowned.. The food company generously fills the city, county and government budget, employs about 7,000 workers and it is involved in every aspect of life in Koprivnica.
The centre of Podravina region is also famous for its biggest naïve art, cuisine and folklore fair in Croatia. The traditional summer event called ‘Podravski motivi’ is an opportunity to present to tourists the famous Hlebine school of painting that has produced world-famous naive art. Podravina’s naïve art was made known all over the world by the acclaimed founders of this art movement such as Krsto Hegedušić, Ivan Generalić, Mijo Kovačić, Ivan Večenaj, Joža Generalić and other master artists.