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Varaždin Is a Part of Creative Cities Network

The UNESCO Creative Cities Network aims to boost collaboration with cities recognizing creativity as a key driver for sustainable growth. It was founded in 2004 and now, in 2023 – Varaždin came to its list! 

We cannot be more proud! 

Varaždin proudly earned the distinction of being Croatia’s first UNESCO Creative City in music, joining a global network of over 350 creative cities. 

Varaždin 6 Creative Cities Network

Varaždin’s Mayor, Neven Bosilj, expressed his pride in the city’s achievement as the first UNESCO City of Music in Croatia. He credited a dedicated team led by the Varaždin Tourism Board and the Music School. They are known for nurturing some of Croatia’s most renowned musicians. With its Varaždin Baroque Evenings and local artisans crafting musical instruments, Varaždin’s musical heritage shines. 

Rut Carek, the secretary-general of the Croatian Commission for UNESCO at the Culture and Media Ministry, extended congratulations. She sees potential for other Croatian cities to follow Varaždin’s footsteps in becoming UNESCO creative cities

Creative Cities Network
Source: Varaždinske barokne večeri (

Creative Cities Network

The UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) was established in 2004. It was started with the goal of uniting cities that view creativity as a driving force for improving their communities. The cities in this network have a common goal. They want to make creativity and cultural stuff a big part of their city’s growth, both locally and around the world. 

When a city joins this network, it promises to share its cool ideas and work with others in the city and from outside. They do this to: 

  • Make more cultural things and share them with everyone.
  • Create places where people can be creative and come up with new stuff, and give more chances to people in the cultural world.
  • Let everyone join in on cultural activities, especially people who might not always get the chance.
  • Make culture and creativity part of their plans for making the city better

This network has seven areas of creativity: Crafts and Folk Art, Media Arts, Film, Design, Gastronomy, Literature, and Music. 

Varaždin Baroque Evenings

Back in 1968, the idea for a festival that would celebrate Varaždin’s rich cultural, musical, and educational history, especially in music, was born. This was during the Music School Varaždin’s 140th anniversary. For nearly half a century, the sounds of Baroque music have resonated through the streets of Croatia’s baroque capital and former capital city. 

Varaždin Is a Part of C
Source: Varaždinske barokne večeri (

The Varaždin Baroque Evenings (VBE) takes place in the fall. Primarily in churches and grand buildings, but it’s not confined to Varaždin alone. The festival outgrew the city limits in 1971 when it expanded from a three-day event. Today, it’s a two-week extravaganza featuring thirty concerts performed by hundreds of musicians from around the world. Nearly ten thousand people, coming from all corners of the globe, gather to enjoy the music. 

This festival has earned a reputation as a world-renowned celebration of early music, recognized not only in Europe but across the planet. It’s a remarkable showcase of culture and history that brings joy to Varaždin year after year. 

Varaždin Vocal Ensemble and Varaždin Chamber Orchestra

Varaždin Vocal Ensemble is a group that sings without any fancy instruments, just their voices. They sing mostly pop and jazz songs, but they can tackle any style you throw at them. In their shows, they make their voices sound like all sorts of instruments, and each member gets a turn in the spotlight. 

What makes them stand out even more is that they sing into microphones, which needs some serious skill. This makes VVE one-of-a-kind in Varaždin and beyond. The group was started thanks to Janja Knapić Omranloo and Milad Omranloo, who’s also the head of the group. They’ve got around 15 members right now. Milad and Janja’s goal is to make VVA known for their amazing music and their unique style. Not just in Croatia but all over the world. They’re on the fast track to being one of Varaždin and Croatia’s star music groups. 

rt of Creative Cities Network 2
Source: Varaždinske barokne večeri (

Now, the Varaždin Chamber Orchestra keeps a really long tradition of playing sweet chamber and orchestral music in Varaždin. The orchestra’s main gig is playing five brand-new concerts in the Croatian National Theater in Varaždin. They’re also a regular act at the Varaždin Baroque Evenings. You can catch them jamming all over Croatia, from Zagreb to Dubrovnik and even in other countries like Slovenia, Germany, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

What’s kind of cool is that they don’t always need a conductor – they focus on playing awesome music. Sometimes, they team up with famous conductors like Pavle Dešpalj, Milan Horvat, and more. Besides their main concertmaster, they also bring in guest concertmasters from time to time, like Leon Spierer, Catherine Mackintosh, and many others.  

Varaždin Deserves to Be a Part of Creative Cities Network

Music festivals like the Varaždin Baroque Evenings and unique ensembles such as VVE showcase the extraordinary cultural richness. These events and talents contribute to the city’s distinction as a UNESCO Creative City in music. The recognition highlights the vital role of music in shaping the cultural identity of Varaždin. It reinforces the city’s position as a global cultural hub. 

Creative Cities Network
Varaždin Castle

Come and experience the harmonious magic of Varaždin’s music festivals. Here, the past and present unite in symphonic celebration. Join us in celebrating music, culture, and creativity in our beloved city! 

Your CTC Team

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