For decades, people from Montenegro have been going to Germany for “temporary work”. And most often they stayed there to live. Recently, a reverse process has been taking place. Montenegro, especially Ulcinj and Bar, are increasingly interesting for Germans
Hans Fischer and his wife Gisela recently bought a house in Štoj, Ulcinj, practically on the foam of the sea. This fulfilled the dream of this married couple from Hamburg to spend their retirement days in their home, on the shores of the Mediterranean.
As they say, they decided on Ulcinj because they used to vacation here. “Life is much cheaper here, we are somehow freer, because the measures during the pandemic in Germany were much stricter.” And we bathe every day. Here and at the beginning of November, the air and sea temperatures are ideal, especially for us who come from the north of Germany”, says Hans, stating that all this looks like paradise to him.
The German travel writer Arnold von Harf claimed something like that more than five centuries ago . In 1497, he traveled from Venice to Alexandria and further to the Holy Land, on a pilgrimage, and stayed in Ulcinj for several days. From his trip, he recorded, in German orthography, 26 words, 8 phrases and the names of numbers in Albanian from 1 to 10, 100 and 1,000. This small Albanian-German dictionary was first published in 1860 in Cologne. Today, one street in Ulcinj bears the name of Arnold von Harf.
Germans were the most frequent guests in Ulcinj from the mid-seventies until the beginning of the war in the former Yugoslavia, a full 25 years. “When we say the golden age of our tourism, we mean that period marked by the Germans,” says Ulcinj chronicler and well-known tourist worker Ismet Karamanaga.
This professor of the German language points out that at that time in Ulcinj, almost all the locals knew how to communicate in German. The tradition of learning German in Ulcinj schools continues. For years, for example, Professor Thomas Kumer , who works at the Ulcinj high school “Bratstvo-jedinstvo”, has been hired by the German government in Ulcinj. Due to their excellent knowledge of the German language, many young people from Ulcinj received government scholarships in Berlin and studied in that country.
The opposite process seems to be going on now. Several young Germans were enrolled in Ulcinj schools this year. At the same time, 10 students were enrolled in the elementary school in Pečurice, in the center of Mrkojević, a fertile parish between Bar and Ulcinj. It should be noted that 12 more students from other countries, primarily from Russia and Ukraine, attend classes in that educational institution.
The majority of Germans on our coast prefer to buy ready-made houses or apartments, because they are afraid of bureaucracy and possible problems in construction in a country whose language they mostly do not know.
Probably the most deserving person for their arrival is Michael Bader , a German who has been living in Utjeha (Bušat), a beautiful bay on the way from Ulcinj to Bar, for 16 years. He has a nice house and rents apartments, which are full almost all year round. Throughout this period, Michael has been the best promoter of Montenegro on the German-speaking market of 100 million people, which, along with Germany, includes Austria, most of Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
“Last month, a 90-minute promotional film about Montenegro was broadcast on German state television. It was watched by several million people and immediately after that I received many messages from people who saw the film and decided to come to Montenegro. We have to work more in that direction”, says the popular Michael Montenegro , who adds that Ulcinj has the most potential for attracting Germans.
Germans are not only buying properties on the seashore, but also in the hinterland. They want peace and greenery, so this has led to an increase in real estate prices. “Due to the Montenegrin Law on Foreigners, about 200 Germans opened companies so that they could stay here for longer than 90 days. I think it is necessary to change that”, Bader believes.
Stating the reasons why Germans are increasingly deciding to continue their lives in Montenegro, apart from those of an economic nature, he specifically cites the corona virus pandemic. “The measures against the pandemic were much stricter in Germany than in Montenegro”, he says. “People want freedom, to not wear masks all the time, to have no big restrictions when they go to the shops. People feel as if they are in prison, and that is not the case in Montenegro. There are also the natural beauties of this country, of course”.
Although German, Bader says he feels like a Montenegrin. “I live here, I speak our language, I feel the Montenegrin language as my own, but still, I have a German passport,” said Bader, who is permanently resident in Montenegro. He considers this combination good because, as he notes, he can always go to Germany and return to Montenegro.
Among those who are particularly welcome in Ulcinj is the former German ambassador to Montenegro, Gudrun Elisabeth Steinacker. Because of her great merits for the preservation and protection of the Saltworks, the Municipal Assembly will soon make a decision to declare her an honorary citizen of Ulcinj.
Karisma will work all year round, guests are mostly Germans
After a record summer season in which more beds were requested, the doors of Azul Beach Montenegro by Karisma, a complex at the beginning of Ulcinj’s Velika plaža, will be open throughout the year for the first time.
The PR manager of this resort , Aleksandra Đakonović , says that the season is still going on and that the tourists are mostly Germans.
In addition to foreign guests, Azul Beach Montenegro by Karisma has also prepared packages for guests from neighboring countries.
Currently, about 350 tourists are staying in Azul . “Guests are very satisfied with the beauty of Ulcinj, and this beautiful weather is helping us”, says Aleksandra Đakonović, local media writes.