The Slovenian Culture

By: Thomas Pirnat, Alyssa Alimo, Bianca Kovac

Slovenian Culture 1


Throughout history, the world has seen many cultures come and go. Slovenia claimed it's independence from the Yugoslavs in 1991 followed by the Ten-Day war, where the Slovenians resisted Yugoslav military resistance.

Basic Information

To understand the Slovenian Culture, some information about Slovenia has to be seen first. Slovenia is located in Central Europe. It's capital is Ljubljana and the estimated population in June of 2007 was a couple thousand over two million. A large majority of the citizens inhabiting Slovenia are Slovenians themselves, and most of the total population prefers the Catholic religion over anything else.


Slovene or Slovenian is an Indo-European language that belongs to the family of South Slavic languages. It is spoken by approximately 2 million speakers worldwide, naturally the majority of whom live in Slovenia. Slovene is one of the few languages to have preserved the dual grammatical number from Proto-Indo-European. Also, Slovene and Slovak are the two modern Slavic languages whose names for themselves literally mean "Slavic". Slovene is one of the official languages of the European Union.


Over half the population is Roman Catholic, although there are approximately 38 religious groups officially registered within Slovenia. The Office for Religious Communities maintains a list of active religious communities. There are a large number of Evangelical Lutherans residing near the Hungarian border. Those who call themselves Catholic are very heterogeneous, with very few adhering to all the precepts of the church. In fact, the majority are quite selective in what aspects they follow and often combine their religious beliefs with secular beliefs.

Etiquette and Manners

I have composed a list of the common things considered to be polite in Slovenia. The list is below.

  • Greetings are initially quote formal and reserved.

  • When meeting someone for the first time the most common greeting a handshake and a welcoming smile.

  • It is customary to maintain eye contact during the greeting process.

  • Close friends and family may kiss twice on the cheek.

  • First names are only used among close friends and family.

  • Others are addressed using the honorific titles “Gospa” (Madam), “Gospodièna” (Miss), or “Gospod” (Sir).

  • Do not use a person’s first name until invited to do so as this is considered rude and presumptuous.

  • Slovenians exchange gifts with family and close friends at Christmas and birthdays.

  • Members of the Orthodox Church may also celebrate their Name Day (birth date of the saint after whom they are named).

  • This is a culture where it is the thought that counts so the cost of the gift is not important.

  • If invited to dinner at a Slovene house, it is considered good manners to bring flowers to the hostess and a bottle of wine to the host.

  • Gifts should be nicely wrapped; there are no real colour prohibitions.

  • Gifts are usually opened when received.

  • Arrive on time or within 5 minutes of the stipulated time as this demonstrates respect for your hosts.

  • Dress conservatively and in clothes you might wear to the office.

  • It is common to remove your shoes at the door. Most hosts will offer slippers to guests to wear.

  • Slovenians tend to separate their business and personal lives. Therefore, it is a good idea to refrain from initiating business discussions in social situations.

  • Expect to be offered some form of refreshments, even if you have not been specifically invited to a meal.

  • It is common for the host to accompany guests to their car when they leave.

  • Slovenians are somewhat reserved and may not initially appear friendly to people from informal cultures.

  • This reserve disappears rapidly once they a relationship is built.

  • Shake hands at the beginning and end of meetings. It is customary to shake hands with women first.

  • Handshakes should be firm and confident.

  • Maintain direct eye contact during the greeting.

  • Professional or academic titles are commonly used with the surname as they denote personal achievement.

  • If someone does not have a professional or academic title, use the honorific titles “Gospa” (Madam) or “Gospod” (Sir) with the surname.

  • There is an emerging trend to move quickly to the use of first names. However, it is a good idea to wait until your Slovenian colleague recommends using his/her first name.

  • Business cards are exchanged without formal ritual after introductions.

  • It is a nice touch to have one side of your card translated into Slovenian.

Na Planincah, and Polster Tanc (slovenian folk music)