Europe in My Region

The heart of Croatia is its vast lowland of Slavonia and it is in Slavonia, more precisely in Virovitica, the heart of Virovitica-Podravina County, where the “Pannonian wood competence centre” is emerging as the heart of the timber and wood-processing industry in Croatia. When so much heart is intertwined throughout the project it is clear how much… love there is in it.

This is a repost of Panonsko srce drvne industrije, originally published by Mirjana Kozic (@mkjana, LinkedIn), and submitted to the Europe in My Region 2016 blogging competition.

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Virovitica-Podravina County unveiled the project for the first time in 2014 and is, just as I write this, nearing completion. The “Pannonian wood competence centre” is among the first projects to be completed using European Structural and Investment Funds, European Regional Development Fund, as part of the 4th call under SHAPE (Scheme for allocating grants for business infrastructure), Operational Programme “Regional competitiveness 2007-2013”.

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99% of the “Pannonian wood competence centre” project value is co-financed by the European Union and the difference of 1% is financed by Virovitica-Podravina County.

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Stimulating and improving industrial production in this part of Croatia is no mean achievement nor a new for that matter because Virovitica-Podravina County knows what it is doing. They have proven this time and time again in a magnitude of ways. One example being the provision of constant quality support to industrial sectors that play an important role in this County – the timber and wood-processing industry, tile production, agricultural production…

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And when it comes to both people and the industry it is important; maybe even most important? to recognise potential. Recognition of the potential of the timber and wood-processing industry in Virovitica-Podravina County resulted in the creation of the Centre, which will provide comprehensive support to the timber and wood-processing sector in the County, Croatia, as well as in the region, in all phases of the development of finished wood products… with an emphasis on innovation.

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When it opens its doors, at the end of the year, the Centre will have a fully functional production plant and a professional photo studio, laboratory for testing furniture and professional staff. Making a particular contribution to the aforementioned improvement of the industry in the County will be the multifunctional presentation and meeting area, research and development, office space, parking spaces covered with solar panels… and all within the easy on the eye, but functional “Pannonian wood competence centre” complex.

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But, that’s not all 🙂 Scientific partners, the Faculty of Forestry and Ruđer Bošković Institute will upgrade their laboratories through the project with equipment that will allow for research and development into new wood products and products for wood… coatings, glues, textiles, structures… Hang on, we’re not done yet 🙂 The cherry on top of the whole project will see cooperation with product designers in the Centre’s innovation factory where any creative idea could come to life as a prototype of a new wood product.

In doing so, through all the activities and possibilities of the “Pannonian wood competence centre”, industrial production in Croatia will get a new lease of life in terms of stimulation, new perspectives and a new outlook on the future in general. Research, development, new markets, new products… bound in one continual story and in the end “crowned” with a decorative ribbon of marketing and promotion are giving a new life, a renewed hope to industrial products from Croatia, industrial products from its alluring Slavonia region… its quality wood, special tiles, exotic sweet potatoes, traditional tea…

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For further information about the project and the Centre visit the official Virovitica-Podravina County wood cluster website www.viridis.hr, as well as the Agency for Regional Development of Virovitica-Podravina County website http://ravidra.hr and Virovitica-Podravina County website www.vpz.hr.

I would like to thank them for the beautiful photographs used to showcase the “Pannonian wood competence centre” in this article, and until the centre opens its doors in September, we can also follow this intriguing and heart-warming story about Slavonian-style wood via social media www.facebook.com/drvni.centar. And the logo is great, isn’t it?

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Wood is our most intimate contact with nature.

George Nakashima, architect and wood worker www.nakashimawoodworker.com

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