WordCamp Zagreb will be held September 1-3 and organizers are anticipating 300 attendees. This is the third WordCamp to be held in Croatia, following WordCamp Rijeka (2015) and WordCamp Split (2016). Although it changes cities every year, the camp is known as Croatia’s annual WordCamp.
“Having WordCamp change cities each year is quite normal for us,” WordCamp Croatia co-organizer and Zagreb meetup organizer Emanuel Blagonic said. “A lot of people from other cities travel to meetups too. Our largest meetup in Zagreb, which usually has 80+ people present and 100+ live stream viewers, usually has people attending from a 300km circle around Zagreb. People also travel to Split when there are meetups there.”
A renewed discussion on regional WordCamps is firing up on the WordPress Community team P2 blog, as the topic was discussed at the Community Summit and with recent developments in WordCamp Netherlands being reinstated and WordCamp Asia a possibility for 2019. Croatia is another example of a country where a national WordCamp might benefit the community.
WordCamp Zagreb will be a three-day event, beginning with workshops on the first day as the event has done in previous years. Organizers are planning for 12 workshops in four tracks that will be open to public registration. The main conference will be held Saturday with two tracks. Contributor Day will close out the event on Sunday, followed by a walking tour of the city.
Friday’s workshops will be held mostly in Croatian, except a few, such as WordPress Basics and Public Speaking, which will be conducted in English. All of the conference talks this year will be in English.
“Croatia is a tourist country and most of the people here speak good English, which is often used at large tech events,” Blagonic said. “With that in mind, every WordCamp so far was (mostly) in English, which means it’s quite welcoming for people outside Croatia, too (Slovenia, Austria, Italy, Germany) – and our community likes to meet new people. Unlike WordCamps, we see Meetups as strong local events so we usually have talks in Croatian there.”
Blagonic said every year so far the WordCamp has had approximately 20% of its attendees traveling from outside Croatia, as the country is relatively small with a population of 4 million. Most attendees travel to the WordCamp from other parts of Croatia.
Croatia currently has five local meetups, but only the two in Zagreb and Split have enough members to meet regularly. Blagonic said he sees the meetups as a way to help local communities grow and views the WordCamp as “a celebration of the country community.” However, he believes centralizing the larger events too much would be detrimental to growing the fledgling WordPress communities in the smaller cities.
“I’d say that in Croatia (and in the region) we have a young democracy and we still haven’t found the best way to connect with people,” Blagonic said. “For example, there are four big cities in Croatia where most of the things happen, and the tech scene is quite strong in them. If you go outside of these four hubs, a lot fewer things happen, which is a problem for people living outside. We believe that having a centralized country is bad for growing local communities (outside these areas) so with changing cities each year and with traveling to other Meetups/WordCamps we hope that we will change how people feel about it. “