Golf Park Dubrovnik, Croatia

The opposition to the proposed luxury golf course resort on the hill of Srđ overlooking the UNESCO town Dubrovnik resulted in the Citizens’ Initiative "Srđ is Ours" that became symbol of the resistance to mismanagement in spatial policy.

The Golf Park Dubrovnik is a one billion-plus euro real-estate international project, which was revealed in 2006. To date, it represents the Croatia’s largest greenfield investment. The project is in line with the Croatian government’s plan to boost the national economy through large investments in tourism and it is one among about 90 proposed golf course developments in Croatia. The company Razvoj Golf owned by Israeli businessman Aaron Frenkel was granted by City of Dubrovnik with concession for the period of 30 years. The project was supported by Australian golfing legend Greg Norman. The project plan includes building of a massive luxury golfing complex on the plateau of Srđ, up on the hillside – above the UNESCO World Heritage Site – The historic city of Dubrovnik. The project has been held up by legal wrangling since the beginning. The citizens' initiative “Srđ is ours”and the NGOs Friends of the Earth Croatia and Zelena Akcija (Green Action) strongly opposed the project because they think that building of the golf field, luxury villas, apartments and hotels would ruin the historical landscape and identity of the city and would negatively impact the local environmental. The Croatian Architects Association (UHA) also supported the cause. The local authority representatives, however, argue that the project will bring new employment to locals and prolong the tourist season, denying accusations of corruption. The referendum of the project was held in April 2013 on the demand of the opponents. Even though, 85 % of Dubrovnik citizens were against of the project, the referendum failed because turnout was only 30 %, well below the 50 % required for it to be valid. In October 2011 a 3 year campaign was launched by the environmental organisation Friends of the Earth Croatia and Zelena Akcija in which they argued that the proposed legislation in relation to development of golf course across Croatia was unconstitutional. In March 2014 Zelena Akcija held a demonstration outside the Croatian parliament. Given that Dubrovnik is a World Heritage site, the project opponents consulted UNESCO.  Despite strong opposition by the NGO sector, the forest law was changed in July 2014 to define golf parks and camping sites as ‘a forests with special purpose’, allow for converting degraded forests to the land for other purposes, and shorten the administrative procedures to dispose of state-owned land to attract new investors. A small victory for the opponents represented the fact that in December 2014 the High Administrative Court cancelled amendments to the Dubrovnik-Neretva county Spatial Plan from 2006. However, the supporters of the project consider that the effect of such judgment is limited to the changes made in 2006 and does not impact on changes that took place afterwards, including the one to triple the size of golf park. Besides, in April 2016 UNESCO in its official finding suggested that project will not harm the protected historical heritage of Dubrovnik. The company Razvoj Golf secured first of many necessary permits for the development of the Golf Park Dubrovnik project in October 2015. The construction work is expected to start in September 2016.  
Basic Data
NameGolf Park Dubrovnik, Croatia
ProvinceDubrovnik-Neretva County
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Tourism Recreation
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Tourism facilities (ski resorts, hotels, marinas)
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific CommoditiesLand
Tourism services
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsIt is assumed by project opponents that the project will turn one third of Dubrovnik public space into a private development. The plan is to build 240 villas, 400 apartments and 2 hotels.
Project Area (in hectares)310
Level of Investment (in USD)1,353,000,000
Type of PopulationUrban
Potential Affected Population40,000
Start Date2006
Company Names or State EnterprisesIsraeli businessman Aaron Frenkel from Israel - Investor
Australian golfing legend Greg Norman from Australia - Investor
Loyds investment corporation from United Kingdom - Investor
Razvoj Golf doo from Croatia - Holds a location permit for the development of the Golf Park Dubrovnik project
Relevant government actorsThe Government of the Republic of Croatia; The City of Dubrovnik; The Dubrovnik-Neretva County; The Ministry of Environment and Nature Protection of the Republic of Croatia
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersGreen Action; Local citizen initiative ‘Srđ je naš’; Croatian Architects Association (UHA)
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
International artists
Forms of MobilizationCreation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Referendum other local consultations
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
New legislation
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Development of AlternativesThe opponents required deletion of the golf resort from the country spatial plan and cancellation of the project. They organised referendum in April 2013 to assess the citizens' position on the project.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The referendum failed due to the low turnout. Currently, the investor is in a process of obtaining necessary building permits and the beginning of the construction is planned for September 2016.
Sources and Materials

Zakon o izmjenama i dopunama Zakona o šumama
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Seeing red over green light for golf in Croatia
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Još nema gradnje golf terena na Srđu
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KLGB SRĐ JE GRAD ‘Golferima dozvola za infrastrukturu koja ne postoji u planovima’
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Kako se u Hrvatskoj (ne)gospodari šumama
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Croatia: controversial golf course
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Croatia's vote fails to derail golf complex that could change the face of Dubrovnik
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'Srđ nikad neće biti nacionalni park, na njemu će netko zaraditi'
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‘Srđ je naš’, a Golf Park Dubrovnik ima potpuno novi web
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'Srđ je naš': 10.000 glasova je dovoljno da se golf odbaci
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Naš Srđ uskoro će postati njihov
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Dubrovački arhitekti protiv izgradnje na Srđu
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Documentary "A Dangerous Game" exposes the evil Donald Trump
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Doznajemo što nam je vlast željela sakriti: Vlada se obvezala golferima na Srđu izgraditi infrastrukturu i dati zemlju u koncesiju!
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Sud poništio prostorni plan koji je omogućio golf na Srđu
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NAJKONTROVERZNIJI PROJEKT U HRVATSKOJ Srđ je naš: 'Ništa od golfa!'; Vlahušić: 'Samo neka se počne graditi!'
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Razvoj golf dobio lokacijsku dozvolu za Srđ
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Dark Side of the Greens - a BBC 4 documentary
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Golf and property development – time for a divorce
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Ivan Kusalić: Sad je na potezu Grad Dubrovnik
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Razvoj golf got the first building permit
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Media Links

DuTV - 23.04.2013. Sučeljavanje: Capor i Kusalić (Golf Park Dubrovnik)
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A dangerous game (movie)
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Other Documents

The plateau of Srđ The view from the top of the plateau of Srđ over the walled port of city of Dubrovnik (UNESCO World Heritage site since 1979) and the most famous Croatian touristic destination
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Collecting signs for referendum The referendum in on the The Golf Park Dubrovnik project was held on the citizents initiative "Srđ is ours" demand.
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Meta Information
ContributorJovanka Spiric, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, vankajo(at)
Last update29/04/2016