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Golf Park Dubrovnik, Croatia


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

Name of conflict:Golf Park Dubrovnik, Croatia
State or province:Dubrovnik-Neretva County
Location of conflict:Dubrovnik
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Tourism Recreation
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Land acquisition conflicts
Tourism facilities (ski resorts, hotels, marinas)
Specific commodities:Land
Tourism services

Project Details and Actors

Project details

It 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:310
Level of Investment:1,353,000,000
Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:40,000
Start of the conflict:2006
Company names or state enterprises:Israeli 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 actors:The 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 organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Green Action; Local citizen initiative ‘Srđ je naš’; Croatian Architects Association (UHA)

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
International artists
Forms of mobilization:Creation 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-economical 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)
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
New legislation
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Development of alternatives:The 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 an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain: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 & Materials

Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Zakon o izmjenama i dopunama Zakona o šumama

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Još nema gradnje golf terena na Srđu

Seeing red over green light for golf in Croatia

KLGB SRĐ JE GRAD ‘Golferima dozvola za infrastrukturu koja ne postoji u planovima’

Croatia's vote fails to derail golf complex that could change the face of Dubrovnik

'Srđ nikad neće biti nacionalni park, na njemu će netko zaraditi'

‘Srđ je naš’, a Golf Park Dubrovnik ima potpuno novi web

'Srđ je naš': 10.000 glasova je dovoljno da se golf odbaci

Naš Srđ uskoro će postati njihov

Dubrovački arhitekti protiv izgradnje na Srđu

Documentary "A Dangerous Game" exposes the evil Donald Trump

Sud poništio prostorni plan koji je omogućio golf na Srđu

Razvoj golf dobio lokacijsku dozvolu za Srđ

Dark Side of the Greens - a BBC 4 documentary

Golf and property development – time for a divorce

Croatia: controversial golf course

Ivan Kusalić: Sad je na potezu Grad Dubrovnik

Razvoj golf got the first building permit

Doznajemo što nam je vlast željela sakriti: Vlada se obvezala golferima na Srđu izgraditi infrastrukturu i dati zemlju u koncesiju!

NAJKONTROVERZNIJI PROJEKT U HRVATSKOJ Srđ je naš: 'Ništa od golfa!'; Vlahušić: 'Samo neka se počne graditi!'

Kako se u Hrvatskoj (ne)gospodari šumama

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

DuTV - 23.04.2013. Sučeljavanje: Capor i Kusalić (Golf Park Dubrovnik)


A dangerous game (movie)

Meta information

Contributor:Jovanka Spiric, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, vankajo(at)
Last update29/04/2016



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

Collecting signs for referendum

The referendum in on the The Golf Park Dubrovnik project was held on the citizents initiative "Srđ is ours" demand.