All you need to know before moving to Serbia

 

 

Serbia is known to have a high Human Development Index, which means that the quality of life for residents in the country is favourable and more than satisfactory. The majority of the people moving to Serbia are Hungarians, followed by Romanis. Those who are planning to relocate to Serbia would do well to learn the Cyrillic and Latin alphabets, are these are widely used in the country.

Serbia may be a newly founded nation but has a long-standing history. Overshadowing its turbulent past is an emerging economy recognized by The International Monetary Fund.

Even the World Bank has distinctly classified Serbia as an upper-middle income economy. Officially called the Republic of Serbia, it used to be one of the republics within the defunct Socialist Yugoslavia. For three short years (2003-2006), it was known as "Serbia and Montenegro" However, the union with Montenegro was broken in 2006. Today, Serbia is an independent country. Its capital city is Belgrade. Serbia continues to be a member of the United Nations, The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Council of Europe, and the Central European Free Trade Agreement. More so, Serbia is sharing the limelight with some of the premier cities in Europe as a new expat destination.

Economy

Although the unemployment rate is high, Serbia's recent economic growth rates, which averaged 6.6% in the last three years, shows an upward trend, and it is becoming an economic force in Europe. Even foreign analysts have labeled Serbia as the "Balkan Tiger." Serbia is the only European country outside the former Soviet Union to have free trade agreements with the Russian Federation and Belarus, and with its plans to solidify economic agreements with Turkey and Iran, it will not be long before this new republic will benefit in bridging the East and the West.

Geography and Climate

Serbia is sandwiched between Central and Southern Europe in the Balkan Peninsula and the Pannonian Plain. Its northeast section is part of the vast, fertile Danubian Plain drained by the Danube, Tisa, Sava, and Morava river systems. It is landlocked by Croatia on the northwest, Hungary on the north, Romania on the northeast, Bulgaria on the east, Macedonia on the south, and Albania, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina on the west. The north of Serbia has cold winters and hot, humid summers while the south experiences hot, dry summers and heavy snowfall in the winter. 

Serbian life

Serbia's population of 7,209,764 as of January 2015 has found a home in its 150 municipalities and 24 cities. The city makes up the basic units of local self-government. Ethnic Serbs, or those who declared themselves as Serbs, comprise the largest ethnic group in Serbia, representing 83% of the total population in the territory of Central Serbia and Vojvodina. Hungarians hold the second largest ethnic group, representing 14.3% of the population in Vojvodina and the rest are minority groups that include Bosniaks, Roma, Albanians, Croats, Montenegrins, Slovaks, Vlachs, and Romanians. Serbian is the official language. Be forewarned that Serbian, overrun with grammar rules, is a difficult language to learn. However, English is well spoken, especially by the younger generation. As one of the most diverse countries in Europe, religion is also a mix of Catholics, Protestants, Muslims and other religious denominations, but Orthodox Christian remains the dominant religion. Customs and manners are crucial in the Serbian culture. Locals are passionate about team sports from football and basketball to water polo and volleyball.

Join one of the cruises on the Danube River and you know that this land, despite its poignant past, is determined in building an economic stronghold in Europe.

Essential relocation information

 

 

Packing for a trip to anywhere is never a breeze. This is the case especially for expatriates who aren’t just packing for a few days of vacation, but for a longer stay.

There are numerous factors to consider in gathering your essentials for your relocation to Serbia, and customs regulations are definitely some of the most important.

Keeping yourself updated with these regulations would ensure a hassle-free entry into Serbia. You wouldn't want to be stuck in the Serbian airport going through unnecessary inconvenience because of that teeny bit of something you shouldn't have brought with you.

Overseas shipping through removal companies in Serbia are one solid solution as they are more aware and are up to date on customs regulations, and can definitely advise you on what is not allowed to be imported into Serbia.

Removals to Serbia need not be complicated though, as you can always check with movers to Serbia how to ship the bulk of your belongings.

For your personal things, there may still be limits as to the quantity of belongings you can bring with you. For example, you can only bring with you one bottle of perfume or 250 ml of eau de toilette, and one liter for spirits or wine. If you plan to bring in tobacco products, you may only bring in 200 cigarettes or 50 pieces of cigar.

Bringing in electronic implements are also limited in number. You may only import two photo cameras, one movie camera, and one video camera, one radio receiver, one record player, and one pocket electronic calculator.

Packing for Serbian weather is also a must. Make sure to have a thick jacket, and a number of clothes with thick fabric that you can layer on. Winters in this side of Europe can be harsh.

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How to live like a local

 

 

Serbia boasts a strategic location in one of the primary land routes from Central Europe to Turkey. However, it is often neglected by foreigners because of its expat-magnet neighbours Hungary, Bulgaria and Croatia. But in reality, Serbia is a beautiful nation patiently waiting to be noticed and those who are willing to see pass its lack of fame are guaranteed to have an experience of a lifetime.

The 2006 vote for independence of the citizens of Montenegro nearly left Serbia in a devastated position. There was a massive debt and the economy showed no signs of recovery. But like a persistent fighter willing to keep going despite the immobilising punches, Serbia proved to the rest of the world that it holds an undeniable potential. Slowly but surely, this country sailed towards economic development and produced an estimated USD 42.65 billion Gross Domestic Product in 2014. Jobs became available, and the news of Serbia as a progressive nation made its way across the world. Today, expats choose to live here not just because of employment but also because of the safe environment, beautifully diverse culture and simple, yet promising life.

Fun in Serbia with Kids

Kids would fall in love with winter in Serbia. Although the cold can sometimes be biting, the snow-capped mountains and the white Serbian slopes are a skiing dream for kids. Places like Kopaonik National Park/Mountain Resort and Zlatibor would be a sure hit with the kids since they can indulge in skiing adventures while taking in spectacular mountain sights. Another notable place to bring the family to is Palic, a lake area with beautiful parks, architectural relics, and a great summer resort. Palic is also the host of the World Ethno Music Festival and a lot of sports-related events.

Kids would also love to soak in the historically rich medieval sights of Smederevo and Po┼żarevac. Serbia is known for its medieval architectural treasures left by its Roman conquerors. And both adults and the little ones would find these just fascinating. Belgrade, the capital city of Serbia also offers a lot of options for families and kids to enjoy. A place called Ada Ciganlija is a great place to chill in especially during warmer weather. Ada Ciganlija offers a lot of sporting activities like soccer, basketball, volleyball, and even golf.

Expat Driving in Serbia

Like in any other country, always have your driver's license with you. Expatriates with licenses issued in one of the EU member countries would not need to get a new one in Serbia. For those issued in non-EU member countries, it is best to check with your embassy to ensure the latest procedure in obtaining a Serbian driving license. It is also important for expats to be well-prepared at all times since they are just starting to navigate the local roads. Some of the things that must be kept in the car at all times are:

  • Motor Insurance Certificate
  • Headlamp converters
  • Warning triangles in case the car breaks down
  • First aid kit
  • Winter tires or snow chains during the winter season

Serbian roads are not yet at par with Europe's top-notch highways. Some the country's roads are in poor to fair condition particularly the Ibarska Magistrala road. In built-up or populated areas, the speed limit is at 60 kilometres per hour, 100 kilometres per hour in the countryside and 120 kilometres per hour on major highways. Serbia also observes right-hand driving. For drivers, blood alcohol content should be kept below .05%. Use of mobile phones while driving is also strictly prohibited. Headlights should also be used at all times. Children below 12 years cannot be seated in the front seat and must be secured in a safety seat while on the road.

The Serbian Culture

Living in Serbia means immersing yourself in one of the world's richest and oldest culture. A history of multi-cultural influences, and invasions of great rulers of old like the Romans, Slavs, Zetas, and the Ottoman Kings, makes this country's culture interesting. The evidence of this fusion of cultures is seen in many rural villages of Serbia, where customs and traditions are still widely followed and observed.

A lot of Serbian customs are religious. They observe a high number of religious public holidays in a year, and the people strictly follow the traditions meant for these occasions. They also celebrate feast days of their venerated saints. An expat in Serbia would find these occasions enjoyable, as Serbia's holidays, even the secular ones are celebrated with lively and colourful festivals.

Serbians also have one unique Christmas celebrations. One of the many traditions they have during this season is called the badnjak, which includes the cutting of a log, preferably a young and straight oak. This log is ceremoniously prepared, brought in, and laid into the fire with elaborate rituals including prayers. Another intriguing part of the Serbian culture is their folklore. Maybe due to the country's ancient battles or their proximity to the infamous ‘Transylvania' where the tales of a vampire called Dracula originated, the Serbian tall tales are filled with stories of mythical creatures and mysterious happenings.

An expatriate in Serbia would also easily notice how the people of the country have a deep love for the arts. This is evident in how they have traditional Serbian folk music as a great influence to modern or contemporary mixes. The country's colourful culture makes moving to Serbia a thrilling experience one should look forward to.

 

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