The winner of this year's Golden Stone Award for best Slovenian municipality is Kočevje. This remote corner of Slovenia was chosen by the Japanese tech firm Yaskawa for its new European robotics hub.
Kočevje used to be known for two things: its troubled history and the vast woods that surround it. It is the largest Slovenian municipality by geographic size. The area is covered in dense woods, the habitat of the brown bear, and was the site of military installations and underground bunkers back in Yugoslavia. Apart from that, not much usually happens in Kočevje.
In 2010 they elected Vladimir Prebilič, a professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences of Ljubljana’s University, for mayor. Prebilič and his team initiated an extensive development program for the town and the progress is already measurable. The economy is rapidly developing and employment figures are going up. A special task force has been established for investors interested in Kočevje – they provide the investor with a complete package of all the relevant information in 72 hours. In some situations, the mayor himself takes part in the efforts. The dynamism of the municipality and its people is the main advantage of Kočevje. The renewed railway line should further increase the attractiveness of this small town 60 kilometers south of Ljubljana.