Ankaran named most development-oriented municipality
Ankaran, one of Slovenia's youngest and smallest municipalities, has won the 2023 Golden Rock award as the most development-oriented local community.
A bilingual seaside community of 3,000-plus residents, Ankaran was established as a municipality by the Constitutional Court in 2011 after a majority of its residents voted to split away from the much larger municipality of Koper in a 2009 referendum.
The award jury said that Ankaran was in many respects different from the other 211 Slovenian municipalities. It was created primarily as an environmental project to protect the area from the expansion of the Koper port.
The municipality had to start "from scratch", and has been investing in education, healthcare, security, a police station, culture and sport instead of "bricks". The jury also noted that Ankaran residents decide directly how half the municipal budget is spent.
In 2021, the Slovenian Chamber of Architecture and Spatial Planning honoured the municipality with its spatial planning award.
The Golden Rock award was presented at the close of the annual conference of Slovenian mayors on 28 February. The winner was chosen out of four regional winners, which also included Maribor, Cerknica and Kozje. The award has been awarded annually since 2012.
Velenje won the award for the municipality of health, which is conferred by the National Institute of Public Health. The award is given out for major progress a municipality makes to promote health of their residents.