Preface Last Updated: 10/11/2005 2:15 PM
Belgrade—and its constituent post, Podgorica—offer unique and
rewarding challenges and opportunities to every member of the
Embassy community. A posting here places one in the center of the
Balkans—the 20th century's tinderbox of Europe—where two wars were
fought as prelude to World War I and where the last decade of the
century witnessed Europe's bloodiest conflict since World War II.
Yugoslavia chose democracy in the waning days before the 21st
century formally dawned and has welcomed the U.S. back as a partner
in the country's transition effort.
Success in that transition is key to the U.S. goal of a Europe
united, democratic, free and at peace. Every section has a role to
play. Concurrent with the transition to an open democratic free
market society, the economy must be rebuilt and trade relations
re-established. Relations with the U.S., severed in 1999, must be
restored to the robust level of years past and beyond. Encouraging
Serbia and Montenegro (formerly Yugoslavia) in its efforts to
integrate into Euro-Atlantic institutions only a few years after the
NATO campaign against the tyranny that characterized its leadership
in the 1990's promises stimulating work for those engaged in
political, economic, commercial, assistance, military or public
diplomacy affairs. The challenge of supporting an embassy
reconstituting itself guarantees a sense of accomplishment to those
engaged in the administrative tasks associated with the embassy's
own transition from make-shift facilities that already function as a
full-fledged embassy through the construction and transition to a
new embassy complex. The Consular Section serves on the front line,
engaging directly with the local population to demonstrate through
the restoration of full service that is prompt and professional that
our recent conflict with Yugoslavia was with its leadership, not
with the people of Serbia and Montenegro.
A tour, however, is more than one's professional
responsibilities, no matter how satisfying or rewarding the job may
be. Serbia and Montenegro offers a countryside that is beautiful and
diverse with mountains for skiing in the winters and outstanding
beaches on the Adriatic in the summer. The country's infrastructure,
though over-burdened, is European. The general reaction of the local
population is genuinely one of welcome. The local population is warm
and focused on the future; assuming their rightful place in Europe.
In short, far from the "Heart of Darkness" it was portrayed as only
a few short years ago, Serbia and Montenegro is a vibrant country,
crucial to U.S. policy that offers a professionally rewarding and
pleasant environment in which to serve.
The Host Country
Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM
Serbia and Montenegro is located in the central part of the
Balkan Peninsula and occupies 102,173 square kilometers, an area
slightly smaller than Kentucky. Serbia and Montenegro's many
waterway, road, rail, and telecommunications networks serve to link
Europe, Asia, and even Africa at a strategic intersection in
southeastern Europe. Endowed with natural beauty, Serbia and
Montenegro is rich in varied topography and climate. It borders the
Adriatic Sea, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina to the west, Hungary to
the north, Romania and Bulgaria to the east, and Albania and
Macedonia to the south.
Three major rivers that pass through Serbia, the Danube, Sava and
Tisa, are navigable. The longest river in the country is the Danube,
which flows for 588 of its 2,857-kilometer course through Serbia and
meanders around its capital, Belgrade on its way to Romania and the
Black Sea. The larger of Serbia and Montenegro's two constituent
republics, Serbia, is landlocked, whereas the other, Montenegro, has
an Adriatic coastline of 294 kilometers.
The countryside in the north is characterized by the fertile
flatlands of the Panonian Plain, while there are limestone ranges
and basins in the east. Three mountain ranges, the Rodope, Carpatho-Balkan
and Dinaric meet in the south of Serbia, where Mount Djeravica
(2,656m/ 8,714ft) is the highest point of elevation in the country.
Belgrade is hilly and sits at an average elevation of 116.75m/383ft
above sea level. Montenegro, in the southwest, is dominated by
rocky, mountainous terrain with canyons, lakes, rivers, and a
dramatic coast where, in many places, cliffs descend sharply to the
Serbia and Montenegro is renowned for its greenery. In fact, 182
trees in Belgrade alone have been listed as natural monuments and
protected by law. Such green treasures cover an area of over 4,000
hectares (10,000 acres) in the capital city and include many parks.
The forests in the outskirts of Belgrade are home to dozens of rare
bird species along with other exceptional flora and fauna.
A continental climate predominates in Serbia with cold winters
and warm summers. Montenegro is largely the same, but with alpine
conditions in the mountains and a Mediterranean climate on the
Adriatic coast. The Belgrade climate is moderate continental with
four, distinct seasons. Autumn is longer than spring, with lengthy
sunny and warm periods. Winter is not particularly harsh, and
averages 21 days with below freezing temperatures. January is the
coldest month of the year with an average temperature of
-0.2°C/31.6°F. Spring is rather short and rainy. Summer starts
abruptly. The average daily temperature in the hottest month of July
is 34.2°C/93°F, but it is not uncommon for highs to reach the upper
30s and lower 40s Celsius (90s, 100s Fahrenheit) in the summertime.
Average humidity is 70%.
Belgrade has a characteristic southeastern and eastern wind
called "košava," which brings fair and dry weather. It is most
frequent in the fall and winter, lasting for 2-3 days. The average
košava speed is 25-43 km/h.
The capital has an annual average of 139 days with precipitation,
including 27 days of snow. The most intense precipitation occurs in
May and June, when 1-day rains are most frequent. February is the
driest month. The annual average precipitation is 701mm / 27.6.''
Population Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM
Serbia and Montenegro is a multiethnic, multilingual, and
multi-confessional community. One third of its total 9.9 million
inhabitants (2002 est.) consists of 26 national minorities. The
national ethnic composition is 62.6% Serbian, 16.5% Albanian, 5%
Montenegrin, 3.3% Hungarian, and 12.6% other minorities, including
Bosniaks, Turks, Croats, Bulgarians, Hungarians, and a large Roma
Serbian, in both the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets, is the
official language. The two dialects of Serbian, "ekavski" and "ijekavski,"
spoken in Serbia and Montenegro, respectively, are officially
recognized and accepted. In regions of Serbia and Montenegro where
national minorities reside, their languages and script are used
officially, in accordance with pertinent laws. English is a popular
Fifty-five percent of Serbia and Montenegro's population lives in
urban areas. Belgrade is the principal urban center, with 1.6
million residents, while other major cities include Novi Sad
(300,000), Niš (250,000), and Podgorica (170,000). The literacy rate
is 93%. Life expectancy for men is 70.6 years and 76.7 years for
Orthodox Christianity is the predominant religion in Serbia and
Montenegro. The peoples of both Serbia and Montenegro have strong
historical traditions practicing this faith. Islam is prevalent
among Albanians, Bosniaks, and some other minorities. There are also
small communities of Catholics, Protestants, and Jews. Serbia and
Montenegro is bejeweled by ornate mosques, synagogues, cathedrals,
and churches, many of which date back hundreds of years.
Public Institutions Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM
Serbia and Montenegro is a federation of two republics, Serbia
and Montenegro. There is a federal government and two republic
governments organized in a parliamentary system. The Federal
Government consists of: 1) an executive in the form of a president
who appoints the government; 2) the Federal Parliament (Savezna
Skupština); and 3) a judiciary composed of a Federal Court (Savezni
Sud) and a Constitutional Court. At the republic level, Serbia and
Montenegro each have a parliament, a court system, a government (led
by a prime minister), and a president. The military is under the
civilian control of the three-member Supreme Defense Council (Vrhovni
Savet Odbrane or VSO), made up of the Federal President and the
president of each republic. In practice, spheres of influence among
and within the federal and republic governments often overlap
despite efforts to legislate and enforce separations. Furthermore,
except for defense and foreign policy, most significant governmental
responsibilities reside in republic institutions. The main parties
in Montenegro are the Democratic Party of Socialists and the
Socialist People's Party. A coalition of 16 parties known as the
Democratic Opposition of Serbia holds a majority in both the Serbian
and Federal Parliaments.
A new Constitutional Charter to restructure relations among the
federal and republic governments was adopted in early 2003. Some of
the major changes to the former system under this new constitution
are a reduction in the number of federal ministries to five, with
responsibilities of the disbanded bureaucracies delegated de facto
to the republic governments, a switch to a unicameral parliament
providing certain positive discrimination (disproportionate
representation) for Montenegrin representatives, and the
establishment of a single Federal Court that shall have
constitutional- and administrative-court functions. The official
name of the country under the Charter changed from Yugoslavia to
"Serbia and Montenegro."
Serbia and Montenegro is host to a large number of domestic and
international governmental and non-governmental organizations and
Note: Although the Southern Serbian province of Kosovo is part of
Serbia and Montenegro, it is currently administered by the United
Nations in accordance with Security Council Resolution 1244. Federal
and Serbian state institutions, therefore, currently have no
authority in Kosovo. Final authority in the province rests with the
civilian United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK).
Decision on final status of Kosovo will be made by the UN Security
Council at some point in the future.
Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM
The Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences was formally established
on November 1, 1886, but it had informally existed since 1841. It
consists of seven departments: Natural and Mathematical Sciences,
Technical Sciences, Medical Sciences, Language and Literature,
Social Sciences, Historical Sciences, Fine Arts and Music. Within
the Departments, Committees focus on research with clearly outlined
artistic and scientific objectives. The Academy also hosts an
Serbia has 134 museums that showcase numerous artistic,
scientific, historical and ethnographical objects. The National
Museum in Belgrade, which was founded in 1844, contains four
collections—prehistoric, mediaeval, recent Serbian art and foreign
painting—with 290,000 catalogued objects. The National Museum has
organized prominent exhibits of local and international artists and
collections, as well as smaller thematic exhibits. In addition to
permanent collections and exhibits, the National Museum also hosts
chamber music concerts, lectures and various presentations. The
National Museum is famous for its technical library and conservation
and restoration center, which is among the largest of its kind in
There are 45 professional theaters in the country, and numerous
amateur theaters. The National Theater in Belgrade, one of the most
significant cultural institutions in the country, hosts three
ensembles—drama, opera and ballet. It has three stages with the
capacity of 1,100 seats. During the130 year long history of the
National Theater, almost all great European artists have performed
on its stage, as well as a number of foreign theater companies. The
ensembles of the National Theater have performed in almost every
European country, in more than 90 theaters, as well as on other
Belgrade hosts several international festivals with a long
tradition. Since its foundation in 1967, Belgrade International
Theater Festival (BITEF) has hosted modern and avant-garde theater
and dance performances Belgrade Music Festival (BEMUS) was
established in 1969, and has brought numerous prominent composers
and musicians from abroad to the local audiences. The International
Belgrade Film Festival (FEST), which was founded in 1971.
Institutes for the Protection of Monuments—13 Libraries—180
Galleries—130 Publishing Houses—192 Archives—35 Artistic, cultural,
scientific, educational magazines—155 Festivals and competitions—160
The education sector covers preschool, primary, secondary and
higher education; it comprises more than 1.4 million students and
about 120,000 employees. This sector was quite well developed under
the former Yugoslav system, but suffered heavily from the disruption
and economic deprivation of the Milosevic period. The Serbian
Government has embarked on a major education reform since 2001.
Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM
Economic Snapshot of Serbia and Montenegro. The dissolution of
the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) precipitated a
meltdown of the Yugoslav economy. Fifty years of inefficient
socialist management was compounded by a decade of willful economic
mismanagement by the Milosevic regime. The 1990s witnessed a seismic
drop in GDP (40% of the 1990 level), export stagnation,
hyperinflation, unemployment and a brain-drain of nearly 400,000
highly educated people. International sanctions isolated the
country, spawning an active black market and high incidence of
smuggling. Economic benefits were directed to political cronies who
in turn looted Yugoslav companies in order to finance the Milosevic
regime and transferred funds outside the country to fund lavish life
styles. In short, Yugoslavia was insolvent by 2000.
Serbia and Montenegro has set a new course for itself. In
Montenegro, reform was initiated in the late 1990s (following the
political break between Milosevic and Djukanovic). In 2001 after the
fall of the Milosevic regime, the new Federal and Serbian
Governments focused on initiating a new reform program and the
process of reintegration into European and global markets.
Serbia and Montenegro is a country-in-transition. Real GDP growth
was 4.5% in 2001 and projected to be around 4% for each of the next
3 years. Inflation has decreased substantially from more than 40% to
a projected 12% by 2003. Unemployment remains high in both
republics. The Serbian and Montenegrin governments face the same
transition challenges that other countries in Central Europe
encountered in the early to mid-1990s. Serbia and Montenegro's
recent history, however has created the special challenge for the
governments of bringing to the surface the black economy and
creating a transparent legal/regulatory framework for a
market-oriented economy. The main features of the reform programs
have been: reduction in fiscal profligacy and implementation of
budgetary controls; tight monetary policy to stabilize exchange rate
and reduce inflation; bank restructuring and financial sector
reform; acceleration of privatization programs and the attraction of
foreign strategic investors; amendments to restrictive laws in order
to stimulate private sector activity; market liberalization to
encourage trade and investment.
The economic reform programs of Serbia and Montenegro and the two
republics receive solid endorsement from international financial
institutions. The country successfully completed a 1-year IMF
Stand-By Arrangement. The World Bank (including International
Finance Corporation) and EBRD have rolled-out extensive programs. In
early 2002, the World Bank provided a Structural Adjustment Credit
(SAC) to assist with private enterprise development and financial
sector reform. Serbia and Montenegro has met all the benchmarks
established in the context of these programs. For example, in
January 2002, the National Bank of Yugoslavia took the bold move of
placing the four largest banks into bankruptcy, underlining the
government's intent to reform the bank sector. The number of banks
in Serbia has dropped from 88 in early 2000 to approximately 45 in
the fall 2002. In recognition of the achieved progress, the IMF
provided a 3-year Enhanced Finance Facility (EFF) valued at $820
million to Yugoslavia in May 2002. The World Bank is now preparing a
second SAC that will be disbursed in early 2003.
Although on the macro-level, there has been major progress in
realigning policies and establishing the solid foundations for a
transparent market economy, the benefits have been slow to
materialize for the average citizen. The standard of living is still
low for citizens who are quickly becoming impatient as the republic
governments move to decrease costly social services and increase to
real price the costs of basic needs such as electricity, heat, food,
etc. The economy is the number one political issue among all
citizens. Increasingly, there is pressure on Federal and republic
governments to deliver results.
Future Economic Development of Serbia and Montenegro. Economic
development patterns are slightly different between the two
republics. Although highly interconnected, there was a divergence in
developmental paths in the late 1990s with Montenegro pulling back
from Federal institutions/authority and initiating early reforms. As
a result, there has been the creation of new institutions in
Montenegro that duplicate or replace Federal competencies. For
example, Montenegro has adopted the Euro as its currency and created
the Central Bank of Montenegro to manage monetary policy and engage
in bank supervision. Pursuant to the March 2002 Belgrade Agreement
that seeks to redefine relations between the two republics, more
authority will be reassigned from the Federal level to the
republics. Consequently, especially in the economic sphere, although
the two republics economies will remain highly interconnected, the
republic governments will have considerably more authority in
managing their own economic affairs.
Serbia, the larger of the two republics that accounts for nearly
90% of Serbia and Montenegro's GDP, was traditionally strong in the
agriculture, mining, construction and heavy industrial sectors.
Agricultural and agribusiness are leading the current economic
recovery. The government is grappling with how to
resolve/restructure and privatize large loss-makers such as Sartid
(steel), Bor (mining), Zastava (automotive), EI Nis
(electro-technical), etc. These companies also rank as the largest
employers. Complete shutdowns would likely trigger social problems.
The Serbian Government is actively focusing on Small Medium
Enterprise development with the assistance of the European Union.
New private companies appear to be slowly evolving that are
well-managed and competitive.
Montenegro's real competitive edge has been in the tourism
sector. Montenegro's seacoast and mountain landscape are likely to
draw significant touristic interest. Although it suffered losses
during the 1990s and catered to low-spending Serbian tourists,
future prospects are brighter as hotels are privatized and the
government develops a sector strategy. Other major contributors to
Montenegro's GDP are the Aluminum Kombinat (KAP), which was
mismanaged and incurred sizable debts, and the Port of Bar (linked
by rail to Serbia).
Foreign Investor Interest. Serbia and Montenegro as a whole is
likely to attract significant foreign investor interest. With the
political stabilization of Serbia, for the first time investors are
likely to investigate more closely and seriously opportunities in
Southeast Europe. Serbia and Montenegro stands a good chance to
attract significant foreign capital as it is one of the largest
markets in the SEE. Adherence to the current economic reform program
and further liberalization of the market could propel Serbia and
Montenegro ahead of other SEE countries that started reform programs
earlier. Both Serbia (FRY) and Montenegro have enacted liberal
foreign investment legislation to stimulate foreign investment.
Leading investor nations in Serbia and Montenegro include
Austria, Germany, Greece, and Italy. There is rising interest from
countries within the region such as Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia.
Greece's OTE and Telecom Italia together hold 49% of Telekom Srbija.
Cement companies were sold early in the process of privatization to
strategic partners from France, Greece and Switzerland. France's
Michelin entered into a joint venture with a local tire producer.
Belgium's Interbrew acquired Montenegro's brewery, Niksicka Pivara
and took a minority stake in Serbia's Apatinska Brewery. Russian and
Slovene investors have acquired hotel assets along Montenegro's
coast. The banking sector has already attracted investment from
Raifeissen (Austria), HypoVereinsbank (Germany) and Societe Generale
(France). In fall 2002, Henkel (Germany) purchased a domestic
detergent producer while Montenegro sold Jugopetrol Kotor to
Hellenic Petroleum (Greece) for an eye-popping $104.5 million. In
late November, the privatization of Serbia's major tobacco companies
will draw American, British, German and Japanese interest. American
companies are expected to also invest in Yugoslavia. In March 2002,
U.S. Steel's Kosice (Slovakia) subsidiary signed a letter of intent
to explore a future relationship with Serbia's only steel producer,
SARTID. Other U.S. companies are now preparing offers to acquire
companies through the privatization program.
Integration Efforts. Isolated throughout the 1990s, Yugoslavia
moved quickly to integrate itself into global and Euro-Atlantic
institutions. Yugoslavia immediately joined the EBRD, IMF and World
Bank. Yugoslavia has actively embraced the activities of the
Stability Pact, especially Working Table II. As a signatory to the
MOU on Intra-Regional Trade, Yugoslavia will complete free-trade
agreements by the end of 2002 with: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina,
Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Romania, Slovenia and Hungary. Serbia
and Montenegro is the only European country with a partial free
trade arrangement with Russia. Following the completion of the
Constitutional Charter process (redefining republic relations),
Serbia and Montenegro will begin the process of EU integration
(negotiations on a Stabilization and Association Agreement).
Already, Serbia and Montenegro receive substantial assistance from
the EU and the member states. Additionally, Yugoslavia has been
extended autonomous trade preferences that reduce the tariffs
applied to Yugoslav exports to the EU. Finally, in February 2002,
Yugoslavia initiated its accession process to the World Trade
Organization (WTO); it is hoped this could be completed by the end
Bilateral Economic/Commercial Relations. During the last few
years, there has been a progressive expansion and broadening of
bilateral commercial/economic relations. Initially, economic aid was
provided only to Montenegro. The political changes in 2000
precipitated a new chapter in the development of bilateral
relations. In total, the USG has provided over $400 million in
direct assistance to Yugoslavia in recent years; in 2003, annual
assistance will exceed $150 million. U.S. assistance will focus on:
democracy-building, economic technical assistance, refugee
resettlement, community revitalization, public diplomacy
Slowly, a new framework for bilateral economic cooperation has
emerged. In July 2001, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation
signed a bilateral agreement with the Federal Republic of
Yugoslavia, opening the programs of this U.S. Government agency. In
March 2002, the U.S. Trade & Development Agency (TDA) started
operations, developing a project pipeline of nearly $3 million
during FY02. The U.S. signed its bilateral Paris Club Agreement with
the FRY in October 2002; this will result in a 66% reduction of the
FRY's debt to the U.S. The U.S. Export-Import Bank provides private
sector support and will likely begin public sector coverage by
mid-2003. In October 2002, the U.S. Congress restored Normal Trade
Relations (most-favored nation status) to Yugoslavia. This will open
U.S. markets to exports from Serbia and Montenegro and provide
further impetus to reestablish trading partnerships among companies.
Finally, by the end of 2003, there should be a resolution of the
still frozen assets in U.S. banks.
These events form the basis for the evolving bilateral
relationship to underpin increasing American commercial interest in
Serbia and Montenegro. In fall 2002, the American Chamber of
Commerce was launched with 22 founders; membership now stands at
more than 60 companies and is expected to surpass 100 by the
beginning of 2003. U.S. companies are participating in the
privatization of important companies. Prior to the break up of
Yugoslavia, there was a sizable U.S. commercial presence in
Yugoslavia. This interest is being recultivated with the
reform/liberalization programs and a sizable presence could be
developed once again.
Automobiles Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM
The main roads and highways in Serbia are in fair condition; the
main highways linking Belgrade with Hungary and a second running
from Croatia to the North toward Macedonia to the South are mostly
four-lane although in the south the construction has not been
completed on the latter road, especially near the Macedonian border.
Roads are not maintained in the winter according to U.S. standards
but are generally usable. The road signs are like those found
elsewhere in Europe. The speed limit in towns is usually between 40
to 60 km per hour. Right-of-way exists for cars coming from the
right at traffic circles. Diplomatic immunity does not apply to
traffic violations and parking tickets.
Bring a car or buy one locally for shopping and recreation in the
many parks, tourist attractions and small towns. Rental cars are
costly but can be booked through the travel agent prior to
departure. Representatives include Hertz, Budget and Avis.
Service is more readily available and reliable for Japanese or
European vehicles than American models. European models are more
likely to be stolen and there are some reported cases of theft.
European car parts are available and reasonable but Japanese
parts are expensive. American car parts are both expensive and
difficult to find. It is best to ship some items for your car such
as oil filters, air filters, spark plugs, replacement windshield
wiper blades, and headlights.
Good quality oil is available. Most gas stations have leaded gas
and the larger ones offer unleaded gas and diesel. Gasoline is
expensive at about 90 cents a liter or $3.50 a gallon. Tax-free gas
coupons are available which reduce the cost by about 50%.
International driver's licenses are useful for driving outside
the country and can be obtained from AAA. Local
third-party-liability insurance is mandatory under law in Serbia and
Montenegro. International automobile travel insurance, which is
called a green card, must be obtained not later than 1 month after
your vehicle arrives at post. The green insurance card is valid for
all European countries. There are different types of green card
insurance depending on the length of time required. Comprehensive
insurance is available, but can be very expensive. It is recommended
that an insurance policy for collision be arranged with a company in
the U.S. prior to arrival at post.
There is no limitation on the year or size of the engine that can
be shipped into the country. The Embassy must arrange final customs
clearance for all personally owned vehicles either driven into the
country or imported by ship/truck. The employee must be in country
before customs arrangements can be made. A copy of the passport and
vehicle information, which includes motor and serial numbers, the
title of ownership, and insurance information must be submitted to
the customs office for the vehicle to clear customs. Make sure you
have the Certificate of Title/Origin for your car. The Mission
arranges CD (Corps Diplomatic) license plates for all employees with
diplomatic status. The cost for customs clearance, technical
inspection, a green card, liability insurance and license plates is
There are no restrictions on the sale of POVs to other diplomats.
Sales to nationals of Serbia and Montenegro or others without
tax-free privileges are possible. The buyer will have to pay all
customs and duties applicable.
Local Transportation Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM
The downtown area of Belgrade is readily accessible by taxi or
bus. However, traffic can be congested and chaotic; fender benders
are not uncommon. Public transportation is inexpensive. Taxis are
usually metered, safe, reliable and easy to hire by visiting a taxi
stand, calling or hailing one from the street. Fares are about half
of those in the U.S., however most drivers do not speak English.
Taxi meters charge lower rates during weekdays than at night or on
weekends. Most taxi associations give lower rates for orders by
phone. A small tip is appreciated.
Tickets for public transportation are sold on board vehicles.
Buses can be crowded and uncomfortable during rush hours. Although
Belgrade is one of the safest European cities, pickpockets do work
crowded buses and streets.
Regional Transportation Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM
Serbia and Montenegro has limited, but improving, air
connections, mostly via other European hubs such as Munich or
Vienna. There are airports in Belgrade, Podgorica, Tivat and
Pristina. Yugoslav (YAT), Montenegro, Bosnia Air, Lufthansa, Swiss,
Austrian, British Airways, Czech Air, Aeroflot, and AlItalia
Airlines service Belgrade.
Trains service all major cities within Serbia and Montenegro,
south to Nis, North to Novi Sad and Subotica and southwest to Bar
via Podgorica. They also connect Serbia and Montenegro with Hungary,
Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Germany,
Greece, Romania, Bulgaria and other countries. Train travel is
relatively fast, comfortable and inexpensive.
Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM
The Embassy phone number is 381-11-361-9344. The Embassy
facsimile machine number is 381-11-361-8230. The cost of a fax is
about the same as a telephone call. In addition, the Embassy has
recently acquired IVG lines, which are intended primarily to call
the State Department and U.S. diplomatic missions abroad. However,
it can also be used to make local calls in the Washington, DC
dialing area and 800 number calls. The telephone service within
Serbia and Montenegro is adequate but subject to extraneous noise,
and unexplained disconnections. Embassy personnel pay for phone
service in government leased quarters. Some quarters have digital
lines with tone dialing. Others still have analog lines with pulse
dialing. An average bill is less than $20, excluding long-distance
or international calls. Several firms offer callback international
dialing connections to the U.S. (about 50˘ per minute at this
writing); calls can also be operator placed, and there is direct
dialing from the Embassy and from home telephones. International
connections with the U.S. vary from quick and clear to slow and
noisy. The cost of calling the U.S. in August 2002 was about $.90
per minute when using Serbia Telekom and dialing direct. Cell phone
service is available and reliable. Prices are reasonable and service
can be arranged through the Embassy.
Internet Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM
Internet service is readily available. There are many internet
service providers to choose from. Service is provided on a per hour
basis. Price per hour is about $.35 to $.40. You pre-purchase the
number of hours you wish. Quality of service varies depending on the
quality of phone lines to the residences. Internet connectivity has
been described as reliable but slow with occasional disconnects.
Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM
Send personal mail and parcels from the U.S. via the Department
of State diplomatic pouch. The address for personal mail is:
Name 5070 Belgrade Place Dulles, VA 20189-5070
Official mail should be sent to:
Name Department of State 5070 Belgrade Place Washington, DC
Regular U.S. postage is required for all personal mail. Parcels
must conform to size and weight limitations (i.e., 30 inches in
length and 65 inches in length and girth combined, not to exceed 45
pounds). Parcels over these limits will be rejected by the pouch
service in the State Department. It is illegal to send any packages
containing aerosols or liquids of any kind and any packages
containing these items will be returned to the sender. Incoming U.S.
mail pouch is scheduled for two times a week. Outgoing pouches are
dispatched once a week (Tuesday). Average delivery time from the
U.S. East Coast to Belgrade is 10-12 days (allow more time at
Christmas). Mail from Belgrade to the U.S. is the same so keep this
in mind when making monthly bill or mortgage payments. You are not
allowed to ship packages out of Belgrade using the pouch system
(Except return packages from catalog sales). Large envelopes are
accepted but cannot exceed two pounds. Bring a supply of U.S.
postage stamps for letters. The Employee Association sells a limited
The international address is:
Name American Embassy Kneza Milosa 50 11000 Belgrade Serbia
International mail is not reliable; the transit time to and from
the U.S. varies and can take from 1 week to 1 month. All
international packages are subject to being opened and inspected by
the local post office upon arrival in Serbia and Montenegro.
Radio and TV Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM
There are currently seven major TV stations in Serbia—TV Pink, BK
TV, RTS, B-92 TV, TV Politika, Studio B and TV Kosava. There are
also an estimated 300 smaller TV stations and 700 radio outlets that
operate in Serbia (September 2002). The long-awaited Broadcasting
Act, which will regulate broadcast licensing, was adopted on July
18, 2002. This should lead to the redistributions of frequency
licenses on a fair and transparent basis. Significant progress had
been made in the domain of media freedom and objective journalism
since the political changes in Serbia, in October 2000.
National network, Radio Television of Serbia (RTS), in spite of
the serious damage to its technical capabilities caused by NATO
bombing and the demonstrations of October 2000, remains the key
player in terms of coverage of territory (97% official coverage for
RTS1, but 65% is of very good quality). The RTS media group gathers
six major activities under the same umbrella: TV and radio
broadcasting (3 major TV channels, regional channels, a satellite
channel and several radio channels); TV and radio production;
transmission; music ensembles and music production. Republic-owned
RTS is being transformed into a Public Broadcasting Service. In
terms of audience share the most popular broadcaster is privately
owned TV Pink. The common denominators for all televisions are
American movies and TV series. International TV programs are
sub-titled; voice-over is not used. VOA's (Voice of America) news
program is broadcast locally. In Montenegro, the major television
network is Republic-owned Radio Television of Montenegro (RTVCG).
A variety of radio programs play a mix of Western popular music
and Serbian folk music. The majority of radio stations broadcast on
the FM band and some of them, such as Radio B92, offer
English-language news. Program of Voice of America, Radio Free
Europe and Radio Liberty is re-broadcast by a variety of stations.
Radio Yugoslavia broadcasts its program on short waves (temporarily
not available) to all parts of the world in 12 languages: English,
French, German, Russian, Spanish, Arabic, Albanian, Greek,
Bulgarian, Hungarian, Italian, Chinese and in Serbian.
The television signal is PAL/BG. Thus, if you do not wish to
purchase a TV set on the local market, a multi-system TV set is
needed. An NTSC-only set will not work. In Belgrade, there is cable
penetration in some areas offering a wide range of English-language
channels: CNN, Sky, NBC, MTV Europe, Cartoon Network, MSNBC,
Discovery, and Animal Planet. All urban areas in Belgrade can pick
up satellite channels with a satellite dish and a digital receiver
which are available locally. American videotapes (NTSC) can be
viewed only on multi system VCR's (PAL/SECAM/NTSC). Region-free DVDs
are also widely available in local stores.
Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated:
2/28/2003 6:00 PM
There are nine, more or less influential, dailies in Serbia:
Politika, Danas, Vecernje Novosti, Blic, Glas Javnosti, Ekspres,
Nacional, Dnevnik and Borba. In terms of a readers share, Vecernje
Novosti has the highest circulation in FRY (approximately 200,000
copies printed daily). In Montenegro, major dailies are Vijesti, Dan
and Pobjeda. The most influential, politically and in terms of
opinion making, weeklies in Serbia are: NIN, Vreme, Blic News,
Reporter and Nedeljni Telegraf in Serbia, and Monitor in Montenegro.
There are also dozens of specialized weeklies and monthlies oriented
toward various subjects, such as technology, fashion, economy,
children, science etc. The axiom of foreign investment or "strategic
partnership" became a preferable term in the glossary of Serbian
print media in the last 2 years. All press in Serbia, except daily
Borba, is privately owned, with or without foreign capital involved
(e.g., Politika formed a joint-stock company with German media
concern WAZ - Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, Blic joined German
companies Gruner + Jahr international newspaper portfolio, etc.).
There are three major news agencies in Serbia: Beta, private;
Tanjug, federal government; FoNet, private; and one in Montenegro:
Western newspapers and magazines are available in Belgrade and in
some larger cities in Serbia and Montenegro (Podgorica, Novi Sad,
Nis). Also, there are several English-language bookstores in the
center of Belgrade offering limited range of books and periodicals
by various publishers (Penguin, Oxford University Press, etc.).
Books, even paperbacks, tend to be expensive. There are several
foreign correspondents / bureaus in Belgrade such as Associated
Press, Reuters, and New York Times.
Health and Medicine
Medical Facilities Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM
The Embassy Health Unit employs a part-time American nurse (RN).
A regional medical officer is expected to arrive at the end of
April. The Embassy also employs a full time Health Unit
administrative assistant. The Health Unit will assist you in
obtaining medical care locally or, in the event of an emergency,
assist with authorized medical travel. Regional psychiatrists reside
in Vienna and Rome and travel to Belgrade twice a year.
Not all medications may be available in Belgrade's pharmacies (Apotekas).
It is recommended that employees and their family members bring an
adequate supply of prescription and over the counter medications.
Prescriptions for chronic medications will need to be obtained from
The medical system in Serbia and Montenegro is experiencing many
problems maintaining Western medical standards and must be viewed
with caution. The Military Medical Academy in Belgrade is the
largest and the most up to date facility.
In the case of required hospitalization or consultation that can
not be provided in Belgrade, Embassy personnel are usually
authorized to travel to Vienna, London or the U.S.
Community Health Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM
The quality of drinking water in Belgrade is unknown at this time
and therefore bottled or distilled water should be used for
drinking. Allergies and respiratory ailments are aggravated by air
pollution and wintertime smog (largely produced by burning of
low-grade coal). Sewage and garbage disposal is adequate. Fruits and
vegetables are of good quality and are safe to eat using regular
Preventive Measures Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM
Arriving personnel should have their immunization record up to
date. A flu vaccine is recommended and provided by the Health Unit.
European Lyme disease, transmitted by ticks, is present in Serbia
and Montenegro. As there is no available vaccine for Lyme disease,
preventive measures should be followed. Once or twice a year
Belgrade is sprayed to control mosquitoes and other pests.
Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 2/28/2003
Embassy Employment. The post strongly encourages employment
opportunities for Eligible Family Members (EFMs). The Post
Employment Policy provides that priority will be given to EFMs who
are qualified for a position. The nature and number of EFM positions
varies with program requirements and funding availability. At
present, EFMs are working in the following positions: community
liaison officer (CLO), consular associate, visa assistant, and
program information specialist (USAID). When possible, post prefers
to employ EFMs through the Family Member Appointment (FMA) program
that allows EFMs to gain service credit and participate in the
retirement and Thrift Savings Plans. Additional information on the
FMA program is available at post from the Human Resources Office or
in Washington from the Family Liaison Office (FLO). With the
introduction of the new PSA-Plus program, EFMs can compete for all
local hire Embassy jobs. The emphasis on recruitment for locally
advertised positions under the new program is on the skills
requirements of the position. Positions are advertised for specific
duties with both FSN and American grades, and post management
determines the appropriate employment mechanism for the selected
Provided that funding is available, the post offers minimum-wage
summer hire jobs for EFM dependents. Eligible dependents must be
between the ages of 16 and 24, enrolled in a course of study at an
educational institution, and registered to reenroll. When the number
of students exceeds the number of jobs available, the post employs a
job-share approach. Whenever possible, a winter vacation program
(winter hire) is also provided.
Private Sector Employment. work agreement between Serbia and
Montenegro and the U.S. has yet been finalized. However, according
to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, EFMs may be employed on the
local economy if approved by the Chief of Mission. There are two
English-language elementary schools in Belgrade that currently
employ Embassy spouses in teaching and classroom aide positions.
Unemployment in Serbia is high and jobs on the local market are
scarce. The pay scale is much lower than would be expected in the
U.S. However, there may be some possibilities for EFMs at
International Organizations and NGOs. There may be some opportunity
for self employment as well. Currently, one spouse provides piano
lessons at her home while another works as a free lance editor for
an English language publication.
The Human Resources Office and the community liaison officer at
post will be glad to discuss employment possibilities with eligible
American Embassy - Belgrade
Post City Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM
Belgrade, capital of Serbia and Montenegro and the Republic of
Serbia, is located in the east central part of the country at the
confluence of the Sava and the Danube Rivers. Altitude is 224 to 830
feet above sea level.
Belgrade has had a settlement since the time of the Celts in the
4th century B.C., although little of their culture or of subsequent
Roman civilization remains. Few historical monuments of earlier than
late 18th century survive. Minimal evidence of the long period of
Turkish domination exists and only a few baroque buildings mark the
pre-World War I Hapsburg influence. Belgrade thus lacks the
atmosphere and old world charm of Eastern European capitals such as
Prague and Budapest. Buildings in the center city are gray and
somber and alternate with a few modern concrete and glass highrises.
In spite of the bomb damage from the NATO air strikes and the
economic difficulties for Belgrade's people the downtown has a
bustling and lively feeling, especially in summer when parks,
tree-lined streets, and numerous sidewalk cafes lend color and
Cultural life is active, although less vibrant and diverse than
in the major world centers. Belgraders have a deep interest in art
and a long season of opera, ballet, concerts, and drama. The taste
for popular music is evident particularly among the young.
Belgraders are avid movie goers and many American films are shown in
the original version with Serbian subtitles. Many art exhibits are
presented by contemporary artists. Several groups of naive
(primitive) painters and sculptors work in Serbia and Montenegro
today; many have exhibited abroad with considerable success.
The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM
The Embassy and all related agencies are located on a half city
block compound at Kneza Miloša 50. At present, there are about 70
American positions and some 200 locally engaged staff, but the post
is growing fairly steadily. In addition to State, the United States
Agency for International Development, Foreign Commercial Service,
Foreign Agricultural Service, and Department of Defense are
represented in Belgrade. Working hours are from 8:30 am - 5:30 pm.
The Embassy switchboard telephone number is 381 11 361 9344.
Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM
Every effort is made to move newcomers directly into their
assigned permanent quarters. However, during the summer months, when
personnel turnover is heavy, this may not be possible. If permanent
housing is not ready, newcomers are temporarily placed in temporary
duty apartments or hotels.
Permanent Housing Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM
Personnel assigned to Belgrade are mainly housed in U.S.
Government-leased quarters. Assignments are made by the Interagency
Housing Board based on the employee's rank, family-size, and
guidelines set forth in 6 FAM. Should an employee have any special
housing needs, he or she should contact the GSO well in advance of
arrival in Belgrade. In Belgrade, the U.S. Government owns only four
residences. The Ambassador, the DCM and various agency heads live in
Leased housing is scattered throughout the city with several
units set on a hill within 6 miles of the Embassy. These homes
include two sets of triplexes, several duplexes and/or stand-alone
units. They are fully furnished and have yards, three bedrooms,
three baths, a den, living room, dining room and kitchen. Bath
colors tend to be a light chocolate tile with white tubs, sinks,
toilets, and bidets. Otherwise colors are neutral and built-in
closets and cabinets provide plenty of storage. Where necessary,
wardrobes are provided. Leased apartments in the city or elsewhere
may be smaller with two bedrooms, two baths, but have the same
furnishings and amenities as the homes. Each unit has its own
washer, dryer, freezer and water distiller.
Furnishings Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM
All living quarters are furnished with basic household furniture.
Most furniture is made in the U.S., has a dark mahogany finish, and
is 18th century in style. Area carpets are laid over marble, tile or
parquet floors. Residences are also provided with a combination of
draperies, sheers and blinds. Each residence is usually furnished
with refrigerator, freezer, washer and dryer, dishwasher, microwave,
electric range and vacuum cleaner. American-sized appliances are
provided where space allows. Toasters or coffeemakers are only
supplied in Welcome Kits but may be purchased locally at a
reasonable cost. Your airfreight should contain basic housekeeping
items such as bed linens (master bedrooms have a queen-sized bed and
all secondary rooms have twin-sized beds), blankets dishes,
silverware, kitchenware, utensils, glassware and shower curtains.
Until your airfreight arrives, a Hospitality Kit containing these
items will be provided. Most household items can be purchased on the
local economy at a reasonable cost. You may want to consider
bringing additional area rugs, lamps, paintings and prints to round
out your furnishings and provide a familiar surrounding.
Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM
All quarters have air-conditioning, heating and hot water
systems. Most quarters have back-up generators in the event of power
outages. American made full-size washers and dryers are provided
when space allows. Standard electric power is 220v/50hertz for
lights and standard outlets. Plugs are European "SCHULKO" (CEE-7)
type with 28mm rod contacts. Incandescent lights require a 230v
Two transformers (1,600-2,000W) and tiles to put them on are
provided to each residence. Extension cords may be purchased
locally. Many new appliances, computers and audio equipment allow
conversion to, or automatically adapt to 220v/50hertz. Other
appliances such as telephones will require a small converter. Power
outages are not frequent but power spikes can be common.
Food Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM
There are a variety of shops and stores in Belgrade. Shopping as
an activity in Belgrade consumes a good bit of time, because the
stores are often small, and the inventory in each one is limited.
You may have to look around quite a while to find what you're
looking for. Meat, dairy products, staples like flour and sugar, and
seasonal fruits and vegetables are available throughout the year.
Processed foods (i.e., macaroni and cheese in a box, microwave
popcorn) are starting to be seen here, but not necessarily the
recognized types or brands. Ethnic foods and typically American
foods like chocolate chips and peanut butter are not usually
available. Employees are authorized a consumables allowance of 2,500
net pounds for a 2-year tour and 3,750 net pounds for a 3-year tour.
Department of Defense personnel are authorized 3,000 pounds
regardless of the length of tour.
Recently two new grocery stores opened in Belgrade. Mercator,
Slovenia's largest retail chain, opened a Belgrade store in December
2002. It has a wide selection of merchandise; 80% of the products
offered in the supermarket are Slovenian and Serbian made, while
foreign products account for the remaining 20%. A Greek chain, Super
Vero, as recently opened a Belgrade store. Although not as big as
Mercator, it has a good selection of fruits and vegetables. There is
one other large grocery store (Rodic-Mega Market) that has the local
or European equivalent of staples and some luxury items. The most
common store for food and household needs is the state-owned "C
Market" chain. It stocks most basic essentials such as bread,
cereal, milk, vegetables, some frozen items, wines, etc. The variety
and quality of locally obtained products is improving by the month.
You may order local groceries online at www.maxi.co.yu with next day
delivery. Must-have American food items can be ordered through
www.netgrocer.com and food and durable goods from the Danish
tax-free catalog store, Peter Justesen.
One of the highlights of shopping in Belgrade is the wonderful
outdoor green markets. Fresh fruits and vegetables are available in
season at low prices. During the summer strawberries are available
for less than a dollar a kilo. There are markets throughout town,
and they are open daily. Although the markets are open year round,
the selection of produce drops dramatically during the colder
months. It is a good idea to freeze fruits and vegetables when they
are in season so you can enjoy them in the winter as well.
There is no commissary at post, but the Recreation Association is
looking into starting a small one soon. Occasionally, the
Association places commissary special orders for members.
Budapest is a 5-hour drive, but some people travel 2-1/2 hours by
car to the Hungarian border town, Szeged, to shop. There one can
find large European grocery and home improvement stores.
Clothing Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM
Clothing needs are similar to those for Washington, DC or New
York City. Wardrobes should include clothing for cold winters and
hot summers. Most Americans at the Embassy wear business attire.
Casual dress is somewhat more formal than in the U.S. As with food,
more and more western European goods are available for purchase in
Belgrade. Clothing for adults can be purchased locally and at times
can be a good buy. A number of local chains have stylish merchandise
available at reasonable prices, including fashionable leather items.
Imported name brands—Hugo Boss, Versace, etc.—are available but they
are generally more expensive than in the U.S. Children's clothing
and shoes are available but the selection is limited, and the prices
are high. Many parents prefer to shop elsewhere or order from the
internet. Bring special items like Halloween costumes with you.
Officers with representational responsibilities may wish to bring
a tuxedo for black tie events. Most entertaining is more informal
(jacket and tie or cocktail dress). All women should bring versatile
cocktail dresses. Long dresses for women can be difficult to find in
Belgrade. Cocktail length dresses are found more easily.
Many men prefer American-made shoes, which they should bring to
post. Many women prefer to bring or order lingerie and hosiery,
because high quality items on the local market are expensive.
Supplies and Services Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM
Most supplies for personal or household use are available
locally. As with all shopping in Belgrade, it can take quite a bit
of searching to find exactly the item you want. Although U.S. brands
of toiletries, detergents and cleaning supplies are beginning to
appear , local brands are satisfactory and generally inexpensive.
Paper and plastic products (paper towels, napkins, wrapping paper,
and plastic wrap) are available and inexpensive but the quality is
not what you would expect to see in the U.S. Although there are a
few English-language bookstores in Belgrade, the supply of
children's books is quite limited. Prices for good quality toys can
be higher than in the U.S.
Most basic services are available in Belgrade. Drycleaning is
available and adequate, with prices similar to the U.S. Tailors and
dressmakers are available, usually do good work and are inexpensive.
Inexpensive barbers and hairdressers are available. Beauty salons
and the services, including manicures, facials, etc., are
inexpensive. Repair services are of good quality and inexpensive.
Domestic help is available in Belgrade. Many families employ a
housekeeper and/or nanny. The usual rate paid by Americans is
$300-$400 a month for full time help. English-speaking waiters are
available for hire for entertaining needs at $25-$30 per event.
The Embassy does not have parking for privately owned vehicles.
Finding a parking spot on the street near the Embassy or in shopping
areas can be difficult. There are public parking garages in town,
including one that is located five blocks from the Embassy where
spaces are available for $.35 an hour.
Religious Activities Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM
Most churches in Belgrade are Serbian Orthodox, but there are
also Roman Catholic, Russian Orthodox, Adventist, Nazarene, Baptist,
and Anglican churches, a Mosque and a Synagogue. English-language
Anglican, Catholic, Baptist and Pentecostal services are available.
At Post Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM The International School
of Belgrade (ww.isb.co.yu), a U.S. Government-supported school,
offers classes from preschool (age three) through grade 9. The
school is accredited by both the New England Association of Schools
and Colleges, and the European Council of International Schools. It
follows a U.S.-based curriculum. Currently, 150 students attend the
school. Special education services are not available at the school.
The school is in a residential area about 2 miles from the Embassy.
The Embassy provides transportation between housing units and the
school. The school is run by a board of nine members, three
appointed by the U.S. Ambassador and six elected by parents from the
international community. The director and several teachers are U.S.
trained and recruited. Most students are from the diplomatic and
foreign business community. All qualified children of U.S. Mission
personnel will be admitted. The school is growing rapidly and space
is limited, so please advise the school of your assignment as soon
as possible. Write to:
Gerald Craig, Director International School of Belgrade
Department of State Washington, DC 20521-5070
An alternate smaller grammar school also exists. The Chartwell
School (www.chartwellschool.org), which offers classes to children
age 3-grade 8, including remedial, gifted and ESL classes. The
director is Barbara Nichols, a British citizen with U.K. and
Australian credentials. The school is growing rapidly with a current
enrollment of 70 students.
There are two high schools, both using the University of Nebraska
High School extension curriculum. The Anglo-American High School (www.aplus.edu.yu)
has 15 students. The director is a Serbian-American psychologist,
Dr. Tijana Mandic.
The other school is the International High School of Belgrade (www.ihsb.co.yu).
The director is British educator Dr. Martin Scott. It has 45
The International Nursery School of Belgrade is another option
for pre-primary English-language education. (Telephone 381 11 667
130) Student range in age from 2-7. Tuition is $660 per trimester
for 5 days a week and $470 per trimester for 3 days a week. School
hours are from 8am-1:30 p.m.
Away From Post Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM Most Embassy
children in grades 9-12 attend school outside the country.
Currently, the post has seven high school students, attending
boarding schools in Switzerland, England and the U.S.
Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM
Lessons for children in the arts, dance, music for children are
easily arranged. Sports for children, including basketball and
soccer, are available through local clubs. Riding and karate lessons
are also available and reasonably priced.
The International Women's Club offers group lessons for a number
of interests, including Serbian language, yoga, painting, book
discussion, tennis and riding. Private lessons in riding and tennis
are available through local clubs.
Newcomers to post are assigned sponsors by the CLO to help them
settle in at post. Familiarization trips are made to local shopping
areas. Informal potluck suppers and spouses coffee are held to
introduce new staff and families. Serbian-language classes are
available to both employees and dependents. The Embassy employs two
Serbian-language instructors. The Embassy encourages group classes
whenever possible; however, most instruction takes place on a
Recreation and Social Life Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM
There are many opportunities to participate in sports. Staff
members can use the swimming pool and tennis court on the grounds of
the Ambassador's residence during scheduled hours. There is a
low-key diplomatic club with tennis courts and a small swimming
A very popular location in town, Ada Ciganlija, or Gypsy Island,
has a long pebble beach and pedestrian walkway, lined by cafes and
ice cream vendors.
This island also has many sports facilities, including paths for
biking, roller-blading, fields for soccer, baseball, volleyball,
tennis courts, basketball courts, miniature golf. There is a
rock-climbing wall, a water slide, and a water-skiing club.
Elsewhere along the river there are sailing clubs, rowing clubs, and
scuba diving clubs. Horseback riding is possible at local stables.
Many people take advantage of the walking and running trails in a
forested park area called Kosutnjak, where there are also many
picnic tables with barbeque grills.
There are opportunities for touring in Serbia and Montenegro.
Monasteries, an artists colony and places of natural beauty or
historical significance are the main travel options in country.
Travel by air in country is inexpensive and taxis for in town travel
are inexpensive and plentiful. Occasional sightseeing trips are
organized by the CLO and by the International Women's Club. Private
guided tours are easily arranged as well.
Belgrade has ballet, concerts, theater, and symphony. Prices are
very reasonable by U.S. standards. Movies are available in modern
theaters. U.S. movies are shown in English with Serbian subtitles,
and are usually available with a month or two of its U.S. release.
Social Activities Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM
Social life among Americans in Belgrade is usually informal.
Dinner parties, cocktail parties and sporting events are the most
frequent social events. Belgrade is European in its approach to
eating and drinking, and the cafes and restaurants are plentiful.
Restaurants are good, relatively inexpensive for Americans, but meat
and more meat is the main fare here. Meat, salads, fries and bread
is the average restaurant meal. Food on the street corners is
inexpensive and flavorful. Foreign cuisine is only somewhat
represented here: Italian, French, Moroccan, Chinese, and Indian.
Officers at post have many opportunities for developing both
official and informal social contacts with members of foreign
The International Women's Club offers opportunities for cultural
exchange and charitable work with the international community. The
International School of Belgrade Parent Teacher Association offers
another avenue for employees with children to meet and work with
members of the international community.
Official Functions Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM
Invitations to official functions (e.g., national day events,
diplomatic receptions, luncheons, and dinners) are usually received
by senior Embassy officers. Black tie dinners are infrequent. Dress
is usually dark business suit for men and floor length or cocktail
length dresses for women. Attendance at official functions at the
Ambassador's residence and at representational dinners in Embassy
homes requires the same form of dress.
Printed informal cards are used for invitations to casual social
affairs. Locally printed invitations with diplomatic title and
Belgrade address are also frequently used. Printing services are
The rules of social conduct and etiquette standard in the Foreign
Service apply in Serbia and Montenegro.
Consulate - Podgorica
Post City Last Updated: 10/6/2003 4:59 AM
Podgorica, capital of the Republic of Montenegro, lies in one of
the few flat areas in this part of Yugoslavia, a broad plain crossed
by five rivers and surrounded by mountains, just 20 kilometers from
the Albanian border. Bombed into rubble during World War II,
Podgorica has been rebuilt into a modern urban center, with
high-rise apartment buildings and new office and shopping
developments. Though lacking the charm of better-preserved cities,
Podgorica does have a European-style town center with a
pedestrians-only walking street and an assortment of restaurants,
cafes, and boutiques. The city has a population of around 180,000
people. To many, Podgorica's principal attraction is as a base for
exploration of the stunning natural beauty of Montenegro, with
mountains all around and the gorgeous Adriatic coastline less than
an hour away.
Relatively few foreigners reside in the area. Knowledge of
foreign languages—English, German, and Italian—is widespread among
young, educated Montenegrins and those working in the coastal
tourist industry. For everyday purposes, however, some knowledge of
Serbian is essential.
The diplomatic community is small, and is not wholly centered in
Podgorica. Countries with consulates on the coast include Croatia
(in Kotor), Italy (Bar), and Austria (Budva). Greece, the United
Kingdom, Russia, China, and Slovenia maintain consulates in
Podgorica, while Germany and France have offices in town as well.
Various international organizations and NGOs are also present.
The climate varies throughout the country, with the coast
experiencing milder weather and the mountains having harsh winters
and cooler summers. Podgorica has hot summers (90 şF) and mild
winters, with little snow but a fair amount of rain and clouds.
Spring and fall are usually quite pleasant.
The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 10/6/2003 5:47 AM
Opened in 2002 after previous incarnations as a temporary office
and a cultural center, the U.S. Consulate is located near the city
center in an attractive Mediterranean villa-style building with its
own grounds. It holds State Department officers (currently two,
slated for several more), local staff (currently nine), and a
significant USAID presence.
Most American personnel own cars. There are limited maintenance
facilities for American, Japanese, and Korean models, with local
cars and other European brands (Renault, Skoda, Fiat, Mercedes)
being more popular and easier to repair.
Taxis are plentiful, although somewhat expensive in comparison to
other developing countries (around $1/kilometer). However, since the
city is small, the overall cost of the ride is usually reasonable.
The city does have bus service (there are no trams or subway) but
American personnel prefer not to use it.
Travel between cities in Montenegro is possible by car, bus
(frequent and cheap), and limited train routes. Roads vary widely in
quality, but in general driving is hazardous, with a significantly
higher casualty rate than in the U.S. Montenegrin drivers are
notably aggressive. International travel is possible by train (to
Belgrade and then onwards), car, boat (ferries to Italy), and plane.
Montenegro Airlines flies to a number of European cities directly
with comfortable and modern jets, while Adria Airways (Slovenia) and
JAT (Serbia and Montenegro) fly from Podgorica through Ljubljana and
Belgrade, respectively, to many locations.
Permanent Housing Last Updated: 10/6/2003 5:48 AM
Newcomers usually occupy their assigned quarters as soon as they
arrive, although a TDY apartment is also available. Housing consists
of short-term leased houses and apartments, and is generous.
Food Last Updated: 10/6/2003 5:48 AM
Basic food items are plentiful on the local market, and cheap.
Fruits and vegetables are available in season. Grocery stores are
small, and shopping often requires multiple trips (e.g., grocery
store, vegetable market, and butcher). Meat is available and
inexpensive, but cuts are rough and sanitation practices are not up
to Western standards. Processed foods are generally available, but
these are generally European brands and are expensive. Personnel
should bring American favorites to post or order them during their
tour, as they will almost certainly not be available locally.
Religious Activities Last Updated: 10/6/2003 5:49 AM
Due to the limited international community, English-language
services simply do not exist in Podgorica. Orthodox services are
conducted in Serbian, and Catholic services in Albanian and Serbian.
There is also a Muslim community.
At Post Last Updated: 10/6/2003 5:09 AM Education
There are no English-language education options in Podgorica.
Dependent children will likely need to be sent to boarding schools
in the U.S. or Western Europe.
Post Orientation Program
Until household effects arrive, newcomers are provided a Welcome
Kit containing a variety of information and basic housekeeping
equipment (e.g., vacuum cleaner, iron, linens, kitchen utensils,
pots, pans, dishes, etc.).
The Consulate's language program includes all U.S. personnel who
wish to participate and, depending on funds available, all
Recreation and Social Life Last Updated: 10/6/2003 5:11 AM
Recreation and Social Life
Sports and Outdoor Activities
The principal attraction of Montenegro is its dramatic scenery,
which can be appreciated in a variety of ways. The country offers a
wealth of outdoor activities, from skiing to hiking to rafting to
scuba-diving. As Montenegro is a small country, no place is farther
than a day or weekend trip from Podgorica. Although the tourist
sector is mostly geared toward beach vacations (and, to a lesser
extent, ski trips), facilities do exist for a variety of activities.
These, however, are not generally up to American standards, and
equipment is not always available, so it should be brought to post.
Podgorica has basic facilities for tennis, volleyball,
basketball, swimming, soccer, and various others sports. There are
some running paths on the edge of town. Bicycling is not recommended
on city streets, due to the aggressive driving, but would be
possible (if still hazardous) on the outside of town on less
frequented roads. There are some gyms offering basic work-out
facilities, but these are not high-quality.
Many good restaurants featuring local or Italian cuisine are in
Podgorica or the surrounding area, and these are generally less
expensive than in the Washington, DC area. Additionally, many
Montenegrins and expats go to the Adriatic cost for lunch or dinner
during the warmer months, as these towns have some great restaurants
and the commute is reasonable.
Cultural activities in Podgorica are limited. There is a national
theater with frequent programming, but the quality of performances
can be uneven; almost all is in Serbian. Occasional concerts are
given by touring groups. Some of these are held at a local jazz club
as well. There are a number of bars, some of them of a sophisticated
nature, but few places offering live music or dancing. During the
tourist season many places on the coast, however, offer additional
entertainment options, and there are occasional festivals (for
example, in Budva).
Local motion picture theaters show many American films with
Serbian subtitles, as well as other foreign films and local
productions. The quality of the theaters is low by American
standards, however. American and European films and television
series are often shown on local television.
Podgorica has a few professional sports teams, the most popular
of which (by far) is the "Buducnost" basketball team, which plays in
the Yugoslav League and the Euroleague (depending on results). Post
has VIP passes that are available free to employees on a first-come
Entertainment is usually informal. The international community is
small but friendly, and Montenegrins in general are warm to
Americans and newcomers. Most social gatherings are casual dinners
at restaurants or homes, or sometimes evenings at a bar or café.
Cocktail parties and other official events rarely, if ever, require
Notes For Travelers
Getting to the Post Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM
There are no direct flights from the U.S. to Belgrade. Most
personnel travel to Podgorica via Belgrade, to Munich on an American
or code-share carrier, and then proceed to Belgrade on Lufthansa.
Other transit points include Paris, Vienna, Frankfurt, London,
Amsterdam and Zurich. Make sure your travel plans comply with the
Fly America Act.
Airfreight from the U.S. usually arrives within 2 weeks but may
arrive later due to heavy passenger loads during summer months. HHE
and auto shipments take about 2 months. Be sure to bring enough
clothing and other personal items until you receive your UAB. You
can also send extra items to yourself by using the 5070 Belgrade
Place, Dulles, VA 20189-5070 address.
A hospitality kit with dishes, bed linens and kitchen utensils is
available for temporary housekeeping. You will need a large canvas
or strong plastic bag for grocery shopping.
Documents to be hand-carried to post should include diplomatic
passports with visas, four additional photos, original travel orders
and travel authorizations, tickets, travel itinerary, excess baggage
coupons, international drivers licenses, all shipping documents, car
title, vaccination and medical records, and health records for pets.
Customs, Duties, and Passage
Customs and Duties Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM
All personal effects such as: airfreight, automobiles,
consumables and HHE can only be cleared after your arrival at post
with an import permit. Requests for import permits are submitted by
GSO through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and usually take 4-5
work days for approval. The permit is then taken to customs and
goods are cleared within 1-2 days.
The GSO needs advance copies of any invoice, shipping document,
packing list, and a copy of your orders to process your import
permit and have it ready when the goods arrive.
Surface shipments are generally received at the Port of Antwerp (ELSO),
Belgium. Mark your HHE, Consumables and POV as follows:
Attn: Employee's name American Embassy Belgrade, Yugoslavia Kneza
Milosa 50 (Via Antwerp, ELSO)
The Embassy has no storage facilities. Shipments should not
arrive prior to the employee. Shipments are held in ELSO/Antwerp
until the employee has arrived and is occupying permanent quarters.
Automobiles for diplomatic personnel can be imported duty free.
Two vehicles per family can be imported during the first 12 months
of their tour. There is no import restriction regarding year, model,
type or size of your automobile. "Green card" insurance for travel
outside Serbia and Montenegro is now accepted in all European
countries with the exception of Kosovo.
Post regulations do not permit the import of explosives or
Personal effects for diplomatic personnel are exempt from customs
inspections, except when they are believed to contain banned items
Pets Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM
There are no quarantine restrictions for cats and dogs or other
household pets. Pets must accompany incoming Embassy personnel and
should be properly immunized before arrival. To clear the pet
through customs, owners must produce immunization records (primarily
for rabies) that are certified by a public health authority in the
sending country. The health certificate should have been issued not
longer than 1 month prior to the pet's departure.
Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM
The Embassy's policy regarding the importation of firearms by
American staff and family members, consistent with the law of Serbia
and Montenegro, is the following:
Importation of U.S. Government-issued firearms that are required
in the performance of official duties at post may be imported by
American personnel upon the recommendation of the regional security
officer and written approval by the Ambassador. Personally owned
firearms may be imported for hunting and sport purposes only.
Firearms and ammunition imported from the U.S. require formal export
license (Form DSP-5) form the U.S. Department of State and U.S.
Customs declarations. The employee is responsible for obtaining
necessary documentation and abiding with U.S. law.
Registration of all weapons with the RSO Office and local
authorities is required. Employees must contact the RSO Office in
advance to obtain the required registration forms and to obtain the
Ambassador's written approval, as well as notify the administrative
officer of the intent to import weapons. Upon approval from the
Ambassador, the Embassy will submit the appropriate Diplomatic Notes
to the Federal Government.
Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated:
2/28/2003 6:00 PM
The official currency in Serbia is the dinar (YD). There are 100
para to one dinar. There are paper notes of 10, 20, 50, 100, 1000
and 5000 and coins of 50 para, 1, 2, and 5 dinars. The exchange rate
as of April 2003 was 58 dinars to US$1.00. U.S. dollars or European
Euro are sometimes requested for payment of contracted services. In
Montenegro the Euro is the de facto currency.
U.S. dollars can be exchanged at local banks or exchange offices
in the city. The Embassy offers accommodation exchange to all
eligible employees. All American employees should have their salary
deposited directly to their US bank or credit union and care should
be made to select a financial institution that has on-line banking
services that will accommodate paying of bills and transfer of funds
between checking and savings accounts. Payments and reimbursements
$100 or more will be deposited by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)
directly to your financial institution.
With the exception of two or three locations, credit cards and
ATM cards are not accepted. This is currently a cash society. New
banking laws are being drafted and will bring the credit back into
use in a few years.
The metric system of weights and measures is used in Serbia and
Montenegro. Temperature is measured in centigrade.
Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 2/28/2003
The administrative counselor must be notified in advance if an
employee wishes to sell personal property that was imported or
purchased duty and /or tax free before his departure from post.
Approval must be obtained in advance to of sale of all vehicles and
any personal property valued over $180. The Ambassador has delegated
approval authority to the administrative counselor. Conversion of
the proceeds to U.S. dollars by reverse accommodation exchange will
be authorized no earlier than 3 months prior to departure from post.
This applies to all U.S. Government personnel, military and
civilian, who enjoy duty-free importation and tax-free status. These
restrictions are to ensure that individuals do not profit from
transactions with persons not entitled to exemptions from import
restrictions, duties, or taxes.
Individuals shall not retain any profit from sales of personal
property, including any interest earned on that profit. Such profit
shall be disposed within 90 days of receipt by contribution or gift
to a registered U.S. charity, to be chosen by the employee.
Profits are defined as any proceeds for sale of personal property
in excess of the basic cost for such property.
Cost of an item includes the initial price paid, inland and
overseas transportation costs (if not reimbursed by the U.S.
Government), shipping insurance, taxes, customs fees, duties or
other charges, and capital improvements. Cost does not include
insurance on an item while in use or storage, maintenance or repair
costs, or finance charges.
Recommended Reading Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM
Awde, Nicholas. Serbo-Croatian-English, English-Serbo-Croatian
dictionary. Hippocrene Books. 1996.
Burdett, Anita. The Historical Boundaries Between Bosnia,
Croatia, Serbia: Documents and Maps, 1815-1945. Hobbs the Printers
of Southampton. 1995.
Cvilic, Christopher. Remaking the Balkans.
Dragnich, Alex. Serbia and Yugoslavia: Historical Studies and
Contemporary Commentaries. Columbia University Press. 1998.
Glenny, Misha. The Fall of Yugoslavia: The Third Balkan War.
Janicijevic, Jovan. Serbian Culture Through Centuries. Yugoslav
Authors' Agency. 1990.
Judah, Tim. The Serbs:History, Myth and the Destruction of
Yugoslavia. Yale University Press. 2000.
Kaplan, Robert. Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History. Random
Labon, Joanna. Balkan Blues: Writing Out of Yugoslavia.
Northwestern University Press. 1995.
Lampe, John R. Yugoslavia as History: Twice There Was a Country.
Cambridge University Press. 2000.
Lanham, Md. Historical Dictionary of the Federal Republic of
Yugoslavia. Scarecrow Press. 1998.
Lindsay, Franklin. Beacons in the Night: With the OSS and Tito's
Partisans in Wartime Yugoslavia. Stanford University Press. 1993.
Pavlowitch, Stevan. Serbia: The History Behind the Name. Hurst.
Petrovich, Michael. A History of Modern Serbia, 1804-1918.
Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. 1976.
Ramet, Sabrina. Balkan Babel: The Disintegration of Yugoslavia
from the Death of Tito to the War for Kosovo. Westview Press. 1999.
Roberts, Walter. Tito, Mihajlovic, and the Allies, 1941-1945.
Duke University Press. 1987.
Siber, Laura. The Death of Yugoslavia. Penguin. 1995.
Thomas, Robert. The Politics of Serbia in the 1990s. Columbia
University Press. 1999.
Thomas, Robert. Serbia Under Milosevic: Politics in the 1990s.
West, Rebecca. Black Lamb & Grey Falcon: A Journey Through
Yugoslavia. Macmillan London Limited. 1942.
Zimmerman, Warren. Origins of Catastrophe: Yugoslavia and Its
Destroyers. Times Books, 1996.
Web sites of Interest
Serbia Serbia's official web site: www.serbia.sr.gov.yu Facts
about Serbia: www.serbia.sr.gov.yu/facts City of Belgrade:
www.beograd.org.yu Government of the Republic of Serbia:
Serbia and Montenegro Federal Republic of Serbia and Montenegro:
www.gov.yu Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs: www.mfa.gov.yu/index.htm
Directory of Non-Governmental Organizations: directory.crnps.org.yu
American Embassy: www.usemb-belgrade.rpo.at
Local Holidays Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM
Jan. 1 New Year's Day S/M Jan. 2 New Year's Day S/M Jan. 6
Orthodox Christmas Eve M Jan. 7 Orthodox Christmas S/M Jan. 8
Orthodox Christmas M **Mar. 28 Serbian State Day S April 25 Orthodox
Good Friday M April 28 Orthodox Easter Monday S/M May 1 May Day S/M
May 2 May Day S/M July 13 Revolution Day M
According to the Serbian holiday law, when either day of a 2-day
holiday falls on a Sunday, the next working day becomes a holiday
and when a holiday falls on a Saturday, it will not be observed on
the preceding Friday.
According to the Montenegrin holiday law, if any holiday should
fall on a Sunday, the next working day becomes a holiday.
**Please note that Serbian holidays are subject to change.