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Why is Belgrade hosting WordCamp Europe 2018?

Why is Belgrade hosting WordCamp Europe 2018?

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As you already know, Belgrade is this year’s WordCamp Europe host city, and in this article, I’ll go over quite a few reasons I think why 🙂

Now, as a disclosure, this is my personal opinion and in no way related to the WordCamp Europe 2018 organizing team (which I am a part of). Something completely personal and from the perspective of a WordPress community member.

As stated in various foreign reports:

The Serbian ICT market was estimated to $ 2 billion in 2016. This sector accounts for 6 percent of Serbia’s GDP, and it is the most vibrant and the fastest growing Serbian sector for the last ten years.

And, if that is not enough, in just four years, WordPress community in Serbia grew from 300 to almost 7000 members! How’s that for good enough reason for Belgrade to host WordCamp Europe 2018? ☺

Not impressed? Sit back, relax and let me introduce you to the local WordPress scene that is growing globally. In case you didn’t know, quite a few companies and (more than a few thousand) freelancers are working worldwide in the WordPress ecosystem, you’d be surprised.

How it all started?

Way back when in 2013, one of the very first significant WordPress related meetups was held in the ManageWP offices. Vladimir Prelovac, Sinisa Komlenic, Marko Heijnen, Milan Ivanovic and ourselves were among people who helped in spreading the word about this wonderful tool we all love and use. Today, Serbian WordPress community is one of the biggest and strongest in this part of the world. But, more on that later 🙂

Vladimir Prelovac

World traveler, a diver, a pilot and a serious programmer. Mr. Prelovac is a businessman with a vision, a man who made ManageWP and is now a senior VP Product in GoDaddy, one of the biggest domain registrars in the world.

Source: Facebook

He discovered WordPress some ten years ago and made a huge impact with and around it, mostly in developing ManageWP, a solution that lets you manage multiple WordPress sites from one place. And, apart from all that, Vladimir is also a book author, with his still popular and relevant WordPress Plugin Development: Beginner’s Guide. Must-read if you are a beginner and interested in plugin development.

Source: Facebook

“WordPress has been a global phenomenon, now powering over 30% of the sites on the web. WordCamp Europe is the largest WordPress conference in the world and Belgrade will host it this year. This is an incredible opportunity to show the hospitality Serbia is famous for and is also an affirmation of years of hard work that people from this region have contributed to the WordPress and open-source communities in general. Personally, I am thrilled to see the event organized in Belgrade as the people I closely worked with for past many years have significantly contributed to making this happen.”

Vladimir Prelovac

Themes Kingdom

Source: Facebook

As they describe themselves, „a small group of Knights working to make awesome WordPress Themes“, these guys also live in Serbia and make WordPress eco-system a better place ☺ We mentioned their key man, Sinisa Komlenic, one of the founders  of the Themes Kingdom and a man who is involved in the community from the very beginning.

“A positive energy and a great amount of knowledge and experience in the WordPress community, is the reason why you don’t want to miss these events, wherever they’re held in the world. We are fortunate that, thanks to the WordPress community of Serbia, this event is organized in Belgrade. Another great advantage is that the WCEU offers content for those who are just embarking on the WordPress journey, but also for those who have been using WordPress for years and make their living off of WordPress.”

Sinisa Komlenic, Themes Kingdom co-founder

Shindiri Studio

Source: Facebook

Great group of people from South Serbia and city of Niš, people who are pretty involved in the developing local WordPress community. So much, that their every WP meetup counts between 100 and 150 people – each time!

“As a company primarily oriented to WordPress, it is naturally to us to attend all WordPress oriented events. And this year WCEU is practicly at our doorstep. We love to meet people who love WordPress as we do, who make a living of it, and want to give back to this amazing community. This year all of our employees will visit Belgrade, to attend WCEU, mingle and hear what is new in WordPress, and in which direction it’s development will go. This is an amazing opportunity for us to meet our customers, explore new business ventures and give something back to WordPress on Contribution Day, as big supporters of local meetups in Nis.

We are looking forward to June and be a part of the biggest WordPress event in Europe.”

Milan Djordjevic, Shindiri Studio

Meks

Source: Private archive

Yours truly. A dream turned into reality, a local crew who develops and sells premium WordPress themes all around the world. We started as a part of ManageWP team and later on developed our own company which you all know and trust ☺ In just a few years, we managed to become Envato’s Power Elite Authors and help over 30.000 clients with our premium quality themes, which we are so proud of. Moreover, we do a lot free contributing, as in quite a few useful plugins you can find on the WordPress repository, as well as free premium themes and lectures we have on meetups and WordCamps across Serbia. Giving back is equally important to us as our work.

“Over the past decade or so, we were witnesses of many young people leaving Serbia to seek their fortunes far abroad. Here at Meks, we’ve been working really hard to raise the standards and make the opposite happen, now we finally managed to bring the rest of the world to Serbia. The fact itself can’t be more satisfying and if we need to express our feelings in one word, it will be – victory! :)”

Bojan Petrovic, Meks Co-founder

Milan Ivanovic

Source: Facebook

Who from the WordPress environment doesn’t know Lanche, either by his reputation or as himself, right? A man who lives and breathes WordPress, who is responsible for the ever-growing local WordPress community and the very man who we thank for bringing WordCamp Europe to Belgrade, Serbia ☺

“Having WordCamp Europe in Belgrade is a cherry on top of a the cake for WordPress community in Serbia. We grew over the years and having a pleasure on hosting one of the greatest WordPress conference will be a great acknowledge for everyone involved. WordCamp Europe will be an amazing opportunity for a lot of attendees to visit Belgrade and our welcoming country. All of us put a lot of effort into organizing this one, we are ready. See you all in a few days!”

Milan Ivanovic, WP Serbia community lead

So, there you have it. Serbia may be a small country, but it’s home to an ever-growing WordPress community filled with all sorts of professionals. Whether it’s development, design, content creation, marketing, promotion – you name it, we have it! Think of us as mighty Gauls of the WordPress ecosystem ☺

WP Serbia community

Source: Facebook

As stated earlier, we grew a lot in these few years. From one meetup to another, when we look back, there are a lot of things we accomplished. Three WordCamp Belgrade conferences so far, hundreds of meetups and not just in Belgrade! In these five years, we managed to build communities in 11 cities so far – and counting! From dozens of people to a community of almost 7000 members, 11 towns and a lot of successful meetups – all this and more are the reasons you’ll be joining us all in Belgrade this year.

Wrapping up

Hope this article shared some more light on our environment and connections to WordPress and that you’re slightly more excited to come this June. And, in case you’re wondering how to spend some free time or where to go round our beautiful city, we made this Instagram-worthy places in Belgrade guide to help you get through.

And, if you know of any more people and companies that contributed our local WordPress community, feel free to add them in the comment section, thanks!

See you all soon!

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Ivana Cirkovic

Ivana is a Digital Marketing, PR and Social Media consultant with over nine years experience in the field. She is also a WordPress enthusiast and an active member of WordPress community who lives online almost 24/7. In love with Twitter, WP, photography and NYC.

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