Croatian diaspora in France

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Number of Croats in France and their immigration

It is estimated that there are about 40,000 Croats and their descendants living in France.
Croats in France can be divided into three groups, as a result of different waves of immigration:

  • The first group: wave of emigration after World War II,   mostly  political emigrants who received French citizenship.
  • The second group: wave of emigration at the end of the sixties, due to  economic reasons.Some of them chose French citizenship.
  • The third group includes the descendants of the above groups, i.e. the second and third generations.
More than 90 percent of Croats in France resides in the eastern part of the country. About half of Croatian citizens live in the wider Paris region (it is about 10,000 to 12,000 Croats). They are followed by Côte d'Azur region with 4,000 to 5,000 Croats who mostly live in the cities of Nice, Marseille and Monaco. Roughly the same number of Croats, that between 4,000 and 5,000 lives in the region Rhône-Alpes. The majority of this group live in the cities of Lyon and Chambery and their surrounding areas. Finally, there are two regions with a large group of Croatian citizens (but in far smaller numbers): in the east of France, in the cities of Mulhouse, Metz, and Belfort , then in Lille and the surrounding area in the north where there are about 250 to 300 Croatian households.

Status of Croats in France

Specific laws on the rights and obligations of immigrants do not exist. Foreign nationals are treated equally as all other citizens of the host country regarding their employment and social rights. Certain laws are in force that regulate immigration, acquisition of  citizenship, permanent and temporary residence and asylum. When a census is taken in France, it does not include the issue of ethnic origin of each person.
You need to have lived in France continuously for five years in order to apply for French citizenship. In addition, you should have a working knowledge of French.  France allows its citizens dual citizenship.
It is also important to note that the Republic of Croatia and France have concluded an international Agreement on social security.

Croatian Associations and Catholic Missions

It is important to highlight the role of an umbrella organization CRICCF (Conseil des Institutions représentatif et Communautés Croates de France - Congres mondial en anglais France, or Council of elected representatives of the institutions and the Croatian community in France). CRICCF ( is also representative of the Croatian World Congress in France. AMCA (Association des anciens de Étudiants Croatie en France), is association of former students of Croatian universities in France, and Croatian youth of Paris ( . In Lille, there is a Franco-Croatian Cultural Association and the Association of Corsica France Croatie Corsica.
At the beginning and during the War in Croatia the number of associations increased sharply, mainly for the purpose of collecting humanitarian aid, but also for the growing needs of an organized and coordinated action of the Croatian community in France. In its humanitarian work Croatian community in France has proved to be extremely active and well organized, thanks to the existence CRICCF's.
There are three Croatian Catholic Missions: in Paris, Lyon and Nice, and the Mass is held once a month  in Croatian in Beauvais, Metz and Lille.

Croatian classes and courses of the Croatian language

Croatian classes are within the competence of  the Croatian Ministry of Science and Education. Classes are organized all around the country, in the cities of Paris, Lyon, Dijon and Lille and the surrounding areas. Classes are attended by approximately 150 students and . there are four teachers working in those schools.
An important step in learning the Croatian language is the inclusion of Croatian supplementary school in the French education system based on ELCO (Enseignement de langue et de culture d'origine, ie, teaching language and culture of people of foreign origin) model.

Several academic courses of the Croatian language were established at the faculties:
  • Exchange programs within the competence of the  Croatian Ministry of Science and Education:
  • Université de Paris - Sorbonne, Paris
  • Université Jean Moulin, Lyon
  • Université Stendhal, Grenoble
  • INALCO Institute, Paris (Institut national des langues et Civilisations Orientales-i.e. National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilization).
  • Université le Miral, Toulouse
  • Independent academic courses not within the competence of the Croatian Ministry of Science and Education:
  • Université de Bourgogne, Dijon

It is also important to mention the Interdisciplinary program of Croatian language studies ( interdisciplinaire Programme d'études croates) at the University of Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV), established  in collaboration with the University of Zagreb and Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia in 1981. 

Since 1998, between the University of Zagreb and the University Pantheon Assas (Paris II) as partner institutions have organized “University postgraduate professional study European Studies" (Diplôme d'études européennes). It is the first postgraduate degree in Croatia both in  French and Croatian language. The aim of this study program is to enable students to obtain a degree "European professional assistants" (lectures, seminars and consultations are held in the premises of the Faculty of Law in Zagreb and in Dubrovnik). Upon completion the  students receive an equivalent specialist degree in French and in Croatian.

Publishing and Media
  • The newletter "Hrvatski veznik" published by CRICCF.
  • The journal "Naš glas" published by the Croatian Catholic Mission in Paris. A few years ago, "Naš glas" publishes articles by Catholic Missions in Lyon and Nice.
  • Organizers of Croatian classes publish a journal "Zavičaj" in which the works of students are presented.