Velenje (Wöllan), Slovenia, Europe
Year1955latitude: 46° 21'
longitude: 15° 6'
Initiator(s)Nestl Žgank (director of mining company Rudnik Velenje) and design engineers of Slovenija project, Ljubljana led by architect Janez Trenz
Planning organization
Nationality initiator(s)
Designer(s) / Architect(s)Nestl Zgank
Design organization
Inhabitants33,548 (2022)
Target population
Town website
Town related links
Literature- Martinsek, D. (2006) Nactrovanje prostorskega razvoja Velenja od nastanka moderna mesta dodanes, Ljubljana
- Hudej, N. (2016) Varstvo zelenega sistema v prostorskih dokumentih, primer Velenja, Ljubljana
- Monografija Velenja 2002 by various authors; MOV, 2002.
- Rdeči kralj by Damjan Kljajič and Vlado Vrbič; Karantanija, 2001 (a biography of Nestl Žgank).

type of New Town: > scale of autonomy
New Town
Company Town
> client
Private Corporation
Public Corporation
> policy


Velenje in socialist times, photo from exposition in Velenje, februari 2020 (Marco Bontje)

A new, more modern urban plan for around 6000 people1 in 1954 (Seher, 1998:445)
source: Martinsek, D. (2006) Nactrovanje prostorskega razvoja Velenja od nastanka moderna mesta dodanes, Ljubljana, pg 17

"Velenje began like many towns in the late Middle Ages, as a market town near a castle. Velenje remained a small market town until the mid-20th century. Already in the 18th century, the thick layer of lignite near the town was discovered. From 1875, the 'birth year' of Velenje's coal mine, the mine became an increasingly important part of the town's economy. Velenje's rapid post-war development fitted in well with Yugoslav economic policy: industrialisation, with a leading role for heavy industry. Velenje became a two-company town. Apart from the coal mine (and the power station connected to it), the second economic pillar was, and is, Gorenje, founded in 1950. Gorenje could be seen as a Slovenian version of Philips old-style: it is mainly big in household appliances.
Around the mine and factory complex, the 'socialist model town' Velenje was built. As in many socialist building projects, modernism and the garden city were the main starting points of the design. The buildings consist mainly of flats, from low-rise blocks of four storeys (see photo at top) to towers of 15 to 20 storeys, with shops and other public functions on the ground floor in the city centre. A central axis between these buildings leads to the city centre and Titov Trg. Around the buildings and streets there is a lot of space for green: Velenje is designed as 'the city in the park." (Bontje,2020)

source: Bontje, M. (2020) "Velenje: ‘socialistische modelstad’ in zwaar kapitalistisch weer" article on

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