Stereotypes and prejudices are something we often encounter. What are the biggest prejudices and stereotypes about Bosnia and Herzegovina?
In our work with tourists, we encountered many stereotypes and prejudices about Bosnia and Herzegovina. These are some of the most common.
1. War in Bosnia and Herzegovina is still active, or is just finished
Many tourists say that before coming to Bosnia and Herzegovina, they had a discussion with their families and friends about whether they should visit this country. The reason is that many people think that the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina is not over yet.
Others, on the other hand, think that the war ended recently. Obviously, this is not true. What is true is that there was a war in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the past, which lasted from 1992 to 1995. So the war ended 27 years ago!
2. Bosnia and Herzegovina isn’t safe for travel
This is partially related to the first point – those who think the war has recently ended feel that it is not safe to travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Others think that the crime rate here is too high and because of this, it will not be safe for them to travel. The truth is that Bosnia and Herzegovina is as safe as any other country in Europe. If you take care of your stuff and act as if you’ve gone to any other European city you’ll be fine.
4. People in Bosnia and Herzegovina live completely separately
Another assumption is that the three constituent nations (Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks) are keeping away from each other because of the war. That is not true, Bosnia and Herzegovina is one country. We don’t have iron curtain that separates one nation from another. Many people have friends, work colleagues or spouses of a different religion and nationality.
Tourists also often ask if people from Bosnia and Herzegovina go to neighboring countries – Croatia and Serbia. The answer is that Bosnians are happy to visit these countries, as well as that we are happy to host guests from these countries in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Faith is the dominant and limiting factor
To begin with, it is not clear to many tourists that Bosnia and Herzegovina is a secular state. They also expect that religion has a lot of influence on life. For example, they often say that they expected many more covered Muslim women in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the same way as in Saudi Arabia. Those expectations do not match what they find in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
It is true that, considering the various influences to which Bosnia and Herzegovina has been exposed throughout history, a large part of the people is not excessively religious. Of course, one part of the population is religious but what is definite is that Bosnia and Herzegovina is a secular state and that it is not governed by the religious law of any religion.
What often surprises people is how much history Bosnia and Herzegovina has and that it is generally much more than what they expected when they arrived. These are just some of the prejudices and stereotypes we have heard. There are still many, but as more and more people visit Bosnia and Herzegovina, we believe that the number of prejudices and stereotypes will also decrease.