Osteria Gioia has intrigued me for a while now and while driving past it regularly, it has seduced me into trying it. Knowing nothing about the history, just looking through the perfectly square window into this tunnel-like restaurant which always looks too busy. Too much to resist for a man like me, so I rang up and made a reservation.
High end Italian is the offering and it is very good. Fine Italian cooking, well presented, with good attention to detail. I started with the Buffallo Mozarella which was good, and big enough for 2, followed by the pasta with Porcini mushrooms and Truffle sauce. Quite delicious, I could have eaten more of the pasta and less of the starter. The service was sharp, attentive and well timed, with good attention to detail. The restaurant is on 2 floors with the non-smoking area upstairs, which is a great plus.
Although I wanted to sit near that window I had been looking through on my drive by’s, the non-smokers are upstairs. Modern furnishings with simple uncluttered lines, pleasing on the eye and comfortable.
The menu is comprehensive and all looks very mouthwatering, to this point I have only made the one visit, so I am planning a return soon to try more of the extensive menu. A good looking wine list heavily focused on Italian wines, looks well balanced and well put together, covering a broad cross section of wine styles. One though could seriously ramp up the cost of the bill if to take full advantage of this selection. The prices generally are at the upper end of the Bucharest restaurant market, although fair as the quality of the complete offering lives up to it.
The restaurant is easy to reach, being located on 16 Ion Mihalache Blvd.
For reservation call 021 31 37 50. More details here.
If you like adrenalin and unique places, then probably a trip on Transalpina is the kind of experience you are looking for. The road has been officially opened again although it has the “under construction” status, so the necessary restrictions should apply.
Transalpina is the road that is situated at the highest altitude in Romania, as well as in the whole Carpathian chain, both in Romania and abroad. The highest altitude it reaches is 2145m in the Urdele Pass. Transalpina crosses the Parang Mountains from N to S, linking Transylvania and Oltenia, going in parallel with the Olt Valley and Jiu Valley in between which there are the two villages Saliste in the Sibiu County and Novaci in the Gorj County.
The name of the road comes from the Latin “Transalpina” (the country beyond the mountains) as Tara Romaneasca (“The Romanian Country” – a former region of Romania) used to be called in the old Latin texts and on the old maps. It is also called “The Kings’ Road” because king Carol II inaugurated it himself together with the Royal Family in 1938 after its completion together with the Royal Family.
Although it’s situated at a higher altitude and it is said that it’s more beautiful than the Transfagarasan road, it is still less known because even if it’s considered a National Road, it has never been asphalted before 2009.
Transalpina has been built by the roman armies on their way to Sarmisegetusa, paved by King Carol II after 1930 and rehabilitated by the Germans during the Second World War after being forgotten for centuries. Nowadays it offers spectacular views and a challenging drive for the adrenalin enthusiasts.
The fact that it has been forgotten and it has become very hard to drive on helped Transalpina keep its wilderness and special charm untouched, unlike many other places in Romania. It is one of the only roads in Romania where you can actually drive up to the clouds and even above them.
A new terrace has opened downtown Bucharest, near Calea Victoriei, and this one is for insiders.
It’s called Terasa Monteoru, and it’s hard to spot unless you’ve been told where it is. The place has history, and the old days charm, which makes it a place to try out.
The terrace is tucked away behind an old historic building at the corner of the Dacia boulevard and Calea Victoriei. Once you enter the old building’s yard, you will see a sign sending you behind the building to the nice terrace. From the street, however, all you’ll see is this old house – some people call it a Haunted House. It’s a 19th century house that is yet to be renovated.
Read the whole article here.
Times New Romanian is a book on Romania and Romanians from the perspectives of people who chose to come and live here. In their own words they share their stories and experience of living in Romania. It’s a book for those who would like to know a little more about the country and the way it ticks.
The author of this book is Nigel Shakespear, an Englishman who spent his last 10 years in Romania, traveling throughout the country. Get to know him better here.
The book can be purchased from Anthony Frost Bookshop and costs Ron 50. Learn more about the book and author here.
By Oana Pascu
The first month of summer is already almost over and that means that most likely many of those who live in the capital have already had at least one weekend getaway at the Romanian seaside. If you are already planning one (or your next one), consider sparing a couple of hours to visit the oldest settlement in Romania by taking a short detour on the way to the seaside or back.
The ruins of ancient Histria today lie stranded in the desolate inland shore of a vast lagoon barely 50 km north of Constanța. Once an important coastal port, Histria was the first Greek settlement of the western shore of the Black Sea and the earliest documented city in Romania. It enjoyed 1,300 years of growth and prosperity before being abandoned in the 7th century AD. Of particular interest to the visitor are the remains of the ancient fort. Some 70 km southwest of Constanța amidst beautifully terraced hills lies Adamclisi, home to the Tropaeum Traiani , a victory monument built in 109 AD to commemorate the Roman emperor Trajan’s victory over the Dacians.
Histria was a Greek colony near the mouths of the Danube (known as Ister in Ancient Greek), on the western coast of the Black Sea. Established by Milesian settlers in order to facilitate trade with the native Getae, it is considered the oldest urban settlement on Romanian territory. Scymnus of Chios (ca 110 BC) dated its founding to 630 BC, while Eusebius of Caesarea set it during the time of the 33rd Olympic Games (657 – 656 BC). The earliest documented currency on Romanian territory was an 8-gram silver drachma, issued by the city around 480 BC.
The ruins of the citadel, which are located on the shore of the Sinoe lake, can be visited nowadays. At the time when the city was constructed, the current Sinoe lake was a gulf open to the sea. At the moment, you can visit the defense wall, with towers and bastions, which used to close the citadel from the west towards the Sinoe lake. You can also see the preserved ruins of the Greek temples from the sacred area, paved streets and residential districts, workshops, especially Roman, thermal baths, civil basilicas and in the center of the city you will find one of the largest Christian basilicas in the region, from the 6th century AD.
The Episcopal Basilica from Histria, an edifice which is 60 meters long and 30 meters wide, that used to cover around 2% of the late citadel, has been brought to light in 1969 by the archaeologist Alexandru Suceveanu. It was built in the center of the old city and it is the most important discovery at Histria, as it proves that in the centuries 5-6 AD Histria has been declared episcopacy. On the 13th of February 2007, the Histria Citadel has been included in the list of the European Patrimony.
In the early 20s the first archeological museum has been built on site, but only 3 years later the building collapsed. The current museum has been built in 1982 and it hosts pieces of Greek, Roman and Byzantine archeology that have been discovered on the Histria site and around: amphorae, inscriptions, ceramics, glass, earthen lamps, finery and epigraphic documents.
Convinced? Then this is how you get there: from Bucharest, follow the A2 highway to Ovidiu, Constanta. Then follow DN22/E87 to DJ226A and 8 km later you will reach Histria.
Drinking beer is one of the favorite past times in Romania. Mix that with watching football, and you have a better understanding of what Romanian (men) like to do in their free time. Now that the World Cup is ongoing, this trend is more visible than ever. We know, we’re generalizing, but one must admit: beer is popular (and cheap) in Romania.
The Old Town is one of the main destinations for beer sessions in Bucharest (and for watching football too). Below are a few choices of places where one can enjoy a beer in the Romanian capital’s old district (in a random order).
Disclaimer: We’re not saying these are the only places where one can drink beer in the Old Town, all the pubs, bars, cafes, clubs there serve beer.
Beraria Hanul cu Tei
A beer house (this is what the Romanian word berarie means) that bears the name of a former inn in the Old Town. It is located inside the Hanul cu Tei passage (in fact an interior court), between the streets Blanari and Lipscani. Huge place, nice design, popular for events and for watching football matches (the owner is former Romanian footballer Ilie Dumitrescu).
This restaurant is famous mostly among tourists, but also among Romanians. Housed in a historic building, it serves good Romanian food, large portions, and plenty of beer. It goes help to have the word beer (in Romanian BERE) in the restaurant’s name. They also serve a beer of the house. Located on Stavropoleus St.
This was opened in 2013, and hosts a large beer place downstairs, as well as a brasserie on the ground floor. The place has massive oak tables, of course lots of beer, and live music. It has been recommended to us by friends. Located on Selari Street.
Another one with the word beer / brewers (in Romanian, berari) in its name, this place is also a restaurant. Big place both indoors and outdoors, large portions of food, and beer by the meter. Located on Selari Street.
This club, famous among several generations of students, now also has a terrace, and is known for its cheap beer. Not a beer place per say, but a place chosen by many for its cheap drinks, and its good music. Located on Blanari Street.
Another very popular place for its cheap beer, just across the street from Club A. And just like Club A, Argentin is one of the oldest places in Bucharest’s Old Town. A classic as they say. Located on Blanari Street.
La 100 de Beri
Again a place betting on the word beers (beri) in its name, this time with an addition, the 100. They do have more than 100 beers on offer, indeed, Romanian and foreign ones, some with names impossible to pronounce. They also sell a minibarrel of 5 liters of beer! Located on Covaci Street.
No confusion here: this place surely serves beer, round the clock. Lots of beers on offer, from around the world, and two locations: one on Gabroveni Street, and the other one in the Maca Vilacrosse passage, near Calea Victoriei.
Oktoberfest has two locations in the Old Town, and lots of space in both. The one on Selari street is open non-stop, while the one on Franceza street is open (just) 21 hours a day. The latter has 500 seats, and is located on three floors. It has 12 large diagonal TVs for watching sports games. Here beer comes in unexpected…formats: beer by the meter, by the bucket, bottle or barrel, among others.
By Ximena Reyes
The train has come to a final station and whether you enjoyed the trip or not, it is time to leave.
Moving to a new country or perhaps relocating back home is stressful. So many practical things to take care of, some many things to coordinate and decide. Amidst the many things to cope with, every person in the family is living through this change, individually and on their own pace.
Moving means losing, closing, entering the unknown. It is leaving your comfort zone, even if you didn’t feel well, it was somehow what you knew. It means to leave your home, friends, familiar people around you, your known restaurants, parks and more. No matter the age of the children they ARE experiencing the process. Maybe they cannot formulate their discomfort and sense of loss, but for sure it will have an effect on their behavior.
It is a loss, and there is a closure and grieving process to be done and supported.
How can you support your children in this process and facilitate their adaptation to the new location?
First, your own attitude is a guidance for the kids. They will perceive your anxiety, your existing or non-
existing grief, your sudden changes from over-controlling to not caring, they see you when you are reluctant to give away things or learn more about the new place.
1. Use this process of change to change things in your daily life.
2. Embrace the power that change brings.
3. Let your child design a sticker that will be put in all the boxes from his room (buy empty labels and let
them color it)
4. Create opportunities for your family to individually say goodbye to people and places.
5. Let them choose or design their new rooms in the new location, but keep it realistic.
6. Come ahead of time to the new place to let them adapt gradually
7. Help them to be in contact with their friends
8. Accept that things won’t be the same
9. Understand that feelings will be more intense, reduce any added pressure.
10. Be ready to make exceptions in your routines, sleeping, eating and more during this transition phase.
The Balteni Hermitage, a UNESCO monument, is a short jog north of Bucharest and may be a worthwhile trip for any Dracula enthusiast.
The legend says that the Balteni Monastery was built at the end of the 16th century after Voivode Radu Negru had a dream about it before a battle with the Tatars.
The place that was chosen for the construction of the Monastery was supposed to be a “natural fortress” in case of danger, and a place of calm and prayer during the times of peace. The land used to be back then an island that was supposed to prevent the enemies from attacking it. The oaks forming the Vlasiei forest used to be an undefeatable “wall”.
The locals are still talking about an underground tunnel that was connected to the monastery and that served the villagers as an escape in times of war. The Cocioc forest that is partially surrounding the place is a natural vestige of the Vlasiei forest.
The monument is considered one of the most valuable ones in the Southern part of Romania due to its medieval architecture. The church is tall and slender, it’s build with unpainted bricks and the roof is made out of shingles. The walls, which are supported by counterforts, are 80 centimeter thick, giving the monastery its citadel aspect.
According to the legend, this is where ruler Vlad Tepes (commonly known as Dracula) has been killed at the end of 1476. In one version of the story, Vlad the Impaler was murdered in a nearby forest, and the monks of the Snagov monastery (which is rather close to this monument, also on an island on the Snagov Lake) took it upon themselves to inter the villain. Perhaps the monks felt indebted to Vlad for the additions he insisted be added to their abode—most bizarrely, a prison and a torture chamber. Whatever the reasons, the monks dressed the body richly and put it to rest in front of the church alter.
Some say that Balteni is more beautiful than the Danube Delta and it’s a true oasis for anyone living in the capital. The temperature there is generally 5 degrees lower than in Bucharest during summer, which makes it the perfect getaway place for its inhabitants.
In case you want to escape Bucharest for a couple of hours the Balteni Monastery is the perfect place for you. It takes only half an hour to get there and there are several places where you can have lunch around it.
You need to drive on the DN1, Bucharest-Ploiesti to Tancabesti, turn on DJ101B to Peris, and then DC179 to Balteni. Once you enter the village you will see the beautiful Balteni Hermitage on the right side of the road.
By Oana Pascu
The hot Bucharest summer begs for cooling in the pool, and there are a few places in Bucharest where one can cool down and swim at the same time.
Firstly, some of Bucharest’s hotels have pools which are open for guests outside the hotel. We would mention the World Class at JW Marriott and Radisson Blu, the pools at the Intercontinental and the Athenee Palace Hilton.
There are also several sports clubs which include pools: Pescariu Health and Spa (3 Glodeni St.), Club Triumf (2 Primo Nebiolo St.), Complex Sportiv 2000 (3-11 Gabriela Szabo St. – Militari neighborhood), Floreasca club (1 Mircea Eliade St.), Lia Manoliu National Sports Center(37-39 Basarabia Blvd.), Daimon Sport Club (10 Picsului St. in Tineretului park) plus several places which combine lounge/city beach and a pool: the Apa Nova pool (9 Tarmului St.), La Plage (26-30 Odai St., Otopeni, near Bucharest), Player Summer Club (5 Primo Nebiolo St.
For more sports tips, check out online section with sports facilities in Bucharest.
By Aideen O’Brien, guest writer, writes about her life in Romania.
I write to you from Bucharest, Romania. I came here with my husband and 3 daughters in May 2013. I came with no expectations, no pre-conceived notions….or so I thought. When I broke the news of our impending departure, most of my friends exclaimed “What!” followed swiftly by “Why?! I left Ireland with 4 bags, 3 children, 2 bikes, 1 husband and myself. I felt a little like the emigrants of old….nervous, anxious and somewhat desolate. As if I would never see Ireland again.
I spent much of my childhood living in Zambia, Africa. A protected and sheltered childhood, full of wonderful memories. I would have absorbed and assimilated much of the sights and smells, the language, the culture and the people. It would have soaked into my blood, slowly but surely. Upon our return to Ireland, an adjustment was required. It was cold and rainy and they spoke strangely. My first major culture shock. But I was still young and I adapted well and settled quickly. In later years, I travelled extensively through the USA, Western Europe, South East Asia and Australia. These experiences make you who you are, they open your eyes to the world and your heart to the people. I thought I knew it all…..until we came to Romania.
All I could see then was the old, crumbling buildings; the beggars missing limbs on the street; the hanging wires waiting to strangle; the huge gaping holes in the road and the pathway lying in wait to trip you up; the stray dogs eying you warily or trying to bite; people staring as I travelled on the metro, tram and bus with 3 girls; the traffic and the honking horns and the sheer volume of noise grinding on my nerves; the intense heat burning our pale skin. My second major culture shock.
I desperately missed my friends and family; the misty rain on my face; the green hills; the certainty of life and knowing what to expect every day. I often felt like crying when it all got too much, indeed have done so only to emerge feeling washed out and exhausted but also renewed, invigorated and definitely calmer….for a few more days at least.
But a year on and what have I gained as a person and how have we matured and grown as a family? My children laugh and play with their Romanian friends, completely at ease, though neither child knows the language of the other; Culture, music, wine and food; The ability to communicate whether that be in English, Romanian, French or German; New friends…some will move on…some will stay…some will remain friends for life; Interacting with the country locals in the mountains..helping a stranger to put a wheel back on his horse and cart loaded with wood (using a car jack); Travelling in the Balkans…Bulgaria, Serbia, Macedonia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Turkey – countries previously only vaguely heard about; Campfires by the Danube; Boating in the Delta; Hot summers and cold winters.
We, as a family, have become stronger and we have found our niche in Bucharest. We play football with the Brits, go on camping trips with the Americans and drink with the Paddies. But we go to school, children’s parties and Mozart concerts with the Romanians. Every day I am surprised and at times overwhelmed by their indomitable spirit, hospitality and generosity.
When the time is right we shall return home. My friends and family will be there always. But I have the advantage. My heart, my ears and my mind are open again. Will I be different, will I be changed? It may be painful to change but change is inevitable. If we resist change, we grow stale and stagnant. If we embrace it, our life cannot but be the richer for it. I feel blessed. I hope you, my reader, will too.
By Oana Pascu
A beautiful beach close to Bucharest which is not even close to the seaside
The summer has already taken over Bucharest and most of Romania and many of the people living in the capital are already planning a weekend getaway at the seaside in the following weeks. If you are not necessarily the kind of person who likes to go to the seaside, but would rather prefer a location that is closer to Bucharest and in the middle of a forest, we know a beach that would be the perfect place for you. Most likely it will not take you more than 2 two hours to get there, as it is 130 km away from Bucharest, and close to Campina.
Valea Doftanei (Romanian for “Valley of the Doftana”) is a commune in Prahova County, Romania. It is composed of two villages: Teşila (the commune center) and Trăisteni.
Located in the northwestern part of Prahova County, the commune has an area of some 286 sqm. Its population primarily inhabits the central and southern areas, with the north being taken up by mountainous terrain. The Doftana River crosses the commune for some 30 km from north to south before ending in the Paltinu Dam and reservoir.
The Paltinu Lake is a reservoir lake for drinking water located in a mountainous area at an altitude of 650 meters and it spreads over 3 km, offering an incredible view. Both shores are suitable for summer activities.
In case you want to explore further, Glodeasa is a beech and fir virgin secular forest, located in the Valea Doftanei commune. The forest is a live testimonial of the evolution of the forest coating of our mountains, and it is protected from logging. The trees you can see there are 200-300 years old and have heights of 40-45 meters.
The Glodeasa forest is one of the few virgin forests in Romania, presenting remarkable landscape diversity: forests, cliffs, meadows, sweet waters, and piers. The landscape is adorned with rare plant species, protected by the law.
If we stirred your interest and you want to go to Valea Doftanei, this is how you get there: you need to take DN1 in the direction of Brasov to Comarnic, and then follow DJ101S for another 14 km.
For the fifth year, Expat Women in Romania, are doing a Photo Charity Project, this year under the name “Romania in Focus – Through the Lenses of Expat Women!”
The informal group ‘Expat Women in Romania’ is a non-governmental, non-profit organization, initiated in 2010. Profit from the project goes to established and well known charities that are carefully selected by the group. The project consist of a published photo book containing photos of Romania taken by the women in this group, an opening exhibition at Crown Plaza and the following exhibitions. Sale of books and prints are the main fundraising activities.
The photographs can be ordered as wonderful leaving presents for friends moving out from Romania this summer. The books can be purchased from Carturesti for 50 LEI and are currently exhibited at Jolie Ville in Pipera. All proceeds support 6 local charities.
Spring is here and for many the time has come to prepare to leave.
A new chapter will come after the summer break but, until then, there’s still precious days to enjoy Romania.
In an informal survey we asked foreigners who have lived in Romania what they will be taking with them when they leave the country.
Here the top 7 answers:
1. It took me a while to understand that not everything has to be in a certain way, the Romanian “Merge si asa” which can be translated as ” it works this way too”, has been a liberating thing for me, and I think this was a precious thing to learn from my time in Romania.
2. My wife was in shock for the first 6 months, regarding the parking, it just seem chaotic and random, however I have adopted this and now I park wherever there is space. It is faster and comfortable, though I have to admit I won’t be able to do it back home.
3. I had a thrill driving in Bucharest, I know many complain, but seriously, there aren’t many other European capitals where you can park everywhere or pay 1,5 lei for an hour.
4. Pufulets! I found them at the playground as many kids bring them and their kind to share it with other kids in the ground. My kids like them and they are not pricey.
5. Fresh products and slow food, I like that Romanian restaurants offer a variety of soups and almost homemade dishes, I have now always a soup and the other important fact is that there is an open market open daily in every neighborhood,
6. A sense of family, I see many grandparents taking care of their grandchild. I also see many teenagers doing things with their parents.
7. Easter eggs, I have spent the last 3 years finding new designs and colors, it is really nice to see traditional crafts done in such a delicate form.
Most foreigners admit they will miss Romania and, agree that they learned to love the place and the opportunities and adventures it presented. But many add it requires a proactive attitude and an ability to let yourself go and planning everything to the smallest detail.
So what will you take with you?
Send us your answers to [email protected]
By Richard Fox, guest writer
Beer beer beer! You may say to yourself yet another bar to open in the Old Town, which is a fair observation as the streets are lined with bars and it can be a struggle to point out the differences between them all.
Beer O’Clock manages to create a different feel, in the fact that they only serve beer! This is bound to rule out some party goers. However for those who love beer, and I have to confess I am one, this is a paradise. Offering 135 different bottled beers imported from 7 European countries, it’s a unique place in Bucharest.
The bar was opened a month ago, fitted out in a very simple way. A long wooden bar behind which are large glass fronted chillers housing all that beer, with the drinking area made up of round wooden tables with chairs to match. If you are uncertain of your choice, I would suggest rather than ordering from the menu to have a look in the fridges to see if you find a label you recognise, or to find something that looks interesting. They have enough seating outside on the street terrace for around 40 people, so the ideal spot to sip a cold beer in this heat.
Beer O’Clock is a fantastic find for those who enjoy a beer and enjoy trying something different. Everything is very reasonably priced.
“..we’re only here for the beer..”
By Richard Fox, guest writer If you are looking for good French cuisine in Bucharest then Ici et La will fit the bill. Opened two and a half years ago in Piata Romana by French owner and Chef Philippe Dupre, this seventy- seater restaurant offers a very comfortable environment in which to enjoy the culinary delights served up by Monsieur Dupre. The interior is fitted in a modern style without fuss. The food is high quality cuisine, with a menu offering a wide selection of classic French dishes with regional tastes that are inspired by a Chef whose roots are from Lyon. The menu card is presented alongside a suggestions board, all written in French. Favourite dishes would include the Terrine de Foie Gras and the Escargots. It would have to be said that the Steak Tartare is the best in town! The menu prices are all very reasonable and include the wine. The wine list is made up of half Romanian and half French, giving a good balance and offering a cross section of wine styles. The lunch time menu is served between 12 noon and 3pm, 2 courses for 30 Ron representing excellent value. Philippe Dupre also offers outside catering for parties and corporate functions. Beaujolais Nouveau day is only a few weeks away, so Ici et La will be hosting an evening to celebrate the occasion with a set menu including wine. Be assured that the food at least will be good! Address: 43 Mendeleev St., Romana Square Phone: +40 731 453 608 Web: www.icietla.ro source: romania-insider.com
Palm Sunday or Florii (In Romanian) is a Christian tradition that always takes place on the Sunday before Easter.
Floriile or Duminica Floriilor (the Palm Sunday) is celebrated by all Romanians, and it announces the beginning of Easter cycle, which ends with the Ascension of Jesus (40 days after Easter). Jesus is welcomed with a lot of flowers and cheers while enters Jerusalim. Palm Sunday is both a celebration in which the pre-Christian and Christian elements combine happily, resulting beautiful customs and traditions. It is one of the Twelve Great Feasts of the liturgical year, and is the beginning of Holy Week.
The name of the feast in Romanian (Florii) comes from the Roman goddess Flora. The green branches called ‘mâţişori’ (kitties) are used as a ritual which embodies the symbol of chastity and the annual rebirth of vegetation. The day before people gather willow branches, they tie them in bundles and go to church to be sanctified by a priest. After sanctification the ‘mâţişori’ are taken home to adorn with the icons, windows, doors, entrances to sheds or to put in wells and the eaves of houses. The women stick them on newly seeded layers, put them into animal feed or on the graves.
Also, on this day, all who bear a flower name are celebrating their name-day.
By Ximena Reyes
International Assignees, multinational managers, people working with remote teams are being put to the test on a daily basis. Their cultural adaptability, their ability to understand, are key factors for the smooth running of international business.
Understanding how our behavior and actions are perceived by those we interact with, it requires to identify strengths and perspectives as well as being able to manage complexity.
A multi-national work is no longer just about the task itself or a matter of expertize but about the resilience to adjust and to actively look for opportunities to understand current events, mindset and priorities, in the host country.
It also requires the adequate support of the Human resources department that provides the expatriates with counseling or training opportunities and information.
At City Compass intercultural consulting we make a priority to facilitate the adaptation of expatriates and provide with training and information that enables their effectiveness.
If you would like to know more contact [email protected]
By Richard Fox, guest writer
Located near the Floreasca farmers market, on the ground floor under the large office building at 40 Str. Banu Antonache, madame Pogany is bar and restaurant fitted throughout with natural, light colored, wooden flooring giving the space a bright and open feel. It is open daily from 9am, the kitchen closing at 12 midnight and provides a very comfortable environment to be in at any time of the day.
The space is divided into 3 main areas: the restaurant with seating for around 80, the bar area serving very good Tapas and a large terrace outside.
The tables and bench seating on the terrace are all created from the wooden decking as used in the floor, a modern and functional design. The food in the restaurant is an international mix with a wide variety of choice, described by Razvan the General Manager as his ”urban kitchen”. My regular choice has become the Asian Chicken dish, very tasty and reasonably priced at 30 Ron. The seared fresh Tuna cooked rare is also a favourite. The staff are very friendly and attentive and it is true to say “service with a smile”.
Madame Pogany also offers a variety of regular weekly events, from Wine and Whisky tastings to bar tending courses. Live Jazz is played on Friday nights and the DJ operates on Saturday nights until late.
We have here a good environment to meet and discuss business or pleasure over a coffee, a glass of wine, lunch or dinner.
ADDRESS: Str. Banu Antonache 40-44, Floreasca
Phone: 0743 661 782
By Richard Fox, guest writer
Collage is an interesting and high-end restaurant, an art gallery lounge with a retro design which becomes a cafe restaurant and music venue after dark. Then a wine tasting room in the cellar, with a fine Whisky, Cognac and Cigar bar up stairs. All things to all people, you might say! I embarked on the full-guided tour for research purposes, including the kitchen, which was very impressive.
We had dinner in the lounge bar area and the food was excellent. The head Chef is Italian and creates what I would describe as modern European cuisine. Innovative dishes, excellent presentation, very tasty. The menu in the main restaurant is similar to that of the lounge with some small variations. The main restaurant would perhaps suit a more formal occasion or a business dinner, it has seating for around 50 with some private areas that can be reserved.
With the four separate areas this venue does offer flexibility and can provide many things to many people from morning until night. Collage opens for breakfast from 8am, offers a business lunch menu from 11.30am till 3pm, then dinner. The restaurant closes at midnight, although the party goes well beyond. Menu prices at the upper end of the Bucharest price scale but in keeping with the surroundings.
The service was very attentive, first experience very good so definitely going back for more research.
Collage restaurant is placed on 10-12 Mihalache Blvd, near Victoriei Square.
Reservations ca be made by calling 0758 10 10 40. More info on their website.
An English translation of Neagu Djuvara’s A Brief Illustrated History of Romanians, was launched on Thursday, April 3 at the Humanitas Cismigiu Bookstore in Bucharest.
Speakers at the event where His Excellency Martin Harris, Ambassador of Great Britain, His Excellency Gerard Corr, Ambassador of Ireland, Neagu Djuvara and Cristian Anton, the translator of the book.
The 352-page book is priced at RON 69 and can be purchased online from Humanitas’ website.
“This translation has begun as a personal endeavor, started from my desire to offer my wife, who is Polish and doesn’t speak our language, the chance to read a book about the history of Romanians, that is easily approachable and sincere – and I am still amazed at seeing this book now,” said Cristian Anton.
Neagu Djuvara, 97, is a Romanian historian, essayist, philosopher, journalist, novelist and diplomat.
By Peter Fay, guest writer
I first visited Romania to meet up with a friend I’d made. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I quickly fell in love with the place and the people. Since then, I have revisited Bucharest and Romania as often as possible.
I have often told my friends in England that if I spent the rest of my life touring Romania every summer, I would probably still miss some of the many beautiful sights.
On my second visit to Bucharest, I stayed at a hotel, which provided bed and breakfast, but no dinner. The excellent receptionist suggested when I asked, that the “Caru cu Bere” was a good restaurant. That was when I first discovered this fantastic restaurant.
Translated into English, “Caru cu Bere” means “Beer Cart”. However, the English phrases “Never judge a book by its cover….” and “A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet…” are most relevant. Yes, we British are quirky.
From my third visit onwards, I have always rented an apartment. It is much cheaper than a hotel and I can cook my own breakfast at whatever time I wish. The cleaners come once a week. I have the use of a washing machine. If I have a problem, the owner is but a phone call away. It is like a home, away from home. The freedom is wonderful.
Since that first visit to “Caru cu Bere”, I have always regarded the restaurant as an experience… rather than just a superb restaurant. The architecture of the building alone is something special.
Take for example, the experience last Saturday night. I arrived there early evening, just before 20:00 and they were busy, busy, busy.
One of the good looking, hard working young waitresses took me to a table. In fact, all the waitresses are young and pretty. Definitely a distinct advantage. I remember the song, “Back in the USSR” by The Beatles, “Ukraine girls really knock me out…” Clearly they never visited Bucharest.
I never book up in advance, I just arrive. Not recommended at busy times for large groups, because you may be unlucky.
Having visited so many times, I am becoming well known. Sometimes I have shared a table with either native Romanians or tourists. Whosoever it is, there is usually some form of communication and conversation. My ‘limba Romana’ (Romanian) is still a little basic, but fortunately, most Romanians and tourists have some knowledge of English and I have a basic knowledge of many languages. So, on the whole we get by with a “pigeon EU limba mixture” and a few hand signals and smiles. The result is usually a pleasant and friendly agreement.
Fortunately, nearly all of the staff there are fluent in English. The only problem I have is that their name tags are always family name followed by Christian name… the opposite to what I am used to.
As usual on almost any night, my waiter swiftly asks what I would like to drink and eat. Often the food is delivered just as swiftly. It is also extremely inexpensive compared with a restaurant in England.
Read the whole article here.
Sinaia is known as the Pearl of the Carpathians and can be reached in less than two hours from Bucharest if the traffic permits. The former summer residence of the Royal Family has the largest number of monuments per capita, it is a must-see for those living in Romania. Just passing Sinaia by the national road leads to the impression that the glory of the past has gone by far, seeing mainly broken factories from communism time. But the real charm of this village will be revealed once you enter the centre. Take the road towards the Stana regala that will you let you pass at several beautiful sights and fairytale villas from the beginning of the 20th century.
After leaving the village a small country road of about 5 km through the forests will bring you to the Stana regala – “Royal Sheepfold”, a small restaurant and terrace in the mountains with an astonishing view to the Bucegi Massif. Don´t be afraid of the large signs “Beware of bears”, but anyway, an extended walking trip in the forests is not recommended, unless you are in a group.
Descending back to Sinaia there are many places to visit: The Monastery of Sinaia, the Casino and, for sure, Peles castle, one of Europe´s most impressive castle, built by king Carol I who felt in love with the surroundings of Sinaia and decided to establish his summer residence in the area.
If you stay the night visit also Cantacuzino castle, just 10 km from Sinaia in the direction of Brasov.
A new restaurant was recently opened in the castle called Canta Cuisine and had become a top address for gourmets. See our restaurant review;
City Compass tour offer for Sinaia:
More information about Sinaia:
Please contact us if you plan a trip/ tour to the Sinaia and you need more information about accommodation options or sightseeing.
By Ximena Reyes
Globalization is a huge wave that has shaped the world’s economy for the last 15 years. It established a new ground for companies and changed the game rules. After a while people were talking about Globalization as a way to recognize the unique importance of local knowledge and experience amid the impact of companies with “global” operations.
So now we are at a point where ” More and more people worldwide are living in countries not considered their own” as global author, Pico Iyer mentions at “Where is home” ,Ted conference.
There are companies intentionally relocating their employees looking for the added value that their experiences abroad can bring to day to day operations and problem solving.
We could now rename the process to Gloxal, Global + local + complex.
Nowadays leaders need to understand and manage complexity, they need to understand unclear situations and make sense of them whilst leading their teams.
In order to perform upon arrival, these leaders require a set of tools and mindset that can help them feel at home and comfortable in the shortest time possible.
At City Compass we provide trainings that work and explain these tools and skills, we speed up the process of “Feeling at home”, while living internationally.
If you would like to know more about this, please contact [email protected]
See more of inspiring Ted talk at http://www.ted.com/talks/pico_iyer_where_is_home.
By Roxana Baicu, guest writer
On the way back from Covasna to Bucharest, we made a short stop in Busteni, curious to check what we’ve recently heard to be a great place to dine, Canta Cuisine restaurant. Located inside the Cantacuzino Castle with neoromanesc architecture style and sumptuous interiors, the Canta Cuisine restaurant makes for a unique place in Romania.
The aristocratic charm, combined with exceptional food and very good customer service made it an unforgettable experience. We enjoyed their specially crafted menu complemented by a comprehensive wine list in comfortable yet sophisticated surrounds.
They create twists on the ‘classics’ and traditional dishes. It is one of the places with great service exemplified by the chef coming out of the kitchen asking you what you think about the dishes.
By Ximena Reyes
Diversity and complexity, more and more the business scenarios are expanding internationally, combining more operations, outsourcing teams and bringing together people from different parts of the world.
This new level of operations requires the development a level of cultural understanding within and among groups and individuals so that they can contribute with their unique insights and integrate them.
Expats in Romania bring international experience but at the same time they are immersed in a “new and different” way, the local way. Global leadership requires striving for learning and an understanding of the added value of the locals amid the umbrella of globalization.
Successful global leadership does not transplant models but requires a sharp eye to change perspectives and see beyond the day-to-day obstacles. It is a two way flow that is growing constantly.
Intercultural awareness trainings help to visualize and understand the keys to movinge from the initial cultural/ work shock towards effective management and strong global leadership. It bridges communications between diverse groups and enables them to read between the lines and to easily understand sources of miscommunication.
If you would like to know about our trainings and services, contact [email protected].
Everyone nowadays seems to meet in the Old Town, which is usually vibrant, lots of fun, but also very crowded. So apart from the all-purpose Old Town, where else is there to meet before going out in the city? Here are some suggested meeting points in Bucharest, which are very popular among Romanians. Most Romanians who’ve been living in Bucharest for more than six months (and foreigners, too), will know these.
Probably the number one meeting point in Bucharest is at the Universitate Square (in fact, the correct name is Piata Universitatii, which translates as Universitatii Square; the simpler form is Universitate. You guessed it, this is the word for University in Romania).
If someone sets a date there, make sure you ask exactly where you will meet, as there are several specific meeting points at this very downtown Bucharest square.
Probably one of the most used is in front of the National Theater, at the metro exit. Day in and day out, there will be people waiting for their friends there. Most people sit on the large stairs that you can see immediately after existing the metro station, facing the tall Intercontinental Hotel. It’s also an interesting place from where to observe the social dynamic of meeting in Romania, or just to see what people wear, how people look like in Romania. Or just to sun bathe, if you can find a spot during spring. The code name for this place is Universitate, teatru, scari/University, theater, stairs.
When it rains, the meeting usually moves underground, into the passage (in Romanian Universitate Pasaj), where the several cafes serve as landmarks and meeting points.
Other meeting areas in the region are, of course, the other three exits of the metro station, one near the Coltea Hospital ( in the small park with the violin sculpture in the middle), one near and in front of the University building and going further on the boulevard towards the crossroad with Calea Victoriei, and the third one at the exit towards the Bucharest Museum. This museum hosts all sorts of open air sales (antique objects, hand made items) now and then in its yard, so you could hang around there while waiting.
On that side of the square, the large pedestrian area above the car park is yet another meeting place. The area was turned pedestrian about a year ago. The four statues in that square have long served as landmarks for meetings. “Where do we meet? At Universitate near the statues! Keywords: Universitate Statui!
When making plans to meet there, keep in mind that around Martisor, Easter and Christmas, these areas become the sales ground for itinerant businesses, selling trinkets and all sorts of seasonal gifts. That is to say the area will be extremely crowded. The same applies for other meeting points which involve a metro exit downtown Bucharest.
‘In front of the Unirea Shopping Center, at McDonald’s’ This is another meeting place in Bucharest. The place was recently revamped and some benches were installed.
Every day there will be an impressive number of people waiting for their friends there, some go into the shopping center and stop at the cafes and restaurants on the last floor, others head to the Old Town (which is accessible via the meeting point at Universitate as well, same distance). This meeting point has the advantage of being near the metro and near a cab station in case you decide to go to another part of Bucharest.
The Romana square and its respective metro station are not as popular as Unirea and Universitate, but still important ones to take into account, especially when you’d rather avoid the crowded areas. It can still be crowded at times, as it is in the vicinity of another university center – the Academy of Economic Sciences ASE – but it gives access to some quieter cafes, bars and restaurants on Dacia boulevard, and on the little streets between the Magheru boulevard and Calea Victoriei.
Yet another square in Bucharest. This one hosts several office buildings and the Government building, so quite popular for after work meetings of people who work in the area. The square is very large, so not always a great choice especially if you mistake the exact point where you’re supposed to meet, you have to cross a lot of streets to get to the other side. But it is close to a greener area of Bucharest, and it can be the starting point of a nice weekend walk to the Village Museum, Triumphal Arch and Herastrau Park. All these three landmarks can also become meeting points.
Herastrau park & Charles de Gaulle
This is probably the most popular entrance to the Herastrau park, as it is close to the Charles de Gaulle metro exit, close to the office tower by the same name. You will recognize this park entrance by the large statue of French general Charles de Gaulle.
The most common meeting point is at the entrance towards the Regina Elisabeta boulevard, as you walk down from Universitate square.
Cinemas and malls
With many meetings ending up at the movies, meeting places are usually close to the cinema too. CinemaPro is close to the Universitate square, while Patria cinema, Scala and Studio are close to the Romana square. The Cinemateca is easily reachable if you meet at Universitate and then walk towards the Cismigiu park
To get to the Bucuresti Mall and its Hollywood Multiplex Cinema, you can meet at Unirii and take the 123 bus from there.
You can also meet directly at the mall: Bucuresti Mall is in the East, Plaza Romania and AFI Palace Cotroceni in the west, Sun Plaza, Grand Arena and Vitantis to the South, and Promenada and Baneasa Shopping City to the north.
We saved it for last, as this hotspot has several possible meeting points. Less crowded is the Roma square at the crossroad between the Lipscani street and the IC Bratianu boulevard, which connects Universitate and Unirea squares. You will recognize this meeting spot by the statue of the she wolf and of the twin brothers Romulus and Remus. The square was revamped and is a good entry point to the Old Town. (Roma here is the name of the Italian capital, hence the She Wolf statue)
Then you could meet at Universitate and walk past the BCR and National Bank headquarters.
Another possible meeting point is at the National Central Bank on Lipscani street, very close to the central square of the Old Town (which is at the crossroads between Lipscani and Smardan streets). Some benches are in front of the BNR (this is in fact the back of the bank, as the official entrance for staff is on the other side, on Doamnei street).
You could also meet on Stavropoleus street, which also has a few benches, and a nice little church by the same name as the street (you could explore the church if you happen to arrive earlier).
Another meeting point many Romanians like to use, is the Old Town entry towards the Dambovita river (it’s called La bariera – at the barrier, there used to be a barrier there).
A new entry among possible meeting places is the Sfantu Anton square just in front of the Hanul Lui Manuc /Manuc’s Inn. Make sure you and your friends refer to the same ‘front’ of the inn when setting a date. The official entrance to the inn’s inside courtyard is inside the Old Town, while another entrance to some restaurants hosted by the Manuc Inn building are on the side to the Unirea Square and park.
Whatever meeting point you choose, make sure you ask the exact name of the street and google map it – it’s safer this way.
As you will become an expert and a Bucharest connaiseur, these will become second nature to you whenever you need to set up a meeting point.
By Claudia Sofianu
Individuals domiciled in Romania are considered tax residents and are taxed on their worldwide income (with certain exceptions). During the first year of meeting certain residency criteria, individuals who are not domiciled in Romania are subject to tax on their Romanian-source income, regardless of where the income is earned. In the absence of a tax residency certificate issued by another state based on a double tax treaty, a foreign individual or someone who carries out independent activities through a permanent establishment in Romania becomes subject to tax on worldwide income starting with January 1 of the year following the one year when the tax residency criteria were met. Foreign individuals who are working in Romania are taxable from their first day of presence. However, if they are tax residents in another country and they meet the criteria from the applicable Double Tax Treaty, they may be exempt from Romanian tax liabilities, provided that a tax residency certificate is made available to the authorities within 15 days of the beginning of activities.
Most types of income are subject to tax at a flat rate of 16 percent, applied to salary income, income from freelance activities, rental income, pension income, prizes, investment income and other sources. Special tax rates apply to income from gambling and transfer of property ownership. The taxation of various types of income is summarized below.
Employment income includes: salaries, benefits in cash or kind, salary premiums, other income received by an individual based on an employment agreement, fees and compensation paid to directors and managers of private enterprises and to members of the board of directors, general shareholders, administration council and audit committee.
Income from independent activities includes income from commercial activities, freelance activities and transfer of intellectual property rights. The net taxable income from freelance activities is computed as gross income less specified deductible expenses. Individuals engaged in freelance activities must make advance tax payments on a quarterly basis by the 25th day of the last month of each quarter.
Taxpayers who earn income from independent activities from which a 10 percent advance income tax is withheld at source, can opt for a final withholding tax at a rate of 16 percent.
Taxable income from intellectual property rights is computed by deducting from gross income expenses representing 20 percent of gross income and compulsory social charges. A 10 percent advance income tax must be withheld at source by payers of income from intellectual property rights by the 25th day of the following month. Taxpayers who earn income from intellectual property rights can opt for a final withholding tax at a rate of 16 percent.
Rental income. Gross rental income consists of amounts stipulated in rental agreements, as well as certain expenses borne by the tenant that are the landlord’s liability according to the law. It is also assessed as rental income, the income derived by owners from rental of rooms located in their own homes, with a capacity of tourist accommodation ranging from 1 to 5 rooms inclusively. The rental income is taxable in the tax year to which the rent relates. It is reduced by a flat 25 percent and the difference is taxed by 16 percent. As an exception, taxpayers may opt for the determination of the net rental income based on single entry accounting.
Investment income includes: dividends, interests, gains from transfers of securities, etc. Any amount paid in excess of the market price by a legal entity for goods or services provided by a shareholder is treated as a dividend if the beneficiary of such amount was not subject to income tax or profits tax on the amount. Amounts received from holding participation titles in closed investment funds are treated similarly to dividends. A 16 percent final withholding tax is imposed on dividends.
Taxable income from interest is considered to be any income in the form of interest other than state bonds.
A 16 percent final withholding tax is imposed on interest income. The tax must be remitted by the 25th day of the following month. Capital gains are subject to a 16 percent final tax. A 16 percent advance tax is imposed on gains derived from sale and purchase transactions in foreign currencies with subsequent term settlement, as well as similar operations.
Income whose source was not identified should be subject to 16 percent income tax applied to the taxable base adjusted according to the procedures and indirect methods of the reconstitution of the revenues or expenses. The income tax and late payment penalties will be calculated by the tax authorities.
No taxes are levied on inheritances or gifts, except for revenue subsequently derived from these items.
Employees are required to make the following monthly contributions:
Type/Contribution — Amount (monthly gross salary earnings)
• Social security — 10.5% (taxable base is capped at 5 times national average gross salary earnings)
• Health — 5.5%
• Unemployment — 0.5%
Employers are required to make the following monthly contributions:
Type/Contribution — Amount (normal work conditions, of the total gross salary earnings)
• Social security — 20.8% (taxable base is capped at 5 times national average gross earnings multiplied by the number of employees)
• Health — 5.2%
• Unemployment — 0.5%
• Insurance against work accidents and work related sickness — 0.15% to 0.85%
• Medical leave — 0.85% (taxable base is capped at 12 times national minimum gross salary earnings multiplied by the number of insured persons)
• Salary Guarantee Fund — 0.25%
For 2013, the average gross national salary earning is RON 2,223 per month and the minimum gross salary was RON 700 per month during January 2013, RON 750 per month up to June 2013 and RON 800 staring at the start of with July 2013. Foreign nationals working in Romania fall under the Romanian social security system and are liable to pay social security charges due as per Romanian regulations. EU citizens may be exempt from social charges if relevant European certificates are obtained.
Foreign nationals assigned to Romania must register for tax purposes within 15 days after beginning their activities and pay income tax on a monthly basis. If the individual is on a local payroll, the local employer must calculate, withhold, declare and pay the income tax. Expatriates employed abroad but working in Romania must file monthly individual tax returns and pay monthly tax and, if applicable, social charges, by the 25th day of the following month.
Romania has entered into double tax treaties with several countries.
Romania has entered into Totalization Agreements with several countries for the purpose of avoiding double taxation of income with respect to social charges:
Non-EU Member States Status
• Albania In force
• Algeria In force
• Armenia In force
• Canada In force
• South Korea In force
• Libya In force
• Macedonia In force
• Moldavia In force
• Peru In force
• Russian Federation In force
• Turkey In force
• Canada In force
• Israel In Force
Claudia Sofianu is the leader of the Human Capital team of EY Romania and senior tax manager. She has an extensive experience in expatriate services, covering individual taxation, domestic and international social security, immigration formalities, individual tax planning and compensation structuring.
By Mariana Ganea
The banking system in Romania is made up of the National Bank and credit institutions, banks and financial non-banking institutions. Most of the banks in Romania are controlled by foreign lenders. A list of banks that are active in Romania can be found at the end of this article. Credit institutions from Romania are generally universal banks which offer a wide range of products and services.
The largest banks in Romania by volume of assets are BCR, with about 20 percent of the local banking market, followed by BRD Societe Generale, with 13 percent, and Banca Transilvania, with 8 percent, according to data from the end of 2012. CEC Bank, UniCredit Țiriac Bank, Raiffesen Bank, Volksbank, ING Bank come next, followed by Alpha Bank and Bancpost. After the 2013 takeover of RBS’ retail portfolio by UniCredit Țiriac Bank, the rankings are set to change before the end of 2013 and following the print date of this guide.
Most banks in Romania offer savings and/or current accounts in lei, Euro, USD and other currencies on various maturities with fixed and/or variable interest (including negotiated interest), escrow accounts, term deposits, mainly in lei, Euro, USD and other currencies, from overnight to 18 months, as well as Certificates of Deposits. They also offer loans, refinancing loans, loans for personal needs, mortgage loans, restructured loans, credit lines, housing loans, as well as the first house loan, which is backed up by state guarantees for first time home owners.
The most common credit cards issued by Romanian banks are Mastercard, Visa and Visa Electron, American Express. The current bank operations provided are bill payments, transfer of funds in foreign currencies and lei, direct debit and standing orders, payments in local and foreign currency, buying and selling currency, money wires, payment orders, cheques (in lei and foreign currency), travel cheques, invoice payments, custody and/or depositary services. The majority of Romanian banks offer remote banking services, including Internet banking, phone banking and banking by text message.
Banking in Romania is quite easy. To open a current/checking account, you’ll need only an ID card if you are an EU resident or passport if you are from outside of EU. Usually, the current account comes with the debit card. Most of the banks issue MasterCard or Visa cards but if you want you can find also American Express.
Most of the banks operating in Romania (domestic or foreign bank offices) offer internet, mobile and phone banking services. Most packages offered by banks usually contain the remote banking products and services. You could look first at one of the biggest players on the market and their fees and offers (BCR, BRD, Transilvania, Raiffeissen, CEC, ING Bank) before making a decision.
Coming to savings, banks operating on the Romanian market offer a lot of term deposits at various maturities for lei, Euro, USD and other currencies, some investment products (pension funds, bonds), treasury products (trade and FX transactions), asset management products (mutual funds) and, in two or three cases, gold-investment (BCR, Pireus Bank). To open savings or investment products you may need to prove the source of your income.
During your stay in Romania you may face some cash flow challenges or you may find something to buy for which you need some cash. Most of the banks offer credit cards or cash loans if you are Romanian resident and you can prove a regular income. If you want to buy properties in Romania, firstly you should consult a lawyer to make sure you have all the legal knowledge necessary about property transactions.
If you don’t have enough time to spend at the bank counter you can appoint an authorized person to represent you. However, you must make sure you specify for which banking transaction/s you give the authorized person permission to represent you because, if you don’t, he/she could have rights for all type of transactions and you could lose control of your funds.
Several banks have packages aimed at expats, which usually combine the most sought after services. For example, Credit Agricole Bank launched a package mid-2013 which offers certain discounts to foreigners, such as a 75 percent discount on international payments, multicurrency facilities, free internet banking and a free extra debit card, among others.
Banks active in Romania: Alpha Bank, Carpatica, Creditcoop, Banca Comercială Feroviară, Italo Romena Bank, Banca Românească, Banca Transilvania, Bancpost, Leumi Bank, Bank of Cyprus, Banca Comercială Română (BCR), Bloom Bank, BNP Paribas, BRD Societe Generale, CEC Bank, Citibank, Credit Agricole Bank, Credit Europe Bank, Eximbank, Garanti Bank, ING Bank, Intesa San Paolo Bank, La Caixa, Libra Bank, Marfin Bank, Millennium Bank, Nextebank, OTP Bank, Piraeus Bank, Porsche Bank, ProCredit Bank, Raiffeisen Housing Bank, Raiffeisen Bank, Romanian International Bank, UniCredit Țiriac Bank, Volksbank.
Mariana Ganea holds a PhD in Economics and she has worked in banking and financial training for 15 years. She is currently a freelancer, an authorized trainer in soft skills & financials, an evaluator and communication consultant. She was a senior training consultant, banking researcher and associate professor. She studied economics, finance and banking, communication, sales, NPL, coaching and transactional analysis. She is passionate about education, writing and reading, travel, history, politics, cultural events and photography.
By Adina Bigaș
With the global economical constraints, some foreigners have increased their interest for changing their country and Romania is one of the destinations: an EU member, just a couple of hours by plane to most of the other European capitals, with one of the lowest crime rates in Europe and still with a relevant economical growth potential.
Besides, Romania is a beautiful country, has a very affordable cost of living compared to mature markets – rent, utilities, daily basket cost, dinners out, touristic attractions – all which allow a better quality of life under recession times and make Romania even more attractive for foreigners. While many western EU cities dominate the world’s most costly places for foreigners, Bucharest ranks among the cheapest in Europe. The flat income tax rate of 16% makes Romania even more appealing for executives and highly paid professionals, whose purchase power is worthy compared to their peers in Europe.
Therefore, for several good reasons, Romania is the right place to be.
Most of the employers update regularly their career section or post their openings on portals like bestjobs.ro, ejobs.ro, hipo.ro and myjob.ro. Candidates for managerial positions should enlarge their search and contact specialized agencies like Aims, Alexander Hughes, Hill International, Lugera & Makler, Pederesen and Partners, Rinf and Stanton Chase, among others. People interested in less qualified jobs can search through regional bureaus of the National Agency for Employment www.anofm.ro.
Join groups like Internations, Meet up, attend City Compass events, or Junion Chamber International events – depending on your qualifications and interests – connect to professional communities such as HR Club and European Professional Women Network. Make relationships that can open doors, give you a hint or refer you for a position!
Identify your professional strengths that can set you apart from other applicants. It’s more difficult to compete with a local professional for a job in sales, which usually requires Romanian but, if you fluently speak a second language besides English, you should know that the BPOs, Shared Services Centers or call centers are actively looking for, and pay extra to, people with multi-language skills.
As per the last Mercer survey, the best-paid languages are the Nordic (Dutch, Danish or Swedish), continuing with Polish, German and Portuguese. The value of monthly allowances granted for a second foreign language can reach up to 20% of a monthly base salary.
The big cities are offering the best employment opportunities: first is Bucharest, followed by Timișoara, Cluj, Brașov, Iași and Sibiu. According to top job portals, Bestjobs and Ejobs, most of the job openings are in sales, customer support, IT&C, engineering and the financial sector.
You can also find employment through non-governmental organizations, while teaching English, French or German is another option for foreigners.
Dress code for interviews varies depending on the company and industry from smart casual for something like engineering to a more strict business etiquette in financial institutions for example. Neatly styled hair is recommended.
Otherwise, we don’t have a particular “protocol” for the selection process – so keeping the general rules of interviewing in mind would be appropriate.
The salaries need to be related to the market conditions and correlated to the overall cost of life. The best salaries are paid in Bucharest, followed by Cluj and Timisoara, the latter two being about 10%-15% less than the capital. In other cities the differences are even more significant and salaries can decrease up to 40%.
Depending on the industry, function and seniority, the salary range for a manager is between 2,000 and 5,000 euros a month, but can also reach 5 digits, although this happens rarely. Expats’ packages are considerably higher compared to local managers and in addition they include benefits such as relocation, accommodation, children’s education etc.
In Bucharest, the specialists that might reach a net of 1,400-2,000 euros after only 3-5 years of experience are software developers. The IT&C industry has a big advantage in the labour market also due to the tax-free legislation for several types of jobs in that sector.
The employees in call centers and customer support earn between 500 and 1,300 euros net, but sometimes they can go higher depending on seniority and supported technologies. Some other well-paid industries for qualified professionals are oil and gas, aviation transportation, finance and banking, tobacco and pharmaceuticals.The salaries for blue collar workers are significantly lower. The minimum salary in Romania is 900 RON gross, which corresponds to about 150 euros net per month. The average net salary in Bucharest is 500 euros while the monthly expenses per person are evaluated at 180 euros by the National Institute of Statistics.In terms of forecast, the average salary increase for 2014 is 5%, the same as in 2013, according to Mercer. A slightly higher increase is expected in some industries such as services, IT&telecom, life science and durable.
Adina Bigaș works as external consultant, running her own business in HR services. With more than 10 years of strong expertise in HR management, she holds a master degree in HR and Organizational Psychology from the University of Bucharest and a Diploma in Management from the Codecs Open University. Email: [email protected].