Zagreb’s New Wave Museum pays homage to a golden age

This new New Wave museum remembers a vibrant time in the city's history

Written by
Nikolas Pfanner
Junior Journalist
new wave
Nikolas Pfanner | Time Out Croatia

Communist countries are not usually remembered as hotspots of avant-garde arts and culture, but for a brief time in Yugoslavia in the late '70s and into the '80s, a young music scene flourished and produced a raft of legendary punk and new wave bands.

Drawing influence from the music coming out of the UK and the US, new groups sprouted across Yugoslavia, Zagreb the hub of one of the most vibrant scenes. The city was the home town of acts such as Prljavo kazalište, Haustor and, probably most famously, Azra.

Many bands satirised the Socialist government in their lyrics, with little censorship as Yugoslavia was a comparatively more open society compared to its neighbours. The state even sometimes supported the burgeoning scene, calling it a “useful and friendly critique”. 

new wave
Nikolas Pfanner / Time Out Croatia

The music from that period is still cherished in Zagreb today, and a new museum has just opened in the city centre paying homage to the bands, clubs and years of cultural awakening.

The museum offers a glimpse of what it felt like to live through that vibrant moment in Zagreb before the collapse of Communism and the war that followed.  

Its opening on Friday, November 4 saw a queue of people stretching into the street to see the wealth of memorabilia, photos and song lyrics.

The New Wave Museum is a must-visit for any fan of Yugoslav punk and new wave. And if you somehow weren't aware of this corner of the genre, this is your cue to start exploring. 

Muzej Novog Vala Vlaška 67, through the archway. Open Daily 11am-9pm.

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