Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Impressions of the Croatian Capital by Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Partner

July 14, 2021 - So how is life as a digital nomad in the Croatian capital? Meet Julian, partner of the first Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador, two weeks into his residency. 

One of the things I was most curious about Zagreb Digital Nomad Week was how the city would be perceived by visiting digital nomads. Perceiving things from within Croatia is obviously quite different from someone who has a more global overview, as well as multi-country experience of this alternative way of living. 

And despite temperatures up to 37 C that week, the Croatian capital shone during Zagreb Digital Nomad Week. So many people commented on the quality of the co-working spaces, the unbelievable English spoken by EVERYONE, the food, the safety, the great Internet. Dean Kuchel of Digital Nomad World summed it up best of all when he was asked what Zagreb is missing to cater to the global digital nomad community. 

"The only thing Zagreb is missing is more digital nomads."

Fast forward a couple of weeks to the second phase of the project, Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project. Six digital nomad ambassadors, staying a calendar month each from July 1 to December 31, as guests of the city. American Veronica Mulhall duly arrived on July 1, as the first ambassador, and you can get to know her here.

Veronica was accompanied by her partner Julian, whose roots are from Manchester and Zimbabwe but has a base in Ghana. From the moment we met at the welcome drink at Bornstein Wine Bar, I knew that I had to get Julian on camera. SUCH a positive force and appreciative of everything.

As he explains in the interview below, Julian knew almost nothing about Zagreb prior to his arrival, and yet he had already fallen in love with the city by the time they parked their car at their accommodation at Doma Zagreb in the centre. That initial enthusiasm for all things in Zagreb a few days after his arrival was really refreshing to witness. It is always instructive to see a destination through the eyes of a new arrival. The parks, the food, the people, all the boxes were being ticked. There are even discussions about buying some real estate and using Zagreb as a base. 

Julian seems to have entered Zagreb life with gusto. He has joined a gym, been to the dentist, even had his hair braided by a Congolese hairdresser. And he was more than surprised to meet a hairdresser specialising in ethnic hair at his gym. A really nice interview of someone who knew little about the city before arrival, but who is totally in love with it now that he has had the chance to experience it. 

And what is Zagreb missing to attract more digital nomads, in his opinion?

Just the information about what a cool city Zagreb is, how EVERYONE speaks English, the people, the architecture, the food, the parks. Did he mention the people? Julian also has some interesting observations on his experiences as a black African in Croatia.

There is a momentum builing about Croatia as a destination for digital nomads, and Zagreb is now coming more and more onto the radar. With enthusiastic ambassadors such as Dean and Julian, it will not be long before the word is heard far and wide. 

Zagreb Digital Nomad Week & Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project is a cooperation between Saltwater Nomads, Total Croatia News, and Zagreb Tourist Board. 

For more on Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 & Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project, visit the Saltwater Nomads website.

Would you like to be a Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador? Applications are open until November, with the last ambassador taking up residence on December 1. Find out more here.

For the latest news and features about digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section

Monday, 12 July 2021

Zagreb Digital Nomad Week, the Video by Hashtag Content Agency

July 12, 2021 - A lovely overview of last month's Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 talking to many of those who took part in the inaugural event, by Hashtag Content Agency. 

It is a couple of weeks since the end of the first Zagreb Digital Nomad Week, an intense, diverse and very stimulating 7 days in the Croatian capital, covering 7 different themes (cybersecurity, online presence, remote careers, tax & finance, future of work, wellbeing, and exploring Zagreb) in 7 locations over 7 days. 

While the idea of showcasing the city from a range of different viewpoints sounded enticing, the logistics of such a plan were demanding. Coordinating with the different locations, ensuring technical checkups for the next day, and hundreds of other small details. All to be done in one of the hottest weeks of the year. 

In the end, the week went almost perfectly, and participants got to see so many different facets of this beautiful city and its surroundings in a very short space of time. 

One of the undoubted heroes of the week was Nick Hathaway of 45 Degrees Sailing and Hashtag Content Agency, who managed to rise to the considerable technical challenges thrown at him throughout the week. Despite several major constraints, Nick and his team were able to produce a high quality service which was also streamed live to the Internet and which lives on on the Zagreb Tourist Board YouTube channel.  

Rather than choosing sleep for the few hours when he was not working on the technical difficulties, Nick ran around the various stakeholders and participants in the week to put together this excellent vlog of the week away from the presentations. A visit to some of the venues, but more catching up with the people involved in different parts of Zagreb to find out their impressions of the city and what they think makes it so special. 

An accomplished vlogger, Nick's keen eye adds some great footage of Zagreb - a really great effort and a good reflection of the positive energy of the week. Check out the video above. 

For more on Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 & Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project, visit the Saltwater Nomads website.

Would you like to be a Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador? Applications are open until November, with the last ambassador taking up residence on December 1. Find out more here.

For the latest news and features about digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section


Thursday, 8 July 2021

Road Testing the Croatian Telecom 'Digital Nomad' Surfing Package

July 8, 2021 - Getting online in a new country can be a hassle. TCN road tests a new product from Hrvatski Telekom - the digital nomad surfing package.

I don't get asked to review topics very often, and on the rare occasions that I do, it is usually a product I have some experience in.

After reporting so heavily on the digital nomad subject over the last couple of years, Hrvatski Telekom invited me to road test their digital nomad surfing package, under the inviting title of Relax or Work with No Limits in Croatia. I felt the chilled breeze of the Adriatic already.

While glad to accept and help out, the thing is that while I may write a lot about digital nomads and IT startups, I am actually the least technical person in Croatia. So if I could figure out this surfing package, then it really was idiot-proof.

The last time I opened a phone to insert a SIM-card, for example, was over a decade ago, thanks to the tech-savvy ladies in my family. Thinking about it, where was the SIM-card in my Samsung Galaxy?


I started at the recommended place, the dedicated Visiting Croatia page on the Hrvatski Telekom website. Clean simple messages. 7 days of FLAT mobile data, Max 4G speed on the leading mobile network in Croatia, and a 3-in-1 Multi SIM card which fit all devices. So far, so good.

With promised speeds of up to 600 Mbit, no contracts whatsoever, and just a simple payment to get started, this certainly had the feel of a quality product that could soon become my new best friend.

You get started with 85 kuna for 7 days (11 euro), which gets you 7 days of unlimited data at 4G speed, including a 5 kuna credit in the phone (useful for me when I called home, without realising I had switched SIM cards).

Each subsequent week costs 60 kuna, so if you know you are going to be using the service for 2 weeks, simply pay 145 kuna in advance, and your bureaucratic woes are over. Pay by credit card or cash on delivery to the address you state.


My package arrived the next day, with sleek-looking contents. A SIM-card and some multi-lingual instructions on how to get started. There are two things you basically need to know – the Visiting Croatia page was the go to for information and questions, and the Moj Telekom application was necessary to download.


That didn't take long, but then came my first technical challenge. 99% (or maybe 99.99%) of phone users can skip this part, as it merely reflects my own incompetence. Where exactly was the SIM-card in my phone?

Having been shown all by the long-suffering ladies of the household, I was delighted to see I had space for two SIM-cards, and inserted my new friend and restarted the phone. Having downloaded the application, I was guided to enter my phone number, which I dutifully did (my actual phone number, not the one from the SIM-card). There was an error.

As it was a Sunday afternoon, I saw that this was an opportunity to further road test the Hrvatski Telekom system. A shiny new website was all very well, but would customer service actually work on a Sunday afternoon?


Indeed they did, and I had to wait less than 30 seconds for them to start dealing with my issue. Impressive for a Sunday afternoon. It was only when I was trying to explain in detail what my issue was that I noticed a phone number on the card with the SIM-card that I had inserted. No wonder they were having problems understanding what I was talking about.

As I said, some 99.9% of phone users are not as backward as me, so let's move on to the next step, which is to enter the phone number.


And with that, an SMS and I was free to go. Two useful links to the application and the Visiting Croatia page.


The application was friendly enough, directing me to an English-language option immediately.



One suggestion for the application dashboard, perhaps, it to try and make it 100% English, for a better user experience. Having checked with Hrvatski Telekom later about this, they informed mw that they plan to make application 100% in English very soon.

So now that I was finally connected, what about the most important thing of all – speed?

I live in a relative Internet black spot near Varazdin, and I am always envious of the speed in the town itself. I was pleased to see Relax or Work outperforming my current Internet provider, but I was really interested to see what would happen when I hit Zagreb.


I connected to the guesthouse WiFi with my laptop, with the results above. Not that inspiring, and not that much better than at home.

And then I checked out the same test on my phone.


Now THAT is an Internet speed worth getting excited about. 

A very useful service that Hrvatski Telekom offers is an Internet speed map of Croatia for their network. You can check by individual address, and it is a VERY useful tool when choosing accommodation. I tried the service in several locations against the local service, and it outperformed the normal provider each time.

I made a phone call, sent a text, and sent an international text – all without problems.

In fact, the only problem in the whole seamless process (apart from perhaps a little translation in the application) was me. But if even I could figure it out, then it really must be a breeze for the rest of the world.

I travel a lot in the Balkans, especially to Montenegro and Albania. Each time, as I leave the EU, I am left with a dilemma. Do I accept I will have higher charges due to being abroad, or do I try and find a local solution? For years, the whole inconvenience of trying to sort this out has kept me paying the more expensive option.

But perhaps no longer. Relax or Work with No Limits in Croatia has been a revelation to me. Not only do I now know where to locate my SIM-card in a phone I have had for years, but it has also shown me that international surfing can really be a stress-free experience with the right product.

So big thumbs up from me on this new service which is bound to be a hit with digital nomads and tourists alike. A one-time payment with no contract, a user-friendly website and application, and excellent Internet speeds. And let's not forget that very useful map when choosing your accommodation.

And if a technophobe like me can make it work, imagine how user-friendly this must be to someone more competent.

This post was done in cooperation with Hrvatski Telekom.

Monday, 5 July 2021

Interview with Veronica Mulhall, First Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador

July 5, 2021 - Zagreb has its first digital nomad ambassador. A first interview with Veronica Mulhall, who will be resident in the Croatian capital for the month of July. 

After an inspiring 7 days during Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021, the second component of the project kicked off on July 1 with the arrival of the first winner of the Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project. Following on from the week, 6 digital nomads will be spending a calendar month in the capital until the end of the year and working with Zagreb Tourist Board in developing its digital nomad tourism strategy. 

The first winner, Veronica Mulhall from the USA, accompanied by her partner Julian, arrived on July 1, to take up residence at Doma Zagreb Aparthotel, as previously reported by TCN. Veronica was kind enough to find time for this email interview as she begins her month in Zagreb. 


1. First of all, congratulations on becoming the first Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador. Tell us a little about yourself so we can get to know you a little.

I am a strategic communicator on a mission to connect people. 

Personally, I am drawn to experiencing new things, taking adventures, and I have found a passion for travel because every time I go somewhere I learn something new about the place and about myself. 

I have visited over seventy countries and counting, always wanting to learn more about food system growth, art sector enhancement, and heritage site preservation. And, with all the travel, I ground myself in my yoga practice, creating my own art, and exploring the place and nature. 

As a marketing professional, I lead projects and programs for startups, social enterprises, NGOs, and development organizations in emerging markets. I currently work for a pan-African social enterprise within the African Leadership Group, guided by the mission to transform Africa by developing 3M ethical and entrepreneurial leaders by 2035.


2. How did you hear about the competition, and why did you decide to apply?

When I arrived in Croatia, I was searching online for coworking and found the competition on the Saltwater Nomads's website. When I noticed the location was Zagreb, I reflected on my own travel plans in Croatia. Originally, I was going to stay by the coast, like many tourists and digital nomads. Wondering if I was missing something by overlooking the capital, I was compelled to learn more about Zagreb.  

I was shocked at how I was drawn to the city. It felt so creative. The downtown appeared walkable and full of outdoor restaurants. There were many parks and green spaces. A few hours of researching later, I realized a had to take the chance and apply to the competition.  

3. Your reaction to being selected?

It was a combination of excitement, surprise, and gratitude. With all competitions, you never think you will be selected. I was overjoyed when I saw the email that I was selected for this amazing opportunity.


4. How well do you know Croatia and Zagreb in particular?

This trip is my first time in Croatia. As Croatia has become a popular destination, friends told me to visit, but recommendations were focused only on Croatia's (beautiful) coastline. I enjoy cities with history and charm, so when learned more about Zagreb, it immediately caught my attention. 

5. What excites you most about the month ahead?

There are so many things - the food, the museums, the history, the art, the parks - the list goes on. But, if I have to pick the one thing that excites me the most, it would be getting to know the people that call Zagreb home. 


(Doma Zagreb Aparthotel - 4-star luxury in central Zagreb)

6. Are there any particular activities in Zagreb that you would like to get involved in?

I'm currently in a Master's program for working professionals studying Art and Cultural Management. With this in mind, I see why Zegrab is getting more and more attention as a tourist destination and I am interested in learning more about the city's art and cultural planning and sustainable tourism efforts. Hopefully, I will be able to attend some of the events while I am here.

7. What are your expectations from the month, and what are you looking to get out of it?

Open to trying new things, I am looking to get out of my comfort zone. 

I want to get an insider look at some of the many hidden gems that make Zagreb special. So, I will need some local assistance. Readers: Do you have a favorite cafe? Can I come with you to a dance class? What about an outdoor concert? Know where to find the best gelato? Can you point me to a relaxing city park? 

Email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or DM me on Instagram @veronicamulhall.


8. You obviously lead a nomadic life and are well-traveled. What makes Croatia an interesting digital nomad destination for you?

Croatia has the key elements many digital nomads look for when picking a destination: great places to work, affordable and diverse restaurants, rich history and culture, and outstanding nature. Even in the short time that I have been within the country, it is clear, from the thousands of islands to the waterfalls at Plitvice Lakes, the walls of Dubrovnik to the capital of Zagreb, the hype is well deserved.

Would you like to be a Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador? Applications are open until November, with the last ambassador taking up residence on December 1. Find out more here.

For more on Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 & Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project, visit the Saltwater Nomads website.

For the latest news and features about digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section

Thursday, 1 July 2021

Plitvice Lakes Through the Lens of a Croatian Digital Nomad Permit Holder

June 1, 2021 - Digital nomads give back to communities in various ways. The second in a new series on TCN, following the lens of Steve Tsentserensky, one of the early recipients of the Croatian digital nomad permit. Where better to continue than Plitvice Lakes National Park?

One of the discussion in Croatia these days surrounds digital nomads. What EXACTLY does Croatia get from digital nomads, especially if they do not have to pay income tax locally with the 12-month permit?

It is a classic Croatian tourism short-term mindset, which has become sadly familiar over the decade I have been writing about the subject. 

For me, there are three key wins for Croatia - and they all cost nothing.

1. Permit holders may not pay tax, but they are spending on rent, food, drink, entertainment once they leave their virtual office. Think of them as long-stay tourists if you will. I never heard of anyone here complaining about tourists spending here.

2. The mindset. This, to me, is one of the most exciting aspects of the digital nomad era. People with fresh ideas, different experiences, stimulating lifestyles. If they are moving to Croatia because it is so great, perhaps Croatia has something to offer, rather than the sad path of emigration. 

3. The fabulous free promo from digital nomads, clearly in love with this beautiful country. They decided to come, love what they find, and want to tell the world how amazing Croatia is - through blogs, Instagram posts and various other forms of social media. Kind of like the national tourist board's job if you like. Only better. 

This series will focus on the last point, the fantastic free promotion of Croatia by these longer term visitors. TCN is thoroughly enjoying our working partnership with one of the early recipients of the digital nomad permit. Steve Tsentserensky from Ohio. Steve first came to my attention with this fabulous video of Zagreb.

We are big fans of Steve's work, and we met recently over a beer or three in Zagreb. Steve will be travelling around the country over the next 12 months (actually, we thing a little longer) documenting Croatia through his lens. We thought it would make a nice feature on the site, as well as showing how just one nomad with the permit is spreading the word about this beautiful country, so that others may see and come. 

And so continues our new series - Croatia through the lens of a Croatian digital nomad permit holder, this time in Plitvice Lakes National Park. 

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. So I will shut up now. 

You can follow Steve on Instagram.



















Thursday, 1 July 2021

Zagreb Ranked 43 in Global Work-from-Anywhere Index, 18 in Europe

July 1, 2021 - As Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 ends, the Croatian capital finds itself ranking highly on a new Work-from-Anywhere Index. 

One of the msot interesting aspects of the recent Zagreb Digital Nomad Week was observing the reactions of the visiting nomads. Things that impressed - or probably better, surprised - them was the high level of English, the quality of the Internet, the diverse offer of the city and its surrounding area, and just how cool Zagreb was. When I asked Dean Kuchel, founder of Digital Nomads Israel and Digital Nomad World what Zagreb was missing, his response was very encouraging indeed.

"Zagreb is missing more digital nomads. It has perfect weather, great nightlife. Everybody speaks English, everybody is kind to you, and it is easy to get around. The Internet is fantastic, thank you. It has been very helpful with work. I don't think it misses anything really. It checks all the boxes. It has good city life, nature, access to the sea. Just stay the same please."

Zagreb still has a lot of work to do to establish itself on the digital nomad map, and while events such as Zagreb Digital Nomad Week will certainly help, there was more encouraging news today, with the publication of a new study "highlighting the destinations that are most attractive to digital nomads in search of a new home, according to legislation as well as livability factors such as weather, cost of living and equality."

The Work-from-Anywhere Index by NestPick highlighted 75 destinations and ranked them according to three sections:

Costs & Infrastructure - Home office room rent, accommodation availability, income tax including social contributions, and Internet speed and capacity.

Legislation and Freedoms - Remote worker immigration, remote worker infrastructure, gender equality, LGBT+ equality, and minority equality. 

Livability - COVID-19 vaccination rate, cost of living, healthcare, culture & leisure, weather, and pollution (air, light, noise). 

Zagreb came in 43rd overall, with a combined score of 74.31, with Melbourne the most desirable place. 

Even more encouragingly, the Croatian capital was listed 18th in Europe, with Tallinn taking the number one spot. You can see the full results of the entire study here

While such studies are not official and open to interpretation, the very fact that Zagreb finds itself in such a position as it looks to pivot itself to take advantage of the digital nomad opportunity is hugely encouraging. Here are some of the key takeaways from Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021, which was an important first step in the city's strategy. More promotional activities are planned, starting with the arrival of the first Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador tonight - meet Veronica Mulhall.  

Why not become the next Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador?

For the latest news and features about digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section

Thursday, 1 July 2021

Meet Veronica Mulhall, First Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador, Arriving Tonight

July 1, 2021 - The second component of Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 & Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project begins today - welcome to our first ambassador, Veronica Mulhall. 

After an intense and stimulating 7 days of the inaugural Zagreb Digital Nomad Week, which covered 7 themes in 7 locations in 7 days, attention turns to the second part of the programme, as the Croatian capital prepares to welcome its first-ever digital nomad ambassador.

The Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project will run for an initial period of six months, from July 1 - December 31, 2021, with each calendar month hosting a new ambassador. Each ambassador will have a programme for the month, and the city will benefit from their insights and suggestions over the 6-month period, as the project explores digital nomad life in the city through the seasons. The project is a collaboration between Saltwater Nomads, Total Croatia News, and Zagreb Tourist Board, with accommodation support from Doma Zagreb Aparthotel


At the finale of Zagreb Digital Nomad Week (you can read some key takeaways here), the first ambassador was announced - Veronica Mulhall from the USA, but living in Africa. You can see Veronica's application video below.

Veronica was already in Croatia when she applied for the ambassadorship, having flown in from Senegal. She is Marketing Director for the African Leadership Group, and her goal is to visit every country in the world. She has a particular interest in national parks, cultural centres, and UNESCO World Heritage. As such, Veronica is clearly in the right country, as Croatia has no less than 11 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, as well as countless intangible UNESCO heritage (you can find the full list here). 


Her undergraduate degree is in adventure education, and she has a certificate in community development focused on sustainable tourism. The deep-rooted passion to applying to be a Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador is to show others that these lesser-known cities and destinations have so much to offer the world, so much rich history and culture.

Veronica will be arriving with her partner Julian, who is from Zimbabwe and the UK, and is traveling here from Ghana. They are an inter-racial couple who have already travelled in the region - Albania, North Macedonia and Serbia - as well as Africa, the US and Europe. Veronica has over 8 years of international living experience, while Julian has been a nomad for a year - his arrival will give Zagreb an additional DN perspective. 

Veronica is a fully remote worker and is an outdoor enthusiast and a huge foodie, so it sounds like she has found the right city to spend a month in.


(Doma Zagreb Aparthotel - 4-star luxury in central Zagreb)

The couple arrive tonight from the coast, and they will be hosted by project partner, Doma Zagreb Aparthotel, in the centre of the city.

TCN will be publishing an interview with Veronica shortly, and there will be more details of the programme and opportunities to connect published early next week. 


(The Doma Zagreb Aparthotel is located in central Zagreb, with offroad parking, just a few minutes walk from the main square)

Are you interested in being a Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador? Learn more about the project - rolling applications are ongoing until November.

For the latest news and features about digital nomads in Croatia, visit the dedicated TCN section


You can follow Veronica Mulhall on Instagram or visit her website here.


Monday, 28 June 2021

Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021: 5 Key Takeaways

June 28, 2021 - After an action-packed and thought-provoking Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021, some key takeaways for Zagreb and Croatia.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect from Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021, but I knew that it would be inspiring. Sometimes, when I write about an opportunity for Croatia from within Croatia, it is hard to have a global perspective. Local viewpoints are not necessarily transferred to the global viewpoint. And while a lot has been written by TCN about the digital nomad opportunity for more than 2 years now, what were the true feelings of significant names in the global nomad community?

I got my chance to find out last week with a range of keynote speeches, panel discussions, and lots of informal chats with various international nomads from all over the world who were in Zagreb. All of the feedback was extremely positive, and much of it very inspiring. Here are 6 of my takeaways from Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021. 


1. The impact of the digital nomad permit is far greater than the number of applications

The Croatian Prime Minister's decision to act on the LinkedIn open letter from Dutch entrepreneur Jan de Jong last year, meant that Croatia announced that it would be only the second country in Europe to offer such a visa. The ensuing 12-month permit came into effect on January 1 this year, and the whole story had global headlines - CNN, Washington Post, Euronews and many more. The timing coincided with several other factors. The most important of these was that Croatia remained open to non-EU/EEA citizens during last year's pandemic, and it was also in the EU but not in the Schengen zone (thereby making it an attractive option for those on Schengen visas to wait out 90 days). 

A combination of these factors I believe helped raise the profile of Croatia considerably. Many discovered Croatia for the first time, and more and more remote workers headed in Croatia's direction. Although the number of applications for the permit is relatively low at the moment (147 in total), the number of digital nomads is growing. I must have met over 50 digital nomads in the last week, only 2 of whom had the permit. The point was made that nomads are by definition nomadic and not necessarily looking to live in one country for 12 months. But the number of people coming for a month, two, three is on the rise.   


2. Croatia is a leader in public-private partnership for advancing digital nomad tourism opportunities

This was a surprising finding for me, as Croatia is not known for its public-private partnership initiatives. Talking to Dean Kuchel of Digital Nomad World was especially instructive. He had never come across a country with such engangement between the public and private sector, a partnership he described as groundbreaking. 

The headline cooperation, of course, was between de Jong, the Prime Minister, 5 government ministries and numerous other parties to deliver the DN permit.  But the engagement was far deeper than that. Dean was impressed at the involvement at Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 of the banking section (Raiffeisen Bank Hrvatska), financial consulting (KPMG Croatia), and communications (Hrvatski Telekom), as well as SKIFT. Co-working spaces such as Impact Hub, HUB385 and BIZkosnica. Winebars such as Bornstein, Hotels such as Canopy by Hilton, Hostels such as Swanky Mint Hostel and private accommodation of Doma Zagreb.  The formation of the Digital Nomad Association Croatia is an important bridge between the authorities and digital nomad community. 


ZDNW was a great public-private partnership between Saltwater Nomads, Total Croatia News, and Zagreb Tourist Board (funded by the latter), with Zagreb County Tourist Board hosting the final day in Samobor and Zumberak Nature Park. ZDNW followed on from two other successful public-private partnerships in Dubrovnik, with the Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads conference last October, and the recent Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program, both of which were a partnership between Saltwater Nomads, TCN, and the city and tourist board of Dubrovnik. 

3. The seeds of collaboration not competition are already sown and bearing fruit among destinations.

Having written about tourism in Croatia for 10 years, one of the most positive aspects of this whole initiative has been the collaboration between different tourist boards and other official bodies. Croatia has a very fragmented tourist board structure, and there has been a tendency to treat another tourist board as competition.  


Zagreb Tourist Board made a great contribution on a final day panel at the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence progamme, and Dubrovnik Tourist Board director Ana Hrnic was a great panellist on ZDNW. The partnership of Zagreb city and county tourist boards is a great example of how to improve the quality of a destination by working together. At ZDNW, there were representatives from Zadar, Split, Osijek and Istria, all interested in taking this story forward... together. Zagreb as a digital nomad destination will be all the stronger if there are other communities in other destinations in Croatia. The concept of a Croatian digital nomad trail was discussed in Dubrovnik. By working together to develop that, the various stakeholders can produce an incredible end product. 

What was especially encouraging to me was the number of local people who ended the week a lot more enlightened about the digital nomad movement. The concept of WiFi and a bed being all that is required was relatively widely held a year ago. That is changing quickly. 


4. The development of community is key to success.

In an interview prior to ZDNW, keynote speaker and future of work explorer Albert Cañigueral talked about the importance of having a digital nomad community in place:

The sentence “content is king, context is queen” is widely used in marketing. In the DN universe I would translate as people (community) is king and location is queen. Our experience was just mind-blowing because of the community of DNs that were selected to participate, the partners of some DNs who decided to be part of the adventure, the local people who joined the workshops and other moments, the professional team that ran the whole programme and also the support from the city hall (in the middle of local elections!).   

Dean Kuchel's simple mantra perhaps explained it best. I travel solo, but I never travel alone. 

The strength of the community is probably the key deciding factor for many in where to travel to next. 

5. The positive mindsets of the digital nomad community will have a majorly positive effect on the mindsets of the next Croatian generation.

One could not help but be positive last week. So much great energy, so many inspiring people. People who care about community and the world around them. People will new ideas, a fresh look on life. As those communities grow and more digital nomads come to explore Croatia, the safe, authentic lifestyle destination, that energy will trickle into the mindset of the local population. After decades of emigration and no opportunity, an influx of new ideas and people coming into the country rather than running away will be a long-term positive. 


6. Zagreb is a truly exciting destination for digital nomads, with most of the essentials already in place. 

I was really curious what our visiting digital nomads would think of Zagreb. I think it has become a very cool city and think it has plenty to offer, but how does it compare internationally, and what is it missing? Dean Kuchel of Digital Nomad World gave his verdict:

"Zagreb is missing more digital nomads. It has perfect weather, great nightlife. Everybody speaks English, everybody is kind to you, and it is easy to get around. The Internet is fantastic, thank you. It has been very helpful with work. I don't think it misses anything really. It checks all the boxes. It has good city life, nature, access to the sea. Just stay the same please." 

A great week, an important milestone for Croatia moving forward, and lots of exciting possibilities moving forward. 

The keynote speakers at Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021:

Day 1 - Cybersecurity - Marko Rakar of MRAK Services

Day 2 - Online Presence - Mandy Fransz of Make the Leap Digital, and Taki Moore of Million Dollar Coach

Day 3 - Remote Careers - Kristie Sullivan and Ron Tardiff, followed by panel of Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence hosted by Michael Freer

Day 4 - Tax and Finance - Kathleen McPaul, followed by Kristina Grbavac from KPMG Croatia

You can see all these presentations in the Day 1-4 recap

Day 5 - Future of Work

You can see all the presentations for Day 5 above, with a guide to the speakers below.



For more information about the Zagreb Digital Nomad Week, check out Saltwater Nomads.

For the latest news and features on digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section.

Sunday, 27 June 2021

Dean Kuchel of Digital Nomad World: Zagreb Checks All the Boxes

June 27, 2021 - As Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 draws to a close, Dean Kuchel of Digital Nomad World shares his thoughts on Zagreb as a digital nomad destination. 

Day 5 of Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 was undoubtedly the highlight in terms of content, with a number of quality keynote presentations and panels focused on the topic of the Future of Work. 

Israeli Dean Kuchel, founder of the online communities Digital Nomads Israel and Digital Nomad World, brought a bundle of energy and positivity to the proceedings, with an energetic keynote speech on the topic of building community. 

His simple mantra that he travels solo but never travels alone is a key message for Croatian stakeholders to pick up on. If the digital nomad infrastructure is in, and Croatia is attractive for nomads, then they will come. And a key element of that is building up a community of like-minded people who choose to spend time in Croatia and who can meet and interact with like-minded digital nomads who have chosen Croatia.  

Here is what he had to say when asked what Zagreb is missing for digital nomads:

"Zagreb is missing more digital nomads. It has perfect weather, great nightlife. Everybody speaks English, everybody is kind to you, and it is easy to get around. The Internet is fantastic, thank you. It has been very helpful with work. I don't think it misses anything really. It checks all the boxes. It has good city life, nature, access to the sea. Just stay the same please."

One of the most interesting things I learned this week was that one of the biggest and most successful communities and DN destinations in Europe is Bansko in Bulgaria. A ski resort which attracts snowboarders, Bansko has a highly developed DN community, and the sense of community and lfestyle and like-minded people it offers is often more important than the destination itself. 


And if Croatia could develop that... Probably the most encouraging things that Dean told me was his opinion that Croatia is very much on the right path. He was very surprised and encouraged to see the level of public/private partnership and participation in Croatia's push to welcome the DN sector, which is something he has seen very rarely in other countries. While the most high-profile example of that is the public/private partnership to deliver Croatia's digital nomad permit, that cooperation exists at a deeper level. ZDNW was financed by Zagreb Tourist Board, with help from Digital Nomad Association Croatia, and delivered by Saltwater Nomads and Total Croatia News. But the commitment of the public and private sector to this initiative was demonstrated in the speaker and panel participants - the City of Zagreb, Zagreb Tourist Board, Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Ministry of Tourism, KPMG Croatia, Raaiffeisen Bank, and Hrvatski Telekom. It wa also a pleasure to welcome His Excellency Ilan Mor, Ambassador to the State of Israel, who came to meet and support Dean. 

A solid base on which to grow things in partnership.  

You can see all the presentations from the main day of the conference, whose important topic was the Future of Work. I highly recommend you watch them all if you are interested in the topic, but do find time to watch Dean Kuchel's VERY entertaining presenation on the importance of community building. If there was one presentation for Croatian stakeholders to listen to as they try and position themselves, it would be this one. It starts at 2 hours 42 minutes 50 seconds. 

You can follow Dean Kuchel's escapades on his Where is Dean? Instagram. Having visited over 100 countries in just 7 years (one of those being the pandemic year of 2020), Dean will not be in one place for long and is already in Bulgaria, having arrived in Zagreb from Ukraine in the middle of the week. 

For more information about the Zagreb Digital Nomad Week, check out Saltwater Nomads.

For the latest news and features on digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section.

Thursday, 24 June 2021

Zagreb Digital Nomad Week Recap, Keynote Videos, Weekend Program Announced

June 24, 2021 - Day four of Zagreb Digital Nomad Week - the keynote speeches so far.

A very international week in the Croatian capital, as the inaugural Zagreb Digital Nomad Week began on Monday, 7 days covering 7 themes in 7 locations to showcase the diversity of the city. The themes - cybersecurity, online presence, remote careers, tax & finance, wellbeing, and exploring Zagreb, have attracted a range of expert Croatian and international speakers, several of whom flew in for the event.

After months of lockdown, the more relaxed atmosphere in Croatia has been welcomed by its visitors, and the chance to finally attend an in-person event, as well as the social apects of the event - a daily Happy Hour in a different location, as well as nightly themed walking tours with the city's most innovative tour guide, Iva Silla from Secret Zagreb - have been a welcome addition to the week. 


Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 & Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project is a collaboration between Saltwater Nomads, Total Croatia News, and Zagreb Tourist Board, with the latter financing the project. Each major session is being livestreamed on the TCN Facebook page and Zagreb Tourist Board YouTube channel. These sessions will remain available on the web and are useful resources for future reference. All of the panels an keynotes from the first 4 days can be found below.

The week was opened at Canopy by Hilton by Saltwater Nomads CEO Tanja Polegubic, State Secretary for Tourism and Sports, Sandra Herman, representing the Mayor of Zagreb, Ivo Spigel, Zagreb Tourist Board CEO Martina Bienenfeld, and TCN CEO Paul Bradbury. 

The main sessions were as follows:

Marko Rakar - recognised by the World eGovernment forum as one of the “Top 10 who are changing the world of politics on the internet” - was the keynote on the day's first topic, cybersecurity. Marko's audience grew visibly less comfortable the longer he spoke, with more attention to passwords and online security agreed by all at the end.

Mandy Fransz flew in from the  Netherlands to talk about the importance of online presence, with a special focus on the power of LinkedIn. Mandy is an Online Business Consultant, LinkedIn Expert, Remote Work Advocate, and the owner and founder of Make the Leap Digital, a boutique consulting agency helping purpose-driven entrepreneurs and businesses to unlock the power of LinkedIn and remote

She founded Make the Leap Digital from a tropical co-working space in Bali and often shares practical tips and behind-the-scenes content with her community of +23,000 social media followers. By now, she has helped dozens of clients worldwide through speaking, consulting, and interactive (virtual) workshops.

In 2019, Mandy was nominated one of the most inspiring and ambitious women entrepreneurs in The Netherlands and she has been featured in top international publications such as Thrive Global, VIVA400, & LINDA. Mandy currently manages the Remote Workers on LI - a LinkedIn community of over 65,000 members.

Beaming in from Australia was Taki Moore, who leads Million Dollar Coach - a community and proprietary tools and resources
exclusively available to the world’s top coaches. With an online community of over 20,000 - this “coach to the coaches” operates on 3 principles, each masterfully crafted to ATTRACT the right prospects, CONVERT them to happy clients, and DELIVER programs at scale.

Kristie Sullivan and Ron Tardiff  

Making the swtich to the digital nomad lifestyle was an interesting session with two American nomads from different backgrounds.Kristie Sullivan has an accountancy background and was an office worker until she took a severance package last year.She now travels the world and has an online community to help executives go remote. Kristie is currently on her second visit to Croatia.

Ron Tardiff is a scientist whose work is related to ecology and marine protection. He has studied marine sciences, maritime affairs, aquaculture and sustainable blue growth in seven institutions around the world. Ron conducted research, developed a strategy, managed projects and initiatives for 11 organizations with the aim of promoting a sustainable blue economy and maritime issues at the highest levels of government. Ron is from the States but currently living in Budapest. 


One of the most interesting panels was catching up with 4 of the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence to learn more about the realities of being a digital nomad, with topics covered including travelling with pets, finding a social life in a new destination, and how  to choose a destination.Charlie is currently in London, Vanessa in Bol on Brac, Alyssa in Barcelona, and Ron in Zagreb. 

Day 4 was tax and finance and opened by Kathleen di Paolo. Kathleen is an International Consultant, Founder and Owner of Wanderers Wealth. Her goal at Wanderers Wealth is to empower Digital Nomads and all other Wanderers of the World with financial freedom. She is an expert in offshore tax issues, international corporate structuring and global residency matters.

Kristina Grbavac of KPMG was on hand to discuss the implications for Croatia's digital nomad permit, and a range of tax questions and issues. A strong supporter of the digital nomad opportunity, Kristina is an international tax and finance expert - who leads the way in her field, with an award winning career with a respected global consultancy.

Kristina joined KPMG in Croatia in 2000 as a graduate trainee after completing her bachelor’s degree in economics at the University of Zagreb. Since then Kristina has provided a full range of tax planning, advisory and compliance services to clients in various industry sectors. Kristina is a fellow of the UK Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. She is responsible for Global Mobility Services at KPMG in Croatia since 2009.
Kristina is a Women in Adria award winner in the Future Leaders category.

Friday is the biggest day of the week, with several quality keynotes and panel sessions - see the programme below. And PLEASE NOTE that there has been a location change for tomorrow's event. The event will now take place at HUB385. Registrations are required (attendance is free). You can register here.

Friday's session will finish with the announcement of the first Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador, who will take up residence in Doma Zagreb on July 1. Learn more about that programme and why not apply yourself? The project runs initially until December 31.



Saturday's Wellbeing theme will kick off with yoga with the Indian Embassy in Maksimir Park. Head over and introduce yourself. This will be followed by SHBAM at 10:30 and Pilates at Adidas Sports Studio, and a Wellbeing Livestream by the Well-Being Workplace from 12:30 to 13:30. 

Sunday's Explore Zagreb programme is in more detail below. Registrations will open shortly on the Saltwater Nomads website here.

1000 - Depart from Canopy by Hilton

1030 - Short 15-min walking tour of Samobor with Samobor Tourist Board

1100 - Option 1 - 1 hour quad biking. MAX 8 people - cost 225 kuna per person, 2 per bike. (I hour)

1100 - Option 2 - Tour of Samobor Museum 

1300 - Lunch at Samoborski Klet (everyone pays their own bill) 

1500 - Departure for Zumberak Nature Park and Green Hills Tihocaj Eco-village

1600 - Arrival at Green Hills

Welcome drink and presentation from owner Davorin Stetner

Overview of Zumberak Nature Park by principal Robert Brkic

Wine tasting and barbecue 

Short tour of the eco-village

1900 - Departure to Zagreb

1945 -  Arrival in Zagreb

Meet one of Friday's keynote speakers, Albert Cañigueral, one of the Dubrovnik nomads-in-residence, and recently appointed to lead the Catalan Government's Transparency and Open Data division. Albert will be focusing on the topic of the day, the future of work.  

Tourist Board Director Martina Bienenfeld on Zagreb Digital Nomad Week, Ryanair, Tourism in Pandemic

Want to be a Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador and live in the city for a month between July and December? 

For the latest news and features od digital nomads in Croatia, check out the dedicated TCN section

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