Monday, 18 October 2021

Changing the Mindset: Digital Nomadism in Croatia, an Academic Thesis

October 18, 2021 - Changing the mindset of the next generation is one of the key benefits for Croatia with the digital nomad opportunity - a topic which is now the subject of an academic thesis. 

One of my favourite moments at the excellent Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence programme back in April was having a coffee with one of the local attendees on the first day of the design thinking workshop which helped create the strategy and roadmap forward for Dubrovnik's digital nomad journey.

"This has been mindblowing," she said. "A completely new way of living, and of thinking.  And I have already decided that I am going to trade in my current way of life for the digital nomad revolution."

The world of work is changing, and the era of remote work is here. I have been thoroughly enjoying meeting lots of progressive people over the last year, many of whom are foreigners who have chosen to combine their online job with the enviable Croatian lifestyle - a winning combination. And the more people who come with this new way of working, with their fresh ideas, the more they will inspire a new way of thinking in the younger generation in Croatia, many of whom choose emigration over trying to make a life here. 

And if seems that interest is trickling down to the world of academia. 

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This LinkedIn post from digital permit holder, Steve Tsentserensky, made me smile. Steve has been doing sterling work promoting Croatia, from speaking at conferences and writing viral articles for CNBC on the subject, to producing outstanding photos and videos as he explores the country. Great to see that both he and Jan are a cause for inspiration. 

I decided to reach out to Jozo Barac about his choice of thesis, thinking it must be the first thesis in Croatia on the subject. It apparently was the second, as he informed me:

Through a detailed search, I found that so far only one Master thesis in 2020 has been written on the topic of digital nomadism in Croatia. In my opinion, this paper was written as a fairly general account of digital nomadism. Therefore, I wanted to write a thesis that will clearly show what digital nomadism is, what are the most common occupations, what is needed to develop a destination for digital nomads and how Croatia is positioned in the context of such a destination. Also, I conducted research on young people of different study orientations. In this research, I measured their attitudes and motivation and, through three different hypotheses, statistically tested whether there were significant differences in their attitudes and motivation for digital nomadism. 

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Inspired by the likes of Steve and Jan, Jozo dived into his research into this new world of opportunity. He told me:

I believe that Croatia meets three basic prerequisites for the development of such destinations, namely fast and stable Internet, climate conditions and acceptable living costs. Also, we are a safe destination and have many cultural and natural attractions. Our highways are good, while the railways are very bad. I believe that by increasing the number of digital nomads in Croatia, new airlines will be introduced. Furthermore, within this destination development, numerous entrepreneurial opportunities can be realized. Some of these opportunities are the opening of coworking and coliving spaces and the creation of various gastronomic and adrenaline tours for digital nomads. I absolutely support the recent opening of the valley for digital nomads in Zadar and I believe that there will be more and more such projects.

Congratulations to Jozo on his graduation, and good luck on your entrepreneurial journey. You can find a summary of Jozo's thesis below, and you can connect with him on LinkedIn if you want to know more.

Digital nomadism as a new form of business

Travel has been an indispensable part of human life since the beginning of the development of all civilizations. The main motives for the trip were usually a change of environment, rest, recreation, meeting new cultures and people. Today, people most often travel during the holidays which they use to rest and recover from stressful everyday life. However, for many, traveling in these quantities is not enough and they are looking for ways to travel more.

One way to travel more is definitely digital nomadism. It is a term that encompasses traveling and getting to know different cultures around the world while simultaneously earning a living with the inevitable mediation of technology and internet connection. In this paper, the introduction highlights the goals, content and methodology of the research. Also, the problem and the subject of research are defined.

The second chapter defines the concept of digital nomadism and the holistic approach to the study of this concept. Such an approach encompasses the frameworks of digital nomadism as an economic activity or model, as a cultural phenomenon and as a technologically enabled form of work. It presents the basic characteristics, positive and negative sides and the most common occupations practiced by digital nomads. Some of these professions are social media marketing expert, SEO expert and e-retailer of digital products. Also, the basic legislative frameworks around the world concerning the topic of this paper are presented. The Republic of Croatia should be highlighted as a country that has clearly defined the conditions of stay of digital nomads on its territory by voting on the Foreigners Act, which has been valid since 1.1.2021.

The third chapter presents the conditions for the development of destinations for digital nomads. The basic preconditions for the development of such destinations are fast and stable internet connection, climatic conditions and low cost of living. In this chapter, the Republic of Croatia is placed in the global context of such destinations and can be positioned as one of the most desirable destinations for digital nomads. Also, the basic possibilities and limitations of the development of such destinations are listed. In the fourth chapter, the research methodology is presented and a survey of 120 respondents was conducted through an online questionnaire. Of the three hypotheses set, the first and third hypotheses were accepted, while the second hypothesis was rejected. Based on the entire paper, basic conclusions were reached on the overall topic of digital nomadism, destination development in this context, and a number of research conclusions and recommendations for future research.

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

Sunday, 17 October 2021

Zagreb for Digital Nomads: A Destination on the Rise

October 17, 2021 - Word is getting out - Zagreb for digital nomads. A look at the rising popularity of the Croatian capital, recently featured in the top 5 most-liked cities in a Nomad List survey

It is almost 2 years since I wrote my first article on the potential of digital nomad tourism in Zagreb. Rereading Why Zagreb is Increasingly Attractive to a Growing Number of Digital Nomads 21 months later, it is interesting to note how much has changed, and how much has not changed. 

The ten key reasons cited back then all remain compelling reasons why digital nomads will find Zagreb to be attractive - its proximity to the Schengen border, excellent Engish language, safety, accessibility, affordability, a thriving tech scene, a great tourist destination, great food and wine, world-class medical tourism for your budget, and a relaxed cafe lifestyle.

And yet so much has changed.

When I wrote this article in January 2020, few people were very familiar with the digital nomad concept in Croatia. For this was before a certain Dutchman elevated the discussion to a national level by successfully inviting the Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenkovic, to introduce a digital nomad visa for Croatia. Along with a number of initiatives, the introduction of the new permit on January 1, 2021 helped focus global attention on Croatia as a new DN hot spot. And while the initial expectation may have been that all nomads would be flocking to the coast, the fact is that there have been a growing number heading to Zagreb instead. 

And they are liking what they are finding. 

At this point, I should point out the role of the Zagreb Tourist Board. Together with Dubrovnik, Zagreb has been incredibly receptive and supportive of initiatives to promote Croatia as a DN destination. When I first pitched the idea of Zagreb Digital Nomad Week (ZDNW) back in June last year in partnership with Saltwater Nomads, the concept was agreed immediately, and had it not been for the pandemic, it would have taken place as part of Advent in Zagreb last year. 

In the event, Zagreb Digital Nomad Week took place in June, 7 days with 7 themes, in multiple locations all over the city. Although it was a hybrid event, several keynote speakers jumped at the chance to come to Zagreb and attend their first conference or public event in over a year.  Among them was Nimrod Dean Kuchel, an Israeli world traveller with his own DN community of 25,000 people.

His presentation, which you can see above, was one of the highlights of the week. And for a man who has visited over 100 countries in the last 8 years, his was a persepctive that I was keen to hear. Just how was Zagreb doing as a DN destination, and what was it missing?

"Zagreb ticks all the boxes," commented Dean at the end of the week. "The only thing missing here is more digital nomads."

To prove his affection for Zagreb and its potential was genuine, Dean was back a couple of months later as the official Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador for September.  An extension of ZDNW, the ambassador project, in partnership with Doma Zagreb Aparthotel, has been bringing in an international digital nomad for a month from July until December. 

Each ambassador comes from a different background and engages in Zagreb in a different way. Dean was extremely active, organising events with the Digital Nomad Facebook group which now numbers an impressive 7,000 members. At the end of his stay, Dean caught up with TCN before heading off to speak at the Budva Cross Border Coworking Conference earlier this month. 

For a man who can't stop travelling, he clearly was not so keen to leave. His reflections on the month in Zagreb are interesting, and they mirror some of the same messages coming from previous ambassadors - the outstanding English, safety, excellent WiFi, great coworking spaces, a green and very walkable city with a fantastic food and wine story, full of friendly locals and just a short drive to the coast. 

 

Veronica Mulhall, the first official Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador in July, had similar feelings. She loved the walkability of the city, often taking meetings on the phone, and deemed Zagreb the perfect training ground for her planned climb of Kilimanjaro. 

 

Both she and partner Julian fell in love with a city that they did not know anything about before Veronica applied. And now they are considering buying property in Zagreb and making it a part-time home. Julian also gave a very interesting interview, including his experiences in the city as a black tourist in the interview above. 

 

August brought Rudi Witkowsky from South Africa, who put Zagreb's gyms and outside spaces through its paces with his fitness regime. 

All these ambassadors have helped to add to a story which is growing nicely, and the wider Zagreb population is beginning to grasp the DN opportunity. Tanja Polegubic, CEO of Saltwater Nomads and the architect of Zagreb Digital Nomad Week, has noticed the progress. 

"Zagreb has really made a mark in 2021 as a digital nomad destination. The regular feedback I hear from digital nomads there is the sense of constant discovery - which is getting rarer these days. There's something happening everywhere you go, and a real diverse offer of food and entertainment. The Croatian capital really does win over many a remote worker's heart." 

Zagreb is well on the way to establishing itself as a leading DN destination not only in Croatia and the wider region, but also in Europe (it was the only European city in the top 5 Nomad List survey, for example). Here are just a sample of things that have happened to the Zagreb digital nomad story since that first article 21 months ago:

 

There is a really good energy in Zagreb at the moment, one which I think will only improve as more nomads discover it and add to the community. Why not come and visit and check it out?

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

Sunday, 17 October 2021

Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence Giving Back at European Freelancer Week

October 17, 2021 - European Freelancer Week kicks off tomorrow, with participants in the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence taking part in events in both Split and Dubrovnik.

It is a year since the first-ever dedicated digital nomad conference in Croatia. Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads was held this time last year as part of European Freelancer Week, an event delivered by Saltwater Nomads, TCN, the City of Dubrovnik, and Dubrovnik Tourist Board.

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One of the highlights of the conference was the virtual presentation by Kashlee Kucheran, co-owner of the influential Travel Off Path website and community, which is dedicated to travel information for remote workers. You can read Kashlee's subsequent interview with TCN in full here, but one of the quotes of the conference - and I will confess that it surprised me a little - was in Kashlee's slide above, that Croatia was the Number 1 Digital Nomad Country in her opinion. 

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Fast forward a year, and it appears that a growing number of nomads are beginning to agree with her, as Croatia was named the second-most liked country by users of Nomad List in a major survey recently

There is no conference in Dubrovnik for this year's European Freelancer Week (but watch this space for 2022), which runs from October 18-24, but there will be plenty of activity for participants of the award-winning Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program, which was delivered by the same team in April this year. 

Saltwater Nomads will be offering a week of free coworking in Split, as well as hosting what should be a very entertaining evening of good food, wine and conversation with Charlie and Sam Brown, two of the stars of the DNIR programme. 

Charlie and Sam Brown: from couple to colleagues to competitors (but still a couple!)

British digital nomad couple Charlie and Sam Brown talk about how they sold everything they own, from their successful wine business (voted the best Independent Wine Shop in the UK!) to their house for a life on the road.

They are now both freelance writers in the same field, so have gone from being colleagues to competitors.

They'll be talking about everything Life on The Road, from giving up everything they own in their mid-thirties when most of their friends were settling down, to the challenges (and advantages) of travelling as a couple, to what it's like working together, then against each other...

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Meanwhile in Dubrovnik two of the very active contributors to the DNIR programme from the local Dubrovnik community, Vesna Celebic and award-winning photographer, Ivan Vukovic, will be hosting a wine night at D'Vino under the topic - Fearful + Fearless Freelancers with lessons from Dubrovnik. 

Details of all the events here

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

 

Friday, 15 October 2021

Digital Nomad Association Croatia Launches 'DNA Stay' Rental Website

October 15, 2021 - Digital Nomad Association Croatia launches a new service to make the accommodation search more accessible - DNA Stay.

There are interesting times in Croatia for the emerging digital nomad opportunity. Less than 18 montths after an open letter to the Croatian Prime Minister asking for a digital nomad visa for Croatia, each week seems to bring a new initiative or positive piece of good news. The recent findings in the Nomad List 2021 survey which put Croatia as the second most-liked destination and Zagreb in the top 5 most-liked cities came at the same time as the launch of the first so-called Croatian digital nomad village, Digital Nomad Valley Zadar. 

The energy of the Croatian initiative has spilled over borders, and Dutch entrepreneur Jan de Jong - whose LinkedIn post to PM Andrej Plenkovic was the catalyst for the new digital nomad permit - recently announced an imminent visa for Montenegro after his successful collaboration with officials and stakeholders in Podgorica. De Jong is also President of Digital Nomad Association Croatia, which aims to be a bridge for visiting nomads to Croatia, while also advocating nomad issues with the relevant authorities. De Jong this morning announced the latest DNA Croatia initiative, a new accommodation platform connecting DNs with long-term accommodation options, called DNA Stay:

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And we are live!! DNA Stay is the new booking platform for mid- & long-term property rentals in #Croatia - targeting #digitalnomads.

DNA Stay, founded by the Digital Nomad Association Croatia - is now enabling property owners to list their apartments, houses & villas for monthly rentals, all the way up till 1 year rentals.

Over the past year, many digital nomads have reached out to me, looking for monthly rentals of apartments, houses & villas.

At the same time, property owners are approaching me, asking where they can list their properties - targeting digital nomads.

Starting today, we are bringing you the solution - kicking off with 5.000+ listings! 

If you own a property and want to rent it out to digital nomads - send an email to:
 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you are a digital nomad and you are looking for amazing rentals in Croatia - visit:
 DNAstay.com

DNA Stay - only rentals for mid- & long term stay! 

Thank you all so much for your continuous support throughout this entire digital nomad journey! 

Pozdrav,

Jan de Jong

President Digital Nomad Association Croatia

P.s. - Sharing is caring 

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

Monday, 11 October 2021

Major Nomad List 2021 Survey: Croatia 2nd Most Liked, Zagreb in Top 5 Cities

October 11, 2021 - A major Nomad List 2021 survey of the travel and lifestyle habits of digital nomads has some encouraging news: Zagreb, Split and Croatia are officially hot.

Let's start with what the data is based on, as explained by Nomad List:

Remote work is now on an exponential trajectory and growing fast. With its growth, millions of people who are now newly working remotely from home, a cafe, or coworking space, will start to realize how mobile they've come and hit the road. In this report, we try to figure out who these nomads are, what work do they do, and how they spend their life based on data from tens of thousands of Nomad List members.

This page is generated live with data pulled straight from the database. Conclusions you can derive from this are always limited and merely indicative but possibly interesting. Nomad List is a paid membership community, which means there's a selection bias as people who do not or cannot pay are not in the dataset. On the other hand, free digital nomad communities, like on Facebook, require no commitment to join, therefore it's not clear if these people are merely aspirational or active nomads or not. On Nomad List we can confirm they are active based on their travel logs.

There are lots of interesting insights into the digital nomad lifestyle, which you can browse through on the link above.  

Before we get to Croatia, here are some interesting - at least to me - findings. According to the survey:

80% not religious

66% are single

66% earn between $50,000 and $250,000 a year

12% are vegetarian

13% are vegan

Favourite activities are hiking, fitness and running 

97% are vaccinated

88% had a happy childhood

The average stay in a country is 69 days

Only 7% of nomads stay in a location for a year, (which ties in with last month's TCN editorial Has the Croatian Digital Nomad Permit Been a Success So Far?)

And now, let's get to Croatia.

Most liked country - Croatia,number 2, after Japan. 

Most liked city in the world - Zagreb, number 5, after Tokyo, Taipei, Mexico City and Cape Town

Most liked city by male nomads - Split, number 9

Most visited country - Croatia, number 27

You can see the whole Nomad List 2021 survey here.

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

 

Thursday, 7 October 2021

9 Countries at 2021 Olive Picking World Championship on Brac, & Digital Nomads!

October 7, 2021 - The 2021 Olive Picking World Championship kicks off this week in Postira on Brac, with the usual strong international lineup, and a new kid on the block - Team Digital Nomads.

With the main tourist season coming to a close, the thoughts of most Dalmatians turn to the fields, and their precious olive groves. 

But for one small part of the island of Brac, a unique idea back in 2017 combined tourism with the traditional olive harvest. 

Postira launched the Olive Picking World Championship four years ago, an event which has grown in stature (and international appeal) since its inception. After becoming a casualty of the pandemic last year, the 4th edition of the Olive Picking World Championship will take place this week, from October 8-10, in th fields of Postira. 

And it has become a truly international event, with olive picking techniques from as far away as New Zealand taking part in the past.  

Defending champions Montenegro have withdrawn at a late stage sadly, but there is still a high quality international flavour to this year's competition. Each team consists of four pickers, two male and two female, and there is a new kind of team this year to compete with the other 9 registered nationalities - Team Digital Nomad. 

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1. Poland
2. Hungary
3. Slovenia
4. France
5. South Africa
6. Russia
7. Slovenia
8. Israel
9. Digital nomads
10. Croatia.

The team of four ar all participants in the award-winning Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence progamme earlier this year. 

The DN team has an international quality, with the quartet of former Dubrovnik nomads-in-residence hailing from Wales, Holland, USA and England, with a coach from Australia.

The coaching started earlier this week in Montenegro at the Cross Border Coworking Conference in Budva, where olive-picking techniques while holding a beer will bring a fresh perspective to the 2021 Postira championships (see video below). 

A great event, one more small example of great authentic experiences outside the season. 

You can follow progress on the Postira Tourist Board Facebook page, and TCN will bring you an in-depth report on this year's olive champion. 

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Never experienced an olive harvest? After 18 years as a Dalmatian 'zet' (son-in-law), it has become part of my DNA - learn more in Natural Stress Relief: the Olive Harvest in Dalmatia.

Want to learn more about olive oil in Croatia? Check out the TC olive oil guide.

Thursday, 7 October 2021

Montenegro Digital Nomad Visa in Early 2022: Jan de Jong

October 7, 2021 - Regional collaboration on show, as Jan de Jong annnounces the imminent Montenegro Digital Nomad Visa.

In the words of Split-based Dutch entrepreneur, Jan de Jong, whose efforts to promote digital nomad tourism in Croatia have now officially gone regional, as can be seen from his latest post on LinkedIn:   

BREAKING - #Montenegro  will follow into Croatia's footsteps as it plans to introduce a Digital Nomad Visa by beginning of 2022 

I would like to thank Minister Tamara Srzentić MS MBA & State Secretary Marina Banovic - from the Ministry of Public Administration, Digital Society and Media in Montenegro - for supporting legislative changes, turning Montenegro into a digital nomad welcoming country. 

It's amazing to see how you recognize the opportunity of opening your borders to #DigitalNomads. Thank you for your support to make this a reality. 

I strongly believe that the entire Adriatic region can benefit from becoming a hotspot for remote work professionals - and this region has all ingredients to make that happen. 

It's an honor and true pleasure to be part of this process. Step by step, we are moving forward to a more sustainable region.

Milovan Novakovic MRICS - thank you for all your efforts and facilitating this meeting. 

Montenegro - I applaud you for your progress 

Regards from Podgorica,

Jan

Follow me on #LinkedIn to never miss an update on this exciting new journey 

The announcement follows months of discussions with de Jong and his Montenegrin counterparts, and it is another concrete example of the cross border collaboration that is strengthening the remote work opportunity in the region. 

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The LinkedIn announcement was accompanied with a photo of the key stakeholders on this initiative - from left to right in the lead photo above:

Milovan Novaković who contacted me last year, for me to help him push this in Montenegro,. Minister Tamara Srzentić, and State Secretary Marina Banovic. Both are from the Ministry of Public Administration, Digital Society and Media in Montenegro.

De Jong is currently in Montenegro, having just taken part in the two-day Cross Border Coworking Conference in Budva. You can read more about the event in TCN's coverage of the first day - Croatian Digital Nomad Energy Crosses Border at Budva CBCC 2021. He spoke to TCN about the current momentum:

It's great to see how countries like B&H and Montenegro are following closely what is happening in Croatia - which has demonstrated true leadership by being among first countries in the world to welcome digital nomads.

What is even more fascinating to see is how Croatia private sector is leaning in on this opportunity.

This Cross-Border Co-working Conference was the perfect platform to share experiences with the goal to turn the entire region into a hotspot for remote work professionals.

The feedback we got from digital nomads like Kate, Steve and Dean - about the attractiveness of this region for digital nomads was more than pleasant and only confirms that this region has all ingredients to become a top destination for digital nomads.

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

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Digital Nomad Valley Zadar: 89 Applications, 30 Countries in 1st Week

October 6, 2021 - A week after announcing the first so-called Croatian digital nomad village,  Digital Nomad Valley Zadar, details about the number of applicants, age range, and nationalities has been published. 

Just four days before it is scheduled to open, the level of interest in the new concept of tourism has been made public. As we reported a week ago, Digital Nomad Valley Zadar is opening its doors at the Falkensteiner Borik resort in Zadar, catering to digital nomads through the winter and beeyond. You can learn more details from last week's announcement.

Co-founder of the project, Mario Mrksa, kindly gave TCN an interview the following day, in which he expressed his hope that at least 30 digital nomads would take part in the initial phase. 

So, is Mario going to be satisfied with the interest so far? From his LinkedIn update a few minutes ago, things seem to be going rather well. Here it is in full.

UPDATED NUMBERS

Firstly, I would like to thank everyone for giving such wonderful feedback for this initiative 

There are more and more #digitalnomads and #remoteworkers applying Digital Nomad Valley every day!

Within a week, we have received 89 applications from 30 different countries! As expected, United States and United Kingdom are taking the lead.

Top countries:
USA: 22
UK: 15
Germany: 6
Poland: 5
Canada: 4

Proud to say that we have applicants from all continents!

Some other interesting facts:

The youngest applicant is 22 and oldest 61 years old wow!

59% want to come alone, 18.5% with a love partner and others with family or group of friends.

20% have said that they need help with getting digital nomad staying permit and 40% said "maybe" Jan de Jong.

We already have digital nomads coming next week 

We are collecting even more stats, if there will be interest I can share some more 

https://lnkd.in/dU5qwk5X

Vedran Presecan
Matej Vukić
Paul Bradbury

#digitalnomadvalley
#digitalnomadcommunity

Great stuff. I spoke to Mario just now to get his reaction:

"The first reaction is amazing! The initial number of applicants within the first week and hundreds of praises from everyone around the world, it sure does feel like we're on the right track with our Work Remotely Croatia initiative!"

Follow the latest news and features from this project and the digital nomad scene in Croatia in the dedicated TCN section

Tuesday, 5 October 2021

Croatian Digital Nomad Energy Crosses Border at Budva CBCC 2021

October 5, 2021 - An important milestone in developing the regional digital nomad eco-system, as a strong Croatian contingent took part in Day 1 of the Budva Cross Border Coworking Conference (CBCC 2021) in Montenegro. 

"The Croatian digital nomad permit is a great thing," said Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador for September, Dean Kuchel, "but the next thing I want to see is a digital nomad passport for the region. I want to be able to travel around the Balkans with my digital nomad passort." 

 

That passport may not be here just yet, but Kuchel grabbed his usual one and headed to the airport after an action-packed month in Zagreb. Destination Montenegro and the inaugural CBCC 2021, which kicked off in glorious sunshine in Budva today. He was one of a sizable contingent from Croatia making the journey to Montenegro to share his expertise at the conference.

CBCC 2021, which is part of the EU-funded 2CODE project, an extension of the original CODE project, with 5 partners in 4 cities (Tuzla, Mostar, Budva and Zadar) and 3 countries, was introduced as follows on the official webite:

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From Monday, 4th October, until Wednesday, 6th October 2021, regional and global experts will gather on the Montenegrin coast, and in a series of lectures and panel discussions will deal with current topics and with their experience contribute to a better understanding of this popular trend. Participants in the conference will discuss the concept and perspectives of digital nomads, the potential of the Western Balkans, the experience of digital nomads who have stayed in the region, as well as the packages the coworking spaces that make up the Code Hub network in Mostar, Nikšić, Tuzla, and Zadar will provide to this target group in the coming period. The two-day conference will also discuss the regional coworking scene, the impact of the global pandemic on the sector, the challenges faced by coworking managers over the past 18 months, but also the benefits of distance working, and the prospects for developing new coworking communities.

While I could not make the event personally due to work commitments, it was encouraging to see so many stakeholders and early movers from the Croatian digital nomad scene contributing to what sounded like a very absorbing day. Having been involved in three of the more prominent DN events in the last 12 months - the first-ever DN conference in Croatia (Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads), the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program, and Zagreb Digital Nomad Week & Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador program. 

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No less than four of those Dubrovnik DNs in residence were there - they came for a month in April for the Dubrovnik programme, but is seems they can't keep away - or telling the wider DN community about how great Croatia is. 

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Jan de Jong, the godfather of the Croatian digital nomad permit and co-founder of the Croatian Digital Nomad Association, was also present. Viewed as an inspirational leader in a DN region growing in strength, de Jong talked of the great interest in Croatia, as well the importance of collaboration within the region. De Jong is actively helping digital nomad initiatives - including visas - in neighbouring countries.  

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Tanja Polegubic of Saltwater Nomads and architect of the Zagreb and Dubrovnik events (as well as also a co-founder of Digital Nomad Association Croatia, opened her presentation with this article from The Times a month ago. A photo of Dubrovnik chosen to lead on an article on digital nomad visas. This shows that this region is in the spotlight, with Dubrovnik only a short distance from all the other hubs. This creates an opportunity to make a 'nomad trail.'

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Polegubic presented Zadar and thee coastal regions in general, on the issues and potential solutions, stressing the need to amplify. As the Croatian city taking part in 2CODE, Zadar has made some great progress and is leading the way with many initiatives. It was one of the early movers in the region, opening COIN in 2015. It has since gone on to deliver this know-how to these other hubs. All the coworking spaces are public. Plus there is more to come, including a fab lab.

It has hosted smart city conferences, hackathons and bootcamps. The hotel sector moving into this, with Falkensteiner part of Digital Nomad Valley Zadar, the first so-called digtal nomad village in Croatia

Recently, Croatia's first unicorn, infobip, moved its acquired SHIFT conference to Zadar. It is a rising star.

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It has been fantastic to see how enthusiastically the city and tourist board of Dubrovnik have grasped and embraced the digital nomad opportunity, and how willing they were to contribute their knowledge and experiences to the region after the two projects with Saltwater Nomads and TCN. Deputy Mayor Jelka Tepsic and Dubrovnik Tourist Board director Ana Hrnic presented their journey so far, including thee roadmap and implementation phase, and a best practice example.

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It was very encouraging to learn that some of the quick win recommendations have already been implemented, including three co-working spaces in different parts of the city -  Lazareti (Center), Red History Museum (Gruz) and Sunset Beach (Lapad).

No regional digital nomad event would be complete, it seems, without the presence of Zagreb-based Steve Tsentserenky. Mr. T. was the seventh recipient of the Croatian digital nomad permit, and has become one of its most effective ambassadors. His article about the digital nomad lifestyle in Split on CNBC News was the top story of the day, and the accompanying video above has racked up over 275,000 views.  

Not all the heroes making big contributions in the Croatian digital nomad story were in front of the camera. A big thank you also to Nick Hathaway, whose heroics at Zagreb Digital Nomad Week delivered live streaming in 7 locations all over the city in 7 days, despite several logistical challenges, was immense. Nick has already uploaded a vlog on Day 1, which you can see above. 

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There is plenty in store on Day 2 - and you can see the full programme here

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

Sunday, 3 October 2021

Meet Andrae Smith, Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador for October

October 3, 2021 - A new month, a new Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador: meet Andrae Smith from South Africa, who will be resident for the month of October. 

The focus on developing the digital nomad story in Zagreb continues. After the success of the inaugural Zagreb Digital Nomad Week in June, the Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador project has been running since July 1, with the Croatian capital hosting one eexperienced digital nomad a month at Doma Zagreb Aparthotel to work with the city in increasing awareness of Zagreb as a quality destination for remote workers. 

The tenure of September's dynamic ambassador, Israeli Nimrod Dean Kuchel, came to an end with his final event on October 1. Dean hosted a Zagreb Meet-Up and Pitch night at Canopy by Hilton, with various speakers sharing travel and digital nomad experiences.   

Before leaving the following morning, Dean shared his thoughts on a month in Zagreb in the interview above. 

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Among the 50 locals, expats and nomads who attended the event was Andrae Smith, who had just landed from flights from her native South Africa. 

Andrae is the Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador for October, and she and Dean had a good conversation and handover over a drink or three at Canopy, as well as breakfast the following morning. Andrae started her own company, Work Wanderers, which runs co-living and co-working retreats for digital nomads in locations around the world, including Bali, Cape Town and Portugal. 

And maybe now Croatia... Croatia has been on Andrae's radar for some time - here is her application video for the ambassador programme. 

She is enjoying her first few days in the city, and will be working with the programme organisers - Zagreb Tourist Board, Saltwater Nomads, and TCN, to get the most out of her month in Zagreb, with various events with the digital nomad community planned.  

We caught up wth Andrae for a quick introductory interview at the Canopy by Hilton event - see above. 

If you would like to connect with Andrae during her month in Zagreb, you can find her on LinkedIn.

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

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