Saturday, 19 June 2021

Future of Work, the View from Barcelona: Albert Cañigueral Interview

June 19, 2021 - Recently appointed to lead the Catalan Government's Transparency and Open Data division, Albert Cañigueral will be a Future of Work speaker at Zagreb Digital Nomad Week. 

One of the many exciting things about next week's Zagreb Digital Nomad Week (ZDNW) is the sense of continuity from recent events in Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads last October was the first-ever digital nomad conference in Croatia, and it was followed by the world's first Digital Nomad-in-Residence project in the Pearl of the Adriatic. 

One of the ten winners was a Future of Work explorer (and published author on the subject), Albert Cañigueral from Barcelona, whose application video you can see above and initial interview here.

Albert's contribution and insights throughout the month were magnifcent, and he was a popular member of the group, and he became known as the Dubrovnik Beach Bum after an exercise in stereotypes and reality on the digital nomad lifestyle.

digitalni-nomadi-zavrsna-konferencija-lazareti-13.jpg

It was only natural that we would try and enlist Albert's expertise in ZDNW, and we are delighted that he has agreed to be a keynote speaker on Friday, June 25, on the subject of the Future of Work. 

Albert had initially planned to come in person, but was recently approached to head the Catalan Government's Open Data and Transparency division, and so his presentation will be done remotely. Albert kindly found some time to tell us more about his thoughts about Croatia as a DN destination, as well as the opportunities and challenges ahead.

Albert will not be the only contributor from the Dubrovnik programs, with fellow resident nomad-in-residence, Ron Tardiff, coming down from Budapest, and Dubrovnik Tourist Board director Ana Hrnic also a ZDNW panelist. 

albert-canigueral_6.jpg

1. From Dubrovnik beach bum to leading the Catalan government's Transparency and Open Government division. Your life has changed since we last met in Dubrovnik a few weeks ago. Congratulations on your new position. Tell us firstly a little about that. 

Thank you! It was completely unexpected. I’ve been part of a project “Catalunya 2022” with 30 experts to deliver a post-pandemic set of ideas for Catalunya. One of the co-leaders of this project, Victoria Alsina, was appointed  “Consellera d'Acció Exterior i Transparència” of the catalan government (Generalitat de Catalunya). When she started creating her team, I was asked to join, and I could not refuse. It’s an honor to serve from this position and I am sure I will learn a lot too.

albert-canigueral_1.jpg

2. As an expert and published author on the future of work, and someone who has just spent a month as one of Dubrovnik's Digital Nomads-in-Residence, your perspective is very interesting. Tell us firstly about your Dubrovnik experience. You were obviously not expecting to find the perfect DN destination. How would you sum up your 4 weeks there?

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!).  

Then the 4 weeks were a lot about exploration, discovery, going with the flow, collective learning, etc. 

albert-canigueral_3.jpg 

3. Barcelona is an established nomad hot spot. What lessons can cities like Zagreb learn to make themselves more attractive to potential digital nomads?

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” is a quote attributed to Leonardo da Vinci. For any destination that wants to attract DNs the simpler the better. I mean that in terms of where to find DN-related information, where to access services (lodging, work spaces, health, communication, etc.), bundled offers for mid and long term stays, reduced language barriers, where to find other DNs and locals, etc. 

I would also encourage cities to break from the “competing for DNs” with a scarcity mentality and embrace a “network of DN destinations” with an abundance mentality and cooperation among cities. What about a network of DN friendly destinations?

albert-canigueral_5.jpg

4. From your recent experience in Croatia, what would you say are its competitive advantages in the DN niche?

The obvious ones are location, climate, living costs, widely spoken English, friendly locals, etc.  

A unique asset that we discussed several times was that Croatia is not part of the Schengen area so that provides a number of unique benefits for short term DNs that are always juggling with visa limits. The pioneering and generous DN visa is also another important asset.

albert-dnir.jpg

5. And what are the areas Croatia needs to focus on to improve its offer? Do you have 3 quick wins that Croatia and Zagreb could implement? 

I won’t be very original as the recommendations we gave to Dubrovnik are largely applicable to Croatia in general and Zagreb in particular: 1) a “seal” that helps to identify DN friendly accommodations (including coliving) 2)  as well as orchestrating an ecosystem of workspaces in the city (coworking, hotels, public libraries, etc.). 3) To think not only in terms of long term DNs but also in shorter experiences like ours in Dubrovnik (1 month) with the slightly different concept of “workations”. I see a lot of potential in this area, especially for European workers. 

zagreb-digital-nomad-week-2021_2.JPG

6. The future of work is a weighty topic. Without writing another excellent book on the subject, can you give us a snapshot of where this is all going, and how do cities like Zagreb prepare for the imminent huge change?

It’s impossible to predict where this is all going. Work (tasks), management of workforces and workplaces are being highly impacted by digital technologies. All at the same in all types of directions depending on each context. So the message is we are moving from a monolithic (quasi religious) perspective on what “work” is and means to a huge range of possibilities that we are only starting to experience and understand. Be flexible and eager to learn

In the project “Ciudad en Beta” (City in Beta), that we recently started, we are exploring how the new ways of working and living are creating a metamorphosis in the cities, metropolitan and rural areas. Check the twitter feed to get an idea of the topics at hand. My recommendation is to keep a truly systemic perspective. One must break functional, managerial and political silos while trying to prepare for these changes from a city perspective. Think about city services, economic development, real estate, tourism and citizens wellbeing at the same time. Keep an eye also on high tech developments that might have an impact on how we work in the next decade (telexistence, metaverse, etc.) while trying to anticipate sociological and cultural changes in the analysis. This last bit is the hardest to predict.

albert-canigueral_2.jpg

7. We are thrilled that you will be joining Zagreb Digital Nomad Week as a keynote speaker. Tell us a little about your involvement.

I wanted to travel back to Croatia but due to my new position that is, unfortunately, not possible. I will be part of the discussions around the future of work on friday explaining some of the topics mentioned in this interview and deep diving where people have more interest. I am really excited to “be back” to Croatia.

IMG_20210430_104737.jpg

8. And lastly, if Croatia takes the correct steps to develop this niche, where do you see Croatia on the European stage for digital nomads in 3-5 years?

Clearly on the top 5 list of DN friendly destinations in the Mediterranean area. Hopefully with lots of links with other DN friendly destinations as part of, and maybe leading or co-leading, the network idea I hinted at before.

DNs growth in the next 3-5 years will create doubts and tensions in several areas of our work, life and social security systems which were designed and optimized for the traditional way of working. For it’s scale and dynamism I think Croatia can be at the forefront of the much needed experimentation

You can register for free for Albert's presentation (and all other presentations), both online and in person on the Saltwater Nomads website.

Want a free month of accommodation from July to December as a Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador?

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

Friday, 18 June 2021

Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021: Final Program, Register Now!

June 18, 2021 - The Croatian capital will showcase its digital nomad potential next week with the inaugural Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021. See the full programme.

Seven days, seven themes. Locations and events all over the city.  A chance to showcase the magic of Zagreb from all angles.

Zagreb Digital Nomad Weeks kicks off on Monday (see the full programme here), a collaboration between Saltwater Nomads, TCN and Zagreb Tourist Board (who are financing the project), supported by the Digital Nomad Association Croatia, Doma Zagreb, KPMG, Hrvatski Telekom, and Raiffeisen Bank.

Each day will focus on a different theme - cybersecurity, online presence, remote career advice, tax & finance, the future of work, wellbeing, and explore Zagreb - with a mix of presentations, networking, free coworking, and social events.  

zagreb-digital-nomad-week-2021_2.JPG

Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 will bring together a great list of Croatian and international experts in locations all over the city, and there are many Croatian businesses which have bought into the concept to co-create a fantastic week for those looking to explore Zagreb as a digital nomad  destination. 

zagreb-digital-nomad-week-2021_4.JPG

Attendance is free, both online and in person, but be aware that physical places are limited, due to the current measures. All registrations are being handled via the Saltwater Nomads website. The event will be live streamed on TCN social media, as well as the Zagreb Tourist Board YouTube channel. 

A key element of the week will be networking, with several social events arranged in the evening, as well as some of Zagreb's most interesting and innovative tours, guided  by the inimitable Iva Silla from Secret Zagreb.  

zagreb-digital-nomad-week-2021_5.JPG

ZDNW follows on from two successful events, also organised by Saltwater Nomads, in cooperation with TCN, the City of Dubrovnik, and the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, and it is encouraging to see participation at next week's event from key partipants from last October's Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence conference (the first in Croatia), and last month's Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence. Dubrovnik Tourist Board director will take part in the Zagreb event on Friday on a panel moderated by Ron Tardiff, one of the 10 resident nomads, while another Dubrovnik nomad resident, Albert Cañigueral, will give a keynote speech on the future of work. Cañigueral was last week appointed by the Catalan government to lead its Open Data and Transparency division. 

zagreb-digital-nomad-week-2021_6.JPG

zagreb-digital-nomad-week-2021_7.JPG

Full details of the weekend programme will be released on Monday. 

For an online version of the programme, click here

To register for each of the events, click here.

zagreb-digital-nomad-week-2021_1.jpg

No week-long conference highlighting the Zagreb lifestyle would be complete without its four-legged mascot.

Meet Mišo, The Dog,Mišo, The Dog, born August 15, 2011 in the zodiac sign of Leo. To our knowledge, this lively ten-year-old is the father of five children, and perhaps more.  This adorable Jack Russel suffers from a personality disorder and thinks of himself as a Rottweiler. Mišo mainly spends his time sniffing and exploring the numerous green parks of Zagreb. He is a special expert in sniffing the green slopes of Šalata area. When on vacation, Mišo enjoys the island of Hvar the most, where he is already a well-known and welcomed guest.

See you in Zagreb!

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

Friday, 18 June 2021

Zagreb Digital Nomad Viewpoints: Impact Hub Co-Founder Hermes Arriaga

June 18, 2021 - Continuing our look at different perspectives ahead of Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 & Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project, some thoughts from co-founder of Croatia's first-ever co-working space, Mexican Hermes Arriaga.

Ahead of Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021, which starts on Monday, we continue our look at Zagreb innovators from the co-working scene to get their perspectives on the current situation and future possibilies. One of the early movers and shakers came all the way from Mexico. Hermes Arriaga has had quite an impact as co-founder of the first co-working space in Croatia, Impact Hub Zagreb, way back in 2013. 

1. Let's start with the obvious question. From Mexico to Zagreb - how and why? 

I first came to Croatia in 2004, to visit my girlfriend back then. In 2006 I also came shortly for a small summer activity building the basis of a primary school building in Vukovar with my friend and other volunteers. I returned once more in 2008 where I spent around 8 months on Murter Island typing my MSc thesis while my girlfriend was doing an internship. The final visit was in 2009 when we moved from The Netherlands, after we both finished our Masters degrees. I decided to stay because of the potential in social and economic development I saw the country was going through pre-accession to EU.  

hermes-arriaga_2.jpg

2. Impact Hub was a very early mover in the coworking and community building scene. When did you start, and how would you describe the journey so far? 

We knew about the concept back in 2008 when we were in The Netherlands, but it was only in 2010 that a group of 6 crazy persons (5 Croatians and this Mexican) joined as the funding team. Two years later we opened up in January 2013 as the first ever coworking space in Croatia with the pupose of social impact in mind.

The process of pre-opening was not easy since we were doing a lot of community building, we started with almost no funding capital and an idea which was not proven. The first 2-3 years were critical, a lot of iteration on the business model, many mistakes but also quite a lot of satisfaction, such as entrepreneurs getting high quality business support, the funding we helped them to obtain and the connections they got, were all part of the first stage of our business.

From 2016 to 2019 we consolidated the business, getting stable revenues and  a better positioning in the market being recognized by organizations in the private, governmental and civil society sector as the place where change comes to work. We also started with the bigger programmatic part of our business managing, designing and developing programs of entrepreneurial education and support to different markets (social entrepreneurs, women entrepreneurs, migrant entrepreneurs and the development of skills and capabilities of youth).

The journey from October 2019, when we moved (for the 2nd time) to a bigger space (550 sqm) with more space for hosting events and other gatherings, bigger area for offices and coworking, to March last year was all going according to our growth plan. Then a pandemic started and the earth decided to shake. Take a look on our report with many info about our journey.  

hermes-arriaga_10.jpg

3. Tell us about some of your successes and failures on that journey. 

Pre-pandemic, we offered an inspirational space designed for human interaction and learning. We hosted a vibrant and diverse community, and we provided meaningful and curated content of support. 70% of our members are co-founders of their project/organization. Since 2013, 126 new full time jobs have been created by Impact Hub members and only in 2018 for example, 70% of members achieved double digit revenue growth (vs previous year).  

hermes-arriaga_5.JPG

Our own business revenues were growing organically (18% growth rate the last 5 years until 2019), the space-based model with the expansion we had in the new space was very close to being self-sustainable, the programmatic area of our business with acceleration, incubation and mentoring was also growing, and a  couple of small consultancy engagements where appearing on the horizon. Among other relevant data that we have until 2019, is a Net Promoter Score of 60 among our members and other people coming to the space, 81% of the members have said they accessed new clients and beneficiaries while working here and 95% of them said that most people in Impact Hub can be trusted (previous info is from yearly surveys analysed by the Social entrepreneurship Center by the University of Vienna, see our presentation about it here).

We also had big failures, like the big and juicy EU project (150K Euro value) we decided to step out of 3 years ago, after realising that its development In Croatia would have been detrimental to our positioning and financial sustainability. Or the corporate package we designed last year and totally did not fit the market. We can also mention our big focus on delivering impact, forgetting big time to communicate the successes and overall impact that we have had in many of the entrepreneurs and individuals, failing to properly build a marketing strategy around that.  

4. There is a lot of buzz about the digital nomad opportunity in Croatia, especially with all the PR from the 12-month permit. How do you rate Zagreb as a DN destination. What does it do well, and what does it need to do better? 

Zagreb is the best positioned of all cities in Croatia for entrepreneurs, according to, for example, the latest ranking from StartupBlink Ecosystem report. It is also high in the list on nomadlist.com. We were, I believe some of the first spaces in Croatia to offer an special package  to digital nomads, which we opened for the first time back in 2016. The package evolved in such a way that up to last year during the summer of a pandemic year being the package that helped us to pay our space costs during July and August when we had more than 60 % of our members from that package, they stay for a shorter time (less than 3 months), are digitally connected workers from other countries traveling alone of in pairs.

We added extra support helping them find affordable spaces, we connected them with the locals and helped them answer their basic questions they had from MUP. However, there is no clear definition of a digital nomad, apart from their need of temporary working space and reliable internet connection. Their profile is very diverse. Our business model focus on leveraging the connections around our community and that implies having some kind of roots here, with a social capital and connections that can add to the community, so we had an offer for digital nomads but they have not been in our core as members, even if they stay 12 months, the question reminds the same, their interest is not necessary to stay connected locally.

Zagreb does well for them because of the diversity of cultural and social activities the city offers, because of how safe and reliable certain basic services are, from drinkable water from any tap to good public transpor. Sure, it can still do better with the bureaucratic process and ease of registering a company, or giving access to short term credit to non-Croatians and making a visit to the doctor more affordable if you don't have social security/insurance from the government.

hermes-arriaga_7.jpg

5. One message that was clear from the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program was the need to build community. As an observer, I think building community and providing local education of the opportunity are key. How would you assess the DN community currently, and can you give us 3 quick wins on how Zagreb can strengthen it? 

As one of the main entities in Croatia doing proper community building ;), we believe it is all about setting the right conditions for communities to thrive. There is no such thing as managing a community, it is far better to enable a community, build the right container where fertile ground is ready for them to grow. Strong and resilient communities by the way are always small in size, their links are nurtured by practices and daily activities. At Impact Hub we have a value-based community where people also contribute on shaping and building this community.

This happens with time and not overnight, everybody needs a reliable social capital and connections to grow. We have experienced and will be experiencing that with our new business iteration to be released after the summer. Three things that can help are: 1. Be sincere about building a community 2. Practice a lot and be consistent on the terms, responsibilities and roles of everyone in the community and 3. There are no shortcuts ;)  Read More

zagreb-digital-nomads.jpg

6. You are taking part in Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021. Tell us about your involvement, and how important you see the event to develop Zagreb's visibility in the DN community. 

We need more events telling people about the collaboration that is happening among key ecosystem stakeholders, co-creation and collaboration are 2 words in the core of what we do (as stated back in 2016 by an article about the Future of work) an it is very nice to see this happening. Impact Hub will be offering free co-working throughout the week, and I will be taking part in a panel on the Friday, entitled DNA Croatia, Policy and Connecting to a Global Community. 

hermes-arriaga_8.jpg

7. You were certainly a pioneer all those years ago. What is your view of the startup scene, particularly with a view to collaboration and cooperation?

Cooperation is now happening, but not yet at the level needed. What is needed is more collaboration, but unfortunately many organizations do not understand the real meaning of it and think in transactional terms. We have been able to thrive as a small enterprise because of the collaborations and partnerships with a few but important key stakeholders in the startup scene. I think things are changing and I see a bright future. 

8. Zagreb was very different when you moved here, but you were once a newcomer to the city. What Zagreb-specific advice do you have for nomads arriving in the city?

Be open. Try to connect locally from day one and make mistakes. This is a small city and you can get to know a lot of people by listening with attention while speaking with intention. 

hermes-arriaga_1.jpg

9. And finally, sell Zagreb to potential DN visitors in a paragraph. 

Treat Zagreb as you would like to treat your hometown. Connect with the intention of making a positive impact, be mindful of the cultural differences and do not worry about the local mindset. If you do good the rest will give back… eventually.

You can learn more about the activities of Impact Hub Zagreb on the official website.

To register for free (both online and in person) for the Future of Work day on Friday June 25, register on the Saltwater Nomads website.

For more details of Zagreb Digital Nomad Week, click here.

hermes-arriaga_9.jpg

For the latest news and features from the digital nomad scene in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section.

Fancy a free month in the Croatian capital from July 1 to December 31 as a Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador?

Thursday, 17 June 2021

Meet Saad Al Sulaibi, Croatia's First Digital Nomad Permit Holder from Middle East

June 17, 2021 - Croatia has its first official digital nomad from the Middle East. Meet Saad Al Sulaibi from Jordan, owner of a 12-month Croatian digital nomad permit.

1. You are the first person from the Middle East to get the Croatian digital nomad permit. Congratulations! Tell us firstly about yourself, and how your interest in Croatia started?

Thank you so much, my name is Saad Al Sulaibi, from Jordan. I am an account manager for a US-based company, and I work remotely from home in Amman. Through a group of friends I met a Croatian guy who lived in Amman for three years. During that time, he always used to tell me about and show me pictures of Croatia, and especially his home town, Split. This made me curious to read more about Croatia. While researching, I found an article talking about the Digital Nomad Visa. I found this an interesting opportunity and decided to apply.

saad-al-sulaibi_3.jpg

2. We do not have so many Jordanian tourists. Do you think Croatia could be a good destinations for them? What are Croatian tourism's best selling points to the Middle Eastern market?

Definitely. Croatia is a good destination for Jordanians and other Middle Eastern countries. As in large parts of Jordan, Croatia boasts of ancient cities and historic ruins and is full of stunning natural attractions. It also has great a Mediterranean lifestyle with a very affordable standard of living.

 

3. Why did you decide to apply for the digital nomad permit?

When I read about Croatia and the Digital Nomad Visa option, I asked myself - why not? Croatia has beautiful and very green nature, amazing food and wine, nightlife, is affordable to live in, has good healthcare, a great internet connection for work, and there is no need to pay income tax in Croatia while I am working from there.

 saad-al-sulaibi_4.jpg

4. There is lots of interest in the permit, but not so much information from successful applicants. Can you tell us in some detail how long the application took, what was involved, how much it cost, and any problems you had?

The application took from 1 - 2 months to get approved, and it cost me around 55 USD. The biggest challenge was not having a Croatian embassy in Amman. As a result, I had to ship my application and other documents to the Croation embassy in Cairo. Also it worth mentioning the daily effort that Ministry of Interior in Croatia to make this application approved.

5. Now that you have a 12-month permit to stay in Croatia, what are your plans?

The plan for now is to Stay in Split to meet with my friend, then to Zagreb then to Krk, Hvar, Dugi Otok, Brač, Vis, Rab, Korčula, Šipan.

 saad-al-sulaibi_1.jpg

6. In your opinion, what makes Croatia a great nomad destination, and what does it need to do better?

Again, Croatia is one the best places to live in for the reasons I mentioned before. What needs to be improved is marketing Croatia in Jordan and the Middle East. 

I would like to use this chance to introduce Jordan to my second family, Croatians. Jordan is great destination to visit, we have many historical places to visit like Petra, Roman theaters, Amman citadel and many others. Also we have a religious sites to be visited like Al-Maghtas where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, Mount Nebo where Moses looked on to the Promised Land, Umm ar-Rasas a fortified Roman garrison that contains 16 Byzantine churches, Madaba that holds the Madaba Map which is the oldest mosaic map of the Holy Land.

0669e4fa-d1e2-44ef-9de6-169099902454.jpg

The latest statistics on the Croatian digital nomad permit. 132 applications so far (12 in the last week), with 38 permits granted, and 85 in process.

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

zagreb-digital-nomads.jpg

Are you a digital nomad considering the switch to Croatia? Why not join us online or in person at Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021, which starts on Monday?

Or be a Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassdor with a free month of accommodation from July to December, as a guest of the city. 

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Meet the Zagreb Digital Nomad Week Locations: Canopy by Hilton (Interview)

June 15, 2021 - Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 kicks off on June 21 with Day 1 dedicted to cybersecrity at Canapy by Hilton, a recent very funky addition to the Croatian capital's hotel scene. 

I paid my first visit to Canopy by Hilton in Zagreb a few weeks ago, a recently-opened hotel in the capital, and the third in the Hilton brand in the city. It was a hotel like no other I had been to in Croatia. More part of the community than a 4-star hotel. A very modern and funky feel. The perfect place to kick off Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021, I thought to myself. And I was delighted when the progrressive marketing team from Canopy by Hilton recognised the digital nomad opportunity for the city and offered to help by hosting that all-important first day. With such a great setting, and with Marko Rakar the keynote speaker on cybersecurity (you can read Marko's interview here), ZDNW should get off to a great start. 

canopy-by-hilton-zagreb-nomad_4.jpg

In addition to the great organisation, I am very grateful to Nives Volarevic, Cluster Marketing Director for Hilton Hotels in Zagreb, for finding time for this pre-event interview.

1. I was on a day trip to Plitvice last week with an executive from Airbus who told me that she always stays in the funkiest hotel she can find in a city, and Canopy by Hilton was her Zagreb choice. It is certainly a little different from a traditional hotel concept. As it is a relatively new hotel in Zagreb, people may not be so aware. Tell us a little about theCanopy concept.

Canopy by Hilton is Hilton’s lifestyle hotel brand focused on the neighbourhood - local and authentic.

The hotel is situated in the heart of the Croatian capital, near the city’s main rail station and within the Branimir Centar shopping mall. Guests can grab a complimentary Canopy Bike and explore the many nearby attractions, where there are shops, restaurants, and nightlife in every direction. With more museums per capita than any city in the world, and with a vibrant art and theatre scene, Zagreb is a city of great culture with much to explore.

canopy-by-hilton-zagreb-nomad_3.jpg

The hotel is home to 151 guestrooms, including eight spacious suites. The interiors of the rooms are inspired by the local neighbourhood, with local textiles and artwork featured throughout, and the signature canopy is inspired by Croatia’s national emblem. 

For breakfast, guests can start their day with an inclusive artisanal breakfast in Canopy Central or have a Canopy Breakfast Bag delivered to their door. Guests can savour authentic cuisine with fresh local ingredients at the ReUnion Restaurant, or small nibbles, bites and local spirits, wines and craft beers at Canopy Central Café and Bar. Each evening, the Canopy Central Bar hosts a complimentary tasting of local drinks and bites for hotel guests. 

canopy-by-hilton-zagreb-nomad_8.jpg

For meetings and events, Zagreb is a great choice as it is superbly connected by its recently expanded airport which is just 20 minutes away from Canopy by Hilton Zagreb. The hotel has two meeting rooms which are ideal for smaller meetings and social events such as cocktail receptions. The hotel also has a spacious 24-hour fitness centre.

Canopy Enthusiasts (staff), or local experts, are available for guests looking for recommendations on the must-see landmarks in Zagreb – anywhere from restaurants to excursions.

2. Canopy by Hilton will be hosting the opening day of Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021. Tell us about your involvement, and why you decided to get involved.

We recognized the opportunity to get to know digital nomads better, their needs and desires, special requirements, but also to explore a new tourist niche in the market. Canopy by Hilton Zagreb with its atypical design, relaxed atmosphere, graffiti on the walls and local character is really made for digital nomads to absorb the local art and culture and get to know Zagreb and its residents. Also, there are some fantastic spots in the hotel to use as a working space; community table at our Canopy Central bar, social table at ReUnion restaurant. Business centre on 1st floor. And a Retreat room if they need some quite place to work or meet.

zagreb-digital-nomads.jpg

3. There is certainly a lot of buzz about Croatia and digital nomads, especially after the introduction of the 12-month permit. Are you seeing an increase in remote workers staying at your three Zagreb hotels? 

In the last year and a half we have noticed a larger number of guests who came to Zagreb for business, but due to covid measures spent more time in the rooms working. Many of them have recognized Zagreb as a destination that is well connected with European cities, provides quality and a not too expensive lifestyle and has a diverse offer of art and cultural content.

canopy-by-hilton-zagreb-nomad_2.jpg

4. How does a hotel adjust its offer to meet this new tourist demand, and what concrete steps have you taken in this direction?

We are still just learning how the life of a digital nomad works, what are their needs and their expectations. We try to provide everything they expect but also a little bit more.... We know that working on a computer is often lonely so we assumed that hanging out with people with similar interests would be something that would be a good counterbalance. We are adapting to the new situation, we create our hotel offer according to their needs. At this point, the most important thing is to be flexible.

5. What are for you the biggest attractions of the city of Zagreb for potential digital nomads?

canopy-by-hilton-zagreb-nomad_1.jpg

Except the well-known Zagreb attractions such as the Old Town or the Cathedral in Zagreb, there are many less-known places, parks, churches and curiosities.

I would recommend many excellent food, film and wine festivals, exploring the surroundings of Zagreb through excellent wineries, many exhibitions of Croatian and international artists. I would especially highlight the Grounded Solar System of Zagreb; many don't know that in 2004, the other planets joined the Grounded Sun (author Ivan Kožarić, Bogovićeva Street) to form Zagreb's grounded solar system. The creator is Davor Preis, who had an incredible idea how to make it possible for citizens of Zagreb to explore our Solar System without leaving our beloved capital. He has placed the planets all across the town, according to their correct sizes and distances from the Sun. They are placed in more than one direction from the Sun as if they were actually rotating around it. Today, finding the planets is considered a treasure hunt loved both by locals and tourists in Zagreb.

canopy-by-hilton-zagreb-nomad_6.jpg

You can learn more about Canopy by Hilton in Zagreb on the official website.

For more information about Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 & Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project, visit the Saltwater Noamds website. ZDNW is organised by Saltwater Nomads, TCN and Zagreb Tourist Board, who are financing the project.

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

Monday, 14 June 2021

Marko Rakar, Cybersecurity Keynote Speaker at Zagreb Digital Nomad Week (Interview)

June 14, 2021 - Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 & Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project starts a week today, with the first day dedicated to the important issue of cybersecurity. And who better to present a keynote speech on cybersecurity in the Croatian capital than Marko Rakar? 

Canopy by Hilton will be the venue of the opening day of Zagreb Digital Nomad Week - 7 days, 7 themes, and 7 locations in the city. Of the 7 themes to be covered in the week (cybersecurity, online presence, remote careers, tax & finance, wellbeing, the future of work, and exploring Zagreb), the opening day focused on cybersecurity will possibly be the most stimulating. And when you add a simulating speaker to a stimulating topic, ZDNW is destined to get off to a great start. We are delighted to announce Marko Rakar as the keynote speaker on Day 1, and I am grateful to him for sparing a little more time for this pre-conference interview.  

On Monday, 21 June, keynote speaker Marko Rakar of Mrak.biz will bring us insights into cybersecurity and data analytics as it relates to location independent work, Croatia and global issues for cybersecurity related to recruitment, government policy and business.

Marko Rakar is recognised by the World eGovernment forum as one of the “Top 10 who are changing the world of politics on the internet”. Based in Zagreb, Marko has diverse experience in media, consulting, lecturing and speaking engagements.

Marko is Chief executive of the consulting company MRAK Services Ltd headquartered in Zagreb, Croatia.

1. Cybersecurity - it is the thing we all know we should pay more attention to, but rarely do. Give us the bad news - how worried should we be?

In real life, if you stumble upon an unsafe situation you are likely to have only one adversary (or maybe few people operating in unison), but when we talk cybersecurity, you can be attacked by many completely different actors non-stop, and sometimes many will attack you at the same time. So, while your immediate physical security is not threatened - in cyberspace, you are facing many more adversaries of whom many are prepared and well versed in what they are about to do. Furthermore, with our increasing reliance on everything virtual where more and more of our identities are basically stored in some cloud, keeping our virtual identity safe and out of reach of bad actors should be our daily task. So yes, we should be worried.

marko-rakar-cybersecurity.jpg

2. How does Croatia rank in terms of cybersecurity safety?

It is a confusing question, cybersecurity is (in my opinion) not something which is or can be very different regarding your physical location, cyberspace does not recognize national borders. You face exactly the same risks being in US, Croatia or China, it is more likely that your cyber visibility will make you a bigger or smaller target. Still, as Croatia is one of the safest places on the planet for you to be, similary you are quite protected in cyberspace as well. In general, we face the same risks in some areas such as viruses or ransomware attacks, but are less exposed in some other areas such as identity theft and similar.

3. A few simple tips for the common digital nomad to improve their own personal cybersecurity?

Well, when talking about cybersecurity, I am strong believer in firm discipline and protocols. This means that I will always (no exceptions under any circumstances) log on to a service exclusively from a device which I own. My passwords are very long and yours should be too. Anything with 14 characters or more should be quite safe - think of a favourite poem or sentence from a book, something really long. You should use different passwords on different services, never re-use passwords, you should use two factor authentication on all important accounts (social media, your main email account) and anything related to banking and your financials.

Do not leave credit/debit card information on any service except for ones which you use regulary and for which you have reasonable assurance and trust that they are safe. When you get email which asks for some of your personal information, or even asks you to reset a  password, spend some time examining that message and check if it is valid and from exactly the person/institution which is presented in that message. Have your computer fully updated, make an ocassional full computer antivirus scan. Never execute software which you have downloaded from an unknown email message... There is no "secret recipe" to cybersecurity, only discipline and clearheaded thinking.

zagreb-digital-nomads.jpg

4. What are the biggest challenges facing governments and big business, where are the main threats coming from, and how can they best prepare themselves? 

Currently and possibly for some time, the largest threat is and will remain ransomware, software which will encrypt the contents of your computer and asks for some kind of bitcoin ransom in order to get your data back (and/or not leaked to the internet). When you have large systems with hundreds or possibly thousands of computers, your cybersecurity is as strong as its weakest link - which usually boils down to the dumbest person in the building who brought his son's notebook "which does not work properly" and then connects it to the company wide network (and of course, the corresponding IT department which did not prevent that from happening). So once again, computers should be fully updated, unknown devices from untrusted users should never be allowed on your network, regular security sweeps should be executed and above all, you should do regular backups which are stored separately from your data (Jesus not only saves, but frequently makes a backup is sensible advice to more religious people, and YOU WILL became religous when ransoware attacks).

marko-rakar-cybersecurity-zagreb.jpg

5. Tell us a little about digitalisation and Croatia. How are we doing, and how to speed up the digital revolution here? 

Digital transformation in Croatia is, like everything else here, a story of contrast and unbeliveable achivements side by side colossal incompetencies and missed opportunities. In general, I would say that some services are great, such as netbanking services which are on the level of the very best you can find anywhere. Our government services are developing and are avaliable, but their development is uneven to the point that some services work great and flawlesly while others are barely usable and are absolutely unreliable to the point that some government eServices work only during the day (we literally have servers, plural, which will respond to you only during weekday working hours).

An important thing to know is that the procedures for handling documentation and legal processes in the Croatian "uhljeb"-powered bureaucracy have their roots in the 18th century Austro-Hungarian Empire. Back then people did not design their formal processes with computer workflow in their minds, so some of them are really, really hard to "translate" or digitise. Croatians, more than others, prefer form over function, which also means that we are really unwilling to take a long and hard look on why we do some things, and are very hesitant to change. As a result some of our eServices will leave you head scratching and wondering what happened there (or which chain of decisions lead to that particular result).

I am usually highly critical of Croatian eGovernment efforts, and I am critical not because I think they are particulary bad (but, as I said there are some unbeliveable stupid examples and situations), but because I know what kind of services we could have. To summarize, you will be pleasently surprised on how well Croatian businesses are handling the digital age and likely with eGovernment services too. We are probably at or above the EU average, and in some cases, we are cutting edge on the global stage.

6. There was a recent change of power in Zagreb, with the incoming mayor seemingly more open to reaching the digital age. What are your thoughts on the incoming administration and digitalisation?

The problem with Zagreb (and many other places as well) is that they have had the same leadership for a very long time. Those leaders are in general uneducated and their work processes and institution grew through the years by means of putting out one fire after the other. As a result, you have a barely functional administration which, to an outsider, looks like Frankenstein's monster, but is actually quite logical for us who witnessed on how it came to be.

The new Zagreb leadership (as well as Split or Rijeka) is full of highly educated people who have seen the world, who have breadth of sight and long-term perspective on society. They will, I sincerely hope, try to make order out of the mess they inherited. We all have high hopes, and I think that we will start seeing first results within months. All of us should be avaliable to help them with our ideas, solutions and hard work.

marko-rakar-cybersecurity-digital-nomad-zagreb.jpg

7. You are a man who works from an Internet connection around the world, and a long-term Zagreb resident. How do you rate Zagreb as a digital nomad destination in terms of safety, lifestyle and things to do?

Zagreb is a safe place to be, one of the safest you can imagine and security should really not be an issue. Furthermore, Zagreb is a city of culture, everyone will find something for themselves. There are a number of beautiful parks and a mountain literally within minutes of the city centre. You can bike almost anywhere, nothing is too far away and you can always relly on public transport and the omni-present taxi service. You will find many restaurants, clubs and bars and whole areas dedicated to leisure activities. There are many startup accelerators, shared workspaces as well as different events on just about any topic you can imagine.

On top of that, you will experience the relaxed lifestyle which is harder and harder to find these days. Not to mention that there are many destinations nearby, within two hours you can find your self swimming in the Adriatic, climbing the Alps, enjoying Slavonian wine cellars, or walking through unbeliveable beautiful and a slightly embarrasingly large number of waterfalls at Plitvice Lakes National Park. (Digital) nomads are welcome to Zagreb and I am sure they will like what they find here.

Want to attend the Marko Rakar session cybersecurity on Monday, June 21, either online of in person? Register here.

For more information about ZDNW 2021, check out the dedicated Saltwater Nomads page.

Thinking of applying to to be a Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador for a month from July 1 to December 31, 2021?

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

Sunday, 13 June 2021

Be a Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador: Free Month in Croatian Capital

June 13, 2021 - Are you a digital nomad wanting to explore the Croatian capital? Here's how to become a Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador, with free accommodation for a month.

Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 & Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project kicks off on June at Canopy by Hilton, with 7 days dedicated to 7 themes relevant to digital nomads in Croatia - cybersecurity, online presence, remote careers, tax & finance, wellbeing, the future of work, and exploring Zagreb. Attendance both online and in person is free of charge, and registrations will be available online from 18:00 tomorrow (Monday, June 14), via the Saltwater Nomads website.  Due to epidemiological measures, the number of physical attendees will necessarily be limited, so I encourage you to apply early. 

Each day will be in a different location (hotel, hostels, coworking spaces, the Great Outdoors), in order to showcase the diversity of options for the digital nomad lisfestyle in the Croatian capital. The final program will be published on the link above on the Saltwater Nomads website on the link above in the coming days. 

zagreb-digital-nomads.jpg

A second component of the project is the Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project, which runs from July 1 to December 31, 2021. During this period, the city will welcome one nomad (individual, couple, or family) to live in the city for a calendar month for free, while taking part in a range of activities as part of the program. 

Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 & Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project is a collaboration between Saltwater Nomads, Total Croatia News, and the Zagreb Tourist Board, who are financing the project. TCN will be reporting on the resident ambassadors' progress and experience throughout the initial 6-month period, thereby building up a picture of digtial nomad life in the city throughout the seasons. 

The accommodation will be provided courtesy of Doma Zagreb (and equivalent), 4-star luxury accommadition in the heart of the city. Rarely for accommodation in central Zagreb, free off-road parking is also provided. You can lean more about Doma Zagreb and its serviced apartments on the official website.

Doma Zagreb witll be opening a bar area scheduled for  August. This will contain a reception, breakfast bar, sitting area for 18, bar, kitchen and small area for business.

zagreb-digital-nomad-ambassador_4.jpg

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

The first ambassador will take up residence on July 1, with the winner being announced during ZDNW. Applications will be open until November 1, with monthly winners announced on a rolling basis. 

So what is on offer, and what do you need to do to apply?

Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project

July to December 2021

The Zagreb Digital Nomad (ZND) Ambassador Project is a first for the city. The Tourist Board are inviting, as their special guests, a digital nomad to take up a 1 month FREE stay in Zagreb, and share their experiences as a digital nomad.Who can apply?
Anyone over 18 who can remote workly and share their experience as a digital nomad in Zagreb.Prize

Six winners (including couples and families who apply) will have 1 month free accommodation at a prescribed location, and be named a Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador for the duration of the program.Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassadors are special guests of the Tourist Board of Zagreb. Ambassadors will participate in a program including free coworking, local engagement and promotion of their experience as a digital nomad in Zagreb.Winners are expected to arrive on the 1st day of the month they are selected as an Ambassador, with accommodation available from the 1st of the month to the 1st of the next month. Winners must be able to participate fully in the program and must remain in Zagreb the entire month.See full terms and conditions.Applications will be received on a rolling basis until 1 November, 2021.

zagreb-digital-nomad-ambassador_3.jpg

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

FAQ

Prize

Six winners (including couples and families who apply) will have 1 month free accommodation at a prescribed location, and be named a Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador for the duration of the program.Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassadors are special guests of the Tourist Board of Zagreb. Ambassadors will participate in a program including free coworking, local engagement and promotion of their experience as a digital nomad in Zagreb.Costs
All winners must hold valid travel insurance and pay for their own travel to and from Zagreb and any expenses not included in the program. Accommodation, coworking and tour activities outlined in the program are provided free.COVID19

Any impact by changes, delays, etc. due to COVID19 or other events are not our responsibility. All travel and safety regulations from points of entry, transit and in Croatia will apply. Being informed and adhering to these requirements is the sole responsibility of the winner. The organisers will assist with information where possible.Dates

The dates for accommodation are set out as: 1 July to 1 August 2021 (winner 1); 1 August to 1 September 2021 (winner 2); 1 September to 1 October 2021 (winner 3); 1 October to 1 November 2021 (winner 4); 1 November to 1 December 2021 (winner 5) and 1 December 2021 to 1 January 2022 (winner 6). The prize includes 1 month accommodation, meals outlined in program, activities and use of coworking spaces where available.

Availability

Winners are expected to arrive on the 1st day of the month they are selected as an Ambassador, with accommodation available from the 1st of the month to the 1st of the next month. Winners must be able to participate fully in the program and must remain in Zagreb the entire month.ELIGIBILITY

zagreb-digital-nomad-ambassador_1.jpg

(One of the bathrooms in the 7 Doma Zagreb Aparthotel rooms)

You must be a digital nomad or able to work remotely for 1 month (Ambassadors stay 1 month free in Zagreb between 1 July to 31 December).You must be active on at least 3 major social networks – and have these set to public. NOTE: We use this information to review your online activity. Influencers are welcome to apply – this project is open to all who are eligible.You also agree you will:
promote the project 2x weekly with TCN articles and videos.

hold 1x event or presentation.

use coworking spaces to work during stay.And you:

Are employed, freelancing or have a business + 5 year work/study history.

Can bring skills and strengths (personal and professional) as a ZDNA.

Can commit to being in Zagreb on program dates AND dedicate 1x day week to being in a coworking space, 2x tours + 2x dinners.
submit a 1 minute video answering 5 short questions. (no advantage for fancy editing, just a piece to camera).

Agree to the full Terms and Conditions.

VIDEO SUBMISSION

1 MINUTE VIDEO

1) who you are
2) your location
3) what you do
4) your goals with digital nomadism/remote work
5) why you’re applying.Acceptable formats are mpg, avi, mov, mp4, mpeg4 and maximum file size 250MB.

Ready to apply? You can do so here.

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

Saturday, 12 June 2021

Successful Croatian Digital Nomad Permit Stories: Kevin Macadam from UK

Jun 12, 2021 - There has been a lot of interest in the new Croatian digital nomad permit, with many looking to read about the experiences of successful applicants. Meet one, Kevin Macadam from UK, now enjoying life in Novigrad Dalmatia.

Access to Croatia is not as easy as it once was for Brits, now that the Brexit reality has kicked in, and  - like other non EU/EEA citizens, Brits can only stay for 90 at one time these days. Having heard of the Croatian digital nomad, Brit Kevin Macadam decided to try his luck, as he explains below. I did send Kevin questions for an interview, but I think the text reads better without my questions. Here is Kevin's story:

kevin-macadam_4.jpg

Our journey to Croatia originally began last year when we were out walking our dog in rainy Yorkshire and discussing where we might want to live when we retire.

And then we looked at each other and said why are we waiting to retire as we both were working remotely.

We had just come back from holiday on the Amalfi coast in Italy and said it would be great to live in Italy and so we started to look and how we could live there.

Unfortunately to get temporary residency we had to set up an Italian company and have our wages paid into that company so that they could take their share of tax.  

kevin-macadam_3.jpg

Our employers wouldn’t have agreed to that and so we thought that was that.  I then spotted the term Digital Nomad Visa online and looked at which companies offered them in Europe as we had to consider we would take our cat and dog with us.  Georgia - too cold Estonia - too cold and then we saw Croatia!  Having already been on holiday to Hvar and Dubrovnik we knew we loved the country and I already had friends there as I have been involved in British baseball for the last 30 years and knew the Croatian baseball president and the secretary of the European baseball federation who live in Zagreb and Karlovac respectively.

So that’s how we decided on Croatia, we already knew we loved the scenery, the food, the cost of living and the people.

kevin-macadam_5.jpg

We travelled over on the 1st March 2021 in a small window when we were allowed to leave the UK and arrived on the usual 90 day allowed time.  We then applied for the DNV around 6 weeks into our stay.  We had tried to get over before the 31st December but the U.K. was in a strict lockdown so we couldn’t get over.

We applied online via the Croatian government website and submitted all our supporting documents and waited.  We were asked to attend the police station and went for interview and then went to a separate department to go through the paperwork.  Unfortunately we thought our DBS check on U.K. government paper would be sufficient but apparently we needed it to be apostilled so we sent it back to the U.K. and then got them sent over by courier and once submitted in person again our residency was approved.  

kevin-macadam_6.jpg

The only thing I would say was a slight inconvenience was having completed the forms online we then had to complete them in paper format as well but I’m sure they’ll sort that out in future.  

We are aware that we are old for digital nomads and think that the residency permit should be marketed to people approaching retirement or an older age group (I’m 54 and Lisa’s 46) and as such probably have more disposable income. 

kevin-macadam_2.jpg

Also I hope the government rethink what will happen at the end of the first year when the the first permits expire.  We would like to make Croatia our home and are currently looking to buy a property here.  However we will be forced to leave for 90 days once our permit expires and therefore will likely go to a nearby non schengen country to wait out the time.  The risk is that some people may go to say Montenegro or Serbia and decide they like it more there and not return.  I think a simple extension each year providing there are no criminal activities and that we continue to meet the criteria as well as is understanding that it will not lead to permanent citizenship would remove that risk.  

It was easy to get the information as we had read articles by TCN as well as Expat in Croatia so just followed the instructions.

Ironically I voted for Brexit and my wife voted remain.  I regret that decision now! The permit allows us to live in a better climate in a safe country for longer than 90 days.

kevin-macadam_7.jpg

Croatia is a great destination for nomads.  There are loads of outdoor activities to do, food is amazing, people are friendly and English and German is widely spoken by the locals.   There are some great internet deals via partners who have linked in with the scheme.  The biggest issue we had which took us the longest amount of time was finding somewhere to live.  We contacted over 100 people on Njuškalo, Airbnb and booking.com asking them for a long term let and year round income.  We asked them to calculate what they earn over the summer months and divide by 12 and only one person our landlady Dolores agreed and hence why we ended up in Novigrad, Dalmatia.

All the others weren’t interested as they did they could earn a lot over the summer.  As it turns out we couldn’t have picked a better town.  The locals are so friendly and have welcomed us.  It’s position is perfect placed to visit the whole of Croatia.  So far we have visited Opatija, Pula, Rovinj, Karlovac, Zagreb, Split, hvar, Korcula, orebic, varazdin, plitvice and Karla and in the coming weeks will be venturing further south. 

Our lifestyle consists of working from home, travelling the country, eating great food, taking the dog for long walks, going to the coffee, swimming in the sea and drinking the worlds best kept secret Croatian wine!

People can follow our adventures @livingincroatia2021 on Instagram.

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

Friday, 11 June 2021

Ahead of ZDNW 2021, Answers to Zagreb Digital Nomad FAQs

June 11, 2021 - With 10 days to go before the start of Zagreb Digital Nomad Week, answers to some fequently asked questions.

How do I apply for the digital nomad permit?

The Croatian digital nomad permit came into effect on January 1, 2021, with an online application process launched on March 1, 2021. This allows non-EU/EEA nationals who fulfil the criteria to live and work in Croatia for a one-time 12-month period. You can see all the official conditions here.

You can apply for the permit online via the Ministry of Interior website here.

How long does the application take?

The application process is extremely recent, and there is not enough data yet to give accurate predictions. The quickest approval I am aware of is two weeks, while others have taken a couple of months. Two things which seem to slow things down are getting the background check confirmation from the home country police authorities, and the need for an apostille. Things seem to vary from applicants from country to country. 

How many people have applied so far, where are they from, and how many have been approved?

croatian-digital-nomad-permit-applications.jpg

As of June 10, 2021, there had been 120 application for the digital nomad permit, 37 of which have been a approved, 9 rejected/withdrawn, and the rest in process. The biggest number of applicants have come from the USA, UK and Russia. The number of applications should improve considerably once borders open fully and travel is less restrictive. 

Do I need to apply from outside Croatia?

That depends on your personal situation. If you require a visa to enter Croatia, then yes (unless you get the visa, then enter and apply). Several nomads who can enter for 90 days have started the process from inside the country. 

How do I prove my income?

The financial pre-requisite of the permit is that applicants either have proof of funds up to 202,890 kuna for the 12 months (plus 10% each for a partner and family member), or they can prove a monthly income of 16,907.50. Proof of income for the previous three months of this amount via bank statements is enough.

What about tax?

Digital permit holders are not subject to Croatian income tax during their stay, but there are, of course, plenty of other taxes. Kristina Grbavac from KPMG Croatia has been a strong supporter of the digital nomad initiative, and she gave a great tax overview in a TCN interview. You can contact Kristina directly via the KPMG Croatia website.  

Are there co-working spaces in Zagreb?

Yes! The scene is developing quickly, with more co-working spaces being added monthly. Check out BIZkoshnica, HUB385, Impact Hub Zagreb, InstantOffice Zagreb, Matrix Office Park, Virtual Office Croatia, Wespa Spaces, and ZICER - Zagreb Innovation Centre.

Where can I go for information about the digital nomad scene in Zagreb?

There are some dedicated Facebook groups:

Digital Nomads Croatia

Digital Nomads Zagreb

as well as 

The Digital Nomad Association Croatia.

and the dedicated TCN section for digital nomads

The Zagreb Tourist Board will soon be offering its own dedicated digital nomad section

Is there a big digital nomad community in Zagreb?

In terms of organised community at the moment, I would say no, but things are changing rapidly. In terms of number of nomads living in the city, I would say that there are quite a number, and they are growing quickly. Croatia is 'in' as a digital nomad hot spot, and less restrictive travel will see a significant increase. It is only a matter of time until the community gets more organised.  

Many nomads are heading to the Croatian coast and islands. Why Zagreb?

Zagreb and the coast are perfect parnters to showcase why Croatia is a fantastic nomad destination, based on safety, authentic experiences, and lifestyle. Digital nomads by definition are nomadic, and travel between the capital and the coast is natural. 

As the biggest city in Croatia, Zagreb has an increasingly international feel. Its Austro-Hungarian heritage has echoes of Prague and Vienna, but at a cheaper price. Its parks and outdoor cafes are a joy to wander and linger, while the surrounding area is full of additional tourism options. You can learn more on the Around Zagreb website.  

How can I check the Internet speed for a location in Zagreb?

nikolina-pejovic-ht-map.jpg

Hrvatski Telekom have an online map of Croatia, where you can check the Internet speed of any address.

Are there any simple pre-paid digital nomad products to get online in Zagreb?

Hrvatski Telekom has developed a special product for digital nomads without the need for bureaucracy or contracts. The prepaid SIM offers 7 days unlimited access of FLAT mobile data with 4G/LTE speed up to 600 Mbit/s. The price is 85 kuna (11 euro) and this can be topped up each week for 60 kuna. More details here.

How easy is it to find long-term accommodation in Zagreb?

Finding longer-term accommodation in Zagreb is much easier than on the coast, as the city caters to people renting for longer periods and not just tourist short-term lets. Additionally,  the future of tourism is changing, with AirBnB reporting that some 25% of 2021 bookings so far have been for 28 days and more. This will naturally bring changes to the rental market. The Digital Nomad Association Croatia will be offering approved accommodation specifially for digital nomads. 

How to meet people?

Zagreb is an extremely relaxed and social city, and it will not be long before you fall in love with the cafe culture. Conversations inevitably start up with people at the next table, and new friendships are made. New in town and looking to find fellow exapts? The Facebook group Expats in Zagreb Official is a great resource, with many locals and expats sharing their experiences, organising meetups, and helping new arrivals with information. 

What about health insurance?

Digital nomads applying for the permit are required to have health insurance. This can be purchased abroad, or through the Croatian health system.  

Is English widely spoken?

Absolutely. Croatians have among the best English-language skills in the EU, and you will have no problem communicating in Zagreb and beyond. The older generation are perhaps not as fluent, but visitors are surprised at the level of fluency. German is also widely spoken in Zagreb. 

How safe in Zagreb?

Croatia is one of the safest countries in Europe, and many visitors comment on the safety in the city. There is very little crime, and single women can walk home late at night without problems. I know of several people in the Croatian diaspora who moved to Croatia from countries such as Australia and the United States, because Croatia was a much safer place to bring up their children. 

Where can I find information about Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 & Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project?

ZDNW 2021 will take place from June 21 - 27, 2021 in a variety of locations all over the Croatian capital. Online registration for the event will be available on the Saltwater Nomads website. Attendance, both online and in person, is free, but please be advised that physical attendance will be limited due to epidemiological measures. 

ZDNW 2021 will have 7 themes over 7 days: cyber security, online presence, remote careers, wellbeing, the future of work, tax & finance, and explore Zagreb. 

The Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project will run from July 1 to December 31, with 6 winners enjoying free accommodation for a month, working with the city to improve the Zagreb digital nomad offer. Want to apply?

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

Thursday, 10 June 2021

Preparing for Digital Nomads: Croatia Telecom (HT) Nikolina Pejovic Interview

June 10, 2021 - Great Internet is a prerequisite for remote work. An interview with Croatia Telecom (Hrvatski Telekom)'s Proposition Management Expert, Nikolina Pejovic, on the quality of the Internet in Croatia, and what her company is doing to support the digital nomad initiative.

1. The digital nomad revolution is here, and there is quite a buzz about Croatia as one of the top nomad hotspots. Let's look at one of the most important requirements for potential remote works - connectivity and speed. How good is the Internet in Croatia?

Yes, it's a popular topic nowadays, I think the whole corona situation made all of us really aware of how everything can be subject to a fundamental change. This has made a lot of people open to new ways of living and working. When it comes to tourism which accounts for some 20% of Croatian GDP, it is of course essential to make the most of the opportunities we have, building on the traditional ways and appeals Croatia has, with digital nomadism being a powerful platform.

In terms of connectivity Croatian Telekom is the leading network in Croatia, confirmed by not one, but three independent international pieces of research, and not only that but were named one of the 10 fastest mobile networks in the whole world, so the nomads coming to Croatia are covered. You can do your work worry-free from Croatia and we take care of the rest. Especially as we have implemented the first commercial 5G network in Croatia ensuring better coverage, speeds, and user experience through it, and we are fully committed to improving it even further which definitely benefits digital nomads that coming to Croatia.

2. Internet speeds vary across the country. Where are the quickest destinations, and where can people find online information about Internet speed if they are considering spending time at a particular location? 

There is a really cool tool called the coverage map on Hrvatski Telekom web page, and you can check the coverage in the whole country, and also specifically per location. We are constantly working on better network capacity, although we are already the leading network. We are well aware that the quality infrastructure is the foundation for great customer experience, and it is one of our priorities.

nikolina-pejovic-ht-map.JPG 

3. How will Hrvatski Telekom be developing its coverage and service over the next 5 years? What are the key strategic milestones for HT?

The past year has made it clear how vital the ICT industry and investments in digital infrastructure and digitalization are to all aspects of our lives, society, and economy. Hrvatski Telekom has been leading Croatia’s digital transformation through continuous investments in network infrastructure and innovative services, ensuring technology and digitization development will continue being our priority. Next to the investments in technology, our second focus area will continue to be our customers and not only meeting but exceeding their expectations.

nikolina-pejovic-dubrovnik-digital-nomad_1.jpg

(Nikolina at the Digital Nomads-in-Residence Program, with Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic, and DNA co-founder, Jan de Jong)

4. HT was one of the first private companies to support the Digital Nomad Association and this new initiative to welcome digital nomads to Croatia. Tell us a little about that?

Yes, we really feel that our mission is to improve the quality and digitalise the life of our citizens, we are calling it a world of better opportunities. In a world where almost every business is digital, digitalization is a prerequisite of progress, be it the community, economic improvement, business development, and a better quality of life.

When it comes to the DN initiative we recognized it from the beginning as a big thing for the whole society and also as a concept that fits perfectly well with our mission of connecting everyone in the country with the opportunities of digitalization. Because with a laptop, tablet or a smartphone and a reliable internet connection we are in position to help redefine not only the way we work, but also where one can work, and then Croatia is an excellent choice.

We are interested in supporting programs that really create value, and that is why we recognised and support the work of DNA and wanted to help to make the Nomads feel welcome, and we went even further by creating a product that DN can and will use while living here.

nikolina-pejovic-2.jpg

5. As part of that support, you provided a specific digital nomad product to the 10 Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence, which is also publicly available. Tell us about that product, and what feedback did you get?

I really loved working with my team on this product, actually we very quickly realised that all a remote worker wants is a really easy-to-use solution that works everywhere they go. They said that prepaid is the best thing for them, because it can be paid (topped up) upfront. We really wanted to find out what DN think of our product and is it as good as we thought.

I had the opportunity to meet these interesting young people, and the feedback was really positive. They liked the product and had great coverage everywhere they went, and they were travelling quite a lot with the Nomads-in-Residence program. Our ‘Unlimited’ offer is an easy to use flat prepaid solution, with weekly flat options, that just by topping up your account automatically gets reactivated. We have a web page dedicated to the product, where you can order the product or additional hardware, like for example a router if you are in need of one.

nikolina-pejovic-dubrovnik-digital-nomad_2.jpg

6. How do you see HT's future role in developing this sector of the Croatian economy?

Bringing tech-savvy, dominantly high-skilled, knowledgeable people to Croatia could prove to be a valuable source of capital inflow for the country’s economy. And since their numbers have been growing over the past years the potential could be great.  The one estimation I saw was that there are 4.8 million people in the world who have in some way opted for a digital-nomadic lifestyle, with as many as 17 million people aspiring to it. Having in mind the characteristics of such a lifestyle, mobility, flexibility, creating your own schedule, and choosing the location of work, Hrvatski Telekom wants to provide digital nomads with a fast and stable internet connection at any time and in any place, which is crucial for their ability to work from any location across Croatia.

7. And finally, your impressions of the Dubrovnik Digital Nomad-in-Residence program?

It was very well-organized, I want to congratulate the City of Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Saltwater Nomads, Jan, and you Paul as initiators and organizers of this project. I think working in that little paradise part of Croatia is something that appeals to a lot of people around the world. I am from Dalmatia although I have been living in Zagreb for quite a while now, and every time I have this little escape from the capital to Dalmatia, I realize how unreal it is and how interesting it surely would be for young people to come and enjoy it. It is our task to make them aware of this being a real option.. Also, I believe all other parts of our country have a really good potential to offer tourism solutions for this group of people. I enjoyed my 2 days in Dubrovnik, only could wish that it lasted longer...

nikolina-pejovic-zagreb-digital-nomad-week.jpg

8. And finally, finally, will we be seeing you at Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021?

Yes, indeed! After the great energy of Dubrovnik, it is great to see the DN opportunity being featured in Zagreb. I think Zagreb is a fantastic destination for digital nomads, and there is plenty to see and do. Of course Hrvatski Telekom will be involved in Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021. We are happy to support such great initiatives.

About Nikolina Pejovic:

I really got to know our customers and their needs by career-wise growing gradually through the company, starting with my first student jobs in our shops to today being the Proposition Management Expert and creating products for HT. I started working while I was an undergraduate student and keeping to the mantra that you learn every day I’m presently a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Economics and Business at the University of Zagreb. In my free time, I am interested in improving the education system, which I am helping with as a member of the Board for quality management of education at the University of Zagreb and member of the Community for the promotion of intellectual capital at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce.

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

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

 

 

Page 8 of 18

Search