Thursday, 26 August 2021

Jan de Jong Introduces 4-Day Workweek for Webpower Adria Employees

August 26, 2021 - Dutch entrepreneur Jan de Jong, who lives and works in Croatia, has announced a four-day workweek for Webpower Adria employees from September, without reducing their salaries.

Jan de Jong announced the news on his LinkedIn profile yesterday. 

" just gave all of its employees a raise of 20%. No, not in money, but in free time. We are introducing a 4 day work week - for the same salary! ??

In addition to that - whether my colleagues will be working from home or from the office will be entirely their own decision. ??

We are all individuals, with different preferences. If we can do our work from anywhere, then who are we to say it needs to be done from the office. ?

I strongly believe in the powerful words of sir Richard Branson: "If you look after your staff, they will look after your customers."

Our team was super thrilled to hear we are starting our 4 day work week as of September.

Their next task is to agree among each other who is taking off on which day - because the show must go on. We will, of course, remain available to our dear clients 5 days a week.?

Introducing a 4 day work week aims to reduce stress and increase productivity - as many researches have shown would be the result.

Personally, I don't know any Croatian company that offers this - so we at Webpower Adria are proud to be among the first companies in #Croatia ?? to introduce the 4 day work week.

Wouldn't you like to work 4 days a week for the same salary?"

The Webpower CEO told Index.hr that his company has 9 employees, who mostly work from home. One employee works from Osijek, and another is in Rijeka.

"I specifically work from Split, while the rest of my team works from Zagreb. The average employee is 28 years old," he said.

When asked how he came up with the idea, he said that he was encouraged to do so by other countries.

"In countries like Iceland, they have conducted several experiments in recent years testing a four-day workweek, and according to these results, working 4 days a week would reduce stress and increase productivity. Also, it is widespread in the Netherlands to work less than 5 days. They love it," De Jong told Index, adding that he expects greater satisfaction from his employees, which should result in satisfied customers.

Index asked how his employees reacted when he told them the news.

"Oh, well, they were very excited when we told them that. They smiled with so much with happiness, and some even cried from happiness," he said.

As the owner, would Jan also work 4 days a week?

"For me as an entrepreneur, it works a little differently. Webpower Adria is not the only company I work for. Last year, I became a co-founder of CROP to build high-tech greenhouses for growing tomatoes in Croatia. I am also a co-founder of Digital Nomads Croatia, where our mission is to unite and support digital nomads coming to Croatia. None of these businesses or activities require my involvement 40 hours a week, but when it all adds up, I end up working five days a week,” De Jong told Index.

When asked what he expects from a four-day workweek, he said this is a novelty, just as work from home was last year with the pandemic.

“I believe that once we show that working 4 days a week makes employees happy, that they are under less stress, that they are also more productive, I believe that then more and more companies will follow suit,” he added.

He added that he started thinking about making this decision before the summer.

"Before making a decision, we researched how busy our employees are at the moment, to see if a four-day workweek would have a negative impact on how we work. We concluded that we could really introduce a four-day workweek, and we are very excited about this new chapter for our company," De Jong said.

Would the working hours be extended due to the four-day workweek?

“We stay to work 8 hours a day, but if it takes a few more hours, I believe it will be better for employees than working five days a week,” De Jong pointed out.

He also said that he expanded his team with two more colleagues last year.

"We did a great job with the #BuyCroatia campaign. For every 25 companies that would switch from services like MailChimp, or other foreign service providers, Webpower Adria would hire 1 full-time employee in Croatia. This campaign resulted in 50 new clients, which allowed us to hire two more employees," he said.

He believes that in the future, many companies could opt for a four-day workweek.

For more on business in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Monday, 7 June 2021

Ahead of Zagreb Digital Nomad Week, Jan de Jong Interview on Croatia's Progress

June 7, 2021 - It has been a breathtaking year on the digital nomad scence in Croatia. As the Croatian capital gears up for Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 & Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project, TCN catches up with the man who set the ball rolling with that open letter to the Prime Minister - Split-based Dutch entrepreneur, Jan de Jong.

1. It is almost 11 months since you wrote the famous open letter on LinkedIn to Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic. What were your hopes and expectations back then, and how do you feel about the consequences of that letter?

When I wrote the open letter to our PM Plenkovic, I had zero expectations and really high hopes. Prior to my open letter, I had already tested the opinion of the general public about welcoming digital nomads to Croatia - through various LinkedIn posts. And the response was each time overwhelming. So, I expected a lot of support for my open letter, but that we would actually change the laws in Croatia, within such a short time period – was something I could only dream of.

k_382693_640.jpg

2. It has been an action-packed 11 months. Can you give us three high points from the journey?

The 3 high points were definitely the invitation to meet with the Ministry of Interior, as this was the first confirmation that my request for introducing a digital nomad visa was heard. The second high point was my meeting with the Prime Minister, when he shared his support for this initiative. The third high point was January 1st, 2021 – when the laws became active and when the first digital nomad got approved her staying permit soon after.

3. Along with Tanja Polegubic of Saltwater Nomads and Karmela Tancabel, you are a co-founder of Digital Nomad Association Croatia, with a website going live next week. Tell us a little about DNA Croatia - why did you found it, what is its purpose, and who is it aimed at?

The moment we knew that Croatia was going to be among the first countries in the world to welcome digital nomads, we decided that we wanted to have a more coordinated approach to supporting and uniting digital nomads in Croatia. This is not a job for one man/woman, so we wanted to start an association where other people can get involved in pursuing our mission. There are several stake-holders in all this: 1) The digital nomads. 2) Companies and individuals who wish to serve digital nomads and last but not least – we want to be the bridge between the digital nomad eco-system and the Croatian government.

Digitalni-nomadi-u-Dubrovniku-Facebook-Saltwater-Workspace.jpg

4. You are just back from Dubrovnik, where DNA took part in the final day of Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence, which was organised by the City of Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Saltwater Nomads and TCN. Tell us a little about the energy down there, and what Dubrovnik learned from its 10 nomadic residents.

Aside from a stunning location, amazing weather and great people, to me it feels that this event is a gathering of lots of positivity and optimism – something we can definitely use in Croatia. At an event like this, we don’t talk about the challenges we are facing in Croatia or about what could have been done better. We talk about opportunities and what needs to be done in order to fully utilize our potential of becoming Europe’s hot spot for digital nomads.

The DNiR program was a co-creation event between digital nomads and local government/tourist board. Together, they came up with a 4-A strategy: Attract, Accommodate, Amaze & Amplify.

20210511-ZDNW-INSTA-START.png

5. The focus now shifts to Zagreb, with DNA, TCN, Saltwater Nomads and the Zagreb Tourist Board hosting Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 & Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project. Tell us a little about that, and how you will be involved specifically.

The Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program had great energy, and I am delighted that this will be transferred to Zagreb, albeit with a very different concept. The concept is once again being framed and delivered by Saltwater Nomads, with media support from TCN and hosted and financed by the Zagreb Tourist Board. This project will have two distinct parts. From June 21, there will be Zagreb Digital Nomad Week, 7 themes over 7 days, in various locations all over the city. The key topics will be cyber security, online presence, tax & finance, wellbeing, the future of work, remote careers, and explore Zagreb.

The second part of the program will be the Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project, where six digital nomads will be guests of the city, one month at a time from July 1 to December 31. It will give us a chance to explore Zagreb as a digital nomad destinations through the seasons, with a view to learning and improving the city's offer. 

From DNA Croatia we will be involved in a similar way as in Dubrovnik. For us its important having a chance to interact with digital nomads and all other stake-holders, including the Zagreb Tourist Board, our sponsors/donors – such as Hrvatski Telekom, Raiffeisen, KPMG.

Each event brings new discoveries. We are a young association in a country for which “digital nomad tourism” is a new phenomenon. The most important thing during every single event is to keep learning and introducing new ways on how we as DNA Croatia can support & unite digital nomads in Croatia.

6. A lot of the focus on digital nomads in Croatia has been on the coast. What are your thoughts on the potential of Zagreb for nomads? What does the capital do well, and what can it do better?

I believe there is no place in Croatia where the infrastructure for digital nomads is better than in Zagreb. It is the capital city of Croatia after all. What many people don’t know is that the tourism sector in Zagreb is bigger than that of the rest of this country. Many digital nomads that are in search of great urban lifestyle and communities with like-minded people will be attracted to come to Zagreb. Luckily, knowing that Croatia offers 12-months staying permits to digital nomads, there will be plenty of time to explore different part of Croatia.

7. What are the biggest challenges, in your opinion, in developing the digital nomad opportunity?

Building strong communities is and will be the biggest challenge. Digital nomads will come to Croatia for what this country has to offer. However, they will decide to stay here as long as possible if there is a community they can join. Co-living, co-working spaces, infrastructure – this can all be created by entrepreneurs making investments. Building a community will take lots of efforts…and more time.

croatian-digital-nomad-permit-applications.jpg

8. Regarding the visa, sorry permit, how many have applied so far, how many have been approved, and what level of applications do you expect once the borders fully open once more?

So far we have received 120 applications for 29 different countries. 37 applicants have been approved so far. The U.S. and U.K. digital nomads are taking a strong lead – making up for nearly half of all applications. Russians are also showing great interest, closely following the U.K.

On one hand I am happy we have the first 100+ applications. On the other hand, I was secretly hoping for more. Countries like Barbados, who did a great PR campaign right after launching their visa – got over 1.000 applications in the first month. So, compared to those results, we cannot be happy with 120 applications.

I personally believe that we as a country could have done more to promote our permit internationally. I am being told by the Ministry of Tourism and Croatian National Tourist Board that the digital nomad permit will get more attention from their side, in promoting it, after the tourism season ends.

Hopefully, around that time, it will also be easier to travel again, so we can see a rapid increase in number of applications in the second half of this year.

tanja-polegubic-dubrovnik-digital-nomads.jpg

(Jan de Jong at the Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads conference in October 2020, with conference organiser Tanja Polegubic of Saltwater Nomads. Both are co-founders of the Digital Nomad Association Croatia)

9. Is the permit the finished article, or is it still a work in progress? The speed with which the whole processed was like driving a Rimac Nevera in the context of Croatian bureaucracy. Certain issues, such as the need for an apostille and the FBI background check proof, have caused some problems for some applicants. Are such issues open to being addressed?

The part that I am currently looking into are to make some additional legislative changes to the tax law. Currently, digital nomads are exempt from paying income tax in Croatia. We would however, like to see some additional clarity on digital nomads being exempt from paying taxes on other types of income, such as tax on capital gain, dividend tax, etc. Even though, the tax authorities stated that they would not go after such taxes, currently this is not defined by law. Together with KPMG we are looking into these open items, to make sure they are well defined.

Croatia will not waive from getting proof of no criminal record for applicants of the staying permit. Unfortunately, for some digital nomads, this is a time-consuming process to obtain such documentation, from i.e. the FBI. But if U.S. citizens who apply for the permit follow all necessary steps and take the time for their application, than I don’t see major obstacles here. This is not a problem of Croatian bureaucracy but more that of the U.S. bureaucracy.

Just to give you an example, as a Dutch citizen it would take me 30 minutes to get such proof of no criminal record at the city hall in the town where I would be registered. That is how its done in the Netherlands.

1621754774223.jpg

(De Jong with two of DNA's biggest corporate supporters - RBA Croatia CEO Liana Keseric, and KPDG's Kristina Grbavac - all three were panelists on the final day of Digital Nomads-in-Residence)

10. The support of private business has been excellent so far. Tell us more.

Yes, its great to see how some amazing Croatian companies have decided to support our efforts. And that in a very challenging year, where the Croatian economy was hurt severely as a result of Covid-19 and several major earthquakes. Hrvatski Telekom, Raiffeisen Bank, KPMG, Links, Younited Agency and several other companies have reached out – wanting to help and support. Hrvatski Telekom has already introduced a special proposition for digital nomads, offering unlimited, fast, mobile internet for just 60,00 kn per week – without contract obligation. It is great to see the largest telecom provider in Croatia demonstrating such leadership.

1622827280762.jpg

(Living the Croatian dream with and a meeting of the man who makes one very fast car)

11. And finally, what are the next steps for Croatia on its digital nomad journey?

For a change, we have the laws on our side in Croatia. The Croatian government did what it had to do to welcome digital nomads to come to Croatia. Now, we need to focus on building community, infrastructure and to promote Croatia internationally as a digital nomad hot spot in Europe. You know what they say – it takes 10 years to have overnight success. Right now, we are in year 1. I am super excited to see where we can take this in the coming decade. What it requires to turn this into a success is action today!

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

Zagreb Tourist Board Director Martina Bienenfeld interview on Zagreb Digital Nomad Week, and the digital nomad tourism opportunity for the city.

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

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Split Digital Nomads Increasing Daily: ‘It’s Great Here, We Feel Safe’

May 12, 2021 - Split digital nomads are increasing daily thanks to the coastal city's quality offer, international community, and safety.

They come from all over the world, live with complete freedom of movement, work from home, a cafe, or a distant island. When choosing a location, the most important condition is a fast and quality internet connection, hospitality, and security. They are digital nomads, highly qualified foreigners, mostly IT experts, who are increasingly discovering Croatia as a unique piece of paradise on Earth, and Split seems ideal for their needs, reports Slobodna Dalmacija.

Thanks to amendments to the Aliens Act, Croatia has introduced the concept of digital nomads since the beginning of this year, who now have preferential tax treatment, which facilitates their decision to choose Croatia as their place of residence and work.

They can stay in Croatia for up to a year. The introduction of digital visas for digital nomads was initiated by entrepreneur Jan de Jong, a Dutchman who lives and works in Split. More and more people work remotely, and he sees this as an opportunity for the Croatian economy.

He is the co-founder of the Croatian Digital Nomads Association (DNA) with Tanja Polegubić, a returnee from Australia who has also been living and working in Split for several years. The association's main goals are to provide general information to digital nomads about life and work in Croatia, educate, connect digital nomads with service providers, and present their problems to the authorities.

tanja-polegubic-dubrovnik-digital-nomads.jpeg

"Split is already a natural choice for many digital nomads, just like other cities on the coast. But that could change if some changes don’t happen, that is, if the city doesn’t open up to digital nomads. When I was looking for a coworking space to work in 2015, I searched the entire Adriatic coast.

I spent a lot of time in Zadar, Trogir, but Split attracted me especially. There is something in it. Everything suits me here: it is neither too big nor too small. There are a lot of quality restaurants and bars, and there is a big international community. At the same time, the locals speak English well," says Tanja, owner of the company "Saltwater," an aid to digital nomads as it provides everything one may need, from finding a workspace, connecting people, organizing conferences, various events, conferences and more, and is a member of the Business Incubator of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce of the Split County Chamber.

Tanja said that digital nomads in Split work from home, i.e., from rented apartments, hostels, hotels, or coworking spaces in several Split locations.

"This has been an interesting year, and I have befriended many people who have stayed in the city. Most like to live in a circle around the city center and in the Palace. Varoš, Bačvice, Meje are popular with them ... in fact, those neighborhoods from where they can reach the city center on foot in a short time. They mostly stay in private apartments and less in hotels because they are too expensive for them.

But the problem is the short rent they get from private renters who, of course, find it more cost-effective to give the apartment to a typical tourist rental that is expensive for nomads. Even the off-season offer of social life, which weakens after the summer, does not favor the arrival of nomads for whom the social aspect is important, the offer of the destination where they stay, the diversity of content around them because they want to meet new places and people. True, there was a pandemic that disrupted everything, but we need to adapt.

Screenshot_2021-05-12_at_19.56.07.png

On the other hand, this environment is quite interesting for them because of their hospitality and security, especially for families with children, the health system has a good reputation, the climate is mild," says Tanja, who receives many inquiries about Croatian cities from digital nomads. The conditions they need to meet are proof of constant income, proof that they are digital nomads, that is, that they are not coming to Croatia to sell something but to do their job from this destination.

To help foreigners come to Croatia, a DNA association was established.

"The goal is to support digital nomads - as well as local businesses. The association deals with information, education, community networking, certification, and representation of digital nomads and various businesses before various Croatian institutions. Ways are being devised in which digital nomads can contribute to society, for example, around animal welfare or environmental protection.

It also focuses on tenancy topics because we know that many tenants and students are evicted from rented apartments when the tourist season begins. We will organize "certified" service providers so that digital nomads know that they will be protected," says Tanja Polegubić, believing that Split and Croatia have an excellent chance of becoming one of the favorite destinations of digital nomads if they open their hearts.

While Dubrovnik has gone the furthest in this regard, Split is also turning towards such modern trends. For example, the Split hotel "Marvie" offers affordable packages for long-term stays. As much as a 50 percent discount for stays of 28 days or longer, even in the middle of the summer season. Guests have at their disposal a separate co-working space with high-speed internet of 200 Mbps, a projector with a screen and a flipchart, which can simultaneously fit 7 people, ergonomic chairs, and everything that makes the stay more comfortable.

Namely, teleworking is a growing trend with exceptional economic potential, which is supported by predictions that by 2022 there will be more than 1.87 billion workers in the world whose work will take place online regardless of location. Therefore, "Marvie" is the first Croatian hotel to create an offer fully adapted to the needs of teleworkers.

Jan de Jong points out that digital nomads are an opportunity that we must not ignore. The main advantage for Croatia is year-round tourism and the arrival of highly paid workers who would not take jobs and spend their salaries in Croatia.

"Digital nomads and marketing are important for Croatia because they share their experiences, videos, and photos with their families, but also on social networks, which is free promotion. Since the introduction of visas, 33 of them have applied, and four have been approved, while the rest are being considered," he said.

1686518acbdcbc3d5a46100b1288b7c5_XL.jpeg

Learn more about Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 Announced by Saltwater Nomads/Zagreb Tourist Board HERE.

Learn more about the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program

Saltwater Nomads' Tanja Polegubic on Dubrovnik Digital Nomad-in-Residence Programme

Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Frankovic on Digital Nomads, US Flights, 2021 Season 

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

Friday, 23 April 2021

Vajt, Jan de Jong Win PR Grand PRix for Croatian Digital Nomad Permit

 April 23, 2021 - Congratulations to PR agency Vajt and our favourite Dutchman Jan de Jong for winning the 2021 HUOJ International Grand Prix Award for PR in institutions, NGOs and associations for that Croatian digital nomad permit.

On May 2 last year, I received an email invitation to cover the SMART TOURISM 5.0 conference, which the email said was "the 1st virtual gathering of tourism professionals in Croatia."

I was not clear if I was being asked to speak as someone who is involved in tourism in Croatia, or to be the journalist covering the words of others. It turned out that the conference interest in me was to give them free PR with articles on TCN, and I politely declined. 

I was curious to see who the speakers were, and I was surprised to see my good friend, Jan de Jong, as one of the speakers. A hugely successful businessman, I didn't know that he was also a tourism professional. I called him and we chatted. He was actually about to call me to ask my advice on tourism ahead of the conference. I sent him a few articles, including a couple on digital nomad tourism, a concept that was new to him and got him really interested.  

 Here is Jan, speaking at that first conference, on the potential of digital nomad tourism.

What happened next was truly phenomenal, as Jan, assisted by PR guru Jerko Trgorlic from Vajt, pushed through the digital nomad permit in record time. A truly outstanding effort, and a worthy winner of the 2021 International Grand PRix Awards in the category of PR in institutions, NGOs and associations.

In Jan's own words on LinkedIn:

What started as a dream, was followed by an unbelievable journey for everybody that was part of introducing a digital nomad staying permit in Croatia. 

This regional Grand PRix Award is an amazing recognition for our efforts to help turn Croatia into a year-round destination for digital nomads from all around the world. 

I would like to thank our Prime Minister, Andrej Plenkovic for the support he has given this initiation from the moment it got his attention.

Special thanks go to our State Secretary, Ms. Terezija Gras who was the driving force in bringing this staying permit to the finish line and who was the glue that held all involved ministries together.

Last but not least, a big thank you to the #LinkedIn community. Without your support this initiative would have failed before it even began.

Thank you Jerko Trogrlić and his team at VAJT d.o.o. for all your support. Its amazing to see how a small PR agency can deliver a big impact. 

Hvala svima!

Love ❤

Jan

Congrats to Jan, Jerko and the team from Vajt. We are also following your tomato project with CROP Hrvatska very closely. 

It was a good night for foreigners working to make Croatia a better place, as the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community also won a Grand PRix award in the category of crisis communication

Tuesday, 26 January 2021

Jan de Jong: US Citizen Gets First Croatian Digital Nomad Visa

January 26, 2021 - Just over six months after an open letter to the Prime Minister on LinkedIn, a US citizen gets the first digital nomad visa in Croatia.

Foreigner of the Moment Jan de Jong took to LinkedIn once more this morning, exactly 199 days after writing an open letter to Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic on July 11 last year, asking for a digital nomad visa for Croatia. 

What happened next was remarkable for seasoned observers of Croatian bureaucracy - things actually started to happen. 

Just 44 days later, Plenkovic tweeted a photo with de Jong, announcing that his government would push for the introduction of the visa, which would make Croatia only the second country in the world to offer it, after those very progressive Estonians.

Changes to the tax code and Aliens Act followed, and the legal framework was in place for a  digital nomad visa for 12 months, as long as certain criteria were met. 

While the visa was technically available from January 1, the final details and online application procedure were still a work in progress, with final delivery expected sometime in the first quarter of 2021. 

And then this from de Jong earlier today:

digital-nomad-visa.jpg

A glorious moment for Croatia ?? as the first #digitalnomad has been approved for his 12- month staying permit in #Croatia.

I know that the Ministry of Interior and Ministarstvo turizma i sporta / Ministry of Tourism and Sport are working on final details to start accepting online applications from digital nomads - and I am expecting this to go live in a matter of weeks from now 

But as you can see - as of 01.01.2021. its possible to apply for the "digital nomad visa" (staying permit) at the local police stations all across the country.

Help share this positive event and may many more digital nomads find their temporary home in Croatia.

Thank you all so much for your support! 

Poz,

Jan de Jong

Follow me on #LinkedIn for new updates.

#WFH
#Croatia
#LivingTheCroatianDream

I called Jan for a little more detail. It seems that the first successful applicant was an American citizen, who simply went to his local police station and applied and was successful in his application. 

My understanding from Jan is that currently, proof of income is under the old rules, but that is expected to change in the coming week, with a proof of income of 16,000 kuna net a month the figure likely to pass. 

More details as we get them of course, and while some may prefer to wait for the fuller picture and the online process, I know of several nomads wanting to apply immediately, with at least one planning on a visit to the local police station later this week. Given how new this procedure is, and the different level of responses in police stations around the country, I would expect there to be a little hit and miss in this process. But it doesn't hurt to try.

If any digital nomad is trying this approach and wants to share their experiences, please contact me on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Nomad Visa.  

It all sounds like progress. Well done to Jan and all the others involved. For the latest updates, follow the dedicated TCN digital nomad section

Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Croatian Digital Nomad Association Officially Founded (& Visa Update)

December 9, 2020 - As the digital nomad visa inches closer to reality, the Croatian Digital Nomad Association is founded. More on that, and a visa update. 

It all started with an open letter on LinkedIn to the Prime Minister last than four months ago. 44 days later, PM Plenkovic tweeted his assent - his government would push for the introduction of a digital nomad visa for Croatia, which would make it only the fifth place in the world and the second in Europe after Estonia (Dubai and Iceland have since also announced nomad visas). And the word is getting out, with the Washington Post the latest global media to feature digital nomads in Croatia, including the Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads conference, which was recently co-organised by TCN, Saltwater, the City and Tourist Board of Dubrovnik. 

Jan de Jong, the Split-based Dutch entrepreneur whose LinkedIn post in July started the whole process rolling, announced plans at the Dubrovnik conference to found a Croatian digital nomad association in order to help make Croatia a more attractive destination for nomads, by offering a range of services to help build and serve the nomad community.

The new Croatian Digital Nomad Association will have five key areas of focus, as explained in the infographic below. 

croatian-digital-nomad-association-launched.JPG

De Jong took to LinkedIn once again this morning to announce that the Croatian Digital Nomad Association has been officially founded: 

YES!! We have officially founded the Digital Nomad Association Croatia ??. Together we shall unite & serve digital nomads in Croatia.

It looks like Croatia will not only be among the first countries in the world to welcome digital nomads - but we shall also have among the most attractive visa programs currently out there.

Changing the laws in Croatia in order to welcome digital nomads was just the start of a great and exciting journey. 

Croatia has a chance to position itself among top destinations globally. There is a lot of work ahead of us - both in the private & public sector. That is the reason why we wanted to organize ourselves in an association.

If you want to:

✅ Join the association

✅ Support the association

✅ Volunteer at the association

Then please, follow Digital Nomad Association Croatia on #LinkedIn as more updates will follow soon - stay tuned.

I would like to thank my co-founders Tanja Polegubic & Karmela Tancabel for their efforts and insight. Thank you Younited Agency for our visual identity.

Last but not least, thank you all for your support. We would not have come here without your comments and shares 

Give this post a ❤ as your first action to support the Association!

Pozdrav,

Jan de Jong

#Croatia
#DigitalNomads
#Remotework

What is the latest with the Croatian digital nomad visa?

Apart from the many questions I get about the new rules for entering Croatia at the moment, the most common request for information I am getting these days is a progress report on the availability of the digital nomad visa. There has been a LOT of interest in the visa, with Croatia perfectly positioned to offer a great nomad lifestyle experience to visiting remote workers. There is also understandable frustration from the initial tweet from the Prime Minister back in late August, and the still-undefined terms of the visa or the timing of its availability.

Here's my take on the current situation and what and when I think might happen (PLEASE NOTE that this is just my personal observations only, and you should wait for official confirmation before making any firm decisions).  

What we know for sure is that the legal framework is now in place for the digital nomad visa to be available from January 1, 2021, as a result of a change in the Aliens Act a couple of weeks ago, as previously reported on TCN.

What is still to be finalised (and various ministries are working on the final details, to be completed by the end of the month) are the exact conditions of the visa, details of which are yet to be announced. Here are some of the main 

Who can apply for the digital nomad visa?

I would expect that anyone who has a bone fide remote business will be able to apply for the visa. Key restrictions on the visa would be that no business can be done in Croatia or with Croatian companies. This visa is for remote workers earning their money abroad and spending locally.  

How much will it cost?

I have not yet heard a figure for the visa fee, but I would be very surprised if it was anything more than a nominal fee, or even free of charge. Barbados is charging US$2,000 for an individual, US$3,000, which defeats the point of what Croatia is trying to achieve. There is little point creating a product and then making it prohibitively expensive. 

Will proof of a minimum income be necessary? If yes, how much?

As more and more countries are introducing digital nomad visas, it would be understandable to assume that the products are basically the same. They are not. Just as Barbados is charging US$2,000 for the visa, so too others have prohibitive minimum income requirements. Dubai requires a minimum of US$5,000 a month, Iceland more than US$7,000 a month. I have not heard a figure mentioned for Croatia yet, but I would expect it to be considerably lower, but high enough to ensure that those who do come have the spending power to help the Croatian economy. A figure of 1,500 - 2,500 euro a month minimum would make Croatia much more accessible, as well as providing a new generation of word of mouth promoters for the country's tourism.

What about tax payable in Croatia?

This is one of the big unknowns, and one which will be 100% certain next week. Will digital nomads have to pay tax in Croatia? My feeling is that the Croatian visa will come without a tax requirement to Croatia. These may seem strange to some people until you take a closer look at the realities of who might be using the visa. Perhaps the best example I can give to illustrate the point is the Russian/Ukrainian couple from Munich who I came across last year in Jelsa who truly opened my eyes to the possibilities.

They both worked in IT, and their Munich boss told them that he was happy for them to remote work 10 months of the year, as long as they were available online during Munich working hours. They could have stayed at home and enjoyed remote work in Munich, but they decided instead to rent out their apartment and spend the time travelling - 3 months in Jelsa, then to Sicily, Spain and Portugal. They came to Jelsa from April 1 - June 30, renting an apartment for three months out of the main season. So happy were they that they planned to return for the same dates this year. They ate in the restaurants, drank in the cafes, bought local in the markets, took Croatian classes. Income coming into local businesses in Croatia which would otherwise have been spent in Munich. 

Multiply these remote workers and there is a slow effect not only on the Croatian economy but also on local businesses and communities. By making Croatia an attractive destination in terms of tax liabilities, visa cost, and minimum income, this is a real opportunity. The market will only get more competitive, as more visas are offered. It should be noted that my example above does not require a visa, as they are EU residents, but I wanted to give a concrete example based on the economic benefits, even with no tax liability.

KPMG Croatia has kindly agreed to provide a tax guide article for digital nomads in Croatia, which we will be publishing later in the month.

What about health insurance?

I would expect health insurance to be a prerequisite.

Criminal record?

I would expect proof of no criminal record to be a prerequisite.

How to apply for a Croatian digital nomad visa?

We are also still waiting for details of this. I would expect this to be an online process, devoid of the usual bureaucratic obstacles. The Ministry of the Interior did an outstanding job this year with its border control, and its Enter Croatia form was an unqualified hit. This is the ministry which is driving the introduction of the visa, and this is the ministry which really performed this year in dealing with border and tourist movement. It was impressive to watch. 

How long will the application take to be approved? That I have no answer to. 

Will the visa be available on January 1? While technically, it could be, whether or not the final pieces of the jigsaw are in place is not certain. But I think it is fairly certain that it will be available in the first quarter of next year. 

We will post any updates on our dedicated digital nomad section, which you can follow here

 

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Croatian Digital Nomad Visa Closer as Parliament Changes Aliens Act

November 25, 2020 - Croatian bureaucracy 2.0, as changes to the Aliens Act to accommodate the Croatian digital nomad visa sail through Parliament. We are close, but not there yet.

Split-based Dutch entrepreneur Jan de Jong was back doing what he did so effectively back in July this afternoon, as he penned one more open letter to Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic via his LinkedIn profile, this time a note of thanks. 

Back in July, de Jong sent Plenkovic an open letter asking him to introduce a Croatian digital nomad visa. The response - during the summer holidays - was stunning. Just 44 days later, Plenkovic tweeted a photo with de Jong promising to do just that. By chance, changes to the Aliens Act were due to be introduced to Parliament the next day, and the nomad visa was added to those changes. 

Those changes were today ratified by Parliament, leading de Jong to head to his keyboard once more:

croatian-digital-nomad-visa-sabor.jpg

Dear Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic,

On the 11th of July, I kindly asked you to consider introducing a digital nomad visa in Croatia ?? through my open letter here on LinkedIn.

Today, on 25th of November - with acceptance of the new Alien Act - you have truly delivered, making Croatia among the first countries in the world to welcome digital nomads by regulating their temporary stay. 

Thank you Prime Minister for your support from the moment this opportunity was presented to you. 

I would also like to thank Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Interior - Mr. Božinović and State Secretary of Interior Ms. Terezija Gras for your efforts and support. 

Last but not least, I would like to thank the 5.269 people here on LinkedIn that supported my open letter in July and all the thousands of other people that supported this initiative from the beginning.

Hvala svima! - ❤ -

Jan de Jong

Follow me on #LinkedIn

Ps. Required changes to tax law and health insurance are expected until 31.12.2020.

#wfh

#Croatia

#DigitalNomads

#livingthecroatiandream 

So it would appear that Croatian bureaucracy CAN run rather smoothly. 

My understanding from another source is that the issue of digital nomads and tax will be discussed during a government session tomorrow. The ministries involved are all making good progress, and the final issues are expected to be ironed out by the end of the year. 

My understanding is that the changes approved today come into effect on January 1, 2021, so IN THEORY, the Croatian digital nomad visa could be available then. Experience in The Beautiful Croatia, however, has taught me to believe it when I see it, and I would be more confident in the prediction that sometime in the first quarter of 2021 is likely. 

But if a motivated Prime Minister can move from a LinkedIn post to a change in the law in just over four months, who knows? 

croatian-digital-nomad-visa-aliens-act (2).jpg

Not only is de Jong a successful entrepreneur, he is now rivalling his YouTube star wife Slavica as the family's top multitasker. When I called him for a quote and more info, he not only sent me a link to the parliament decision, but also screenshotted the relevant sections, all this without dropping the Baby de Jong he was holding.

Here is the full parliament decision - it is a riveting read. Google Translate is your friend.  The relevant sections are in the screenshots below. 

One more hurdle has been overcome. Congrats to all. 

For the latest news on this and other digital nomad news in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section

croatian-digital-nomad-visa-aliens-act (3).jpg

croatian-digital-nomad-visa-aliens-act (4).jpg

croatian-digital-nomad-visa-aliens-act (5).jpg

croatian-digital-nomad-visa-aliens-act (1).jpg

Sunday, 22 November 2020

Glavic Clinic Thanks Jan de Jong with Free Brain Injury Therapy for Dutch National

November 22, 2020 - A very generous gesture from Glavic Clinic to thank Dutch entrepreneur Jan de Jong for his efforts to promote Croatia. 

How cool is this?

Last month in Dubrovnik, the first-ever digital nomad conference was held in Croatia. The last presentation on the first day of Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads was from the deputy director of Glavic Clinic, Nikolina Kurtela. 

After a stimulating first day, I don't think I was the only one with an eye on the wine which awaited after Nikolina's 10-minute presentation. I decided to stay and listen out of politeness. 

digital-nomad-healthcare_4.jpg

I am very glad I did. Apart from being the funniest speaker of the day, Nikolina made the announcement of the first day - that Glavic Clinic would offer all medical services for free for a year for digital nomads in Dubrovnik. 

glavic-clinic-digital-nomads.jpg

My first inkling was that this was just a marketing stunt from the clinic, and I followed up with Nikolina over that glass (ok, three) of wine after the conference. She kindly agreed to an email interview about Glavic Clinic and digital nomads, which you can read here

During that interview and my subsequent research, I learned that, far from being a publicity stunt, Glavic Clinic has arguably the strongest humanitarian medical treatment programme in the region, and it regularly takes on patients for free. Impressive stuff. 

And then last night, a LinkedIn post from Dutch entrepreneur and poster child of the Croatian digital nomad visa, Jan de Jong, caught my eye. When not planning to turn Croatia into a net food exporter once more, initially with his tomato project in northern Croatia, Jan has been instrumental in pushing the digital nomad visa forward. A bundle of Dutch positivity trying to Make Croatia Great Again. 

His efforts have earned him much well-deserved praise, thanks and media attention, but perhaps nothing quite like the response from Glavic Clinic, as his LinkedIn update explained:

A few weeks ago, something completely unexpected & extraordinary happened - so amazing that I felt my eyes starting to get wet. A few weeks ago, something completely unexpected & extraordinary happened - so amazing that I felt my eyes starting to get wet. 

I was invited to visit Glavic Clinic in Zagreb, where I met the owner Josko Glavic. It was amazing to see how his clinic is using robots to help patients recover from terrible injuries.

After Joško showed me his clinic he said:

Jan, you have been doing so much to help Croatia ?? move forward...we from Glavic Clinic would like to do something in return for somebody from the country where you were born - the Netherlands.

He continues...

You can choose somebody from the Netherlands who we will give a complete rehabilitation treatment for free as part of our charity program.

This was the moment I had to bite my lip and pretend I had something in my eye. ?

Right after the meeting, I called my mom. She right away told me about a young women from my home town, Bodegraven, who had suffered brain injury as a result of a horrific accident.

Her name is Shannen Bulk and she will come to Zagreb on 14.12. to receive 8 full weeks of rehabilitation treatment from Glavic Clinic - 100% free of charge. 

Give this post a ❤ to show some love to Josko Glavic and his team.

Follow Glavic Clinic on #LinkedIn.

#Croatia#charity#livingthecroatiandream

Fabulous stuff. We will continue to follow this story and Shannen's progress during her time in Croatia. 

You can learn more about Glavic Clinic on the official website.

For the latest news on the digital nomad visa, follow the dedicated TCN nomad section

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Croatia is One Step Closer to Introducing Digital Nomad Visa

November 11, 2020 – Last week, the Croatian government took the first step to introducing a digital nomad visa. In his statement, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković pointed out that the Law on Foreigners, under which the digital nomad visa is regulated, is an important law.

As Lider Media / Nikolina Oršulić reports, the first concrete regulatory steps have been taken to legalize the residence and work of digital nomads in Croatia. Namely, on Thursday, November 5, 2020, at the Government session, the final proposal of the Law on Foreigners was adopted, which will be sent to the Croatian Parliament.

"I think this is an important law. We are among the first countries to legally regulate the issue of digital nomads, and this will be accompanied by appropriate changes to the law in the tax domain, as well as in the health insurance domain," said Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, announcing further legislative steps.

The idea of launching digital nomad visas was first presented in Croatia by Dutch entrepreneur Jan de Jong, who has been building new business opportunities in Croatia for more than a decade.

"I can say that I am satisfied with the pace at which we are working to bring the legislative package needed to attract digital nomads to Croatia. We are currently making great steps forward in answering health insurance questions. With the Prime Minister's statement, we have an official obligation from the highest political level to continue to make extraordinary efforts to adapt the laws regarding taxation and health insurance. I am happy that Croatia will become the leading country in the world in attracting digital nomads," said the entrepreneur for Lider Media.

The legislative story has heated up, so the initiator of introducing a digital nomad visa is already working on the next step – the establishment of a kind of central point to support digital nomads.

"Since we are going in the right direction, I am working on establishing the Croatian Association for Digital Nomads (Digital Nomad Association Croatia - DNA Croatia) whose mission will be to connect digital nomads in Croatia and support them. We are currently in the process of founding this association," said de Jong, who is entering the project with Tanja Polegubić, a returnee from Australia who runs Saltwater Nomads - remote work and lifestyle services for digital nomads in Split, and Karmela Tancabel, a member of the Ilok Cellars (Iločki podrumi) Marketing and Export Board.

The plan is to complete the legislative part to introduce a digital nomad visa by the end of the year, and visas should be available in the first quarter of 2021. In addition to the legal regulation of the status of digital nomads, the draft of the Law on Foreigners brings some other changes.

"The most important novelty is prescribing a new model of employment of foreigners, according to which the employer must first request the implementation of the labor market test from the Employment Bureau to find labor on the domestic market. If there are no unemployed in Croatia, then a request is sent to the Ministry of the Interior seeking an opinion from the Croatian Employment Service. Exceptions to this test are for deficit professions that are usually used during the season," said Interior Minister Davor Božinović at the Government session.

In the draft of the Law on Foreigners, a digital nomad is defined as a third-country national who is employed or performs business through communication technology for a company or own company that is not registered in the Republic of Croatia and does not perform work or provide services to employers in the Republic of Croatia.

For the latest about the digital nomad scene in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN news section.

Saturday, 17 October 2020

After the Visa, Jan de Jong Announces Croatian Digital Nomad Association

October 17, 2020 - Having pioneered the digital nomad visa in Croatia, Dutch entrepreneur Jan de Jong announces plans for a Croatia Digital Nomad Association.

One of the secrets of a happy life in Croatia, I have discovered over the years, is to surround yourself with positive people. With mass emigration, a generally negative media, and complaining in cafes an Olympic sport, it is easy to get sucked into a vortex of negativity. Surround yourself with positive 'can do' people, however, and Croatia looks an altogether different place - a country where its famed lifestyle is matched by positive entrepreneurs bringing positive change to this country. 

Two of my favourite beacons of positivity, Tanja Polegubic and Jan de Jong, are down here with me in Dubrovnik at the moment, both playing key roles in the first-ever digital nomad conference in Croatia. Quite by chance (or was it?), both featured in an article I wrote back in May called What Happens in Croatia When Mindset Goes from Default Negative to Opportunity Positive?

Both have been very active since then in the push to promote the huge digital nomad opportunity in Croatia. Dutchman de Jong has spearheaded the initiative for the Croatian digital nomad visa, which was endorsed by Prime Minister Andrej Plenkoviic and looks set to become a reality in the first quarter of 2021, with Australian returnee Polegubic has been leading the coworking and remote work agenda in Croatia with her Saltwater coworking business. Part of her digital nomad vision for Croatia resulted in the Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads conference which kicked off in the former quarantine complex of Lazareti, just outside Dubrovnik's famous walls, last night. 

digital-nomad-association.jpg

De Jong gave an update on the visa progress during his keynote speech at the conference, as well as answering the many questions that came his way both from the live audience and the global online Zoom audience. Discussions within the ministries are ongoing, but there is an urgency to wrap all the legislation by the end of the year, and de Jong expects the visa to become a reality during the first quarter of 2021. One of the tax architects of the Estonian digital nomad visa - the first in the world and currently the only one in Europe - is also helping the Croatian authorities with the discussions. 

Although the visa was expected to dominate de Jong's presentation, the Dutchman had an announcement to make - the imminent launch of the Croatian Digital Nomad Association, which he is co-founding with Polegubic and Karmela Tancabel.  

970346ab-c644-4d45-84de-93d12d34d1b0.jpg

The new digital nomad association will be an excellent addition to Croatia's emerging nomad scene, and with some of its most influential advocates the founders, it starts with a lot of credibility. 

The new association has five key aims:

  • Information - the new association website, soon to be launched, will be a hub of information for all digital nomad related issues and services. 
  • Accreditation and certification - the association will work with Croatian businesses which want to offer their services to digital nomads with the introduction of an accreditation and certification scheme. Accommodation providers, for example, will sign up to a code of conduct protecting nomads from sudden hikes in accommodation prices for the tourist season.
  • Education - the association will also be engaged in organising events around Croatia promoting the digital nomad agenda. One of the benefits of progressive digital nomads entering Croatian communities is the opportunity to give something back, and the potential to positively impact the Croatian mindset through nomad presentations and seminars in Croatian schools and universities is particularly exciting.
  • Community -  lifestyle means social life and community for the majority, and the association will be focused on building up a diverse and accessible community for incoming nomads.
  • Representation - this new digital nomad initiative is a new venture for Croatia, and there will inevitably be problems and frustrations on the road ahead. The Croatian Digital Nomad Association aims to be a bridge between the authorities and the nomad community to iron out problems and bottlenecks. With de Jong's access to the decision makers who are shaping the digital nomad visa - and their responsiveness to his requests - should prove a useful mechanism to ensure a smoother experience all round. 

digital-nomad-association (2).JPG

The association website is currently under construction and will be launched shorted. Stay tuned to the dedicated TCN digital nomad news section for the latest updates. 

Read more from the Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads conference - "Croatia Has the Potential To Be World's Number 1 Digital Nomad Destination"

 

Page 1 of 3

Search