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.
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.
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.
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”