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

Total Croatia News

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

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


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

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

The main sessions were as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

Kristie Sullivan and Ron Tardiff  

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

1000 – Depart from Canopy by Hilton

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

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

1100 – Option 2 – Tour of Samobor Museum 

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

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

1600 – Arrival at Green Hills

Welcome drink and presentation from owner Davorin Stetner

Overview of Zumberak Nature Park by principal Robert Brkic

Wine tasting and barbecue 

Short tour of the eco-village

1900 – Departure to Zagreb

1945 –  Arrival in Zagreb

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

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

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

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


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