Digital nomads in residence in Dubrovnik 6 months later: Rob Schubert

October 20, 2021 – In April of this year, 10 digital nomads from all over the world came together for Dubrovnik’s first Digital Nomads-in-Residence (DNIR) program. As part of European Freelance Week 2021, TCN catches up with some of them 6 months later, starting with Rob Schubert from the Netherlands.

A year ago, the city of Dubrovnik organized the very first conference on digital nomads in Croatia – Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads – as part of the European Week of the Independents. The city has made great strides in advancing its credentials and DN strategy, in part thanks to the award-winning Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program, which ran from April 23 to May 23.

Far from forgetting Croatia, several DNIRs have been very active in Croatia. Nothing more than Rob Schubert, who got a lot more out of Croatia, including representing the Extra Virgin Digital Nomads at the 4th World Olive Picking Championships in Brac last week. TCN sat down with Rob to think about all things nomaddy 6 months later.

1. It has been 6 months since you arrived in Dubrovnik for the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program. First of all, a brief review of this month. How did it go for you and how has it changed your perception of Dubrovnik as a nomadic destination?

The month has been simply wonderful! The Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program exceeded my expectations in many ways.

First of all, the organization has been fantastic on the part of all the partners involved. With the participation of the local community, this organization provided an encouraging environment for the service design process. Second, it was my first time in Croatia, and it opened my eyes. I have found that Dubrovnik and other parts of Croatia are not just tourist hotspots (which I normally like to avoid). There are a lot of existing opportunities and facilities to create the perfect environment for medium / long term stays.

2. Did you stay in touch with other people in the project? Did you spend more time in Croatia?

Being on the road and having an international lifestyle means a lot of new people. Usually people come and go, but this was not the case for this group. We all have different backgrounds, but the month in Dubrovnik created a strong bond between us. Group chat is still very active, and we have meetups all over the continent.

I had the pleasure of meeting a group in northern Estonia and very recently again in Croatia. So yes, I spent more time in Croatia, and will be back as soon as possible!

3. It seems like a lot has happened on the DN stage in the last few months since the show. Zagreb Digital Nomad Week, Digital Nomad Valley Zagreb, the cross-border coworking conference in Budva, Croatia performed well in the Nomad List 2021 survey. What changes have you noticed since arriving in Dubrovnik in April?

I attended the Cross Border Coworking conference in Budva, and I was very charmed by the presentation given by the Dubrovnik tourist office. Not only were they able to explain the results of the Digital Nomads-in-Residence program very clearly, but they also shared new developments to attract digital nomads. For me, this is a confirmation that Dubrovnik and Croatia are serious in developing a sustainable economy / society where digital nomads are warmly welcomed.

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4. Have you noticed a change in the way Croatia is talked about in the global DN groups you engage with online? How if so?

Yes, I notice a big difference! A lot more people are talking about Croatia in the online and “offline” groups that I am a part of. Of course, I’ve always seen great pictures and heard great stories from Croatia, but now communication is also about nomadic digital infrastructure. Articles often support the new communication. Recently I received a Dutch article about Croatia as a digital nomadic destination.

5. What do you think are the key next steps for Dubrovnik on this journey, and for Croatia as a whole?

Croatia has created a big buzz with the introduction of a digital nomad visa. The eyes of digital nomads are on Croatia, and locals are starting to understand what these new types of travelers are. To have a significant impact and create an attractive environment for digital nomads, it is essential to maintain the momentum of this program. With aftercare programs like the ones mentioned above, it is reassuring to see that the results continue to unfold.

Therefore, I think it is essential to keep up with the pace of development. With most Asian countries still closed, more and more digital nomads are thinking of European destinations. So now is the right time for Dubrovnik and Croatia to amaze other digital nomads with the welcoming infrastructure.

6. What is your favorite memory / experience of DNIR, and when do you think Dubrovnik will see you next time?

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Choosing a favorite from such a fantastic experience is difficult. There were many beautiful days! Yet there is one evening that particularly occurs to me now. It was a sunset over a beautiful rooftop in the middle of the old town. Energized by the company of this large group and fresh Ston mussels (and watermelon), this evening featured some great conversations and plenty of laughs.

I heard in first person about Dubrovnik’s developments and plans for digital nomads. As soon as they’re in place, I have a perfect “excuse” to come back and try them. Goodbye!

Rob was part of a very international and fully DNIR extra virgin digital nomad squad, which placed 5th at this year’s World Championships. They were joined by their DNIR colleagues Alyssa from California, Charlie from Wales, Sam from England and coach Tanja from Australia.

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

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