November 14, 2021 – The Digital Nomad Association Croatia has a new director, Michael Freer.
A LinkedIn post from Dutch entrepreneur Jan de Jong, president of DNA Croatia:
Allow me to introduce Michael Freer, our new director of the Digital Nomad Association Croatia.
I don’t think we could have found a better person for this job. Besides Michael’s long experience in NGOs and responsible social organizations, he was also the moderator of 3 award-winning conferences on digital nomads in Croatia.
The combination of his deep understanding of the subject of digital nomads – while living in Croatia for over 6 years – makes Michael the perfect individual who can help us elevate our efforts further.
So far we have already accomplished so much:
Croatia is a well-known and popular destination for digital nomads – ranked 2nd (after Japan)
Currently, Croatia already hosts thousands of remote working professionals during the off-season.
The DN community is growing every month
We launched DNA Stay – where owners can target digital nomads and where digital nomads can find medium and long term property rentals.
Now is the time to redouble our efforts to unite and serve digital nomads and all other stakeholders in Croatia.
If you are a digital nomad in Croatia or planning to come to Croatia, contact Michael.
If you are a business and want to get involved with digital nomads, please do not hesitate to contact us.
If you represent a destination, aiming to welcome more digital nomads, now is the time to do it.
Special thanks to our sponsors / donors Raiffeisenbank Hrvatska | Hrvatski Telekom | KPMG Croatia | Links – to make this possible. ??
Thank you all for your support, commitment and love!
Jan de Jong
President Digital Nomad Association Croatia
TCN met Michael to learn more about his role at DNA Croatia and his plans for the association
1. You have just started your position as Director of DNA Croatia – congratulations. Tell us first what DNA Croatia is, why do we need it and what is your role?
Thanks Paule! DNA Croatia is here to support digital nomads and organizations working or wishing to work with digital nomads in Croatia. From before they arrive to after they leave, we will help NDs on their journey through Croatia, introducing them to the best places to work and play, while getting involved in the local community.
We will collect their comments and communicate them to the powers that be, in order to improve the conditions and the ease for NDs to come and stay here. My role is pretty much everything to set up and make things happen, meet digital nomads and local organizations and find out what their needs are and develop a strategy for the years to come.
2. What are the main areas of intervention of DNA Croatia over the next 12 months?
Our five key areas are still: community, information, representation, education and certification.
Above all, over the next 12 months we must continue to develop our Croatia-wide community and make our members operational. We need to set up two-way communication and information exchange to be proactive and ensure that the DN offer in Croatia is exactly what they are looking for.
At the same time, there needs to be a lot of outreach to all the towns and local organizations that want to be part of the DN route, and with that comes education and certification. This could range from a DNA Croatia approval stamp for certain accommodations or having a MUP office fully informed of the DN process. Finally, he reviews the success of the year (from 2021!) And looks at how we can better represent our DNs.
3. Summarize Croatia’s position on the ND world map and the progress that has been made over the past 12 months.
Croatia surged forward on the global DN map towards the end of 2020 and early this year. This was mainly thanks to a series of amazing events that brought the right DNs here to promote Croatia more on their networks and a lot of buzz on social media. The Digital Nomad Visa (sic) was launched, people were enthusiastic and we started to make Croatian grandmothers talk about digital nomads.
The rest of the world is catching up, digital nomadic visas are popping up here and there, so now we’re going to have to move forward, further develop the permit and involve as many people as possible to show why Croatia is the place to be for digital nomads. Progress is steady and we are ready to keep Croatia among the top destinations for digital nomads.
4. What are the biggest challenges Croatia faces in developing its DN history?
I don’t think it’s necessarily unique to Croatia, as the challenges revolve around very similar things.
First of all, it’s important that everyone understands who digital nomads really are and how they operate. They are not there for two weeks to spend their year savings as a tourist, they are there for a longer period, traveling and spending in a sustainable way.
Then it’s about making sure they have enough things to do wherever they go and, in turn, having the community to support them, whether local or foreign. The community is an important part of everyone on the road, and therefore local actors must ensure certain things to facilitate a community atmosphere and framework.
The final challenge is to keep the DN license up to date and relevant. We saw how Jan was able to work in partnership with various ministries to get things done, and hope this will facilitate revisions and improvements.
5. How will DNA Croatia contribute to the development of the ecosystem?
In 2017, I did an article with Slobodna Dalmacija on digital nomads. I worked with Split Tech City and interviewed a few nomads. I have worked closely with Tanja from Saltwater and Tamara, formerly of WIP and now of The Works, to connect and organize various events. Fast forward four years, and this weekend alone, Split has hosted three events for digital nomads, including a conference, aperitif and social dinner, and a meet and greet over coffee. I hope that my experience here in Split and our collective work as DNA Croatia can be shared and replicated across Croatia. DNA Croatia has already done so much to connect the private, public and tertiary sectors, and we hope to continue on this path, and hope that the rest of the ecosystem is ready to help us.
6. Tell us a bit about your recently launched partner project, DNA Stay.
DNA Stay has just launched and serves as a central place for Digital Nomads to find accommodation, as we seek to work with landlords to develop a more friendly rental market for those who come for at least a month. DNA Stay is actually owned by udruga DNA Croatia, as we seek to evolve towards financial sustainability and a social enterprise type model. In this way, we can generate our own funds to invest in excellent community projects that have a lasting and positive impact on the whole of Croatia.
You can follow the latest news from DNA Croatia on the official website.
For more news and articles on digital nomads in Croatia, see the dedicated TCN section.