A land for digital nomads in 5 areas in Europe Drejc Kokošar December 15, 2023

A land for digital nomads in 5 areas in Europe

One of the main aims of the project Nomadland is also to share good energy from the project to the local areas, where we’re located. At the end of the project we have organized 5 events in 5 different regions in Europe with workshop on attracting digital nomads to rural areas.

Workshops have been implemented in the regions of Idrija (Slovenia), Cuenca (Spain, Bergstrasse-Odenwald (Germany), Iž and Gračac (both Croatia). It was a perfect opportunity to share with the local population our magazine Nomazine, a guide Beyond the Citylights and platform Nomadland. Young people, youth workers and decision-makers were creating new ideas for the future of rural regions.

Let’s look at the ideas that we developed through these activities!

Veli Iž, Croatia

In Veli Iž, a village on the island Iž in Croatian Dalmatia, the local population gathered to develop ideas on attracting digital nomads to their area and also in other areas in Croatia. They developed seven solutions:

  1. The first idea is focused on the town of Obrovac, which is at a very strategic point: near the river, near the mountains and near the sea. Despite this, the town has several ruined buildings and ancient abandoned fortresses, which give the town a threatening appearance and are not so welcoming. It would be good to offer infrastructures for welcoming digital nomads working in the theatre and cinema industry, who can create artistic installations with lights in order to make the environment around the ruins more pleasant.
  • Installing communication panel meetings in local bars where digital nomads and the local community can hang small flyers about what they offer and their contact information.
  • Adjustment of accommodations and working spaces in the village of Marindvor to the needs of digital nomads.
  • As an upgrade of the 3rd idea, the village Marindvor organises one-year stays where digital nomads and healthy food bloggers organise local community food events and healthy food diet programs for youth.
  • Welcome digital nomads to Veli Iž (for example, in the new hotel they are building) and offer them the opportunity to connect with the local community by taking care of elderly people by socialising, doing creative activities for and with them, and at the same time learning from them about traditions.
  • Digital nomads go to small villages and provide the children with several activities about storytelling, animation, comics and illustration (a sort of after-school program).
  • Digital nomads who are graphic designers live for a certain period in rural areas of Slavonia and create labels for local wine sellers.

Based on these ideas, the participants created, by using collages and drawings, a head page of an imaginative newspaper that illustrates the great news of the digital nomad going into rural areas and its benefits for the local community. As a last step, each participant presented the idea to the group.

Zadar, Croatia

Another event in Croatia was organised in Zadar, a town in mainland Croatia. The local people participated in a creative workshop where they came up with five ideas on how to attract digital nomads in the rural areas of Gračac, Veli Iž, Bibinje, and Fužine.

The ideas obtained are:

  1. A programmer for blockchain can offer on the island Iž a workshop for youngsters about how to use the internet safely and how to be protected from cyberbullying.
  2. A blogger living in Bibinje, which depends on tourism a lot, can write positive reviews about accommodations and restaurants for people in need of earning money, for example, single mothers raising kids alone or elderly people.
  3. A photographer and wedding organiser living in Gračac can promote the natural sight of the region by organising wedding events that also have a good impact on the environment. For example, each guest of a wedding plants one tree.
  4. An illustrator goes to live in Fužine where, in addition to illustrating books at home, they can organise illustration and storytelling workshops in the local school, with the aim of creating a picture book together with the community.
  5. A digital nomad from Japan goes to live in Veli Iž, and he can offer lessons in Japanese calligraphy to youngsters. In this way, young Croatian people can discover Japanese culture while developing creativity.

Based on these ideas, the participants created, by using collages and drawings, a head page of an imaginative newspaper that illustrates the great news of the digital nomad going into rural areas and its benefits for the local community. As a last step, each participant presented the idea to the group.


Bergstrasse-Odenwald, Germany

The NOMADLAND Multiplier Event E2, “Creating a Land of Digital Nomads”, was organized as a face-to-face event by INI-Novation GmbH, Germany, on November 28th, 2023. It was organised in a small village in the region Bergstrasse/Odenwald, named Waschenbach, as a so-called discussion forum (in Germany, “Diskussionsforum”): Digitalisation, Mobility, Tourism – Regional development in the Odenwald region”.

Unfortunately, due to bad weather, there were fewer participants than expected. Nevertheless, the participants provided some insight into the future of the area for digital nomads. With their digital skills and creative mindset, the digital promotion of living and working in rural areas can be fostered, and tourism activities can be stimulated (interactive digital promotion, interactive data about tourism sites, hotels, restaurants, etc.).  Consequently, there was unanimous consent that

  • Digital nomadism has to be supported and
  • Co-working and co-working initiatives should stimulate digital nomads’ integration into rural ways of living.

It may even lead to circumstances in which digital nomads get so smoothly integrated into work and life in rural areas that they may decide to stay in those areas. All participants of the discussion agreed that it should be promoted to involve digital nomads into digital work of regional administration, into populating social media marketing of regional and rural areas, and into activities of rural associations, clubs and similar community activities.

Cuenca, Spain

In a charming town, Cuenca, in Spain, ATPERSON organised a well-visited conference, Digital Nomads Go Rural. After the introduction in the first part, it was followed by a hackathon, where young people designed new solutions for the local region:

The initiatives obtained within the conference were:

  1. Los Ojos del Júcar will be a space for meeting, creation and discussion for all those people and initiatives that seek a different, more alive and participatory future for the province of Cuenca. Important issues that really matter to the province of Cuenca are discussed, where local solutions to global problems are sought. This transformative movement is based on sustainable, feminist development consistent with human rights. They create initiatives already around, which include a podcast, a magazine and events for young people and digital nomads alike. They are trying to find other national stakeholders where these actions can have a bigger reach and impact and, perhaps, include exchanges that will include topics such as local environment and traditional techniques.
  • Digital Nomads Cuenca (DNC): a co-working space that would be open 24/7, a solid economic plan regarding their self-sustainability and community engagement initiatives.
  • Nomad Generation Cuenca (NG QNK): a workliving initiative, including different local stakeholders.
  • Digital Haven: a 3-day retreat for digital nomads in Cuenca, promoting natural connection and active participation of youth workers and the local community.
  • The Co-Living Experience: a month to reconnect. This is for digital nomads and adventurous local people who would like to live the experience together for one month.

After all these ideas, which were very well-welcome by the audience, all the attendants and organisers with the Nomadland Team voted for the best initiative. The most voted initiative was #4 – A Digital Haven.

Idrija, Slovenia

An event in Idrija was organised in cooperation with the local Jurija Vega Secondary school, Tourism Board Idrija and Youth Centre Idrija. A gamified and interactive event was organised where the main participants were secondary school students who also developed ideas for a 2-week retreat with a specific persona in mind. Together, they developed five solutions:

  1. GROUP 1

The first group had a persona of MATIJS VAN DER BERG, who enjoys cycling and spending time in nature. They found a place at a Tourist Farm Podobnik, with workspace provided at the Youth Centre Idrija. Leveraging his expertise in digital marketing, they planned to organise and attend a digital marketing workshop for young people. Collaborations with local associations (KD Sloga, Zakonc tedna) were in the works, and activities included a hike to the local hill Hleviše and a trip to Kranjska Gora resort.

  • GROUP 2

Group 2 envisioned a retreat for fictional German food enthusiast and blogger Abby Schmidt. Recognising her interest in cultural sightseeing, they would rent a car for her and accommodate her at the Hotel Jožef, where a workspace could also be arranged. They proposed a workshop on making idrijski žlikrofi (local dumplings) and a blogging and digital nomadism workshop for young individuals. Planned activities involved attending the Idrija žlikrofi festival and weekend trips to Bled and Piran.

  • GROUP 3

In Group 3, the focus was on creating a retreat for a fictional programmer Wyatt Fox (20 years old), who enjoys street walks, entertaining events, and concerts. They intended to accommodate him at Hostel Idrija, organise horseback riding in Idrija, and plan trips to Nanos and Piran.

  • GROUP 4

Group 4 designed a retreat for Australian online marketing specialist Anne Bennet (28 years old), who is keen on exploring new cultures. They identified Café Vega as a suitable workspace and arranged activities related to her profession (marketing). Accommodations were planned at Apartments Na starem placu. Post-work activities would involve visiting lace-making school, miners’ house, Antonijev rov, a stroll to Divje jezero, and activities at the Pr’ Jureč tourist farm (bread baking, wheat harvesting, horseback riding). A visit to Piran and Ljubljana was also on the agenda.

  • GROUP 5

Group 5, the winning team, created a retreat for Matthew Miller, an American and startup company leader (46 years old). Seeking a connection with nature and detoxification from urban environments, he would stay at Sofija Apartments in Idrija. His workspace could be at Pr’ Golitu public space. The plan included activities and hikes with the support of the Teach Out app and would include exploring the mine, castle, and mercury smelter. Matthew would experience local cuisine at Škafar Restaurant, learning to make Idrija Žlikrofi. The retreat would offer a full-day excursion to Velika planina with yoga and wildlife observation.

The winning was a group 5 which got the most points of all teams.