Digital Nomads Are Moving Here To Work…

It is an island and it is freezing there. So why are so many digital nomads moving there?

It’s an island in Norway that is freezing for a good part of the year and has almost as many polar bears as inhabitants.

It’s also one of the most favored places for a ‘workation’ by digital nomads.

The remote archipelago of Svalbard in Norway was ranked among the 6 places in Europe that made the global top 10 in a survey conducted by Remote, a global HR solutions startup for distributed teams.

Svalbard is home to the world’s northernmost church, university and brewery, not necessarily in order of priority. A pint may cost you a pretty penny here but the rent is really low, unless your work plans involve bouts of heavy drinking, you should manage just fine here.

The Global Top 10

The Remote survey grades cities globally on the following factors:

  • quality of internet connection
  • attractiveness
  • safety
  • quality of life
  • openness
  • cost of living and
  • incentives for digital nomads.

Toronto, Madrid, Auckland, Madeira, Helsinki, Svalbard, Berlin, Valparaiso, Dublin and Sydney round out the top 10.

US cities don’t feature higher on the list, with only Salt Lake City making it at 11th.

On the other hand, usual suspects such as London scored a dismal 78th, due to its high cost of living, despite its status as a global financial and tech hub. The UK capital scored high for openness to diverse lifestyles, safety and quality of life though. The tag for the ‘most open-minded places’ went to
Stockholm, Toronto and Amsterdam.

Digital Nomads and Life Assessment

The index comes at a time when the pandemic is seeing a lot of people reevaluating what the idea of life and work means to them.

Auckland, Honolulu, Sydney and Reykjavík score among the top destinations offering the ‘best quality of life’ that is increasingly gaining top priority on the list for remote workers, as opposed to money.

For nomads for whom the bucks are paramount still, Italy’s Emilia-Romagna has the largest cash incentives.

Scope of Survey

In all, the ranking counts 44 countries and 24 US states as having some form of special remote work incentives, such as special visas, tax breaks, relocation payments or housing incentives.


Nomad schemes offer different incentives to remote workers too. In Cabo Verde, for example, you are exempt from income tax, while Ecuador offer s a minimum monthly income requirement of roughly £300.

Emilia-Romagna is paying parents under 40 almost £25k to relocate, to rejuvenate the local economy and communities.

Cities that are particularly reliant on tourism, are now also offering special longer-term visas for digital nomads.

Cities like Mishima, in central Japan, are offering either $2.7k or a calf, yes an actual live calf, to help things along for digital nomads.

Polar bears or calves, if you are a digital nomad, the world is definitely becoming your oyster.