1 August 2016

P.L. de Vos - Expat in Dalmatia, Croatia

P.L. de Vos - Expat in Dalmatia, Croatia

P.L. de Vos is a 60-year-old Dutch retiree who lives in Dalmatia, a region of Croatia. He was originally from the Netherlands, he moved to Croatia to retire, mentioning how Dalmatia’s climate and nature attracted him to the region. Mr. De Vos and his wife have been living in Croatia for three years now, specifically, in a village called Svinisce—which is located half an hour away from a city named Split.


Although Mr. De Vos feels that he had no negative expat experiences, he advises expats who are planning to move to Croatia to get a good lawyer when considering to buy property. “Some places are not yet legalized, some owned by a whole family of twenty, so be sure you're legally covered and well informed,” he said, adding that a trustworthy advisor and some real friends are also needed to help expats through the process.


Expats who are unfamiliar with the laws of their new home country may have a hard time dealing with financial and real estate transactions. Coupled with the right relocation services, hiring a real estate agent or financial advisor who is accustomed with the local property dealings can relieve a great burden on expats who are inexperienced with property transactions overseas.


Find out more about P.L. de Vos’s experiences in Croatia in his full interview below.


Q:  Where are you originally from?

A: The Netherlands (in between Rotterdam and Antwerp to be precise).


Q: What made you move out of your home country?

A: Dalmatia (this part of Croatia) touched me.


Q: Where are you living now?

A: Half an hour south of big city Split, near Omis, and not (surprise) at the Adriatic, but slightly inland, in a tiny village called Svinisce.


Q: How did you come to choose this new country of residence?

A: Climate, nature (and we've got lots of it), and a bit back to basics.


Q: How long have you been living in Croatia? 

A: Three continuous years now, and before "testing" longer times and in every season.


Q: What has been the most difficult experience you've had when you were new in your host country?

A:  Different country, different language, different laws and habits. Not one single country is the very same as what you're used to, so get used to it.


Q: Would you say that formalities like getting visas or work permits and international health insurance was particularly difficult in your host country?

A: Not a big deal, as many people speak either English or German, and are willing to help.


Q: What was your experience with these?

A: In general positive, but again, things are always different, so have someone at hand to be of help.


Q: Are you living alone or with your family?

A: Just me and my wife.


Q: How are they adjusting to the Expat Lifestyle?

A: We both love our life here, and don't regret our move for 'one single second.


Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people?

A: Yes it is, as Dalmatians are very open minded, inviting and you want to be one of them.


Q: Do you mainly socialize with other expats in Croatia?

A: Hardly, however on the internet I have a couple of contacts with other expats.


Q: How did you manage to find a social circle in Croatia?

A: Our village is very small, which makes it easy to become part of social life. Allow people to get to know you, and never pretend you're better (even if you are).


Q: What are the best things to do in the area?

A: For anybody who loves living ten minutes from the Adriatic, in the middle of fantastic nature, and near a big historic city like Split, this is the perfect choice.


Q: Anything to recommend to future expats?

A: Read my blog (www.svinisce.blogspot.com) I would say.


Q: How does the cost of living in Croatia compared to your home?

A: About the same as any other European country, so not really cheap, but no doubt better! A cup of coffee costs one euro or less, but it’s excellent coffee (as Dalamtia close to Italia, so espresso and cappuccino rule social life). A meal in an inexpensive restaurant costs ten euro's or less while meals in truly high end restaurants in Split totally depend on what you order. The local wine costs three euro's per liter, good wine in stores five euro's and as expensive as you like for extremely good wines. A box of twenty Marlboro's in Croatia four euro's, and half that price just over the border in Bosnia (yes this is smokers paradise).


Q: How do you find the local culture and people in your host country?

A: In general Croatia, being a Roman Catholic country is not a typical Balkan country, but rather a Southern European country, which makes things more easy to understand. If you think Americans are true patriots, well, you haven't met with Dalmatians. Their soccer team, Hajduk Split, is the BEST.


Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in Croatia?

A: I might say like anywhere, there are both positive and negative sides, and I don’t want to be the judge of different habits.


Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes?

A: Hardly, as we've got internet, skype, and still distances are not as horrible as in the USA.


Q: How do you cope with homesickness?

A: Don't have it, and again, in one day driving I'm in Holland, and flying just a couple of hours, so...


Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?

A: Hell NO.


Q: What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?

A: Got a speeding ticket today, but the policeman said I didn't have to pay the penalty.


Q: What tips can you give other expats living in Croatia?

A: A VERY serious tip: If planning to buy property, get a good lawyer, a trustworthy advisor and some real friends to help you through the process. Some places are not yet legalized, some owned by a whole family of twenty, so be SURE you're legally covered and well informed.


Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about your host country?

A: www.croatia-split.com/blog.html (great inside info about Split). www.svinisce.blogspot.com (my almost 400 pages about life in and around our hidden valley). www.malimlin.com (also a Dutchman, and a good friend, who gladly is of professional  help if someone is wanting to do like we did, live hapilly in a most beautiful country till Kingdom comes).  And to add: Croatia has a high unemployment rate, well-educated youngsters, low wages and plenty of possibilities for any investor who understands this is a great country to penetrate Southern and Middle Europe. In other words: if Ikea and Lidl did and do, why don't you!