Okay, you’re a digital nomad; an international expat – you travel the world with the freedom to work at…wherever you like! So, have you had the Bilbao experience yet? Well, in that case you’ll need to read on for some of the best reasons why you need to consider making this amazingly progressive city your next port of call. Connect with other digital nomads in Bilbao.
There is an absolute plethora of positives that make living and working in Bilbao, for however long, a unique and exciting adventure.
Of course, some of theses pluses are of a more general nature, such as the fantastic food and drink, the culture and eclectic entertainment on offer, whilst others will naturally be of more specific appeal to you digital nomads and international expats; so lets start with some, hopefully, helpful information that will give you the lowdown on just how digitally progressive Bilbao really is.
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The local government in Bilbao has been partnering Google since 2017, with the idea of promoting the digitalization of the city through non-profit cooperation. Already in place is a network of over 112 hotspots, with coverage for every single neighbourhood in the city.
However, Bilbao did not stop at providing free, city-wide Wi-Fi. Bilbao council plans on staying ahead of the game, and so set up one of its most impressive initiatives yet: Big Bilbao, which allows the intelligence system of the city to take advantage of Big Data to research and nurture original, innovative business ideas and opportunities. This virtual infrastructure is helping to progress the digital transformation of the city to new and higher levels.
And, of course, on a possibly more interesting level for some digital nomads, has also led to an increase in the number jobs created in the particular field of Big data and related employment. This can clearly be seen on job seeking websites such as glassdoor, indeed, infojobs, jooble or LinkedIn to name but a few.
The need for digital nomads in Bilbao
Despite the city tapping into the rather rich pool of talented digital workforce it already possesses, Bilbao is still pushing the boat out in its attempts to bring in ever-increasing numbers of adaptable digital workers. A plan has been worked out for smart sectoral specialisation by homing in on the economic activity of certain sectors of industry that have great potential for growth. Two such examples being telecommunications and KBIs (Knowledge Intensive Business services).
These sectors play an important role in the economy, and, what’s great news for you guys, are in constant need of employees with digital talents. This can be readily seen by the way in which the Basque aerospace cluster, HEGAN, and that of the automotive industry, ACICAE are developing and progressing pretty speedily.
International funding for innovation
And yet more great news in the job creation department! The European Commission has chosen Bilbao and the Basque region as one of its headquarters for the EIT, (European Institute of Technology). EIT manufacturing will be managing aid programs and financing projects to the tune of around €400 million between 2020 to 2026.
If interested, hit this link to another Globexs post; ‘Why Bilbao is the new trending hotspot for digital nomads and expats’ where you can read about some of theses projects, such as the advanced incubator for digital economy, KBi Digital and other relevant information.
Coworking in Bilbao
Finding a coworking space in Bilbao couldn’t be easier. A brief check will give you an ever- increasing number of more than 40 places to choose from. Of course, there are various types of facilities, located in different neighbourhoods, although, as you might expect, they tend to be more in towards the centre of the city.
Both of these factors will obviously have an affect on the pricing policy of each space. After a quick check I found a place called Euskalworking new 2020 that was only €100 per month for a fixed place desk, but it goes without saying that the offices are not in the centre of Bilbao.
For that you could try Icaza collaborando, who offer a non-fixed desk, but with bags more services for what seems a very reasonable €110 per month, especially when you take into account that it’s only a three-minute walk from the Guggenheim museum. You may be more interested in a daily rate, for example Alzola offer a rate of €15+ tax per day. There are also well known options, such as Bilbao Lab and welink. But I suggest you use your superior tech skills and check out the fast-expanding availability yourselves.
Networking when not working
So, let’s take a break from work right now and get down to enjoying ourselves. Bilbao is also a great place to further your career and experience while not even at work.
There are so many events organised every year where you can get to meet new, like-minded people, to share knowledge, skills, opinions and experiences. Events like Bilbao You Week, at Bilborock for creators of digital YouTube content and places like Espacio Open,situated on the exciting transformed island of Zorrozaurre, in the estuary of Bilbao, which organises markets, events, tech fairs and a cornucopia of other events like Fab Lab, marrying tech and culture.
Music for all tastes
And talking about culture, well there’s not only the world-famous Frank Gehry designed Guggenheim museum. There are many events taking place throughout the year but the big one to look out for is the Aste Nagusia, (Big Week), which is a nine-day festival, starting on the first Saturday after the 15th of August. It begins with the launching of a rocket and continues with firework displays, plays, performances and lots and lots of all kinds of music.
They certainly know how to party in Bilbao. There are also plenty of music festivals to choose from, whatever your taste. BBK Live is an eclectic mix of mostly indie, but including pop, rock, rap, you name it, over three glorious days in July. There’s international music for a couple of days in November at BIME Live festival in the BEC centre.
If you want to mix surfing, food and music, then the Bay of Biscay festival is for you. And if your vibe is more reggae, then check out Txapel reggae festival. And jazz is pretty serious in the Basque country. The Getxo International jazz festival is, in 2020, in its 44th year and still going strong.
A little taste of Bilbao
And if you’re still not convinced that Bilbao is worth a try, then indulge yourself with a little Basque cuisine. The more famous dishes are probably Bacalao a la Bilbaína, Cod with garlic and parsley; Kokotxos, which are normally hake cheeks, the tenderest part of the fish, in green sauce.
And for a winter warmer there’s Tuna marmitako, a hearty fish stew made with potatoes and vegetables. And not forgetting the pintxos, an endless variety of food on a slice of Spanish baguette, held in place by a toothpick; these you need to count to see what the bill is!
There are also, apart from the world-renowned wines of Rioja, other Basque drinks to sample, such as Patxaran – sweet but deadly, made from blackthorn berries, and natural, Basque cider, which has its own particular way of being drunk; because it’s not carbonated you hold a glass as low as your arm will let you, while pouring from a bottle held as high as your other arm will allow.
Of course, this is a learned ability, so the locals have rather a lot of fun watching us spill more than we drink…at first! Because most people who visit Bilbao want to stay at least long enough to master the art.