Karolina Filosek

How being an expat in Netherlands could help you thrive as an woman?

After 6 years living in the Netherlands I decided to make summary. Summary of this what has changed in me since I landed on Schiphol, as happy but insecure woman.

I tell a lot to people about celebrating our small and big successes. It is important part of my coaching. Mainly it is forgotten by women, whose feminine site was not being nurtured enough in the childhood. Therefore we are taught to be in the shadow but independent and society takes it as granted.

It is easier to notice material success, like finding a job, being promoted, getting contract or loosing 5 kg.

However we also go through personal transformation. It is sometimes heavy work and requires a lot of courage from us. Nevertheless, because the process takes long time, there is a possibility we overlook these moments of our positive transformation.

2020 helped me to discover how much work I have done through past 6 years. I truly have to say that this is not only a inside work. A lot got changed thanks to being an expat in Dutch environment. We have a lot of jokes about Dutch and their culture. Let’s then balance it. Today I am focusing on this great part, which helped me to change my way of seeing the woman world.

I do not need to put make up every time I go out

Maybe this will make you laugh, but I couldn’t meet with my friends if didn’t put make up on. Everyone who lives in Netherlands knows, that Dutch women are very natural. It’s such a relive to have a distance to it. I still make up, but only when I feel I want. Sometimes is a week without it and I do not even realize I didn’t put even mascara. Make up is my choice not obligation. Love this freedom πŸ™‚

I do not need to be a full time mum to feel good mum

This part took a lot of heavy guiltiness from my shoulders. With my first child I felt like worse mum in the world when I was returning to work. I could not understand how all these women I worked with go so easily balance their work and life. Netherlands helped me to open my mind on this possibility. Mum does not have to stay non stop at home , to feel enough in her motherhood area of life.

I do not have to work full time to have my career

Absolutely best discovery ever. When I was in Poland I didn’t even imagine I could work part time, earn good money and have my own life. Dutch woman in average works 3 days per week when they become mum. I wanted both, be mum but also grow. After few year in Netherlands this dream came true.

Home childbirth is beautiful experience

I still remember when with my second child, midwife asked if I want to deliver at home. She said “we do it often here”. My though was “ARE YOU INSANE?”Β  . Well with my 3rd child I did it at home. This was the most beautiful delivery in my entire life. I wish I had done it with my first and second boy.

You can do sport cos you like it, not only to wear XS

I use to run 10-15 km , because I could burn 500 kcal. I could do jumpy jacks every day, even I hate them, just cos I wanted to have nice legs. Then I went to fitness lessons in Netherlands. I was shocked. Almost of them looked pretty normal, size M-L and each week they were there with smile on their face. Some were doing marathons, just because they liked it. I changed my attitude too. I do sport , but only what I love doing. No more jumpy jacks if I do not feel like doing it. And biking is my national sport too now πŸ™‚

I do not need to know everything

This was something what made me unsecured, every time I went to work or new entering environment. What if I do not know answer. I do not know what people are talking about. Well, I have learned in Netherlands that YOU DO NOT NEED TO KNOW EVERYTHING. But be good at at least one thingΒ  and nurture it. It’s all about your talents not gaps πŸ™‚

Your partner is equal in the relationship

It means both, has same rights and same duties. Growing in patriarchate society , womanΒ  are thought to multitask. Both at work and at home. We are equal. Man has same privilege’s as woman like even to get a nice gift from me or be invited to dinner. However man has also same duty like to clean the house, take care of our kids and cook. It ‘s a big freedom in my mind. I do not stress that if I do not do, then nobody does.

And these are my lessons from the Netherlands , so far.

Did you like it? Then please click Like below. Leave the comment if you would add anything else. What did you learn as an expat?


  • PedroL
    Posted 2021-01-05 6:27 pm 0Likes

    Dear Karolina, thank you for sharing your experience about living in the Netherlands, it was interesting to read πŸ™‚ I’ve been there just traveling and, at the time, I realized I could live there for sure πŸ™‚ I specially appreciated the fact that about transportation, for example, it all works on time and it’s clean πŸ™‚ also it’s nice to be in a city like Amsterdam and find some areas that looked like a village, so quiet and with lovely parks… I think one of the things I would miss from Portugal it would be the warm weather ahah good luck and cheers from Lisbon, PedroL

    • will2flow
      Posted 2021-01-06 9:07 am 0Likes

      Hi Pedro πŸ™‚

      Thanks for sharing your point of view πŸ™‚ Definitely the Dutch country site is very clean. Love that in Netherlands. About trains, well it’s longer story. People got frustrated about often cancellations, but if in the Portugal trains are always late then you can definitely see NL from better perspective πŸ™‚
      I Love Portugal! Weather recompense many things πŸ™‚

      • PedroL
        Posted 2021-01-06 11:03 am 0Likes

        That’s true, weather compensate a lot ahah have a lovely week Karolina πŸ™‚ PedroL

      • PedroL
        Posted 2021-01-06 11:04 am 0Likes

        I agree, weather compensates a lot ahah thanks for your feedback and have a great day πŸ™‚ PedroL

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