Leonie Stekelenberg explains how Mindfulness courses can help us manage the challenges of parenting and lists her recommendations.

Why Mindfulness for Amsterdam Mamas?

If you are a parent who has recently moved to Amsterdam, you probably know from the inside out how it feels to be uprooted from a familiar place and your social and work circle and have to find your way once again. Every new place has its own way of doing things, it’s own cultural and social norms.

According to the Tropen Instituut Amsterdam, the first year in a new country can be a rollercoaster. Typically, the first 3-6 months are spent in organizing mode, orienting yourself on a practical level in the new area. Next is a phase of having to build new support networks (6-10 months), often accompanied with a sense of loneliness or feeling homesick. Only after a year, do most people really start to feel at home.

Mindfulness can be a life-saving skill in navigating transition years like these. It can help you to feel centered amidst the storm of change and to make choices true to you and your family. It can improve your (and your kids’) ability to cope with the frustration or loneliness and give much needed breathing space on a daily basis.

To develop this skill (and possibly find a group of peers), there are 8 week courses, retreats and individual training sessions available in English in Amsterdam. See the resource list below for suggestions:

Courses for Adults: 8 week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)


Leonie Stekelenburg

  • Location @ Centrum de Roos in Vondelpark

  • Evening courses

  • Certified Category 2 VMBN, Category 1 per 2016*

Leonard de Mol van Otterloo

  • Location @  Centrum voor Mindfulness, Raadhuisstraat

  • Evening courses

  • Certified category 1 VMBN*


Debby Poort (MBCT, Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy)

  • Location: MOC building Amstelveen, Lindenlaan

  • Evening and day courses

  • BCZ registered therapist

Almere (and Zeist):

Joyce Curnan

  • Location: Contact  Joyce for more info

  • Evening courses, maybe also day courses. Contact Joyce

  • Certified category 1 VMBN*

Courses for Kids:

8 weeks B Program for Kids Aged 8-18

  • Facilitated by Kate Berger
  • Location: MOC building Amstelveen, Lindenlaan

  • Courses after school

  • MSc child and Adolescent Psychology

8-10 week ‘Aandacht werkt!’ Course for Kids Aged 4-19

*VMBN certification and why this is important: Since 2015, certain insurance companies partially reimburse MBSR/MBCT courses, contributing around €350 per client. Insurers that offer this are: VGZ, UNive, IZA Gezond Samen, IZA and others.

This reimbursement concerns clients with burn-out related symptoms who have a referral letter from their GP or company GP. This letter can be sent to the insurance company together with the invoice of the selected training.

If reimbursement potentially applies to you, check with your teacher that they support this process: only MBSR/MBCT teachers with VMBN category 1 are covered!

Additional Vipassana/Mindfulnes Retreat Options in English

Netherlands: Stichting Inzichts Meditatie Different Vipassana or Mindfulness retreats (2,3,5,7,10,20 days) in Dutch or English. Scroll down and click on descriptions to find English ones.

Netherlands and Europe: Metta Different Mindfulness based retreats, most with prerequisite of completing the 8 week course.

Netherlands and Belgium: Dutch Vipassana Foundation Goenka Vipassana retreats in both Dutch and English. No prior experience required. Be sure to check if the approach and surroundings suit you.

France: Plum Village Vipassana retreats at the Thich Nhat Hanh’s monastery in the South of France.

Key Books on MBSR/MBCT/Mindfulness for Parenting/Kids

Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain and Illness, by John Kabat-Zinn. 

The Mindful way Through Depression: Freeing yourself from Chronic Unhappiness, by Kabat-Zinn, Teasdale, Williams and Segal. 

Everyday Blessings, The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting, by John and Myla Kabat-Zinn.

Sitting Still like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercises for Kids (and their parents – useful for age 4+), by Eline Snel. 

Leonie Stekelenburg

Leonie Stekelenburg is a mother, Mindfulness (MBSR) trainer and coach for burn-out, work, or life questions. She offers her 8-week MBSR courses and counseling in English. For more info, visit her website or contact her by email.