Alicja talks about creating a safe harbour in an abflexkracht house

Alicja, 55, from the vicinity of Wroclaw, Poland

Works as greenhouse staff in a nursery
via abflexkracht

Alicja's jobs in Poland included working in a shop, a furniture factory and a tomato greenhouse. She first came to the Netherlands via one of her daughters, who had been living here for eight years. While it started with just a holiday, for the past eighteen months, she has been working and living in the Netherlands via abflexkracht. Alicja makes use of the housing abflexkracht provides. She currently lives in an abflexkracht house, where she also acts as caretaker.

“I've lived in different places in the Netherlands. Since February 2018, I've been living with my boyfriend and six other Polish colleagues in Burgerveen, in this house owned by abflexkracht. My friend says I act like a mother hen,” says Alicja, beaming with pride. “Now that my daughters don't need me to take care of them any more, I take care of the people I live with instead. We share this house with good, kind people; I like to think of us as one big family.”

In total, abflexkracht manages around 350 beds in various residences. At each residence, a caretaker is assigned to ensure the housing is safe and clean and has a pleasant home-like atmosphere. Alicja is the caretaker for her residence. “I appreciate the opportunity to do this. I's a way for me to contribute to a home-like feeling. That's important to me, because I think a house should be a safe harbour to come home to. 


“My responsibilities? I welcome new residents, make sure they get settled in properly and tell them all about the house. Besides that, I coordinate and plan different tasks, like the cleaning schedule and the visitor sign-in sheet, and I take care of minor technical issues.” I'm also the designated contact for abflexkracht and I attend a meeting for residential caretakers four times a year.”

Alicja loves to cook, clean and fuss over her houseplants. The residents in her house often take their meals together. Today's menu is Polish blood sausage with sauerkraut, potatoes and bacon – and the whole house smells delicious. While checking the oven, Alicja explains: “I work with plants all day long, and I like looking after growing things in the evenings as well. At the weekends, I sometimes go to a Polish festival or to the beach at Zandvoort. But I amuse myself just fine here at home, too. I truly feel at home here in this house. There's a feeling of safety and I can rest easy sleeping with the windows open. We also have very sweet Dutch neighbours with whom we have frequent contact.”


Alicja concludes by saying, “I'm going back to Poland for a holiday soon. When I do, I'll be able to wrap my arms around my two daughters and my grandchildren again; I miss them very much. My dreams for the future? To stay healthy, then everything else will work out. One day I hope to live with my boyfriend, daughters and grandchildren in a house of our own. Whether that's in Poland or the Netherlands doesn't matter to me. I feel equally at home in both countries.”