What sacrifices are we willing to make to maintain our trajectory career? What choices would we reconsider in hindsight? Nadine van Loon’s NOTES FROM BRUSSELS follows three women and their drive to keep ahead in Brussels’ fast-paced institutions as they pursue their European dream.

The documentary ‘Notes from Brussels’ follows three women working behind the scenes of European politics; a young French political assistant in the European Parliament, a Polish trade journalist and a German top EU official. Just like the film’s director and narrator the women moved to Brussels at the onset of their careers longing to contribute to Europe. But where the director left this setting after a burnout, these women stayed.

Filmed between 2017 and 2021 we experience how time in the Brussels bubble impacts the women’s lives. As they internalize a European mindset and adapt to the intense work-rhythm we wonder: to what extent can the women heed their inner voice calling them to slow down and to not estrange from their roots?Along the way the director realizes how she herself has become an outsider to this world she once belonged to. Now back living in Brussels with her family she recognizes elements in the women’s struggles that in her case triggered a burnout. What is the price of her choice to leave this work setting and the main characters’ choice to stay? How to embrace reality as it unfolds?

The women’s stories are set against the background of rising Euroscepticism in France; Poland drifting away from the European ideals and the lingering EU migration crisis. As a result the documentary also reminds us how our European values are threatened by the rise of authoritarianism and how fragile European cooperation sometimes is.

Genre documentary
Year 2021
PRODUCTION InContext Producties
DIRECTOR Nadine van Loon
COUNTRY The Netherlands
DURATION 79 minutes
LANGUAGES English, French, German, Polish
FILMED IN Belgium, France, Poland
FORMAT DCP, 1920X1080, 25FPS, 5.1 SURROUND


‘Notes from Brussels’ world premiere will take place 2 December in Cinema Galeries Brussels and is co-organized by the German Marshall Fund of the United States. GMF will moderate the after-discussion with Peter Chase, senior fellow at GMF, the film’s main characters Anne-Cécile Gault, Joanna Sopinska, Beate Gminder and director Nadine van Loon.

The documentary also screens in Cinema Galeries on 8/12 at 21:00, 15/12 at 19:00 and 22/12 at 21:00. The screening on 15/12 is followed by a Q & A with main character Beate Gminder and director Nadine van Loon. Buy your tickets at the Cinema Galeries website.

Please check regularly for newly listed screenings or contact us if you would like to organise a screening yourself.

2 december World Premiere

Cinema Galeries – Brussels
Thursday 2 December – sold out.

8 december

Cinema Galeries – Brussels
Wednesday 8 December at 21:00 – tickets available here.

15 december

Cinema Galeries – Brussels
Wednesday 15 December at 19:00 – followed by a Q & A with director and cast. Tickets available here.

22 december

Cinema Galeries – Brussels
Wednesday 22 December at 19:00 – Tickets available here.

“Integer fringilla turpis non mollis scelerisque.”

de Volkskrant

“Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, congfrgfddsectetur adipiscing elit”

Tom Borey

“I sensed the meaning they found in their careers and wondered; how do they do it?
European dream that brought them to Brussels?”

Ben Marshall


In 2016 I moved back again to Brussels with my family. Strolling along the EU institutions memories popped up of earlier versions of myself; a young political assistant in the European Parliament; then a Dutch diplomat who regularly travelled to Brussels for EU meetings. As I reconnected again with friends from my ‘first round’ in Brussels and met new people, I loved their open mindset and European perspective. To me this means curiosity for each other and an acceptance that we are all molded by our own backgrounds; that we need to listen to one another in order to find a common path. In an almost melancholic way ‘Europe’ got hold of me again and it is from that feeling that this film sprung.

I got fascinated by all these women I saw working in and around the EU institutions. I sensed the meaning they found in their careers and wondered; how do they do it? How to they continue pursuing this European dream that brought them to Brussels? As I was filming my main characters, subconsciously I was examining whether I myself made the right choice to leave this work-environment behind me, whilst at the same time being well aware why I left.

By interweaving three intimate portraits of women in different phases of their life I hope to highlight what women have achieved so far at the workplace. And I want to explore what the accompanying inner struggles tell us about the ‘EU bubble’ and more broadly our societies. By showing viewers how this addictive European reality absorbs the women, the film raises the question whether the women choose their intense work-routine or whether this work-routine imposes itself. Thereby I hope to spark a conversation about the toll that long working hours and stress can take in our fast-paced lives.

We often hear complaints about the EU bureaucracy and its ‘technocrats’. Through my film I want to show the human face behind ‘Brussels’ while triggering reflections on the future of work from a female perspective. As we transition to post-lockdown ‘hybrid working’ my film can create a platform for oft-avoided conversations about what we need as humans for our wellbeing at work.

Bio director & character profiles

nadine van loon
(Dutch, 46)

Nadine van Loon holds a Masters degree in Contemporary History. She was a political assistant to a Dutch MEP in the European Parliament, then joined the Dutch Foreign Service where she mainly worked in EU-related positions. Along the way she increasingly followed her urge to explore through storytelling how the spirit of our times impacts people’s life choices. Between 2006 and 2009, during a sabbatical leave, she lived in Morocco as a journalist writing for Dutch newspapers and magazines. Back in the Netherlands she decided to leave the Foreign Service in 2012. As a filmmaker, she made several short films for museum exhibitions. ‘Notes from Brussels’ is her documentary debut.

Anne-Cécile Gault
(French, 1991)

After completing her masters in both French-German relations and European Affairs from Science Po in Strasbourg, Anne-Cécile became a ‘Robert Schuman’ trainee at the office of the European Parliament in Munich. When Nadine started filming her in June 2017 she was the political assistant to French Member of the European Parliament Nathalie Griesbeck (Mouvement Démocrate, Renew Europe-group). Since the summer of 2019 Anne- Cécile works for French MEP Laurence Farreng also from the Mouvement Démocrate.

Joanna Sopinska
(Polish, 1977)

Joanna holds a masters in international relations from the University of Lódź in Poland. She started her studies there in 1995, six years after the fall of communism. In 2004 she completed a masters in European Affairs from the European Institute of Public Administration in Maastricht. Two years after Poland joined the EU Joanna moved to Brussels where she has become an experienced reporter on trade, investment policy and foreign affairs. She currently writes for MLex Market Insight as senior trade correspondent.

Beate Gminder
(German, 1967)

Beate studied journalism in Munich and joined the civil service of the European Commission in 1995. When Nadine started filming her in 2017 she was the Secretary General at the European Ombudsman’s Office. She then became director at the European Commission, managing the EU’s migration, asylum and integration budgets, including the funding for border and police cooperation. In November 2020 Beate was nominated deputy Director General, heading the Taskforce Migration Management that aims to improve the migration management on Lesvos (Greece).

host a screening

Thank you for your interest in hosting a private screening of the documentary Notes from Brussels within your corporation, organization or community. These screenings contribute to the film’s goals to show the human face behind the ‘Brussels bubble’ and trigger reflections on Europe and the future of work from a female perspective. Screenings can for example be organized for events that focus on themes such as Europe, (female) leadership, the future of work, (EU) careers and wellbeing at work. We will begin scheduling the screenings as of December 2021 and they can take place after December 22nd 2021. Please fill out the application form below and we will get back to you as soon as possible. 

For smaller groups or individuals we recommend waiting until the film becomes available on Vimeo on Demand (probably around September 2022).

For non-profit organizations the cost per screening (ex VAT) is  € 400 plus € 8 for each person above 50 people. For corporations the cost per screening (ex VAT) is € 500 plus € 10 for each person above 50. We give a reduction to universities, young professional communities etc. Please therefore indicate in your application the type of organization or community that is making the request.

The director can also be booked to be present at the event and for a QenA after the film. If you wish Nadine van Loon’s presence, please indicate this in your application and she will inform you about the possibilities. Upon request we can recommend a moderator for your event. A favorite suggestion is Daria Nashat who has been involved as a consultant during the filmmaking process and is based in Brussels.

A private screening entails

A one-time screening, organized in a private setting.

The screening can be done on location or digitally through a streaming-link made available for the duration of the screening.

It is also possible to organize the screening in a cinema. This entails extra costs to rent a cinema room and to transport the film’s Digital Cinema Package (DCP) to the cinema, either through an external hard disk or through an online server. Upon request we can put you in contact with selected cinemas.

What is included?

Screening fee:

Screening rights to host a one-time private screening in your organization or community.

Link to access the film for online streaming (in case of non-cinema screening).

Images, a link to the film’s trailer, a digital film-poster and short texts (e.g for the invitations)

Support from inContext Producties.

Please note the screening rights for a one-time private screening entail that all participants can view the film only during the screening. Reproduction in whatever shape or form is prohibited, as well as any sharing of the link beyond the intended screening participants. The organizers are responsible for ensuring the participants are duly informed about this.

Book a screening

Thank you very much for your screening request. At this stage, we only offer screenings to corporations, organizations or communities. For smaller groups or individuals we recommend waiting untill the film beccomes available on Vimeo on Demand.

If you would like to book a screening, fill in the form on the right.

Your name and contact details (email, phone etc).

Your organization & website of the organization and a brief introduction of yourself and your organization.

How many people you estimate will participate in your screening as well as a maximum number of participants.

What type of screening are you planning to hold? (a free screening for your community? A training or reflection tool for your staff? Other?)

Expected event date.






    Tell us about yourself and your organization

    Estimated number of Participants

    Max number of Participants

    Type of screening

    “Integer fringilla turpis non mollis scelerisque.”

    de Volkskrant

    “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, congfrgfddsectetur adipiscing elit”

    Tom Borey

    “I sensed the meaning they found in their careers and wondered; how do they do it?
    European dream that brought them to Brussels?”

    Ben Marshall


    You can download the English presskit here

    For press inquiries get in touch



    Beate Gminder, Joanna Sopinska and Anne-Cécile Gault


    Nadine van Loon


    Nadine van Loon


    Nadine van Loon


    Merel Notten


    Huibert Boon


    Merel Notten


    Gijs van Klooster


    Bob Soetekouw


    Karijn Kakebeeke


    Fleur Amesz, Karijn Kakebeeke


    Susanne Keilhack

    web DESIGN

    Vincent de Vries


    Daria Nashat, Annemiek van der Hell


    269 crowdfunders, Paul Culley, Renew Europe, FTI Consulting, Atomium, The Nine


    inContext Producties
    Nadine van Loon

    © inContext Producties