First there was the Danish hygge, then there was the Dutch niksen, now the Netherlands brings you the latest in lifestyle wonders: uitwaaien. It might very well be the next big thing after the magical Dutch Reach. It’s the cure-all to everything life throws at a Dutch person! Stressed? Go uitwaaien. Anxious? Go uitwaaien. Need to relax? Go uitwaaien.

But what exactly is this Dutch phenomenon? An illegal party drug concocted in the liberal Netherlands? A state of mind? A mythical exercise like yoga or pilates? Well actually, it’s ridiculously simple. Read on and we’ll tell you what the hell uitwaaien is, what it can achieve, and how to do it like a pro.

What is uitwaaien?

The word literally means blow out. That’s not helpful, because it sounds like something that would get you arrested. However, uitwaaien is quite simply an untranslatable word: there is no English equivalent.

(There’s also no English equivalent of abandoning your kids in the woods in the middle of the night – but the Dutch do that too).

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Uitwaaien langs de Aa… en ja hoor, daar zijn de eerste druppels al… heerlijk na zo'n hete dag als vandaag! . . #afkoelen #uitwaaien #wandelenindekempen #wandelen #wanderlust #prachtigewolken #wolkendek #wolkenlucht #beautifulsky #iederedagwandelen #stappenteller #visitdestillekempen #vorselaar

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The closest we can get to giving this singular word meaning in English is ‘to walk with the wind’. Sounds…spiritual. Also a lot longer than one single Dutch word – those Dutchies are efficient!

But don’t go writing uitwaaien off alongside incense and Ouija boards: it’s an incredibly simple and useful practice that is used by most Dutchies at some point in their lives. It’s easy, requires no training, and just feels really really good.

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How do I go uitwaaien?

It’s one of the simplest Dutch activities – in fact, you’ve probably done it before without even realising it. Follow our simple 3-step guide to uitwaaien for best results:

  1. Walk outside
  2. Feel the wind blowing against your hair, clothes, and body.
  3. There is no Step 3

That’s it! Feel the stress melt away off your body, the wind whisk away any troublesome thoughts, and be the best Dutch version of yourself you can be.

Where should I go uitwaaien?

Ooh, we sense someone itching to try being the best version of themselves they can be! LAME. Just kidding! You go, [reader]! Alright, there’s only one rule: you should be outside.

A girl practicing uitwaaien with her hair blowing in the wind
Go on, get uit there and uitwaaien! Image: 7901455/Pixabay

The best places to clear your head are either the beach (and we have some great recommendations!) or the countryside. Why? Simple maths. Fewer buildings to obstruct the wind = more wind = improved uitwaaien. Promise!

Who can I go uitwaaien with?

Anyone you want. You can do this with you, yourself and you. But, you can also choose to enjoy it with a friend, a group, family, or colleagues.

Just remember: if you’re stressing about doing uitwaaien well enough, you’re not doing it well. Relax!

When should I go uitwaaien?

Any time between 00:00 and 23:59. You can go out with the sole purpose of doing it, or it can be entirely coincidental. Any more questions?

Have you tried this Dutch phenomenon before? How did it make you feel? Or do you just really need this in your life? Let us know in the comments below – then go out and put it into action!

Feature Image: Rajarshi Mitra/Flickr

3 COMMENTS

  1. Hahahahaaaaaaaaaaa!!!

    I love this website and this article. Reading about how foreigners experience things that are completely natural to us ‘Dutchies’ is the funniest thing. I’m developing a newfound appreciation for my own culture; how funny are we! hahaha!

    Keep it going!

  2. Uitwaaien? The perfect activity to release stress for me. I learned about uitwaaien when I bumped into a guy at the top of the “stranded” submarine in the Marine Museum in Den Helder. He was just standing there, uitwaaien. We started chatting and he explained what an mind blowing thing it can be to just let the wind (at that particular day it was rather a storm) clear your mind. I gave it a try and am hooked since that day.
    Give it a try folks. You don’t have to got to the Netherlands to uitwaaien, but it makes it even better.

  3. I was born in Den Helder, below sealevel and surrounded by sea, sand and dikes on three sides. Uitwaaien is a way of life. I still take my troubles/worries to the wind and water. Preferably during a storm. Better than any pills.

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