Uitwaaien may 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 on earth 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).
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.
I love the Dutch word “uitwaaien” which means “to go out in windy weather, particularly into nature, as a means of refreshing oneself and clearing one’s mind.” 🌬️ 🌳— Kim van Daalen (@DaalenKim) March 1, 2023
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 three-step guide to uitwaaien for best results:
- Walk outside,
- Feel the wind blowing against your hair, clothes, and body, 🌬
- There is no step three.
That’s it! Feel the stress melt away from your body, the wind whisks away any troublesome thoughts, and be the best Dutch version of yourself you can be. 💪
Translation: Walk with your head in the clouds more often. ⛅️ Then life is (even) more beautiful! ❤️
Where should I go uitwaaien?
Ooh, we sense someone itching to try to be the best version of themselves they can be! You go, [reader]! Alright, there’s only one rule: you should be outside.
The best places to clear your head are either the beach (and we have some great recommendations!) or the countryside. Why? Fewer buildings to obstruct the wind = more wind = improved uitwaaien. Promise! 🤝
Who can I go 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?
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? Tell us in the comments below!
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in September 2019, but was fully updated in July 2023 for your reading pleasure.