The first week of January the Washington Post dedicated an article to the Dutch custom of ‘uitwaaien’ (Check Forvo for the pronunciation). Although the article focuses a bit too much on surfing to explain the concept, I thought it was quite interesting. Does it really explain an aspect of Dutch culture or does it actually show an aspect of American culture? As a Dutch native, I assume the latter. But yes, that’s my point of view from Amsterdam. I wonder how other world citizens think about it.
WHAT IS UITWAAIEN?
Uitwaaien is taking a walk when it’s windy. The wind should be fresh and cool. You cannot do it in a hot summer’s breeze. The beach is a perfect place to do it. The waves are beating the beach and you’re struggling against the wind. But while it might look that the wind is holding you back, the wind is performing a cleansing ritual on you. Visualise the wind blowing right through your head and blowing away all cobwebs in there. If you want, you can extend this vision to your whole body. Afterwards you’ll feel cool, clear and unclouded. The fog In your brain is/has gone.
WHAT DOES THIS SAY ABOUT DUTCH AND AMERICAN CULTURE?
The Netherlands are very windy. The wind is one of the elements we have to learn to live with, just like the rain. Wind and rain don’t stop us to jump on the bike or go for a walk. Reading the Washington Post article makes me think that Americans apparently only go for a walk when the weather is nice. They see walking (and bicycling) as pure recreational. They take the car to a shop that’s just 1,5 miles away. They definitely don’t go for a walk on a windy day. They do miss something.
A SILLY ARTICLE
So the article definitely made me raise a brow. But then again, I’m also a writer and sometimes a client asks you to write a silly blog. This might be just one of those articles. And I suppose it’s nice that we, as a country, get some recognition for our way of life.
Are you an American and even more silly? Then you’d like to take some online Dutch classes with me.
read the Washington Post article here: