Uitwaaien | Dutch Wind Therapy to Clear the Mind

Published: Sep 29, 2023 | Revised: Jan 19, 2024
Edited by: Marce Ferreira

Uitwaaien | Dutch Wind Therapy

Uitwaaien is a little known but common Dutch Wind Therapy, or perhaps better — an outdoor Dutch Wind Relaxation Activity. In fact, in the Netherlands (Holland) everyone knows about Uitwaaien, and most people engage in the practice.

In means that you go outside walking (or jogging) in windy weather, typically into Nature, particularly on the beach, along the shore, in the dunes, in a polder, or in the countryside. Yet, one could also go into a park or just walk through the streets.

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The idea behind Uitwaaien is to refresh and invigorate oneself by having a good, usually fresh or cold wind or breeze in one’s face to clear one’s mind. It’s therefore a practice more commonly done in autumn, winter or spring, and by wearing a thick coat or jacket.

The word Uitwaaien is difficult to translate into sensible English. One could opt for “catching some fresh air” or “grab some air,” which are well-known concepts in English, but that’s a bit too limited compared to the meaning of Uitwaaien in Dutch.

In fact, Uitwaaien exists of the two parts “uit” and “waaien”. Uit can mean “out” or “outside,” and waaien can mean “wind that blows” or “things that move by the wind.” Nevertheless, to translate it as “outblowing,” “wind-outblowing,” “outside-windblowing,” “the wind blowing out,” or something like that, would make no sense at all.

At best one could translate Uitwaaien more liberally by saying that “one blows stress or anxiety away by means of the wind.” Additionally, in the Netherlands it’s generally thought that sitting or walking in a strong, cold or fresh wind is simply beneficial for one’s general health, which would imply that you “blow away disease by using the wind,” or that reposing or moving in cold air is “a good for health” activity strengthening you.

Uitwaaien can be done with another person or with a group, but it’s actually often done alone. Usually it doesn’t take very long; it may be like half an hour or an hour max, although it may be longer depending on the person. People who have a dog may also take the dog out with them; it gives the dog its round while you can engage in Uitwaaien, a kind of killing two birds with one stone, as the saying goes.

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