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Introducing ‘niksen’, the Dutch philosophy of doing nothing set to change the way you relax and recharge.

The Danish introduced us to ‘hygge’, a feeling of cosy contentment that promotes enjoyment in the simple things in life. From Sweden, we borrowed ‘lagom’, the moderation philosophy that’s all about finding balance. And now, from the Netherlands direct to your iso-life, there’s ‘niksen’: the art of doing absolutely nothing. Niksen promises to help you de-stress, relax and recharge. It’s as simple as lazing in bed, staring out the window or listening to music – without any purpose whatsoever.

Twiddling your thumbs

Niksen is “to idle, to lounge around, to sit around … to hang about, to do nothing much, to stand around”, writes Carolien Janssen in Niksen: The Dutch Art of Doing Nothing. People watching at the park, laying on a deck chair in the backyard, daydreaming and literally watching paint dry all fit the bill.

Importantly, doing nothing the Dutch way means there’s no purpose or end goal, no self-improvement, ambition or sense of achievement. Niksen is gloriously unproductive and indulgent. It’s not about using extra time at home during the Covid-19 pandemic to clean out your linen closet or learn to bake cinnamon scrolls – or feeling guilty because you haven’t ticked the jobs off your to-do list.

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