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niksen: embracing the dutch art of doing nothing

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One of my summer reads was Niksen: Embracing the Dutch Art of Doing Nothing, by DelftMaMa community member Olga Mecking. I enjoyed reading it and recommend it for a cosy, long autumn night.


You may already be acquainted with Olga Mecking and her work.  She is a contributing author of Dutched Up!: Rocking the Clogs Expat Style, a collection of stories from expat bloggers living in the Netherlands.

In her latest book, Olga talks about the Dutch culture of Niksen as well as differences and similarities with other cultural methods. She takes you on a journey to get into the mindset of doing nothing, and shares practical tips to implement Niksen. 


Before reading this book, I was familiar with the word ‘niks’ but not with the concept of ‘Niksen’.  Why choose to relax and do nothing (niks), in other words Niksen? That is the question answered in this book.

What I liked most about this book is that it gives you the framework of the Dutch lifestyle and culture while explaining further about a wellness concept. As a bonus, questions are provided at the end of each chapter to assess your personal situation.


As a working mother and foreigner in the Netherlands, I often search and follow self-care advice from experts. I took notes from Olga’s suggestions on how to embrace Niksen and do it effortlessly, in a structured or mindful way. A full appendix is provided at the end of the book to allow further research into the subject.  I appreciate the referencing to experts in psychology, sociology, and happiness, as well as information about the human behaviour and how we are programmed.


This book is recommended as a useful resource for busy people who struggle to balance work, family, and household chores. It will help you reflect and assess where you are in life, what is best for you, and how to chill without the guilt.

What Olga echoes about current lifestyles is that it is not so easy to take time for yourself to sit and do nothing without effort. Usual impediments being the internet, trying to keep busy to soothe ourselves, and peer pressure. 


The book is lengthy but flows nicely. The illustrations and information provided are well designed so that you enjoy learning. Olga’s personal stories will also bring a smile to your face.


This book was written and published during the strangest time of our decade in which we are in a pandemic. We all felt a bit uncomfortable because most of our time-consuming activities got cancelled. So why not sit back in a comfy spot, grab your favourite drink, and learn to embrace the art of doing nothing? 🙂

Niksen: Embracing the Dutch Art of Doing Nothing is a nicely written book with fun illustrations. Find it online and in bookstores in English and Dutch. It is currently being translated into other languages. If you want to know more about Olga Mecking, click here.

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