Back | Events

Out now: The Lost Art of Doing Nothing: How the Dutch Unwind with “Niksen”

Book cover: The Lost Art of Doing Nothing: How the Dutch Unwind with “Niksen”

@ Lona Aalders, Maartje Willems

Tue, Mar 16 - Sat, May 15  2021

Book Release: The Lost Art of Doing Nothing

How the Dutch Unwind with Niksen by Maartje Willems, Lona Aalders

“The best thing about niksen is the absence of a goal. It doesn’t serve a purpose, but it’s wonderful.”

Don’t you think it’s time for a break? Plagued—as we are!—by nonstop pings and notifications, we have lost the knack of zoning out. Kicking back. Slacking off. Even when pandemic-induced lockdowns forcibly cleared our calendars, many who thought “I’m free!”, filled their days with Netflix and doom-scrolling. How can we reclaim our free time (planned or not) to truly rest and reset?

If you’re curious to learn more there’s a book for you! The Art of Doing Nothing was released on March 16, published by The Experiment.

Written by Maartje Willems accompanied with whimsical illustrations by Lona Aalders, translated into English, this book will be a welcome and fun read to put a busy life into perspective:

The Dutch have it figured out: with niksen. Perhaps their best-kept lifestyle secret, niksen is the art of doing, well, nothing. It’s the opposite of productivity, and it’s incredibly good for your . . .

MIND—it makes you calmer.
BODY—it offers rest on hectic days.
CREATIVITY—it clears a space for brilliant ideas.
WALLET—it’s free!

Order the book through Bookshop, in support of local bookstores.

To mark the publication of the book, a special Buzzfeed article will give interested readers a few more pointers on How To Do Nothing And Not Feel Guilty About It and to “stop the glorification of busy, busy schedules.”

Special event with The Netherland Club

On Sunday, May 2nd, 11AM EST, a special event will be organized together with the publisher, Experiment, and The Netherland Club of New York.

NLCLUB’s Books at Breakfast is a unique bookclub where books of Dutch authors are discussed . The authors are invited to join the conversation and dive into the book from their own perspective.

Maartje Willems and Lona Aalders will dive into the genius, Dutch concept of niksen and why we Dutch should teach it to our friends. If you have never heard of the phrase “Lekker Niksen!” before then make sure to clear your morning on May 2nd. Grab a cup of coffee, Zoom in, and enjoy, while the authors elaborate on the concept. Registration (free) through this link.

The reviews are in!

“A charming and accessible how-to guide to chilling out.”—BuzzFeed

“Charming . . . This pleasant, effortless work will be perfect for any busybody.”—Publishers Weekly

“I got a surprising amount of guidance. . . . It looks like a coffee table gift book, partly because of the lovely illustrations. . . but there are questions to answer and exercises to try.”—The Boston Globe

About the authors

Maartje Willems is a Dutch journalist and writer. She lives in Amsterdam where she works as a freelancer and for the VPRO radio program Never Sleep Again. She previously wrote the self-help book Vanaf nu wordt alles beter (From now on everything will get better).

Lona Aalders is a photographer and illustrator. She lives in a tiny house in Baambrugge and sees slow living as her personal religion. She previously authored the book Bullet Journaling: This is How You Do It! and illustrated Vanaf Nu wordt alles beter for Maartje Willems.


DutchCulture USA