Typical Dutch

Exercise in all weathers

It was a cold November night last year, and I was still adapting to temperatures below 25oC. I was on my way home from the Leeuwenborch, steadying my almost-shivering limbs. And suddenly a girl was zooming past me in her jogging shoes and sports outfit, which barely covered her arms and legs. Is she human,…

One thing I find interesting in the Netherlands is the fact that people over 60s can still enjoy life to the full. Even some of my lecturers are already in their 60s and they are still sharp and witty. It’s so different back home, where people like them have already experienced their first (or second) heart attack and have diabetes or osteoporosis. I suspect this has something to do with cycling around every day. It’s a no-brainer that daily exercise can protect you from age-related diseases.

But apparently, for Dutch people cycling around town every day is not enough exercise. Day and night, even when it’s windy or rainy, I keep seeing people running diligently around town or the jogging track at De Bongerd. I find it amazing that those people choose to run when a mere mortal like me chooses to sit as close as possible to the heater. Maybe it has something to do with the so-called ‘thermal pants’ they wear. In any case, it shows their respect for their bodies, and it’s a good habit that I should pick up during my stay here.

Do you have a nice anecdote about your experience of going Dutch? Send it in! Describe an encounter with Dutch culture in detail and comment on it briefl y. 300 words max. Send it to and earn 25 euros and Dutch candy.

Ferdy Sechan, MSc student of Biotechnology, from Indonesia

NL: Sporten in de kou

Rillend van de kou was Ferdy Sechan onderweg naar huis toen een vrouwelijke jogger langs kwam rennen, in een outfit die haar armen en benen nauwelijks bedekte. Nederlanders, die elke dag fietsen, vinden blijkbaar dat ze nog niet genoeg bewegen. Terwijl een gewone sterveling als Ferdy het liefst bij de verwarming zou zitten, gaan Nederlanders in weer en wind hardlopen. Het is een gezond volkje. In Indonesië hebben zestigers vaak al een hartaanval gehad, of diabetes. Zo niet in Nederland.

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