Typical (old-) Dutch – Chat while you swim

My friends always told me the Dutch like talking, but I was not convinced until I went swimming.
Illustration: Henk van Ruitenbeek

Dutch people even chat while they swim. What a good way to get exercise and communicate at the same time!

I learnt to swim in China, following a standard course, step by step. We have to wear a swimming cap, swimming goggles, and some people even need a nose clip.  No entry without a swimming cap at most pools. Most people learn to swim as a hobby or for exercise, and some may aim for skill or speed as well. It’s totally different for the Dutch people I have seen, who do not need swimming caps or goggles, as they always keep their heads above water. Two or more friends swim alongside each other, chatting and laughing.

It would surely be much easier if we did not take swimming so seriously

I always have a swim as a form of exercise, set a target first and try to accomplish it, then go back with a strong sense of achievement, but usually feeling tired. I guess most Chinese are the same, and to relax we usually chat when we are having a rest. It would surely be much easier if we did not take swimming so seriously, but just saw it as a form of relaxation. How efficiently the Dutch swim, actually! Now I am learning to swim the ‘Dutch way’, and perhaps one day I too will be able to talk as I swim.

This Typical Dutch was previously published in Resource on 7 July 2010 and was sent in by Wenling Liu, a PhD student in the Environmental Policy Group at the time.

Do you have a nice anecdote about your experience of going Dutch? Send it in! 300 words max. Send it to resource@wur.nl and earn 25 euros and Dutch candy.

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