Most people find it hard to do nothing. Which is not to say we have trouble finding idle distractions. We’re quite good at that. Scroll through our feeds? Sure. Hang around the house with a friend? Easy. But the idea of doing truly nothing seems impossible. Sitting alone, motionless, with no distraction. It’s nearly distressing. Unless you’re Dutch. In that case, you may know all about niksen—the act of doing nothing at all. The word transliterates roughly as “nothing-doing, ” and in practice, means actively deciding to sit and surrender the rudder of your mind. It should not be confused with meditation, which is a disciplined journey into the self. The point of niksen is to forgo mental discipline altogether. To give the mind a stretch. This story is from Kinfolk Issue Forty-Nine Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 48 Sweet Nothing On the virtues of hanging out. Arts & Culture Issue 48 Money for Nothing On collecting ephemera. Arts & Culture Issue 39 The Next Big Nothing On not quite making it. Arts & Culture Issue 49 Karin Mamma Andersson Inside the moody, mysterious world of Sweden’s preeminent painter. Arts & Culture Issue 49 Jenny Odell The acclaimed author in search of lost time. Arts & Culture Issue 49 Amalie Smith The Danish arts writer finding clarity between the lines.