How the Dutch Dip Into the New Year under COVID Rules Posted by on Jan 11, 2021 in Culture, News

Everybody starts the new year differently. A common way for the Dutch is the nieuwjaarsduik (New Year’s Dip). Dutch maniacs (that’s what I call them) all over the country dip into freezing January water in nothing but their swimwear. And, at least at the largest event, an orange unoxmutsje (Unox hat). With the sausage maker’s sponsorship, the event has been growing ever larger in the past year. Masses of people that run towards the sea for a quick, cold dip has become the norm. However, as you now probably think, “no way they did that this year, because coronavirus“. That’s exactly right! But the Dutch are inventive, as they’ve shown before with Koningsdag last April. So how did they manage to do a nieuwjaarsduik while social distancing?

Als jij niet naar de zee kan komen, komt de zee gewoon naar jou – the nieuwjaarsduik uit blik

Realizing that these massive crowds were not possible, Unox came up with a smart way to save the January tradition. Under the motto als jij niet naar de zee kan komen, komt de zee gewoon naar jou (if you can’t come to the sea, the sea simply comes to you), Unox created the nieuwjaarsduik uit blik (New Year’s dip from a can). This blik is filled with noordzeewater (North Sea water), as that’s the water that people dip into with the Unox nieuwjaarsduik. Before using it, however, you have to put the water in the koelkast (fridge) for a while. Of course, you don’t want to get showered in water at a pleasant temperature. Like I said, maniacs!

The nieuwjaarsduik uit blik was available for free in December on; As you can imagine, they went very quickly. Within the day they were put online, all 25.000 were gone. Those lucky enough to get a blik, could perform their thuisduik (home dip) and share it on social media with #unoxthuisduik. So, it made for a great kerstcadeau (Christmas gift), too!

Everybody was asked to do their thuisduik at noon on January 1.

So what if you couldn’t get a blik? Does that mean you can’t participate? Well, Unox had an answer for this too. And if you want to do a late one, you can participate this way as well!

Do it yourself!

Nieuwjaarsduik Unoxmuts thuisduik

My own Unox muts I have lying around at home! (Image by author)

Realizing that they couldn’t possibly satisfy demand, Unox also published a document with instructions on how to make a nieuwjaarsduik uit blik yourself. Of course, this wouldn’t be real noorzeewater, but it’s the same idea.

At this link, you can download instructions and even etiketten (labels) for your blik, so that it also looks just like the real deal. Here’s what you need:

1. Een willekeurig leeg blik om water in te doen*.
2. Water, voor in het willekeurige lege blik.
3. Een mespuntje zout (voor het zee effect).
4. Een koelkast om het in koud te zetten.
5. Een plek om te thuisduiken. Bijvoorbeeld: tuin, douche of balkon.
6. Een horloge, zodat je weet wanneer het 1 januari 12:00 uur is.

In English:

1. Any empty can to put the water in.
2. Water to put into that empty can.
3. A pinch of salt (for the sea effect).
4. A fridge to keep it cold.
5. A place to do the home dip. For example: garden, shower or balcony.
6. A watch, so that you know when it’s noon on January 1.

Why not do a nieuwjaarsduik on January 11? I think the entire month still counts to wash this last year off! Well, it should, considering how ongezellig that year was.

Have you participated in the nieuwjaarsduik before? Will you participate with the thuisduik? Do you have similar traditions in your country, and how did they find a solution during these trying times? Let me know in the comments below!


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About the Author: Sten

Hi! I am Sten, both Dutch and German. For many years, I've written for the German and the Dutch blogs with a passion for everything related to language and culture. It's fascinating to reflect on my own culture, and in the process allow our readers to learn more about it! Besides blogging, I am a German-Dutch-English translator and filmmaker.

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