Taking happiness to the streets


Schoolboys in Flores Indonesia - happiness around the globe the project

We are living in a world of countless opportunities. A world full of continuous hunger for better. For more. More of everything, including happiness. No surprise that the number of self-help books about happiness is increasing rapidly, but unfortunately so is the number of burn-outs.

It seems like our Western culture, community and daily life is formed on certain values from the past. Hard work, higher status, more power all equals safety and therefore a good life. However, in today’s global world of endless opportunities, expectations and extrinsic rewards, the question arises whether these factors indeed lead to a good life.

In fact, the question is what makes a good life?

Happiest countries according to the stats

Today, there are many different definitions of happiness and research on happiness and the happiest countries. The most known report is published yearly by the world happiness forum. It results in a competitive list of the most, and least, happy countries, called The World Happiness Index.

The World Happiness Index – measuring real GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity, and perceptions of corruption. Based on this list, Norway ranks # 1. Surprisingly or not, we – the Dutchies – are ranked # 6 on the list of happiest countries.

Although the ranking gives a good insight into what makes one country a happier than the other according to their criteria, it still leaves us wondering how happiness in those countries looks like, especially as it’s strongly dominated by western countries. The same countries where burnout rates are sky high and you hear victims of depression (officially reported) all around.

We believe that it is the people who make a country happy, not the numbers, and are quit surprised that a relaxed and joyful smiling fisherman in Costa Rica is supposed to be less happy than the average Dutch citizen (no hard feelings dutchies, we just complain a lot).

We believe it’s the personal stories that need to be heard. These stories teach us something new. They make us ask questions and challenge us to action.

So what, or better, WHO makes these happiest countries so happy and HOW? Are the happiest people really living in these countries? How do people in less happy countries define happiness?

Unique stories we can learn from


That’s why we have set up a quest. A quest to better understand what happiness means to people, what makes them happy and what they actively do to achieve happiness. How do they define happiness within their own nation? What is their secret to being happy?

We will be visiting 25 happiest countries to talk to 250 people. We’ll travel to some of the top countries listed in the WHI, complemented with countries that don’t score high at all on the same index and are represented in the bottom of the ranking, and we’ll visit countries ranked high on the Happy Planet Index.

It is our ambition to get a better understanding of how others try to be happy and in which way cultures and places might play a role in this. The outcome of our conversations with all the people we meet we will write down in blogs per country. We want to inspire and motivate people to pursue their own happiness and counteract the Western unhappiness epidemic.

Sharing is caring: giving back some happiness to the countries we visit


Besides the inspiring stories and unique tips we hope to pick up and share with the rest of the world, we want to give some happiness back to the countries we visit. In each country we will choose a charity to which we’ll donate part of our earnings during our trip to give back some happiness to the locals. Despite the fact that happiness is for a larger part not affected by money, life circumstances and situation, we believe everyone deserves the possibility to meet the basic human needs. For this, money definitely plays a role.

We hope that you’ll follow our journey and be inspired!

But be careful because after all, happiness is contagious 😉

#sharehappiness #makehappinessgoviral