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Germany to develop 'happiness index'

The Local · 17 Jan 2011, 17:59

Published: 17 Jan 2011 17:59 GMT+01:00

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Following in the footsteps of other major European economies Britain and France, a cross-party committee headed by speaker of parliament Norbert Lammert will issue its recommendations in two-and-a-half years.

The so-called "Progress Index" will measure Germany's economic wealth, as well as advancements in education, environment and quality of life.

"This indicator should become a compass for policy-makers in order to show where our society stands, and if people are better or worse off," said MP Daniela Kolbe in Berlin.

A growing number of nations have decided GDP figures alone cannot fully describe the standard of living a particular society offers.

In London, Prime Minister David Cameron has asked the Office of National Statistics to prepare methods to measure the "general well-being" of Britain.

Canada is investigating the viability of adopting a similar initiative and French President Nicolas Sarkozy has announced that he intended to use happiness levels as one method of assessing the country's economic progress.

Story continues below…

The pioneer of the index is the insular Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, famed for its adoption of "gross domestic happiness" as the key measurement of its success

AFP/DPA/The Local/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

20:06 January 17, 2011 by Prufrock2010
A misery index would be more accurate and informative.
20:10 January 17, 2011 by freechoice
Try the auslanderamt, lots of Happy people working there!
21:12 January 17, 2011 by marimay
Happiness under all the scowls? hah!

Nice of them to provide a picture of the only sunny day of the year!
21:32 January 17, 2011 by Gretl
You all hang out with the wrong people. The beer in the picture - it's a clue!
22:01 January 17, 2011 by So36
Jeez, aside from Gretl what a grumpy lot you all are. Ever think maybe the problem isn't so much Germany but who's starting back at you in the mirror each morning?
22:26 January 17, 2011 by jptkta
Sorry, did u mean 'grumpiness index'? yes, you will top it.
22:34 January 17, 2011 by ECSNatale
I agree So36... it's so easy to bash, but I bet most of these people are miserable gits.
00:15 January 18, 2011 by Prufrock2010
You'd lose that bet. People who are generally happy, productive and well-adjusted tend to find the insufferable German mentality...well...insufferable. It's rather like the concept of customer service. People from the first world are generally accustomed to it. In Germany, customer service is an oxymoron.

Dealing with rude, scowling cretins on a daily basis will tend to make someone grumpy.
01:21 January 18, 2011 by William Thirteen
you may be on to something there Prufrock. Cretinism is most often caused by a lack of maternal iodine, and it is an established fact that quantities of iodine in German soil are much lower than necessary for proper health - a curious situation which might go a long way to explaining several historical questions...
01:36 January 18, 2011 by Prufrock2010
I recommend idodized salt in the German diet. And some lessons in civility wouldn't hurt, either.
01:37 January 18, 2011 by ExpatUSA
Hey Prufrock2010 - ever heard of the FIFO principle? Fit in or f*ck off... ;)
01:52 January 18, 2011 by Prufrock2010
Baaaaah. To you I would truncate it: f*ck off.

When I want your advice I'll ask for it.
04:34 January 18, 2011 by Gretl
ExptatUSA: I agree with the FIFO.

Prufrock2010: Yeah, customer service sucks sometimes, but in general, the good outweighs the bad.
06:57 January 18, 2011 by CaSimone
Jersey Girl, Happy, Adjusted, Very Productive & I'm having a blast here. Seriously my encounters have shown me some of the best humor on the planet. I've been literally laughing my sides sore.

There are friendly, sweet people and/or simply helpful and then there are jerks (& Stunads) that ya wanna bonk in the head... it's the same thing everywhere.

Maybe it's a little of an adjustment to see such seriousness in the work demeanor that appears to be typical of this culture, however, personally for myself, I am very comfortable and hold a similar work ethic.

I can list vices and pro of the culture, some differ some are the same as other places, however overall......... the atmosphere is a breath of fresh air, least to this east coaster girl, accustom to the rushy, rush, can hardly take a moment, or even a breath, tri-state area race.
08:16 January 18, 2011 by marimay
Way to show me how this place isn't full of grumpy defensive people.

Its the clouds, I will blame the clouds.
08:31 January 18, 2011 by CaSimone
People tend to choose circles of associations that reflect their own character traits.

If someone has no friends, then they cannot make an assessment of how things are simply by going out in the streets & if you calling your friends grumps then your not a good friend.

No matter where one is in the world, most people are not supeeeer friendly to strangers.

Unless it's some hick town in bumble ville where u only got a 1000 people living & knowing everyone, and then their friendly is really just being nosy about a "new face."
09:31 January 18, 2011 by GermanAussier
No matter where you go there are alwyas grumpy people. There will always be people who just complain and dream of the greener grass on the other side. In Australia, there are alot of NewZealanders who the move there. They then proceed to spend every waking moment complainingabout Australia and how much better things are back in New Zealand. When i pop the question of why don't they move back then, they have nothing to say. Alot of people will complain about Germany, and I have a long list of gripes (I live in Cottbus, it's gripe city here) but I still am really glad I'm here. It's like everywhere else it's what you make it. Maybe you aren't making it all that it could be.....
09:46 January 18, 2011 by tallady
Absolutely true,,,it is horrific enough to shop here and then if you have to drive..with these discourteous arrogant bas----d's ,this puts the misery index up a few more notches. The grass may be greener on the other side,depends where you are from,but you can't get there from here.
10:09 January 18, 2011 by authun
Vodafone, DKB and Grundeigentümer Versicherung - friendly, effective customer service over the phone, at least.

@tallady There are some discourteous drivers here, indeed (although I find drivers considerate in Bavaria), but at least there aren't so many dangerous, slimy traffic cutters as in the States, where I consider it much more stressful to drive, if naught else for the ridiculous speed limit. Regarding the cutters, they are more active at the deli counters and marketplaces, mind you.
12:01 January 18, 2011 by freechoice
have you guys/gals compare the amount grumpiness in relation to the place where you come from?

I feel quite at home here...
12:10 January 18, 2011 by Eastard
You may be missing it ... Germans are problem solvers and are not happy with things are not broken... Customer service should be self service for 99% of the customer needs... I find the average German dealing with the public to be distracted by the need to communicate... The exception to this are bartenders who are commited to the right glass for the right beverage and the exact fill... Coming from the Budwiser country.... I can handle this easily...
14:09 January 18, 2011 by Heidelberg_IT
I think if my feet were up like that with a cold Hefe overlooking that view, I would have a high 'happiness indel'. I think Eastard has hit the nail on the head!
15:00 January 18, 2011 by tallady
authun,you must be joking,but as the British Ambassador here said,"there is no such thing in Germany as a joke"

I consider screaming past some on on the auto bahn at 220KPH and pulling in 10 meters in front of their bumper dangerous,,and coming up behind an auto at 220 with horn and lights blaring discourteous or,when an auto speeds up to prevent you from making a lane change.

Slimy cutters,,how about getting on the bus ,Germans have 3 lines one on each side of you and all cutting in front,,In the mensa they look through you as if you are not there and cut.,They are always sliding up beside you on a single lane,,

Service with a frown and snarky remark ,,or no service

* weeks to have your phone put in.. charged for a call to your service provider,,

The only politeness is the language ,Sie an Du other than that it's rude arrogance ,which this country is renowned for world wide...

I find driving in the USA a pleasure after driving here. I find people friendly there as compared to here ,I find shopping a pleasant experience as compared to here.

Germans leave their shopping carts in the middle of the aisle. Kann Ich Ein mal DURCH !!!,,how about a second ,before the rudeness,,

You can end up in a coma from the person in front of you releasing the door before you can grab it,,No this is not the land of politeness and courtesy, quite the opposite...
16:12 January 18, 2011 by marimay
Haha. Shopping really is the worst.

I have noticed that the more well off a person is, the worse their manners get.

Also, severe entitlement issues.
19:36 January 18, 2011 by Gretl
tallady - after my trip to Germany last month, I was reminded how much I prefer to drive in Germany than the US. We all have the same rules, they just follow them in Germany. Driving in the US is chaos. But I drive mainly in Bayern, so individual results may vary.

If one doesn't see it at rudeness, but a different set of rules, I think many of you would be less p!ssed off. I've lived in Paraguay, Japan and Germany, all have difference social norms. Instead of comparing it to your homeland, try to establish {forgive me} a new normal.
19:49 January 18, 2011 by storymann
Greti,,I couldn't disagree more ,I just did a cross country in the usa and it was super compared to here,,different rules ,,noway different mentality ,,you like it here better ? good for you ,me give me a friendly American any day..
20:24 January 18, 2011 by lordkorner
went to the tech museum in Berlin the other day, found the staff there could not be nicer. as well on the way we simply stopped for a moment to decide which u bahn to take and a very friendly Berliner asked if we needed any help,my brother over from the land of a thousand welcomes (Ireland ) was very impressed. My neighbors (three couples) all german, if i could have chosen I would not have picked better.Friendly Americans are only skin deep...for the most part.
20:46 January 18, 2011 by frankiep
Why are you all here if you think it is so horrible? I am assuming that most of you here are not German and made the conscious choice to leave your home country to move here. Yet to take a quick look around these comments (and not just for this story) one would think that you were brought here against your will and being physically prevented from leaving. I am asking this seriously: if you hate it so much here (the people, culture, mentality, etc.), then what in the world are you still doing here?
21:13 January 18, 2011 by marimay
Road trips are waaaaaaay more fun in the US. So much variety in landscapes, people, weather... everything.

Here its.. town... oh a town with a mcdonalds.. another town... bigger city with speed limits with a mcdonalds AND a burgerking *excited*.... some cows.... town that looks like all the other towns.... didnt we just drive through this town? no? oh... some idiot just pulled in front of us in the fast lane going 50 kph... aaaaaaaawesome!!!.... town with some pigs... oh look theres some corn and a windmill... hmm the sun never did come out today! .. are we there yet? ..etc..

Germany has great roads though.
00:10 January 19, 2011 by teutonic-knight
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
12:06 January 19, 2011 by michael4096
In industry, the introduction of a new technology invariably follows a "Hype Curve": lots of initial enthousism gives way to a "Trough of Disillusionment" as people begin to understand that whatever doesn't solve world hunger. This depression gradually lifts as the product becomes mainstream. The effect is that even good developments frequently result periods of disappointment far longer than the bouts of enthousiasm.

After over thirty five years of observing fellow ex-pats of many nationalities in many countries I suggest that a similar curve describes the mood of those moving to another country. The initial 'adventure' soon gives way to a long, long bout of whining about any and all aspects of their new life. This gradually goes as the 'new' in new life becomes 'normal'.

However, all is not that bad. At least this gives ex-pats some common ground for complaint instead of the usual bitching about each other.
14:03 January 19, 2011 by lordkorner
I'm not sure but I think mari may is a little confused, if not a little unhappy .
14:32 January 19, 2011 by storymann
frankiep,,FYI to keep my marriage......if that should unfortunately turn sour ,I will be out of here at warp factor 6
15:04 January 19, 2011 by tallady
lordkorner,,I for the most part do not like assumptions ,but I am going to make one,,you most likely are British..and living here for a number of years,married to a German,and socializing with Germans I get the strong impression that Brits are not high on there list,,I often wonder ,but have never said ,Why?? when you are so much like them...

friendliness is only skin deep but ugliness goes all the way to the bone...
18:04 January 19, 2011 by GermanAussier
I'm married to a German, like alot of commentators in this colum, but one thing that you should all note if you are unhappy here. Is that as long as your wife goes with you (for non EU citizens like me) you are able to work and reside in almost all EU countries. So in theory you could live and work in any of the 27 EU member states as long as you wife goes with you. So it's not like your trapped here if you are unhappy. There are 26 other countries which might make you happy. I here Prague is lovely.......
18:52 January 19, 2011 by teutonic-knight
@ tallady,

lordkorner looks to be German. You one the other hand are probably not German. I know this based on your comments.

@ marimay, based on your previous comments, you must be a mongol. I am sure.
18:57 January 19, 2011 by marimay
@ teutonic-knight

You must be a german. I am sure.
19:15 January 19, 2011 by DinhoPilot
If people want to complain, let them complain. It's good to express what goes inside...

It's not hard to change country, many do it for different reasons, but anyway, this

doesn't mean people completely hate the place where they live or the people, just that they have their "habits" and its hard to get used to difference.

Locals shouldn't take it offensively... think of it has unproductive criticism... ^^
19:25 January 19, 2011 by michael4096
@DinhoPilot - rest assured; the locals don't give a xxxx
21:10 January 19, 2011 by frankiep
I can understand that. What I don't understand is why anyone would ever willingly stay in a place that makes them so hopelessly miserable that it takes precedence over everything else. This goes for people in relationships as well. If you are living in Germany solely because of a significant other, and living in Germany makes you completely miserable to the point where you cannot go a day without complaining about it, then shouldn't your significant other recognize this and be at least willing to go someplace else with you? If not, then I don't know what to say other than I know that I would try to explain to my SO how miserable living here is making me and if he/she still, despite all of this, didn't budge would seriously reconsider why I would continue to put up with it.
21:14 January 19, 2011 by michael4096
@frankiep - this is the internet, please do not keep confusing it with reality!
21:30 January 19, 2011 by teutonic-knight
@ frankiep, great point
21:56 January 19, 2011 by DinhoPilot

LOL at you...

People will always complain. It's their natural tendency to express their (mis)ajustament or difficulties to cope with a new nature. Everyone does it.

Just look a Mallorca! Why is it great to Germans? Has sun, everyboday talks german and they can have everything they could have at home! (currywurst, donner, etc... and still manage to complain its too hot, not as good as home, etc...)

What happens in Mallorca is the same it happens here, just people don't change the country to little USA, UK or China.


Of course the locals care when they come and spy on an english speaking forum. And reading the last news about immigrants does show that locals care too much for little reason (although mainly through ignorance e.g: there are people that taught half of the country population is foreigner, that most immigrants are africans, etc... ) But that's another story.

We gotta chillax! ^^ At least we can "still" moan to eachother!
03:35 January 20, 2011 by Gretl
I love Germany, and I am not married to a German. I had to leave when my spouse PCS'ed, but I have anxiously awaiting news on a job I applied for that would bring me back.

Yeah, would even think about turning in my passport, but I don't yet have the language skills to get employment outside of the government.
08:27 January 20, 2011 by teutonic-knight
Deutschland über alles
11:52 January 20, 2011 by tallady
@teutonic-knight,You Sir,have excellent powers of observation,,what was your first clue? and as I previously stated they are a lot a like....
14:46 January 20, 2011 by storymann
frankiep,,you should assume ,that I don't complain to my significant other..

You are making the assumption that I am hopelessly miserable..26 years hear and i will be retired soon and hopefully will have my fly rod in hand on a beautiful river in Colorado catching and releasing rainbow trout.. not to mention taking my Harley down that long road and over those beautiful Rockies...ya man can't wait
14:46 January 20, 2011 by deusvult
@tallady, you and anyone who says driving in the USA is better than Germany must not know how to drive. Of course Germans are not as courteous as Americans on the road - the rules say nothing about courtesy. Courtesy is unpredictable! Unpredictable is dangerous. And I absolutely can't stand the local sheriff screwing with me for driving 10mph over the limit - just give me the damn ticket and quit trying to provoke me into punching you for shoving your authority in my face - no time for 20 questions either @ssh*le!

Finally, bier is happiness - 'nuf said!
16:20 January 20, 2011 by tallady
deusvult,,more than enough said,,I suggest you take an anger management course. courtesy when driving may be unpredictable to you ( won't make any snaky remarks on that one,however tempting),but it's a blessing to most others...but I do agree a beer is happiness as long as your not driving while drinking it.
16:32 January 20, 2011 by storymann
Gretl,,I would suggest you spend a few years here before you sell your country short.

My first 5 years here I was in Love with the place,,The first disillusionment comes after you learn the language,but if your not a fan of the great outdoors and maybe come from the projects or dark side of LA or DC,I am sure you would say "Thank God for Germany" but I didn't. and love the great out doors, and the great out doors here is a long way from there.
17:25 January 20, 2011 by marimay
The sun came out a little today! ;)

Hey, does anyone else here have a squirrel problem? I have seen 5 squirrels in the 4 years I have been here. To me, that is a problem...

Btw, today someone had a health emergency on my street and the ambulance and doctors cars blocked the street, which is no big deal because you can go around using other streets. Anyway.. not to any surprise to me, a woman drove up in her car and waited for them to move the cars, when they didnt she backed up a little bit and waited... then drove off angry. lol

Then some lady let out a long sigh breath on the back of my head while she was practically standing on me in the grocery line, lol.
18:19 January 20, 2011 by tallady
marimay good observation about the squirrels,,here in Berlin they have Martin,a member of the weasel family ,that feed on squirrels,rats ,they can catch them in a tree. I have seen Martin out my window and as you may know they like the heat from a recently driven auto and climb under the hood an often chew the rubber hoses.

I have never seen a Martin in a US city, I believe this is a factor why there are so few Eichkatze as they are sometimes called ..I find being able to see such an animal in a city something special.
23:56 January 21, 2011 by Almeda11
Eastard --- your quote ----I find the average German dealing with the public to be distracted by the need to communicate..

---- Well, l don`t know which part of Germany you went to, but l have travelled to quite a few places, and lived in Darmstadt for 4 months, Berlin 1 month, and l have NEVER noticed shop assistants being so busy talking to each other that they ignore the customer, in all the shops l go to they work very efficiently and conscientiously, quite the opposite than in England where some assistants do carry on with their conversation, either with each other or a colleage, even though they are well aware you are there! So l have never found it like that, in fact in one restaurant, the waitress was talking to another customer about something that was beginning to turn into a personal issue, the waitress was trying to be helpful and wrote something down on a piece of paper, but immediately after that, the manager came up to her and told her, firmly but politely to get on with serving another customer!!! l tell you, dithering too long or slackness are simply not tolerated, so people don`t try it on, whearas in the uk, it`s almost the norm to have a little chat at the checkout, and if this goes on too long it drives the other customers mad, including me, after all it`s not a social club, or is it? l sometimes wonder!but l prefer quich service.
04:42 January 22, 2011 by padu
I guess Chinese enjoy the highest 'happiness index' according to PEW report. It shows 87% Chinese consider China is on the right path and support their government, while German's as low as 22%.
01:04 January 23, 2011 by teutonic-knight
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
17:14 January 27, 2011 by Hans150
A picture certainly is worth a thousand words. I have been to Germany twice on Vacation. Perhaps I have only seen the best, but except for high taxes and unemployment it certainly would be place to live. But grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. I live on the America side of the fence.
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