Reduce loneliness, increase happiness – CLOSED



Tackling and preventing loneliness is a high priority for the municipalities in the AMA, because it is such a common problem. Some 65,000 people in Amsterdam alone are considerably lonely.

Loneliness can lead to health risks such as low immunity and depression, but also to social isolation and unhappiness. This can create a vicious circle that ultimately aggravates the sense of loneliness. The municipalities want to help citizens achieve a sense of pleasure and fulfilment in their lives. We believe that if we can enhance and reinforce these feelings, fewer people will become isolated and we can prevent people from experiencing loneliness.

We want to raise awareness of the issue of loneliness and break through the taboo surrounding loneliness. This issue is by no means restricted to the elderly; loneliness is something that impacts many target groups in our society. On the one hand, we have a need to reduce loneliness, and on the other hand, to prevent it. Experience shows that it is a challenge to achieve an optimum match between a loneliness intervention and the intended target person/group. Ideally, people themselves should have sufficient tools and possibilities for coping with loneliness. Moreover, many initiatives, activities and events, helping people meet are already being organised. That’s a good thing, but these are not always long-term solutions. How can we empower people to deal with their feelings of loneliness, but also to tackle their own attitude or behaviour that may be giving rise to those feelings? In other words: how can we achieve a rewarding change in behaviour?


The Challenge:

Find an innovative way to prevent and/or reduce loneliness through empowerment and a greater sense of happiness and fulfilment.



  • the Solution can be applied to various age groups and target groups, e.g. by choice of language and idiom
  • the Solution must contribute to a willingness to talk about the problem and to breaking the taboo surrounding it
  • the Solution must contribute to a long-term change of behaviour

Issued by: the municipalities of Haarlem, Haarlemmermeer, Purmerend, Velsen Amsterdam.