Happiness professor Ruut Veenhoven: "Whether something actually makes you happy is mainly a matter of trying it out"

Geluksonderzoeker Ruud Veenhoven op de campus.

81-year-old professor Ruut Veenhoven has been called the 'Godfather of Happiness Studies'. What emerges from his countless studies on the subject? Happiness is partly trial and error and learning.

Throughout his working life, Professor Ruut Veenhoven has dealt with happiness. What is it? How do you become happy? For a few years now, he has had cancer and knows he doesn't have long to live. Yet he still works about 50 hours every week to complete his research. Researching the key to happiness does not seem like a day job, but a life mission. With Rijnmond, he looks back over the past decades.

The standard question - and one he often gets - is: 'How do I become happy?' Veenhoven can now answer that question with a list of fixed ingredients for happiness: "Happiness is partly in your genes. So there's not much you can do about that. Partly, happiness is in your environment, which you can sometimes change. And for another part, happiness is in your own behaviour. What you make of life yourself. The art of living can be learned. And whether something actually makes you happy is mainly a matter of trying it out."

Read the full interview with Ruut Veenhoven on Rijnmond.

More information

Ruut Veenhoven is also speaking at the event: New Year’s Resolutions - Quiting Guilty Pleasures for Greater Happiness? on 24 January in the Theatre Hall of the Erasmus Pavilion.

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People strolling across Rotterdam's Koopgoot

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