Home > Education, Home > Week against Loneliness kicks off Thursday

Week against Loneliness kicks off Thursday

September 20, 2011

By Marlene Werner

AMSTERDAM – The second edition of the nationwide Week against Loneliness gets underway Thursday, Sept. 22.

About 30% of the Dutch population suffers from loneliness, research has shown.

“It is not a disgrace to be lonely,” said Prof. Dr. Jenny Gierveld of the VU University Amsterdam, an expert on loneliness. “Almost everyone is in his or her way lonely from time to time. If lonely people realize that, it may already be a little step in the alleviation of loneliness.”

‘Coalitie Erbij’, a national collaboration of thirty social organizations, hosts the event.

Festivities begin with a symposium on loneliness among the youths.

Experts on loneliness-research will then present their findings.

Toward the end, a collective panel discussion will explore the promises of ICT to improve the youth’s situation.

Participation is free of charge.

The focal point of this year’s edition is the prevention of loneliness and the strengthening of one’s direct circle of friends.

Related educational activities are guided by three aims: nurture your relationships, establish your friend-network, and invest in it, throughout your lifetime.

“Nowadays we, ourselves, are seen as responsible for our own happiness and giving meaning to our lives. Situations in which we experience loneliness are readily interpreted as personal failure in the current public eye,” said Malou Saat, director of ‘Sensoor’, a Utrecht-based public helpline.

“Loneliness is not a sign of personal failure, it can happen to everyone,” Saat said.

“In order to tackle loneliness, it is mandatory to help people suffering from loneliness. They should be included in organizations which offer relationship-services and host activities,” Prof. Gierveld said.

One such activity will take place on Saturday, Sept. 24, in connection with the Week against Loneliness and the national Neighbor-Day (‘Burendag’).

Nationwide, citizens are invited to eat together and thereby build collectively the “longest dining table in history.” Everyone is welcome to join.

Nationwide, citizens are invited to eat together and thereby build collectively the “longest dining table in history.” Everyone is welcome to join.

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