Stories on loneliness in Amsterdam

Amsterdam wants to reduce loneliness in the city. All kinds of organisations and people in area have launched experiments to learn with and from each other about how we can improve this issue. The experiments started in the summer of 2017, so that the lessons could be shared with the city before the municipal elections in the spring of 2018.

“I feel lonely. It is always present. I even think that loneliness is part of life.”

The municipal Team Loneliness asked Perspectivity in the autumn of 2017 to collect stories from people participating in the experiments. So that their voices are be included in the proposal to the city.

Candid storytellers

We used Sprockler, a research method that always starts with a story. Together with some members from the Team Loneliness and from the experiments themselves, we designed a questionnaire and selected suitable experiments. And then we got going. With our phones, tablets and sometimes with paper inquiries. And we were always happily surprised at how eager people are to share their story. And how frankly they do this.

“I have felt alone, but I no longer do. Because now I have this group.”

Underlying patterns

By having each storyteller also answer a number of standard questions about his or her own story, underlying patterns became visible. For example, that some people think that it is OK that they feel lonely. And that it is not the number of contacts, but especially lack of depth of their contacts that makes people feel lonely.

“Well, that fills up a bit of my happiness, so to speak.”

Listen to and read the stories (in Dutch) about loneliness of 49 Amsterdammers on There you will also find the data that all stories together yield.

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