Cultural values and the pursuit of happiness

I recently came across this interesting graphic, when reading the magazine “Tid & Tendenser” (Danish magazine on trends and consumption). The graphic, created by Inglehart-Welzel, groups various countries in the world based on attitudes and values  – A so-called  “cultural map of the world”. It paints an obvious simplified yet thought-provoking  picture of the world.

It becomes even more thought-provoking when you look at, which countries are grouped together. In the top right corner you will find the “Protestant Europe” which includes Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Switzerland and the Netherlands. These societies are characterized by values of  “Self-Expression” and “Secular-Rational” values.  Interestingly, the 6 mentioned countries can also be found in the top ten list of Gallup’s table of “The World’s Happiest Countries” . Hardly a coincidence. At least it stops me from questioning whether western societal fundamentals – such as relative wealth, freedom of religion, separation of state and church, and strong  democratic institutions –  play an essential role in a “happy” society.

Either that or there is something wrong with these surveys…

The above is just my personal simplified and inadequate analysis. You can read a more thorough analysis here:


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