Liberty Heaven –the Netherlands The Netherlands is one of the world’s rather happy countries. In the first chapter of the book, author- Eric Weiner describes happiness in the Netherlands. The two things of popularity are pornography and cafes. The country is known by its tolerance. People in the Netherlands like to spend their time lingering in the cafes without guilt. Eric Weiner went to many places in the Netherlands to find true happiness. The happiness in the Netherlands is freedom but can also be seen as indifference. In the Netherlands Wiener speaks to a man by the name of Ruut Veenhoven and learns about two studies, the University of Iowa study and the University of Michigan study; Wiener also learns about Subjective well-being (SWB), reverse causality, social desirability bias, and the Heisenberg Principle. In the beginning Weiner went to was a cafe which was nearby his hotel. This is an upscale and pretty roomy cafe, everyone was smoking. He ordered a Trapiste beer. Normally Weiner hates warm beer, but this one was quite nice to him. The Dutch’s talking is filling the house; Dutch sounds exactly like English spoken backwards. This is good experience for him and he seemed to find some happiness here. Weiner seems to be happy in the beginning of his journey in the Netherlands. Throughout his journey here he enjoys many of the Dutch customs. He has “intercourse” between portions of meals and even goes to the “coffee shops” to try exotic marijuana. He enjoys all of the Dutch customs very much, from the cigars and warms beer to the freedom of smoking marijuana he feels quite happy and free here in the Netherlands.
Weiner went to the Netherlands to visit a Dutch professor by the name of Ruut Veenhoven. Veenhoven is known to be the godfather of happiness research. Veenhoven has made his life's work researching which nations are home to the happiest citizens. Weiner took the subway to his Holy Grail: the World Database of Happiness (WDH). Here you can find the rank of the nations on a happiness scale, and what factors affect the happiness. When Weiner saw the grounds of WDH, he was a little disappointed because it is a very boring and nondescript place. Weiner went to Dr. Veenhoven’s office, and asked a simple question: How did you get into the happiness business? Veenhoven opened his old memories, he was smoking dope in college, and he didn’t agree the eastern Bloc countries are not real good societies. Veenhoven wanted to create a standard to evaluate the happiness. One day, he asked his advisor, can he study happiness as a subject? His advisor resolutely defend his idea, happiness was not a serious subject. But at that time, Veenhoven knew he was doing something right. The science of happiness is followed in different fields such as religion and philosophy.
As a new science of happiness, the word happiness wouldn’t be a good enough term to describe happiness. It needed a vocabulary, scientists came up with the term subjective well-being (SWB). Subjective well-being refers to how people experience and evaluate their lives and specific domains and activities in their lives. Another problem is, happiness is a feeling, a mood, how to measure it? In order to take serious science of happiness, it needs studies and data supports. The Neuroscientists at the University of Iowa separated our brain to two parts. One is the region of the brain associated with good mood, one is bad moods. They did this research on college students who were desperate for some extra cash. When the college students were connected to MRI machines and shown a series of pictures, scientists learned that newly developed regions of the brain associate with bad moods.
Weiner also learns about a study at the University of Michigan where they strapped devices onto people and pinged them at least a dozen times a day, and had researchers constantly asking if they were happy yet. This is where the