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In 2015, the German government instigated a national dialogue to better understand what mattered for people’s wellbeing. In order to ensure diversity and hear as many opinions as possible, the German government asked for help from a large number of social groups (such as workers associations, adult education centers, chambers of commerce, women’s agricultural association, etc.).

Over a period of six months, they hosted over 200 national dialogue events in every region of Germany, with the Chancellor and first ministers being invited to 50 of the events to engage in wellbeing discussions. Those who were not able to attend these in-person events were invited to participate online or by returning a postcard that had been sent to all residents. A total of 15,750 participants took part in the national dialogue. Over 400 different topics and areas important for wellbeing were identified during the national dialogue, with the following aspects being mentioned particularly often:

Through this public consultation people expressed a mix of values, processes, and outcomes as being important for their wellbeing. The results revealed the following priorities: values such as freedom, equity, helpfulness; democratic processes such as civic engagement, political participation, and a functioning state; outcomes such as healthcare, education and unspoiled nature.

These priorities were then organised into 3 broad categories with 12 dimensions:

1) “Our life” describes five dimensions of our current lives: health, work, education, income, and the time we have available for our work, family, and leisure.

2) “Our surroundings” covers three dimensions of our lives: where we live, infrastructure and mobility in our cities and rural areas, security, and social cohesion.

And 3) “our country” form the national and international framework. They relate to the economy and environment, being able to live in freedom and equality, and the concerns of citizens about peace and Germany’s responsibilities in the world.

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