Generation What?

The major global survey profiling the 18-34 generation

A website, a major survey and a documentary series

Generation What? is the first campaign to invite Europe's young people to define themselves and take a stand. This portrait of 18-34 year-olds transcends borders. For six months, Generation What? will put Europe's young people at the heart of the debate.


In 2013, France Télévisions invited young people to take a self-portrait. More than 250,000 French people logged on to "Génération Quoi" to express their opinions and compare themselves. They answered almost 23 million questions.

The finding: these young people feel that society does not give them the means to show what they are capable of (at 70 %), that they no longer really trust the main institutions (national education, media, politicians) and that they are ready (at 61 %) to take part in a large-scale revolt.

Several young people stand out. Students, permanent employees, the unemployed and temporary workers do not see their future in the same way. They don't share the same fears or the same dreams.

But what about Europe? Never has a generation been so educated, globalised and connected. At 20, do we see the world in the same way in Marseille and Cardiff, Prague and Berlin, Turin and Barcelona?

A survey of young Europeans

A transmedia system

On the Internet

The website Generation What? is available in all the European partner countries of the campaign.

It includes :

1) The survey

It consists of 150 questions that explore a range of values, attitudes and behaviours. They ask about intimacy, family, work, friends, society, the future, borders and Europe. The site allows everyone to see how their answers compare with those of others (French and Europeans) in real time. The result is a portrait of a generation, answer by answer.

Some examples of questions :
"Does French society give you the means to show what you're really capable of?
 " ; " Is turning 20 the best time of your life? " ; " Where there's a will, there's a way? " ; " Could you be happy without love? " ; " Have you ever used sex toys? "

2) The local portrait

21 videos of 8 to 12 minutes make up "the portrait". They feature around thirty young French people answering the questionnaire. While the videos are playing, the results of the survey are displayed in real time.

3) The European portrait

As well as a portrait of young people in their own country, the site features an interactive map showing the results across Europe. This map is accompanied by a best of video from all over Europe.

4) The observatory

The observatory compiles articles, broadcasts, forums, initiatives, symposia and debates: it's the place where Generation What? tells its story over the six months of the campaign.

On air

Four documentary episodes covering the central themes of the questionnaire were broadcast a few weeks after the site went online.

Episode 1 - Me and love

In Manchester, Richard is looking for love and wondering if he'll find it. Francisco, in Ericeira, Portugal, has just fallen in love and his sex life has been turned upside down. Angelina loves Saher and wants to live with him as a couple in Fribourg. Thaïs has broken up with her boyfriend and is moving to Berlin to find herself. Gay or straight, girl or boy, they are all questioning their relationship with love, the body and sexual freedom. In this age of dating sites and the hypersexualisation of relationships between young people, we'll be surprised to come across the eternal romanticism, the difficulty of commitment and the challenge of coming to terms with ourselves.

Episode 2 - Me and my family

At the age of 24, Efa, in Cardiff, has no fixed address but doesn't want to go back to living with her parents. She takes responsibility for herself. In Brussels, Margaux, 24, is chasing her qualifications but is still financially dependent on her parents. She has no choice if she wants to find a job. In Athens, Alexandro, 32, is taking the time to find himself by taking up permaculture. In Monopoli, Italy, Claudia, 33, is waiting to get married before leaving her parents. She wants to fit in. These four young people embody the four options available to young Europeans as they make the transition from teenager to adult.

Episode 3 - Me and work

Pawel, from Lodz in Poland, gave up his architecture studies to set up a fab lab. He wants to create an ecovillage. Claudine, in Luxembourg, has experienced physical and moral violence at first hand: she has become a social worker and devotes her life to homeless young people. In Munich, Uta worked for several years in a major law firm, after a brilliant law degree. Then she gave up and got her freedom. She earns her living as a hostess and model, while waiting to find meaning in her work. Jean-Baptiste lives in the Paris region. After working for several years as a commis, he decided at the age of 23 to open his own gourmet restaurant. Across Europe, professional integration is intertwined with life choices and values that are not always compatible.

Episode 4 - Me and my friends

On Saturday night, in the four corners of Europe, the twelve characters in our three films have just one thing on their minds: to meet up with their friends and have a good time. From the 'before' to the 'after', from the restaurant to the funfair, from alcohol to drugs, from flirting to dancing, from musical improvisation to wandering by the seaside, from Zen meditation to street art, twelve ways of living life to the full, letting go of everything, capsizing until the early hours.

Direction :
For documentary films: Pierre Bourgeois, Simon Bouisson and Ludovic Zuili
Writing :
Christophe Nick, Alexandre Brachet and Margaux Missika
Production :
YAMI 2, UPIAN, France Télévisions, A-Bahn
Broadcast :
Germany (BR, SWR and ZDF), Austria (ORF), Belgium (RTBF and VRT), Spain (RTVE), France (France Télévisions), Greece (ERT), Ireland (RTÉ), Italy (RAI), Luxembourg (a_BAHN & Eldoradio), Netherlands (BNN-Vara), Wales (S4C), Czech Republic (CTV & Cesky Rozhlas).
Year of broadcast :
Duration :
4 x 52 minutes and online

The survey Generation What? invites young people from all over Europe to answer 150 questions on a wide range of topics, including the future, relationships, work, Europe, inequalities, the family, etc. The diversity of the themes and the simple questions mean that every young person can feel concerned by this survey and respond to it - Forum Français de la Jeunesse

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