‘Free Hugs Vienna’ is an initiative inspired by the ‘Free Hugs Campaign‘ in which the ‘huggers’ spread joy by hugging strangers in public places.

The campaign is based on a social movement started in 2004 by an Australian man known only by the pseudonym ‘Juan Mann‘, a man whose sole mission was to reach out and hug a stranger to brighten up their lives.

‘Free Hugs Vienna’ is a platform made by and for the ‘free huggers’ who bring to the Austrian capital the joy of sharing happiness through this brilliant initiative.

Several ‘Free Hugs’ campaigns have been organized in Vienna in the past years. The ‘Free Hugs Vienna’ as an organized campaign as well as this website are initiatives by Thyago Ohana along with a group of friends/followers of the idea.

The website features image galleries of ‘Free Hugs Days’ from different groups of ‘huggers’ (those we have been able to make contact to). We look forward to incorporating more and more about the history of ‘Free Hugs’ in Vienna by having groups share with us their images, videos and testimonials. We hope to be able to bring under one umbrella all other groups of ‘huggers’ who have already embraced this cause and we hope to be able to make the ‘Free Hugs Days’ in Vienna ever more impacting. Spreading joy is limitless!

Moreover, we also reach out to the community not only to invite people to become ‘free huggers’ but also to come enjoy this powerful exchange of happiness and laughter.

How I became a ‘Free Hugger’

by Thyago Ohana

It started on an ordinary sunny day while I was walking down a street in Paris and I saw this couple, a man and a woman, both holding up a sign which said ‘FREE HUGS’. I walked towards them, they hugged me, we all smiled and laughed. Without exchanging one single word, we managed to experience a unique form of joy.

As I left them behind after getting my ‘free hug’, I felt it! I had to become a ‘free hugger’ myself! And I knew it! Spreading joy and happiness was so easy – it only takes a ‘hug’!

Inspired by the event, I started researching about ‘free hugs’ online and found out about the ‘Free Hugs Campaign‘.

Back in Vienna, it took me some time to figure out how to start it off. Tired of planning, I simply took two cardboards, colored them up with the words ‘FREE HUGS’ in capital letters, invited some friends to join me for the first attempt in the streets of Vienna, and well, we couldn’t have made a better job! I started in the summer 2013 and since then, I’ve hit the town with the ‘free hugs campaign’ a couple of times.

The smile on people’s faces is like a fuel for my soul. Becoming a ‘free hugger’ made me be sure that being the reason people smile is one of my goals in life.