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Each year the UN releases a World Happiness Report showing which are the best countries to live in the world. 2020's version has seen Finland come out in the top spot again – that is for the fourth year running! Pipping countries like Denmark, Switzerland, and Iceland to the post, Finland has emerged triumphant once more. This is naturally an excellent result for the country and shows just what a great place it is to live.

With citizens in 149 countries worldwide being surveyed by Gallup to discover how happy they were, Finland coming out in first place again is no mean feat.

There is a saying in Finland that has gone around for a long time: Being born in Finland is like winning the jackpot. Nobody knows for sure who was the first person to launch this phrase. Some say it was Dag Hammarskjold who said this after returning from a trip to Africa, some say it was President Urho Kekkonen in his new year speech of 1978. Whoever said this, could now tell the world that I told you so.

But why is the nation living in the northern corner of the world, with a cold climate and six months of winter and darkness, be the happiest in the world? To start with, Finns do know how to actively use their time. Rain, snow or cold wind is not an obstacle to going out for jogging or riding a bicycle. When the weather is warmer over summer, people around Finland love to head outside and get active. From outdoor saunas to cycling, kayaking, hiking, camping, and more, there is always something exciting to do when you have free time.

But so do people in other countries with even better weather. So what is it about Finland that makes the people here so happy?

Beautiful landscape and nature

Finland is one of the best places on the planet for natural beauty. With masses of pristine forest and an abundance of crystal-clear lakes, and the wildlife they support, Finland is beautiful. When you also add low pollution levels and clean air, it is clear what Finland has to offer its citizens. Many believe that it is this natural beauty that makes it such a great place to be. Being surrounded by nature and getting out into it has long been known to help us feel happier. As there is so much to see and do outdoors in Finland, it is no wonder people here are so positive.

Chilled out way of life

One other major reason why Finland is such a happy place to live is the free, relaxed way of life. Compared to a lot of the Western world, Finland is more laid-back and more at peace with itself. Finnish culture is also very warm and focuses on co-operation, rather than competition. It is also clear that Finnish people feel secure and do not worry about the outside world in the same way as the people in many other nations. That gives them remarkable resilience to deal with life and not to let problems get them down.

Low crime levels, high standard of living, and superb education system

One critical measurement for happiness in the recent World Happiness Report was how safe people felt. Finland came out very well here due to its low crime levels. The net result of this low crime rate is a society where people feel safe, secure, and happier. Finland also radically overhauled its education system years ago, and that has also helped people feel more content.

The school system is one of the fairest in Europe and produces some of the best results, leading to more opportunities for young people. Finland also has a universal health care system which a significant factor in how happy its citizens feel. When all these factors are combined, it allows most Fins to have a high standard of living and to feel content in their daily lives.

One other factor which makes Finland different from most western countries is the equality, which translates into opportunities for everyone no matter what socio-economical background they are from. Finland has a very large middle class, and very little poverty. The rich in Finland have also traditionally been shy in showing of their wealth. The wealthiest people in Finland may drive an old Volvo or at most a bit more expensive Mercedes, but rarely a Lamborghini. Even the poorest people would get the best education and health care, and no one needs to be homeless. All these of course may not make people happy, but it sure makes them contempt and relaxed.

HT