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Finland remains world’s happiest country

Finland’s low-stress, high trust, high innovation lifestyle has repeatedly seen it named the happiest country in the world in recent years.

Aleksi Poutanen / Helsinki Partners

For the seventh year in a row, Finland has been listed in the top spot of the World Happiness Report.

The news follows the announcement earlier this year that six Finnish cities were listed in an annual ranking of the world’s happiest cities.

According to the World Happiness Report, the middle aged and elderly are the happiest people in Finland. Denmark was listed second this year, with all Nordic countries placed in the top 10.

The list of the happiest countries in the world was compiled based on a three-year average of each population’s assessment of their quality of life.

Some of the world’s leading wellbeing scientists, from fields including economics, psychology and sociology, used factors such as GDP and life expectancy to evaluate more than 140 nations. Individuals’ own sense of freedom and support, generosity and perceptions of corruption were also weighed up when compiling the list.

In contrast to earlier editions of the report, the happiness scores were drawn from the resident populations in each country, rather than their citizenship or place of birth.

Happiness is also good for business in Finland.

Jussi Hellsten / Helsinki Partners

“The basic things are much more harmoniously handled here, creating what we would call happiness or contentment for which we are now known for in Finland,” commented Andre Noël Chaker, a Canadian lawyer and entrepreneur who settled here three decades ago.

According to Chaker, this is “a harmonious set of circumstances and policies that create a very solid basis for creativity, business, friendship and raising a family”.

Immigration to Finland reached a record high in 2023, and is set to increase even further in the coming years. Finland is actively seeking to attract professionals from abroad to fill shortages in certain sectors.

The recognition of the degree of happiness here in recent years is thus very well timed. Research has shown that the high levels of trust and freedom in Finnish society inform both the wellbeing and productivity of employees.

“Finland is a country of low hierarchies, and work-life balance is highly valued,” said Johanna Jäkälä, executive director, Finland Promotion Services from Business Finland. “When people come here, they also get access to a kind of lifestyle which is pretty unique.”

Indeed, only around four per cent of employees work very long hours in Finland, much less than the OECD average of 10 per cent.

“We like to think that happiness is good for business and happy employees are productive employees,” Jäkälä added.

Happiness for all

After Finland racked up its sixth consecutive top spot in the World Happiness Report in 2023, Visit Finland launched a Masterclass of Happiness, helping the global community to learn the ways of Finnish people. This year sees the launch of Helsinki Happiness Hacks, offering the chance to “master your happiness like a Helsinkian” under the themes of Health & Balance, Food & Wellbeing, Design & Everyday and Nature & Lifestyle.

By: James O’Sullivan