November 29, 2019

Five for Friday: Top index rankings for 2019

All Finnish humility aside: The local way of doing things is making an significant impression on a global scale
Julia Bushueva

Searching for the best country on earth? In 2019, Finland has topped quite a few global indices…

As the year is gradually coming to an end, it’s time to look back and discover where Finland has excelled the most over the past twelve months.

Here are five areas where Finland outshone the rest on the global stage.

Wildlife travel

If you’re a wildlife enthusiast, Finland is just right for you as it was named the best wildlife travel destination in this year’s Global Wildlife Travel Index.

The country was particularly praised for its high levels of environmental sustainability, unique and varied diversity of species, beautiful natural landscapes and conservation efforts.

A recent rapid increase in tourism levels and the fact that close to 75 per cent of the surface area is covered by forest also helped Finland to come out on top.

Work-life balance

Helsinki, the capital city of Finland, topped the 2019 Work-Life Balance Index, proving that it offers the unrivalled work-life balance and, consequently, quality of life to its residents.

The study focused on the 40 most popular cities worldwide, examining the “implementation of smarter working policies and their capacity to simultaneously equip residents with the ability to enjoy their leisure time”.

The  flattering results are in line with Helsinki’s long-term goal to become the world’s most functional city with the best possible conditions for a sound urban life.

Contribution to humanity

Finland ranked first in the Good Country Index that measured 153 countries’ performance based on 35 factors ranging from science and technology, international peace and security all the way to health and wellbeing.

The study revealed that, relative to its size, Finland contributes more to humanity and burdens the planet less than any other country, ranking top in press freedom, cyber security, environmental agreements compliance, food aid and a handful of other criteria.

“Let’s be proud of ourselves for a moment and let’s continue to pursue even better results,” former Minister for Foreign Affairs Timo Soini commented, adding that “Finland is a good, down-to-earth country” and “a reliable partner”.

Happiness

For the second consecutive year, Finland was named the world’s happiest country by the Global Happiness Report. The annual ranking of 156 countries looked at GDP per capita, life expectancy, social support, freedom to make life choices and a number of other important factors.

Since happiness is only real when shared, foreigners interested in learning the Finnish secret to being happy first-hand were invited to join Visit Finland’s Rent a Finn, a campaign launched earlier this year in response to the global travel trend of living like a local. The initiative gave international tourists a chance to come to Finland and experience the joys of the Nordic summer with their Finnish “happiness guides”.

Best new public library

Helsinki Central Library Oodi made headlines in August when it was voted the winner of the 2019 Public Library of the Year award by the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA).

The jury described Oodi as a house of the people that bridges the concepts of equality, participation, citizenship and sustainability, and is sure to lead the way for central libraries throughout the globe.

Designed together with local residents and opened in December 2018, Oodi has become a living meeting place and a tourist magnet with its close to endless possibilities for learning, work and relaxation.

Text: Zhanna Koiviola

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