Illustration of most popular articles
With the end of 2021 close, it’s time to recap our hit articles from the past year. Image: Julia Bushueva

FIVE FROM FINLAND: Our most popular stories in 2021

It’s that time of the year again. Holidays are coming, carols are playing, and it’s time to stake stock of our most read articles in 2021.

Eeva Haaramo

20.12.2021

Another year has almost passed, and we still live amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This is also reflected in a list of our most popular articles in the past year. Our hit topics include healthcare innovations, COVID-19 treatments, sustainable cities and experiences of working in Finland. Read more below.   

Wondering what caught readers’ attention in previous years? Then, take a look at our lists from 2020, 2019 and 2018. 

Finland named happiest country in the world for fourth year running 

A person sitting by a calm lake

Finland, Iceland, Denmark, Switzerland and the Netherlands made up the top five in the latest World Happiness Report. Image: Tobias Meyer / Visit Finland

The fourth win in a row. Finland was again in 2021 named the happiest country in the world by the World Happiness Report. The report assessed over 150 countries on factors such as perceived freedom, honesty, welfare, good health and generosity. A high level of trust among citizens was identified as one of Finland’s key strengths.  

Overall, the rankings remained very similar to 2020 despite the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“Surprisingly there was not, on average, a decline in well-being when measured by people’s own evaluation of their lives,” said John Helliwell, one of the report’s editors. “One possible explanation is that people see COVID-19 as a common, outside threat affecting everybody and that this has generated a greater sense of solidarity and fellow-feeling.” 

Five from Finland: Finnish cities and towns making headlines   

A man on skies being pulled by a reindeer

The coldest town in Finland, Salla, turned its bid to host the Summer Olympics into an awareness campaign for climate change. Image: Save Salla

Despite their small population, Finnish cities turn heads for their sustainability and attractiveness for international tourists. In our second most popular article in 2021, we highlighted five headline-making cities: 

The capital of Finnish Lapland, Rovaniemi, attracted interest for its abundant supply of snow, reindeers and the home of Santa Claus. The city secured the top spot on Lonely Planet’s list of the 10 best winter destinations in Europe.  

Another tourist favourite, Turku, was praised for its proximity to nature and picturesque river. The New York Times picked the city, located in Southwest Finland, among its 52 top post-pandemic travel destinations

In the eastern part of Lapland, the town of Salla took a different approach to highlight its nature. Called the coldest town in Finland, Salla raised awareness for climate change with a bid to host the 2023 Summer Olympics.  

In a similar vein, Lappeenranta launched several new initiatives to help achieve its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030. 

And then there’s Lahti. The city was named the European Green Capital in 2021 and recognised as one of five forward-thinking European cities by National Geographic.  

Finland making a name for itself in healthcare 

Picture of Helsinki University Hospital buildings

Helsinki University Hospital was chosen among the world’s best hospitals. Image: HUS

2021 has been a tough year for Finnish hospitals, but their efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. US-based business weekly Newsweek picked four Finnish university hospitals located in Helsinki, Tampere, Turku and Kuopio for its list of the world’s best hospitals.  

Inspired by the listing, we took a look at some of the cutting-edge Finnish health technology products used in hospitals worldwide. These vary from an orthopaedic scanner and a coronary event risk test to an AI-powered patient monitoring solution and a care coordination platform. 

Finns find novel ways to tackle COVID-19 

A nasal spray being used

Therapeutica Borealis has developed a nasal spray that prevents contracting the coronavirus disease and decreases the risk of falling ill seriously. Image: Therapeutica Borealis

Organisations worldwide are racing to find new ways to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. Finnish companies are doing their bit to help prevent, detect and treat the disease with innovations such as a 10-minute test, sniffer dogs and a nasal spray that weakens the virus’ ability to enter the body. 

Not to mention an artificial head capable of breathing, coughing and sneezing out droplets and aerosols. Developed by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, the head helps researchers to investigate coronavirus transmission mechanisms and the effectiveness of different products in reducing transmissions.  

Finland Works  My career: from start to Finnish 

Three people sitting on a lawn in Helsinki

Interviews with foreign talent working in Finland are among our most popular topics. Image: Eeva Anundi / Business Finland

Safety, work-life balance and a number of other things have been attracting foreign talent to come to work in Finland. This can be also seen from how popular our Finland Works series has been. Here are some of the series’ most read interviews in 2021: 

Kelly Keodara and Ivy Chu were both looking for new opportunities when they moved to Finland. Today Keodara, originally from the US, works as a marketing communications manager. Chu, originally from Taiwan, has made a career of sharing her Nordic life on the Chinese social media channel Weibo.  

Keodara advised anyone looking for a job opportunity in Finland to be brave: “Finding a job in Finland or starting a business here can be daunting at first. The language and regulations can be a large barrier in many ways. But don’t let that stop you.”  

For Igor Soroka, Shiho Kaneko, Thiyagarajan Manihatty Bojan and Yuexin Du, it was university studies that brought them to Finland. They all subsequently found job opportunities and decided to stay. 

“Finland offers a good work-life balance – people don’t work for many hours sitting in the office, they manage their time better,” Bojan described the Finnish work culture.  

While learning Finnish can seem an intimidating task for some, Silvia Gaiani isn’t one of them. Her interest in Finnish was sparked already twenty years ago. But it wasn’t until years later that Gaiani, originally from Italy, moved to Finland to lead a research team in food innovation.  

Similarly, Ben Wilson, originally from the UK, was attracted to Finland by a research opportunity. Fifteen years later, Wilson has forged a life and career in the country. To him, being part of the Finnish battery research community feels like working in one big happy family. There is a long tradition of mutual collaboration between companies and universities.  

“This phenomenon has only increased in recent years in areas like the battery community as it has become clearer that the challenges are something that can be solved by working together,” Wilson said

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