Happy in the north – what makes the finns so happy

Happy in the north - what makes the finns so happy

Winters are long, icy and dark. Geopolitically, finland is squeezed between russia and the u.S. Economically nowhere near as rich as its neighbor norway. Nevertheless, according to the "world happiness report", the finns are the happiest people in the world. A few ideas why this could be so:

1. Fraternal rivalry: the finns are happiest when they beat the swedes, they say. Neighbors are like siblings: they love each other, but compete in everything. The funniest finnish jokes are about sweden. In ice hockey, a victory pays double if it is won against sweden. Neighbors drive each other to high levels of performance.

2. NATURE: finland is the land of forests and lakes. About 80 percent of the country’s surface is covered by it. You can take a deep breath, it clears your head. The little escape from everyday life the finns like to combine with berry picking and mushroom picking.

3. WHITE NIGHT: as dark as the winter is, the bright summer nights make it forgotten. When the days are endless and the light becomes female, the finns are full of energy. It’s not for nothing that most babies are born nine months after the solstice celebration.

4. TRUST: while many germans are fundamentally skeptical at first, the finns trust that others will do the right thing. This also applies to the state. For social security, free education and a high level of health care, they will accept high taxes.

5. FINANCIAL SECURITY: the finnish economy is just coming out of a slump. Despite job losses, people haven’t fared too badly: statistics show that the unemployed are better off here than in the rest of the EU. Nowhere is their risk of poverty lower – thanks to state aid.

6. WOMEN’S POWER: finland was the first country in europe to give women the right to vote in 1906. Today, equality is hardly a question: finnish women usually work full time, the pronoun "han" means "he" and "she" at the same time.

7. SAUNA: sauna is a way of life in finland and helps to relax mind and body. The 5.5 million finns are said to own about 3 million saunas. So relaxed you can only be happy.

8. COFFEE: nowhere do people drink more coffee than in finland. The black rest is said to be able to satisfy because of the required production of certain hormones, analyses have shown. A similar effect is said to be achieved by the ammonium chloride that is available everywhere in finland.

9. ALONE: finns often really enjoy it. They even have a word for what it feels like to have a drink at home, alone, in your underwear, without the pressure of having to go out: "kalsarikannit". The finnish version of "hygge".

10. SISU: a mental trait said to be unique to the finns. Sisu is a mix of perseverance, tenacity, fighting spirit, stubbornness and patience. Never give up is the motto.

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