The secret of the happiest country in the world

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The secret of the happiest country in the world

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For the seventh year in a row, Finland has just been declared the happiest country in the world by the World Happiness Report, launched in 2012 to promote the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN). Respondents were asked to rate their lives on a scale of one to ten, with ten being the highest number. While the Scandinavian countries occupy, as usual, the first places, America and Germany fell out of the top 20. Afghanistan, ravaged by war and revolution, occupies the last place in the ranking of 143 countries , with a score of only 1.7 compared to 7.7 for Finland. Denmark 7.6.

Gender equality, trust in national institutions and fellow citizens, and low corruption are all important factors for the happiness of Finns, says Kai Sauer, Finnish Ambassador to Germany. In 1906, Finland became the first country in the world to grant women the full right to vote and run for parliament. When last year a journalist from Reader’s Digest, a magazine, pretended to lose 12 wallets containing cash and contact details in 16 cities around the world to test citizens’ honesty, Helsinki, the Finnish capital, was found to be the most honest of the lot; 11 of the 12 wallets have been returned. And according to the latest annual index from Transparency International, an organization based in Berlin, Finland is the second least corrupt country in the world, after Denmark.

Excellent free education, universal healthcare and family-friendly policies play an important role in keeping Finns satisfied with their lives. The Finnish education system ranks eighth among the best educated countries in the world according to UN World Population Review. Health services are not free, but they are affordable.

Yet some argue that the real reason is that Finns sweat out their negative thoughts. Finland has around 3.5 million saunas, or more than one in two Finns. All government buildings have saunas. An exhibition in Berlin entitled The sauna. Alright. Very Finnish. sponsored by the Finnish Embassy, ​​celebrates sauna culture with photos, videos and, you guessed it, a sauna. It’s a huge success. All of her remaining sessions are booked.

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