Why Finland Is the Happiest Country in the World

11 August 2021

Finland Sounds Like Heaven on Earth. Here Are Some Reasons Why It Is Better than All Other Countries.

Yup, Finland has done it again and topped the list of happiest countries for the 4th year in a row. But what exactly adds up to the happiest place on earth outside of a Disney theme park?

Sami is such a colourful language spoken by Finland, and we love the sayings the Finnish use, so if it sounds like we’re talking gibberish, check out the meanings mentioned at the end of this article.

We look at 15 Reasons Finland is the happiest country.

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Reading this boring article will suck all your happiness out. Ditch it and skip over to the video version of this article.

With that said, let’s bounce back to the article.


Firstly, What Kind of Happy Are We Talking?

How is all this happiness scored? Finnish people aren’t walking around chuckling like jovial Santa Claus all year round, in fact a lot of people find them more on the stoic side.

The World Happiness Report is sponsored by the UN and conducted by polling company Gallup. The study interviews over 350,000 people from 95 countries using a 10-point scale to assess peoples own happiness.  They ask questions like: “Did you learn or do something interesting yesterday?” and “Were you treated with respect yesterday?”

Shun Wang, professor of the KDI School of Public Policy and Management in South Korea and one of the authors of the report, explains this method: “We believe that these subjective, or self-perceived evaluations are a more reliable way to tell how good life is.”

Then they take factors like life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, GDP, generosity, social support from friends, and perceived corruption.


Finland Minds the Gap

The widening wage inequality gap is one of the leading reasons for unhappiness in many countries. Finland has fought against this type of inequality since Vuonna nakki ja muusi. It has always been a priority of the country.

One example is the Baby Box, since 1938 every child born in Finland has been set up with items their parents will need for their first weeks and months of baby’s life. This is a card board box that doubles as baby’s first crib filled with everything from thermometers to babygrows, even condoms and lube to help new parents get back on the pony! If parents are set with what they need they can opt for 175 euros instead.

Finland ensures that no matter how much money you have in the bank, your basic quality of life needs, are taken care of from the start. 


Home of the Free

 The Finnish seem to have an inherent understanding of freedom. It underpins their mindset that freedom and independence is only possible if everyone enjoys freedom and independence. So, they allow people to get on with their lives without a ton of interference.

It seems so… simple, and I guess it actually is, ironically freedom is complicated by so many governments. This Finnish understanding drives all policymaking in the country and leads to Finland being happy.

If you think you can guess who the unhappiest country title goes to, stick around to see if you’re right.


Housing First

Finland has a non-traditional approach to a traditional problem: homelessness. They are successful at keeping homelessness down with their novel ‘housing first’ principal. This means that anyone who finds themselves homeless is given the right support. After that, they are assisted in owning their own home. This is a proven good solution because homelessness is on a steady decline in this happy place.


They Trust the Police

In a 2018 study, results showed that 80% of Finnish people trust the police. This sense of trusting the keepers of the peace leads to a higher sense of security.

We’ve got a great listen available for free through Audible and Alux, called “The Finnish Way, Finding Courage, Wellness, and Happiness Through the Power of Sisu by Katja Pantzar. It will really dig deep into the happiness of this peaceful country. Get your free listen at alux.com/freebook.


Economy Is Positive

Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it does buy a lot of things that help. Although a small country, Finland is a world-leader in technology, ICT, paper and pulp industries. Nokia, Polar, Suunto, and KONE are some you will recognise. Then there is Rovio, the people who brought us Angry Birds and Supercell, the creators of Clash of the Clans.

Now, as the finish say let’s take a donkey’s bridge over to the next point. 


They Promote the Flat Working Model

Within these successful Finnish companies, you won’t find the usual corporate structures you might be used to.

Finland employs a flat working model in their business operations. This includes few or no hierarchal levels between management and staff. As a result, there is less supervision and this promotes more involvement and decision making, open communication between teams and departments and faster workflow. Probably because everyone’s got their cow in the ditch!


Remote or Flexi Working Is Old News in Finland

Finland didn’t need a pandemic to see that the usual 8 to 5 workdays didn’t have a lot of merit. Most Finish companies offer their workforce the option to flexible hours and low constraints on how, where or when work is done. They rather focus on team cohesion and productivity in an Agile working environment. This has been in full swing for over a decade and Homma hanskassa.


Gender Equality Means Happiness All Round

Finland addresses gender inequality head on. For many years they have been committed to closing the gender pay gap and access to high-quality education across the gender landscape. This doesn’t only reflect in rights for women, but also for men.

Finland is the only country in the world where fathers spend more time with school aged children than mothers. This is because maternity and paternity leave are treated equally, so parenting is more culturally shared from the start.


Forget the Joneses

The Finnish won’t have black socks about what someone else owns.  They aren’t sucked into the culture of comparing wealth and a need to “keep up with the Joneses.” They have a more egalitarian culture. Antti Kauppinen, a philosophy professor at the University of Helsinki explains that “People often do pretty well in social comparison. This starts from education; everybody has access to good education. Income and wealth differences are relatively small.”


Finnish Have Realistic Expectations

Sure, Finland enjoys Eurovision and playing the lottery as much as the next EU country, but they don’t all have their happiness hung on the big time. They have very down to earth expectations of their life and find happiness in where they are in life. As if you need more proof than being happy with a cardboard box for a baby crib to show the levels on levels of humility of this nation.

Here is more: if something does go surprisingly well, Finnish people have a naturally humble approach to handling the situation. They will generally keep their added happiness a secret or turn to a self-depreciating joke instead of bragging over success.


Free Education with No Testing

College debt and healthcare are two of the biggest points of unhappiness in the U.S. Finland has removed these hurdles for their people. Finland offers free schooling in the country. What’s more astonishing is that they rarely test children, and their education system is ranked one of the best in the world. University is also free, so not only does everyone get an equal footing getting through school, but they are also all able to start their careers with zero debt.

For most of us, that’s enough to smile about. But not too soon, because in Finland a popular saying goes…

If you are looking for some non conventional ways to get educated, check out 15 Ways To Get Educated Faster and Cheaper.


Itku Pitkästä Ilosta or “Happiness Will Always End in Tears”

This doesn’t really scream optimism, but in some ways, it has a sensibleness to it we can all appreciate. It means that great joy or happiness is bound to end in sorrow, or good things won’t last forever. That’s a sombre thought, but it also proposes that great sorrow won’t last forever either.

And it’s not untrue, your mother probably said something similar to you when you were giddy with excitement jumping on the couch… it is all fun and games until someone loses an eye…sound familiar?


Free Universal Healthcare

While no one is walking around grinning like a pervert about free healthcare, you have to admit that the thought of it brings a huge sense of relief. When health care is taken care of you can get on with living. And the Finnish can do just that because everyone gets standardised free healthcare.

If you’re loving our articles and videos on different countries, remember to go and check out our one on Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya!


Finland Has Sisu

Sisu is the underpinning philosophy of Finnish life. There is no English word that directly equated to Sisu, so no one outside of the language will truly understand, but the closest translation is thought to be ‘stoic perseverance.’ This breeds a personal strength of will that is seen in the steadfast diligence and humility that Finnish people go about their affairs. So, adopting a sisu mindset might be a good move for future billionaires like you.


What do you think is most important to a country’s overall happiness?

Finnish Sayings:

Aasinsilta: Donkey’s bridge

Meaning: A slight connection between the previous topic that was discussed and a new one.

The year of sausage and potato: Vuonna nakki ja muusi

Meaning: A long time ago.

Have a cow in the ditch : Oma lehmä ojassa

Meaning: Being personally interested in the matter.

Homma hanskassa: to have the job/task in one’s glove:

Meaning To have something under control/being able to handle a task.