Every March 20th, since 2012, the UN publishes its World Happiness Report, coinciding with International Happiness Day. It lists the happiest countries on the planet. In the Scandinavian country, there is a complicated word, koselig, which refers to the feeling of well-being and warmth, linked to the feeling of belonging to a group; a community. This word conveys that idea of happiness to the Norwegians. Aurora borealis. Its vibrant capital, Oslo. Cities like the beautiful Bergen and, to the northwest, Ålesund, with its ‘art nouveau’ architecture.
Denmark, which led the ranking last year, occupies the second position in 2017 thanks to its welfare state and, more importantly, its ‘hygge.’ ‘Hygge’ is, for example, sitting on the terrace of a café in Copenhagen enjoying the rays of sun announcing the spring.
This small island in the North Atlantic, with twice as many sheep as people and a literacy rate of 99.9%, offers contrasts at every step. The capital, Reykjavik, a geyser area, is considered one of the cleanest, greenest and safest cities in the world. The fjords of the west, perhaps the wildest and least populated region of the country. The center of the Ghosts, in Stokkseyri, a museum dedicated to the Icelandic ghosts. Volcanoes, spectacular mountains, islands off the coast, tranquil fishing villages, natural wonders like Gullfoss – the Golden Waterfall – or the Blue Lagoon
The UN happiness ranking is based on objective facts such as life expectancy, gross domestic product, wage level, health system, real equality. But you also have castles, fairy tale villages and houses like Heidi’s. Lakes like the Lemn, and glaciers. The mountain covered with snow in winter; Carpeted green and flowers in spring.
It is likely that being home to Santa Claus (Santa Claus Village is situated in the Polar Circle, about eight kilometers from Rovaniemi, and is one of the most visited places in Finland) is one of the keys to the happiness of this Nordic. country. Boreal auroras, midnight sun, saunas, snow and skiing, forests and water like nowhere else in Europe, and one of the cleanest airs of the continent. It seems ironic that the Angry Birds are a Finnish invention.