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Ever wondered what it’s like in the happiest place on earth? Well, it’s happy – that’s for sure! For the past eight years the World Happiness Report (by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Solutions Network) has been studying what makes people happy. From health and safety to lack of corruption… there are a wide range of elements which influence people’s happiness. In turn, citizens of each country are asked to evaluate their own happiness to create a final list of rankings each year. The results unveil which country is crowned the happiest of them all, along with those that fall just short.
Sounds interesting right? Find out where the happiest places in the world are below and why they make us happy too!
Finland tops the happiness ranking for the third year in a row and their statistics just keep getting better and better. The Finns report high levels of autonomy and freedom among many other key factors which has kept them in the top spot.
Why Finland makes us happy… Imagine experiencing a joyful Christmas atmosphere in Lapland. Vast stretches of bright white snow, majestic reindeer and fun ski resorts. Or the intriguing treasures of Helsinki and the breath-taking Northern Lights… Finland is calm and peaceful yet it’s bustling with life and energy, whether it’s the friendliness of the people or radiating tranquillity of its landscapes, we know that Finland is a hidden gem.
This Scandinavian delight has topped a few Happiness Reports in its lifetime – three in total. But this year it trails behind Finland’s ever-widening gap.
Why Denmark makes us happy… City breaks to the capital of Copenhagen are always a favourite. Just think of crisp mornings out by the eye-catching Nyhavn Harbour. Admire the beauty of the royal palaces, take a picture by the iconic “Little Mermaid” statue and unleash your smile and delight at the Tivoli amusement park.
Switzerland has ranked first place in the past, more specifically in 2015. However, it still remains within the elite of the happiest countries of the world achieving a high-ranking position year in and year out.
Why Switzerland makes us happy… Glorious snow-capped mountains, countless lakes that glisten under the sun’s rays and tons of traditional, friendly villages. Switzerland is home to bustling ski resorts in the Alps, Swiss watches and of course Swiss chocolate (that definitely makes us happy!).
Iceland holds the fourth position from 2019 cementing itself as one of the top five happiest countries in the world.
Why Iceland makes us happy… A Nordic island with a population of less than 400,000 people, Iceland offers picturesque landscapes in the form of waterfalls, huge glaciers and lava fields. The capital of Reykjavik unveils the interesting history of the Vikings, whilst the Blue Lagoon hot springs are an enticing highlight along with the Northern Lights.
Norway was crowned the happiest country in the world in 2017. Since then it’s seen others overtake that title. However, Norway rounds up this year’s top five, proving that the Nordics have a lot to teach the world about happiness.
Why Norway makes us happy… Lush green mountains, massive glaciers and dramatic coastal fjords… Norway is simply picturesque when it comes to nature and landscapes. Discover the capital, Oslo, which proudly boasts the country’s thriving art scene as well as spacious parks. Over the years Oslo has been known as one of the world’s ‘greenest cities’, so there’s no wonder that their city dwellers are so happy.
6. The Netherlands
The Netherlands has long been known as one of the safest countries to live in and that no doubt ties into its happiness ranking. Although it has slipped down a position from last year, it is said that high levels of social and institutional trust are what has made The Netherlands happy.
Why The Netherlands makes us happy… From colourful tulip fields to winding canals, The Netherlands provides the perfect blend of rural simplicity and hustling city life. Amsterdam remains ever popular thanks to its trendy atmosphere, historical and art museums, coffee shops and Red Light District. There’s no doubt that the heavy influence on cycling marks it a green city with plenty of fresh air and happiness to go around.
Sweden’s seventh place entry means all the Nordics are featured in the top ten. The region is most definitely full of happiness as Sweden holds on to its position from 2019.
Why Sweden makes us happy… This Scandinavian wonder consists of thousands of islands boasting large lakes, stretches of green forests and glacial mountains. Major cities like Gothenburg, Malmo and Stockholm are modern and filled with royal palaces and museums. Fun fact: Stockholm consists of 14 islands and has over 50 bridges.
8. New Zealand
New Zealand breaks the European streak within the rankings by coming in at number eight. It comes as no surprise that New Zealand continues to be ranked in the top ten as just last year Prime Minister Jacinda Arden announced a new focus on the Happiness Index metric.
Why New Zealand makes us happy… Situated in the Pacific Ocean, New Zealand is made up of its North Island and South Island as well as another 600 (-ish) islands. A cultural hotpot, NZ is full of tons of natural experiences. Explore geysers and phenomenal volcanic sights in Rotorua or discover the Lord of the Rings movie set in Matamata.
This year Luxembourg climbs up five positions to break into the top ten. It’s the biggest jump within the top 20 from last year, making Luxembourg a new competitor when it comes to happiness.
Why Luxembourg makes us happy… It may be small, but Luxembourg packs a punch. It’s best known for its natural surroundings as it’s a typically rural country. So, twisting rivers, deep valleys and picturesque nature parks aren’t hard to come by. But if picture-perfect views are what we’re talking about, we have to mention the capital Luxembourg City. Perched on top of dramatic cliffs, it’s easy enough to get lost in the medieval town’s beauty.
Austria closes out the top ten happiest countries in the world. And who can argue with that? Much like Luxembourg it shares the same levels of life expectancy and wellbeing, keeping it positioned at number ten from last year.
Why Austria makes us happy… To put it simply… Austria is beautiful. It looks like something out of a fairytale thanks to its alpine landscapes and blissful lake side villages. Aside from its incredible views of the Alps and picturesque valleys, it’s the capital of Vienna that holds your attention. East of the Danube River, Vienna has been shaped musically by Mozart and Beethoven and boasts several magical palaces, museums and historic sights.
The top ten is followed by Canada, Australia, the UK, Israel, Costa Rica, Ireland, Germany, the US, Czech Republic and Belgium to round up the top 20 happiest countries in the world.
Have you experienced the infectious happiness in any of these places? If not, perhaps you want to now!