The United Nations released the World Happiness Report for 2019 and Finland ranked first, as the happiest country in the world. The ranking was based on six key variables that support well-being: income, freedom, trust, healthy life expectancy, social support and generosity. Apart from possessing all the key variables, Finnish people trust their government, they live in freedom and they are generous with each other. That’s exactly the kind of place most of us want to be. So, today, we are listing some amazing facts about the small but happy country.
1. Finland provides free drinking water for everyone. In fact, the tap water is among the highest quality in the world.
Finland is often called the land of a thousand lakes. In fact, there are 187,888 lakes (larger than 500 m²) within the boundaries of Finland. Not only is tap water free for everyone, but you can also fill your own bottles with clean and refreshing spring water for free, as many locals do. For instance, in the idyllic small town of Tammisaari, the Dagmar Spring runs freely without freezing 365 days a year at a steady temperature of 39°F.
2. It’s the first country in the world to make internet a legal right for every citizen.
In 2010, Finland became the first country in the world to make internet a legal right for every citizen. Since July 1st, 2010, every Finnish citizen has had the right to access a 1Mbps internet connection. By 2015, the connection speeds were increased. Today, Finland ranks 25th in the world for mobile speeds and 35th for fixed broadband speeds. (source)
3. Finland takes first place in the world for coffee consumption.
When it comes to drinking coffee, the Finns come out on top. According to stats from the International Coffee Organization (ICO), the average Finn grinds down an impressive 26.5 lbs per year (which is 2.2 lbs per month) of coffee per year. Finland’s neighbors are just as thirsty for coffee. Norway, Iceland, Denmark and Sweden also make the top 10 coffee drinkers on the list. (source)
4. Finland has free education, even at the university level.
Finland is one of the most popular European destinations for international students and for a good reason. Not only is the quality of education, research and practical training among the best in the world, but public universities are all tuition-free for students coming from EU/EEA countries and Switzerland. Study programs taught in Finnish or Swedish are free for all international students but non-EU/EEA students enrolling in English-taught degrees are required to pay tuition fees. (source)
5. The Finnish passport is one of the best.
Finnish people hold one of world’s most powerful passports since it allows them to travel to 188 jurisdictions around the world without a prior visa. Along with Finland is Germany and South Korea but the world’s most powerful passports belong to Japan and Singapore, allowing its citizens to travel to 190 destinations without a prior visa. (source)
6. Finland’s speeding tickets are based on one’s income. In 2015, a millionaire was handed a 54,000-euro fine for speeding.
Finland has a unique system to stop people from speeding. The fines are linked to income, with penalties calculated on daily earnings. This means that high earners get bigger penalties for breaking the law. The BBC states that in 2015, a Finnish millionaire was caught going 64mph in a 50mph zone and since he earned $7 million the previous year, a judge handed him a 54,000-euro ($59,980.50) fine. (source)
7. Northern lights, midnight sun & polar night.
During the winter, you can see the Northern Lights, and also experience the Polar night in the Northern parts of the country. This period is the darkest months of the year and for several weeks the sun won’t rise. During summer, the sun never sets; a phenomenon known as the midnight sun. (source)
8. There is a village in Lapland, Finland, where you can meet Santa, all year round.
The small village in Lapland is solely dedicated for those who wish to meet Santa all year round. In fact, if you visit Santa’s village, you can get your passport stamped to show you crossed into the Arctic Circle. There are many attractions in the village, as well as a post office, where you can send letters and get a response. (source)
9. Freedom to roam and the right to public access.
Also known as ‘Everyman’s Rights’, freedom to roam allows everyone to enjoy the forests, lakes, fields and parks anywhere in Finland and, most importantly, completely free of charge. This means that you are allowed to hike, bike or ski wherever you want, from forests to fields, beaches and private roads, no matter who owns the land. However, you have to be respectful, not litter or walk through gardens, flowers or cause destruction to anyone’s property. (source)
10. It is one of the safest countries in the world.
According to the 2019 Travel Risk Map, Finland has the lowest overall threat level. The World Economic Forum also agrees that Finland is number one for “safety and security” in its biennial Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report. Finland also ranked #1 when it comes to happiness, according to the 2019 World Happiness Report. (source)