Finland has been hailed as the happiest nation in the world for the second successive year by the United Nations World Happiness Report.
This summer, travellers have a chance to discover true happiness by staying with locals in Finland thanks to a new initiative. Through Visit Finland’s new Rent a Finn campaign, the country is inviting people from around the world to see how the Finns live in true harmony with nature at first hand.
On 20 March 2019, Finland was named the happiest nation on earth for the second consecutive year in the UN’s World Happiness Report 2019. The margin of victory was even greater this year, with Finland beating second placed Denmark by .169 compared to .38 the previous year ahead of Norway.
Published by the United Nations, the report ranks 156 countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be. Based on the report, the Finns’ happiness can be credited to their high GDP, long lifespan, connection with nature, lack of corruption and the people’s control over their own life, among other things.
The UK finished in 15th place this year, up from 19th the previous year, one above Ireland and four above the USA – which came in at its lowest ranking ever at 19th.
Markku Ojanen, Finnish Emeritus Professor of Psychology, an expert on happiness, believes the Finn’s secret is their ability to enjoy ordinary life: “Our northern climate has taught us to work hard and cherish the times when things are going well. Finnish people are also typically very honest, and Finland is one of the safest countries in the world. Safety and trust are key elements for happiness.”
Paavo Virkkunen, Head of Visit Finland at Business Finland, said: “Our Rent a Finn campaign is a response to the global travel trend of living like a local, which is all about sharing genuine experiences with regular people. It allows travellers to experience the Finns’ strong, personal connection to nature with the help of our happiness guides.”
The Rent a Finn initiative has initially enlisted eight ordinary Finns to work as happiness guides for travellers. The guides, who were chosen from among hundreds of applicants, will host visitors for a few days and show their own ways of relieving stress in nature.
Visit Finland has already had 755 video applications from 78 countries for the Rent a Finn campaign, with the country predicting 1,000 applications by next week. USA tops the rankings with the most applications followed by Bangladesh, Turkey and Canada, with the UK in fifth spot.
Laura and Joni Knuuti, two of Finland’s happiness experts, said: “We left Southern Finland to live closer to nature in Sodankylä. Our happiness stems from silence and nature’s constant presence. We enjoy the small-town atmosphere. We have our privacy without being completely isolated and we are excited to share our way of life.”
The visits will take place during summer 2019 and will be free of charge for the travellers. The application period for guests is open until 14 April 2019.
To apply to be hosted by a happiness expert a short video must be submitted with the below requirements: The video can be pre-recorded or recorded on rentafinn.com
* An introduction of yourself
* Whether you would travel alone or with a friend or your family
* What your connection with nature is like at the moment
* Why you would be interested in coming to Finland
World Happiness Report 2019 Top 10 (and placement in 2018)
- Finland (1st)
- Denmark (3rd)
- Norway (2nd)
- Iceland (4th)
- The Netherlands (6th)
- Switzerland (5th)
- Sweden (9th)
- New Zealand (8th)
- Canada (7th)
- Austria (12th)