February 23, 2024 | Sammy Tran

20 Photos Of The Happiest Place On Earth


Welcome To Finland

Have you ever wondered which country is the happiest? Well, for the last six years, there's one place that has topped all the rest—at least, according to the World Happiness Report—and that is Finland.

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The Land Of A Thousand Lakes

There's a reason Finland has been called "the land of a thousand lakes"—and that's because it has a whopping 187,888 lakes. Its largest lake, Saimaa, is 1,700 square miles.

Rocky Shores Of Lake Saimaa - 2018Petritap, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

They Are Home To A Rare Animal

Finland has the rarest seal on earth: the Saimaa ringed seal. After the ice age, these seals lost access to the ocean—and for the around 8,000 years, they have been residing in the Saimaa Lake region. 

Sadly, they are currently at risk of becoming extinct. There are only about 400 left.

Saimaa ringed seal Pusa hispida saimensis on Lake Saimaa.Pascal Vosicki, Shutterstock

Sweating It Out

Finland has an estimated 2.3 million saunas, meaning its population of 5.5 million has excellent access to these steamy, hot rooms. Many cabins and apartments have saunas, and oddly enough, a Helsinki Burger King also has one.

Young woman relaxing in sauna among hot steamLeszek Glasner, Shutterstock

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Going Back To Nature

If you love forests, then Finland would be the perfect place for you to visit. 74% of the land is forest; it is the most forested country in Europe. That said, most of the country's population can be found in the larger cities.

People in the forest.PNW Production, Pexels

Delightfully Weird Sports

Forget about football and soccer. Finland has some of the most bizarre sports imaginable: air guitar, mosquito hunting, mobile phone throwing, wife-carrying, and swamp football.

Wisconsin Wife Carrying Championships - 2011Sandor Weisz, Flickr

Home Of The Moomins

It was the Finnish illustrator Tove Jansson who was responsible for the children's show and comic strip, The Moomins. Though Moomins look like hippopotamus-type creatures, they are actually trolls. 

Moomin fans visiting Naantali, Finland can even visit Moomin World.

Artist and writer Tove Jansson - 1956Reino Loppinen / Lehtikuva, Wikimedia Commons

It Has Another Name

In Finland, the Finnish word for "Finland" is actually different—it's Suomi. If you notice "Suomi" popping up as you travel around Finland, now you'll know what it's referring to.

Gulf of Finland - 2019Ninara, Flickr

Heavy Metal Lovers

The love for heavy metal in Finland remains ummatched. Compared to other countries, it has more heavy metal musicians per capita. But why is heavy metal more popular here than anywhere else?

Puska Festival, Helsinki - 2022Ninara, Flickr

Eurovision Winners

Turns out, the heavy metal genre may be a way for reserved Finns to express their emotions. 

In 2006, Finland even entered Eurovision with a heavy metal act—the band Lordi—and won thanks to their song "Hard Rock Hallelujah".

Lordi - Finland metal band - 2023Wojciech Pędzich, CC BY 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

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It Has The Second-Longest Tunnel

In southern Finland, one can find the Päijänne Water Tunnel—the world's second-longest tunnel. 

This 120-km tunnel connects Lake Päijänne to the Silvola Reservoir—an artifical lake. This benefits anyone living in the Great Helsinki area, because it helps provide fresh water. 

Päijänne Water TunnelLewis Martin, Flickr

Festive Fun

Finland is the home of Lapland—where you can find a Santa Claus Village. In this winter wonderland, you'll see reindeer and meet Santa Claus himself.

Santa Claus Village, Lapland - 2019JOHN DICKINSON, Flickr

Silence Is Golden

Reportedly, the stereotype that Finns have an affinity for silence is true. This has roots in country's history and culture. After all, one popular Finnish saying is, "Silence is gold, talking is silver".

Brown Curly the Shhh SignAndrea Piacquadio, Pexels

The National Dish

Based on a vote in 2017, the national dish of Finland officially became Ruislepä. For English folk, this would be the equivalent of rye bread. Ruislepä is incredibly popular and is often eaten for breakfast, a snack, or a side dish.

Ruisleipa bread available in Finland - 2007Hellahulla, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Baby Boxes

In 1938, the Finnish government began giving out "baby boxes" to expectant mothers. These boxes contained necessities like clothing, diapers and bibs. However, what prompted this practice was quite tragic.

Finnish Visa Kopu, Flickr

Building A Better Future

Sadly, the infant mortality rate was quite high in the 1930s. For every 1,000 babies, 65 didn't make it. But there is a silver lining. Today, Finland's infant mortality rates are among the lowest the world over.

Mother carrying her baby.Polina Tankilevitch, Pexels

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A Real Fantasy

The Finnish and Welsh languages were great inspirations for the Elvish langauge in JRR Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings series.

Screenshot of Eowyn Aragorn The Lord of the Rings: The Two TowersNew Line Cinema, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Ahead Of The Times

In 1906, Finland—then known as the Grand Duchy of Finland—became the first European country to allow women to vote. Additionally, they were the first country in the world to give women the right to hold public office.

Female voter lowers the ballot in a transparent ballot box.Kittyfly, Shutterstock

A Caffeinated Country

Finland might not be the first country that comes to mind when you think about coffee, but in truth, the average citizen drinks about 12 kilos of it annually. Shockingly, based on their java consumption, they're even bigger coffee lovers than the Italians.

Cafe of the National Gallery ,Finland - 2023Jussi Mononen, Flickr

A Unique Language

The Finnish language is quite unique. Though Finland is a part of the Scandinavian Peninsula, it is not a Scandinavian language. 

While Swedish, Danish, and Norweigan languages have a lot in common, the Finnish language stands a part. It is actually a Uralic language.

Tongue with the flag of Finland.johnyf33, Shutterstock


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