Three things people in Finland—the "happiest country in the world"—apparently never do

Originally published at: Three things people in Finland—the "happiest country in the world"—apparently never do | Boing Boing


The Finnish national anthem (translated here into English) tells you all you need to know:

This is my song, O God of all the nations
A song of peace, for lands afar and mine
This is my home, the country where my heart is
Hear are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine
But other hearts in other lands are beating
With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine

My country’s skies are bluer than the ocean
And sunlight beams on clover leaf and pine
But other lands have sunlight too, and clover
And skies are everywhere as blue as mine
Oh hear my song, thou God of all the nations
A song of peace for their land and for mine


I’m sure having a strong social safety net (such that there is, for example, virtually no homelessness now*) plays a bit of a role, too…

I feel like Americans tend to look at “happy” countries, and their first response is, “Hmm, there must be a ‘trick’ to it…” rather than realizing having a government that sees its primary function to look after the well being of its citizens, rather than one that seems to be actively hostile to its population, makes a huge difference to quality of life.

*Finland Is Solving Homelessness, And Hawaii Can Too - Honolulu Civil Beat





Anytime a country tries to pass itself off as superior (or at least one of its residents do), I become very suspicious and do a little research, because NO PLACE IS PERFECT. Here is a brief summary of some human rights issues in Finland via Amnesty International.

Social security benefits were inadequate, with particular impact on those most at risk of discrimination. Sexual offences increased. Family reunification of refugees remained difficult. Legislation around gender recognition was wanting.

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Wow, almost as if you’re intentionally missing the whole point here. No one claimed Finland was superior, let alone perfect. Literally the first thing this Finnish resident lists is “Don’t compare or brag about your happiness.”


My Finnish neighbors do indeed seem like very happy, well-adjusted people. But this article begs the question: if Finland is so awesome why did they move to California?

I guess maybe the country is just great at teaching people good habits and attitudes to live happy lives, and once you’ve got that covered you can bring that with you wherever you go.


Wanting different weather?
Searching for a more varied life’s tableau?
New job?


Kenan Thompson Reaction GIF by Saturday Night Live

Every country has problems, but some have managed to work on some of their problems and improve things for the people that live there… doesn’t make that more work isn’t needed…

But seriously… who hates Finland… Russia, maybe? :thinking:


The angriest country in the world?

(Not sure if that’s Russia but they’re probably a contender, at least if one goes by heads of state)


To take this argument far too seriously: Finland would have to be pretty fucking awesome for there not to be even one family that wants to be somewhere else.

(For example, my cousin, California educated, has lived in Helsinki for a while now.)


Perhaps it’s jealousy. Putin’s Russia takes the opposite approach on all three counts: a greed- and status-fueled kleptocracy with a violent inferiority complex, built on a resource-extraction economy that despoils nature, where trust in anyone outside one’s clan is virtually non-existent by design.

No wonder Russia is number 80 on the list. No wonder, also, that American right-wingers admire modern Russia so much that they’d give up their own #15 ranking in order to embrace Putin’s values.


i don’t know if it has changed recently, but for quite some time Finland also was number one in suicides per capita. Speculated reasons: weather, latitude(long, dark winters) and alcoholism.


“… in Russia, perfection claims YOU” :open_mouth:


Odd. I don’t know how that meshes with being happiest country. Or are the non-suicides so happy it makes up the difference?

ETA: I think I recall something similar said about Sweden. Blamed on the weather and darkness, IIRC.


Finland wrote the world happiness report?

You know- reflexively shitting on things isn’t a reasoned analysis. It’s the opposite.


This is such a beautiful song. The melody is by Sibelius. It’s more of an unofficial national anthem for Finland.

Joan’s words here are lovely, but they’re not a translation of Finlandia. Here’s a rough translation of the original:

Oh Finland, look, your day is finally dawning,
the threatening dark of night is chased away,
And now a lark sings in the bright of morning,
as if the sky itself could music play,
The power of night is conquered by day’s brightening,
Finland, my birthplace, your day has dawned!

Rise up, oh Finland, lift your head to heaven,
wreathed with the laurels of mighty memory,
Rise up, oh Finland, you have shown the nations
that you have banished slavery,
and you will never bend under oppression,
Finland, my birthplace, your morning’s come!

Oi Suomi, katso, sinun päiväs koittaa,
yön uhka karkoitettu on jo pois,
ja aamun kiuru kirkkaudessa soittaa
kuin itse taivahan kansi sois.
Yön vallat aamun valkeus jo voittaa,
sun päiväs koittaa, oi synnyinmaa!

Oi nouse, Suomi, nosta korkealle
pääs seppelöimä suurten muistojen,
oi nouse, Suomi, näytit maailmalle
sa että karkoitit orjuuden
ja ettet taipunut sa sorron alle,
on aamus alkanut, synnyinmaa!


… show us on the doll where Finland hurt you


So maybe it’s like that old joke:
“Oh, you’re from [location]? That’s a great place to be from!

(I’m sure it’s lovely though, and obviously has some great people)


It’s the country for me!