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Cultural Traces Around the World

Finland: A Land of Natural Wonders and Happy Citizens, Part 1 of 2

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Finland is blessed with a wealth of rare natural beauty. From its fascinating array of dispersed islands that make up Europe’s largest archipelago to the vast wilderness of Finnish Lapland, the country’s landscape is a pristine paradise for nature lovers. The midnight sun in summer and the Northern Lights in winter are two of its renowned natural wonders.

Located in Northern Europe, Finland shares borders on the west with Sweden, in the north with Norway, to the east with Russia, and lies just across the sea from Estonia. Finland is also the most densely forested country in Europe, with 70% of its land covered by thick woodlands. The Finnish people place great importance on nature and their surroundings.

Sauna has been part of the Finnish culture for thousands of years. Traditional saunas are heated by wood or by a stove with no chimney. Once you leave the sauna, you may jump into a lake or roll in fluffy snow to cool off. Every sauna was believed to have a guardian spirit, which is why it was considered a place of healing. Hence the respect the people of Finland have for spending time in a sauna, as a tradition of sharing quality time with others. Given all its qualities, it’s no wonder the Finnish people are so happy.

The World Happiness Report, which has been in existence for ten years, has voted Finland as the happiest country in the world in 2022, for the fifth time in a row! According to author and former executive from New York, USA, Naomi Moriyama, the secret to the happiness of the Finns lies in their values. They place great importance on people’s wellbeing, quality of life, time in nature, good childcare, education for all, and women’s contributions to society.

Finland was the first country in Europe for women to gain the right to vote and run for office. The government gives importance to a sound educational system with no private schools. Students learn the country’s values of honesty, fairness, being down-to-earth, and trusting others. Finnish students have a healthy balance between school life and free time, and this way of living extends into their adult lives with a healthy work-life balance.

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