The Bright Side is a series about how optimism works in our minds and affects the world around us. On March 20, the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network released its annual World Happiness Report, which rates well-being in countries around the world.
For the sixth year in a row, Finland was ranked at the very top. But Finns themselves say the ranking points to a more complex reality. “I wouldn’t say that I consider us very happy,” said Nina Hansen, 58, a high school English teacher from Kokkola, a midsize city on Finland’s west coast. “I’m a little suspicious of that word, actually.” Ms.
Hansen was one of more than a dozen Finns we spoke to — including a Zimbabwean immigrant, a folk metal violinist, a former Olympian and a retired dairy farmer — about what, supposedly, makes Finland so happy.
Our subjects ranged in age from 13 to 88 and represented a variety of genders, sexual orientations, ethnic backgrounds and professions.