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Finland – The best in the world

When times get turbulent in our VUCA – volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous – world, Finland is simply the best!


Annika Konttinen

lehtori, matkailuliiketoiminta
Haaga-Helia ammattikorkeakoulu

Anu Seppänen

lehtori, markkinointi ja viestintä
Haaga-Helia ammattikorkeakoulu

Published : 25.04.2022

Finns love country rankings. For such a small country, with just 0.07 % of the world’s population, Finland is high up on many lists. Visit Finland, Business Finland, Helsinki and all travel and event companies are using these rankings in their marketing.

As we live in a VUCA world (=volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous), the contents of the rankings offer great comfort and clarity.

Well-being surrounded by nature

According to the World Happiness Report, Finland tops the charts for happiness, for the 5th consecutive year. We share the highest positions with other Nordic countries with similar societies. The main reasons for success are our high standard of living, social support, low corruption and high social trust and freedom.

Finnish happiness is being content, calm, cool and collected – rather than ecstatic all the time.

Last year, Finland was the country closest to achieving the United Nations Development Goals, joined by other Nordic countries for the top positions there as well.

Our rankings on cleanest air in the world (WHO), cleanest food in Europe (European Food Safety Authority) and the most saunas in the world – with a population of 5.5. million, there are around 2.5 million saunas in the country – all help to keep us happy. Our tap water is cleaner than bottled water – and you can save a lot of money drinking it.

Finns live surrounded by natural elements. Our country is the most water rich in the world with its 188,000 lakes. Finland is also the most forested country in the world as 75 % of the land area is covered by trees. Being surrounded by nature helps us to unwind and let nature heal us from the worries of the world. Finnish Lapland is one of the best places in the world to see the spectacular northern lights.

Finland has also ranked top on the safest countries in the world and has the least organised crime in the world. Should we still feel a bout of aggression, we can turn to our music. Some choose the soothing sounds of Sibelius and others heavy metal. After all, we have the highest number of heavy metal bands per inhabitant in the world.

Reading and learning future skills

Getting informed is a big thing in Finland, the world’s most literate nation, that also ranks second in the press freedom index. Newspapers play a big role in the lives of Finnish people with a combined 93 % reach of printed and online newspapers.

Maybe coffee helps Finns to stay alert and informed. Finns are quick to wake up to the news of the world and react with agility to changing circumstances as our coffee consumption is highest in the world, with an annual average of 10 kg per person.

Finns want to keep up with the times. According to the World Economic Forum, Finland is number one for future skills education. Our kids learn 21st century skills starting from primary school and are equipped with the kind of competences the future of work demands and expects. In the Global competitiveness report 2020, Finland is on top in digital skills among the active population.

Ready for unicorns, innovations and sustainable transformations

We are big on equality, too. In 1906, Finland became the second country in the world to adopt universal suffrage. Today, Finland squeezes to the top positions as one of the best countries in the world for gender equality and women’s rights.

Helsinki has the best work-life balance in the world and Finland offers the best quality of life in the world – and we are ready to let others come and enjoy the perks with us. Helsinki has been marketing its 90 Day Finn programme for foreign talents to come and taste what it is like to live in the world’s happiest country and the most livable city.

Even though Sweden can still boast with a higher number of unicorns, this may change soon as the world’s start-up scene finds out firsthand what a good place Finland is. There are other times to visit the city than during SLUSH in November!

Finland has a lot to offer on a more permanent basis as the country has a well-developed network of public institutions that create scientific and technological innovations. Public institutions work closely with research organisations and the private sector to test and implement these innovations.

Finland is among the countries that are well prepared for an economic transformation and we seem to be well under way in creating vibrant business environments for the future. This is backed up by providing the best conditions for new technologies to be introduced.

According to the European Chamber, Finland has a highly developed economic environment, which is one of the reasons we are among the best European countries for business. We have top positions in corporate ethics and sustainability is in high regard in today’s business environment. For a small country, Finland has managed to squeeze quite a few companies on the list of Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World.

In fact, Kesko, a Finnish grocery store chain, has been ranked as the most sustainable company in the world in the Grocery and Diversified Stores category and for the seventh year in a row. This makes the achievement quite remarkable. Fighting climate change and reducing emissions are the key issues for Kesko. The entire K-Group intends to be carbon neutral in 2025 and to achieve zero emissions from its own operations by 2030.

That is even more ambitious than the targets for the country of Finland, which wants to be carbon neutral and the world’s first fossil-free welfare society by 2035. The only way to also top the charts in the future, is to have high ambitions and meaningful goals to live up to.

When times get turbulent in our VUCA world, Finland is simply the best!