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    Updated on Jul 21, 2019. Posted on Aug 27, 2018

    16 Facts That Perfectly Explain Why Finland Is The Happiest Country On Earth

    So many trees, so many saunas.

    1. For starters, Finland is basically a natural wonderland. Case in point: forests cover more than 75% of its land area.

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    And the amount of timber increases every year. That's a lot of trees!

    2. And it has 187,888 lakes, the most of any country in the world.

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    3. It's also so easy to see all of that nature because of a concept called jokamiehenoikeus, aka everyman's right, aka freedom to roam.

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    Basically, this means that most land (except for immediate areas around homes and similar locations) is completely open for people to hike, walk, ski, cycle, swim, boat, pick berries, and all that other fun stuff. Imagine how much easier it would be to go camping or just on a long, rejuvenating stroll if you could basically do it wherever you wanted!

    4. That's why Finns spend a ridiculously large amount of time outside.

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    Florence Williams writes in The Nature Fix that the average Finn engages in nature-based recreation two to three times a week! And that recreation is more than just a quick stroll through a park: 70% go hiking regularly, 58% go berry picking, and 50% ride bikes. (For comparison, the average hiking rate for the rest of Europe and the U.S. is 30%.)

    5. It helps that a shocking amount people in Finland own summer cottages that let them spend extended time in the great outdoors.

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    According to Williams, Finland has 5 million people, and 2 million summer cottages, also called kesämökki. That's...such a good amount of summer cottages.

    6. Anyway, Finns are also huge fans of going to the sauna as a way to bond and connect, which makes sense, because sauna is a Finnish word.

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    There are 2 million saunas in Finland, again, in a population of 5 million. They're in homes, government buildings, and even a Burger King. There are more saunas than cars, and it's said that more important decisions are made in saunas than in meetings. You can sauna with anyone, and people go to them (nude, usually) with friends, family, and business associates at least once a week, on average.

    7. Not only that, but spa hours are offered as a benefit for federal workers in need.

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    Williams writes that this is a popular option for Finns, along with treatments that involve spending extensive periods in nature.

    8. Finland has the second-lowest mortality rate in the world, partially because babies there sleep in cardboard boxes.

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    Those cardboard boxes are actually the containers for maternity packages that are given to new parents as they leave the hospital. The boxes contain 64 different items, including gender-neutral clothes, diapers, toys, and prenatal and parenting information. And once all of the helpful stuff is taken out, babies can (and often do) sleep in the boxes!

    9. Parents also get some great advantages, like free public transportation if they're traveling with a child in a stroller.

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    Oh! And! Mothers can stay home for a year with full benefits and salary after having a baby, and Finland is the only country in the developed world where fathers spend more time than mothers with their school-age children, thanks to a generous paternity leave policy.

    10. Denmark has hygge, Sweden has lagom, and Finland...Finland has Päntsdrunk.

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    Also called Kalsarikänni, Päntsdrunk is a term that means sitting at home alone, drinking in your underwear. Author Miska Rantanen recently wrote a book about the concept, which evolved from a collective desire not to bundle up to meet up with friends in the middle of Finland's harsh, dark winters. These days, it also encompasses the freedom to hit pause and spend some time in to recharge (yes, while having some wine in your underwear) before returning to real life. Sounds pretty gööd to me.

    11. The country celebrates a Day of Failure to encourage people to try something new and make mistakes.

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    The holiday started in 2010 as a counterbalance to the national culture of frowning upon failure. Now, Finnish politicians, CEOs, artists, and media personalities use the day to share stories of how their failures led them to success. Organizers use the hashtag #dayforfailure every Oct. 13, and encourage people to do things like trying a difficult recipe, sharing "fail photos" on Instagram, asking a crush out, or just reading up on the personal setbacks of famous people.

    12. Finland is really good at recycling.

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    So good, in fact, that 9 out of 10 plastic bottles are returned for recycling and almost 100% of glass bottles are also recycled.

    13. Aaand Finland offers free education all the way through university for Finns and citizens of other countries.

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    Free hot lunches are also provided for children, and most aren't required to start school until they're 6 or 7.

    14. Another nice, random tidbit? Finland was the first country to provide equal voting rights to women.

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    That happened in 1906. Today, Finland has one of the lowest gender gaps in the world — it's third, behind Iceland and Norway.

    15. Anyway, based on all of this, it shouldn't be too surprising that Finland is the happiest country in the world.

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    The World Happiness Report uses metrics like income, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust and generosity to come up with its rankings. We stan a happy legend!!!!!

    16. Oh, and this is the president's dog.

    Twitter: @KELLYWEILL

    His name is Lennu, and he's a very good boy.

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