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10 of the happiest countries in the world: which have you visited, and what did you learn from them?

The happiest countries in the world
Photo taken by Koliažas.  The happiest countries in the world

Every year, surveys and polls are carried out to find out which are the world's happiest nations. Among the highest rated are usually the Scandinavian countries, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. So, let‘s visit these ten happiest countries and write their happiness recipe to take home to our own.

The Baltic countries still have plenty of room for improvement in the index, especially comparing to their Nordic neighbours. Economic well-being wasn’t the sole indicator the nations' happiness levels: Lithuania came 60th on the list (in between Bolivia and Belarus), Latvia took 68th place (in between Libya and Cyprus), and Estonia came in at 72nd (with Romania and Jamaica on either side).

10. Sweden

Old woman in very good shape running in the Halvmarathon running event (21 km)
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Old woman in very good shape running in the Halvmarathon running event (21 km)

This is just one of five Scandinavian countries to make the top-ten list. The third-biggest Western European state has stunning nature and beautiful cities, a high standard of living, as well as a safe and socially-oriented environment.

9. Australia

Sydney Harbour and city skyline, Australia
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Sydney Harbour and city skyline, Australia

This detached and at a glance inhospitable continent has become the epitome of happiness and the good life. Perhaps by being so remote from many of the world's problems and conflicts, Australians have managed to make for themselves great living standards, and know how to enjoy them.

8. New Zealand

This country is often considered the edge of the world, however almost everyone knows of its beauty and variety. New Zealanders aren‘t short of work, money, nor good company.

7. The Netherlands

Amsterdam fashion
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Amsterdam fashion

Due to climate change, this state – one of the most densely-populated in Europe – may find itself in the not-so-distant future under water, however it still doesn't lose its optimism. The Netherlands is famous for its civil liberties, high living standard and openness to the world and foreigners.

6. Canada

Vancouver
Photo taken by Magnus Larsson | Flickr.  Vancouver

The world's second-largest country in size, Canada is also known for its civil liberties and freedoms, high living standard and safe and multi-cultural environment. And the beauty, variety and sheer stretches of Canada's nature could inspire the moodiest of us to rejoice in the world and its charm.

5. Finland

Beautiful girl sits on the stairs of Helsinki Cathedral
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Beautiful girl sits on the stairs of Helsinki Cathedral

Finland is like a European Canada – hundreds of thousands of lakes, the snowy Lapland, forests and the Baltic Sea, four distinct seasons... all important happiness-inspiring features in a country. Add to that a great sense of humour, high salaries and Finnish ingenuity, and those dark, cold winter nights suddenly don‘t seem so terrible.

4. Norway

Two beautiful nordic girls at Oslo harbour
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Two beautiful nordic girls at Oslo harbour

Norwegians are rich especially because of their oil, and they know exactly what to do with their wealth. This fact can be attested by this very survey of the happiest nations, in which many other nations with valuable natural resources don‘t even make the top 100. Of course, fjords, rocks and mountains add more charm to the country, and also add to the nation‘s happiness.

3. Iceland

Iceland
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Iceland

This is another little corner of the world with inhospitable conditions. In the whole of Iceland live only as many people as in a moderately-sized European city. But precisely the fact that many people know and trust each other probably makes Icelanders feel happy. The island nation also enjoys a low crime rate, low taxes, free health care and higher education...

2. Switzerland

People celebrating in the Zurich Spring Festival
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  People celebrating in the Zurich Spring Festival

This country was built in one of the world‘s most beautiful mountain ranges – the Alps. This multilingual nation (many of the Swiss speak German, French and English) is one of the most competitive nations on earth, where the salaries are the high, the infrastructure well-developed, the tax system balanced, and the democracy steady.

1. Denmark

Tivoli by night - the amusement park of Copenhagen
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Tivoli by night - the amusement park of Copenhagen

Some scientific research has actually shown that the Danes are more genetically predisposed to be happy than the many other of the world‘s nations. What‘s more, Danes live about 9 years longer than the average person in the rest of the world – on average to 80. Denmark is an economically strong country, where social gaps between different groups are very small.

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