We all know that Finland is very high on the list in the international rankings on education, freedom of press, equality and social security. For example, according to the 2016 World Happiness Report, Finland is the 6th happiest country in the world, and Helsinki ranks 3rd on the 2016 Metropolis Magazine most liveable cities list. We live in a wonderful place. Let’s embrace it!
Lists and rankings are a great thing, but what about personal experience? My expat years made me think about my Finnish happiness from a different, everyday-life perspective. There are four things that make life in Finland better than anywhere else: simplicity, design, functionality and access to nature. To understand what I mean, here is a list of five everyday things I really missed while living away from home.
1. Oras Taps
It should be illegal to produce taps where you regulate water temperature with two separate handles, one for hot and one for cold. The user experience is absolutely crap: a lot of effort that always leads to unwanted end results. If everyone had a Finnish Oras mixer tap, they would never burn their hands again!
2. IDO Toilets
IDO still manufactures its clear-lined and simple porcelain products in Finland. Not only are the toilets beautiful, but they work. They flush. And don’t we all want our toilets to flush? A toilet that does not flush can hardly be called a toilet. Most models also have double flush function to save water, so they are ecological as well.
3. Abloy Locks
It is a standardised system. They always open the same way: turn and push just a little. When you leave the house, you don’t need to lock the door, but it locks itself when you close the door (I know, it can create issues for the first-time user, but in the long run it just makes sense). If you can open one door, you can open all of them. In the current world of millions of incompatible systems, this is pure gold.
4. Indoor Warmth
Many non-Finns often wonder how we Finns make it through the Finnish winter because it is so cold. Yes, it can be cold… outside. Finnish houses are well insulated and it’s always warm–or even a little too hot–inside. Still, after several years in Central Europe, I could not get over the idea that enduring cold, windy temperatures and wearing extra layers are concepts for going out, not entering your apartment.
5. Access to Nature
As a whole, Finland is one big deserted national park. It is the beauty and curse of this country. For the same reason – I believe – Helsinki is one of the most beautiful capitals of Europe. From all parts of this small but vibrant city you can easily get to forests, parks, the sea and islands. And as research shows, this adds tons to the quality of life and happiness levels.
These are only five of the simple things that make life better in Finland – there are plenty more that can be added to the list. Have an opinion? Share it in the comments below!