Happiness…isn’t that what all of us seek…what we crave for and keep trying to create situations and circumstances where we finally say, we are happy. And when a country is declared the Happiest country in the world, my curious mind wants to know why.
The World Happiness Report announced how Norway jumped three spots, surpassing three-time winner Denmark to become the Happiest country in the world for 2017. And to get to this spot, they had to excel in six factors that foster happiness, ranging from health to generosity.
But who am I to argue? When the judgment is based solid, important and well-researched reasons that are responsible for a person’s happiness, that in turn, become the reason of an entire nation because it’s the people who make the country finally. But I am not going to dwell on those reasons, I am going to talk about the five “unofficial” reasons which have been instrumental in making Norwegians the happiest fish in the sea.
- Cleanliness is next to Godliness: The minute you enter Oslo’s airport, you are amazed to discover how spectacularly clean everything is. This is one of the few places in the world where you can forget the “five-second rule” because the floors are scrubbed and shiny clean enough to eat off of. And don’t think that’s just the airport, the city streets and public transportation all are equally spic and span, making you wonder how they manage to keep everything so fascinatingly pristine.
- The not so common Northern Lights: This natural phenomenon which seems like a fantasy for most of us is commonplace for Norwegians who have been living in the cold Arctic Circle. So tourists travel from all around the world to catch just a fleeting glimpse of the Aurora Borealis, which are the dancing green lights playing across the midnight Arctic sky? But for Norwegians, ah well, it’s just another Monday night for them.
- The beautiful fjords: To cruise along a fjord, a narrow part of the ocean between cliffs, steep hills or mountains, is to lose yourself in the perfection of nature. In the summertime, you can cruise through these breathtaking fjords that are unique to Norway; while in winter, they make perfect snowmobile tracks. Few are able to believe as they carve through the soaring mountains on blindingly bright white powder, that they are actually on a frozen lake.
- Polar Bears aren’t just soft toys: Do I need to add anything more to it? Fine, a little more. You can trek to Svalbard, which is off the coast of Norway’s mainland, but no doubt it can be a bit pricey, but that’s a place where these beautiful soft bears roam free. With a little effort, you can mush with some strikingly swift huskies alongside dog sledging or you can watch humpback and orca whales play around or breach the surface in the winter months in Tromsø.
- It is the house of Iconic art: “The Scream,” a world-renowned painting is known to everyone was the creation of Edvard Munch, but it is not known to many that he was born and raised in Norway. Or what about the genius playwright of “A Doll’s House, Henrik Ibsen,” Yes, also a full-blooded Norwegian. Two entire museums have been dedicated to their works in Oslo. Apart from those, you will find numerous museums of all kinds in Oslo displaying contemporary art to massive Viking ships.
These are enough reasons for any person looking happiness to visit this amazing country, I’ve barely managed to scratch the surface. The people there are lucky to live in this paradise and welcome all those ready to sample whatever it has to offer. As for me, well Norway’s winds are already calling my name.