Over the years, Finland and Finns have excelled in many areas and Finland has been at the top of many international rankings. Among others, Finland has been named the best country to live in (Newsweek 2010), Finland has been nominated the home to some of world’s happiest people (UN First World Happiness Report 2012) and, according to Monocle’s 2011 Quality of Life survey, Helsinki is the best city to live in.
Even in the midst of recent European economic turmoil, Finland has been doing quite well. At the moment, Finland is the only country in the Eurozone that has been able to maintain its AAA credit rating. Legatum Institute ranked Finland as number one in its Prosperity Index in 2009 and in the same index, Finland was still part of the top ten last year. On the World Economic Forum’s World Competitiveness Index, Finland has been one of the top countries over the years, too (2008, 6th; 2009, 6th; 2010 6th; 2011, 7th).
In addition to being competitive, Finland is made of innovative thinkers; European Comission’s Innovation Union Scoreboard ranked Finland as an innovation leader in 2012. In addition to Nokia and Angry Birds, Finland has a remarkably strong culture of innovation in new technologies. Finland is also a forerunner in rethinking design, which is showcased in Helsinki – the World Design Capital of 2012.
Year 2012 was good for Finland in other rankings, too; Finland rose to the top three in World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index and was rated the safest place to live in by Fund for Peace organization’s Failed States Index. Finland is also one of the least corrupt countries in the world according to the Corruption Perceptions Index by Transparency International: Finland ranked number one in in 2006 and 2007 and number 3 in 2011.
In the recent two decades, Finland has been praised for its first class education system. OECD’s PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) study ranked Finnish teenagers' maths, science and reading skills at or close to the top of the nearly sixty countries assessed in the survey in 2009. In 2000, 2003 and 2006 Finland was ranked number one. The Finnish early child care system is also one of the best in the world; every child is guaranteed an opportunity for close to free daycare and every parents is eligible for paid parental leave.
Finns love outdoors and are quite environmentally conscious. Yale University and Columbia University in the U.S. ranked Finland at the top in their Environmental Performance Index (2006, 3rd ;2008, 4th). Freedom of speech as part of basic human rights is also close at heart to Finns. Reporters Without Borders ranked Finland as number one in Worldwide Press Freedom Index in 2009.
Finnish society has always pursued equality. Finland was the first country in the world where women could both vote in and stand for parliamentary election, in 1906. It’s not a surprise that Newsweek magazine ranked Finland one best places for women in the world (2011).
To keep this all up, Finns have to drink a lot of coffee. Hence our ranking as the country that consumes the most coffee per capita (Wikipedia).