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Scandinavia top destination for happiness

If cheery locals are the thing that you look for on holiday, Scandinavia is the place to go to, a new report has suggested.

travel Updated: Apr 06, 2012 16:23 IST
AFP

If cheery locals are the thing that you look for on holiday, Scandinavia is the place to go to, a new report has suggested. 

The World Happiness Report, released this week by the United Nations, took a look at the mood in countries around the world to determine which ones were the most content with their lot.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Nordic countries -- with a healthy work/life belance, top-notch healthcare and schools and high average incomes -- came at the top of the list, with Denmark reaching the coveted top place.

Finland came in second spot, Norway in third and the Netherlands -- the highest non-Nordic nation to make the list, was placed fourth, just above Canada in fifth place.

But does a happy country necessarily mean a warm welcome? Well, comparing the results of the UN survey to previous studies suggest that it might -- the Netherlands has previously been recognized as among the most friendly European nations to tourists, while Canada and Australia (both among the ten happiest countries) have also been lauded by HSBC for their friendliness to expats.

Unsurprisingly, there is also a correlation with wealth -- the ten happiest places are all developed nations -- although it was by no means universal.

Germany, the richest country in Europe, came a relatively low 30th place, while Japan ranked 44th and South Korea managed 56th.

At the bottom of the table came several African nations where life is undeniably hard, including Sierra Leone and Togo.

The world's happiest countries
    Denmark Finland Norway Netherlands Canada Switzerland Sweden New Zealand Australia Ireland USA Costa Rica Austria Israel Belgium Luxembourg United Arab Emirates United Kingdom Venezuela Iceland

Source: United Nations