“Happiness is not something that is postponed, but something that is designed for the present”

And in a year, 2020, marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, this statement makes more sense than ever. Because this virus has taught us to enjoy the small moments, to give more value to what really matters and to find happiness in the (so far) small pleasures of life, which have become the most important. 

And yes, the well-known World Happiness Report 2021 has been released and we can tell you that it does not bring many surprises. The ten countries that follow in this ranking are practically the same as those that appeared last year, before the world’s lockdown. What does differ from the past is the loud and clear message it sends: it is vital to defend and care for mental health.

The 10 happiest countries in the world are so because, in spite of everything, they have been able to maintain sufficient levels of stability so that the strong global shock of COVID-19 has not affected them excessively. This has meant that they have maintained good economic health, but also, and much more important, the mental health of their entire population.

However, the report also shows that emotions have been very changeable during 2020 and that all countries have experienced ups and downs, with historic lows in happiness during the lockdown.

Here is the listing of the “strange happiness” report: 

10. Austria

This European country continues in tenth place for one more year. This country stands out for its beautiful landscapes, either green or dyed white, depending on the season of the year. A country that dances to the rhythm of waltz and where you can find great architectural gems, combining history and contemporaneity. A country that stands out for its love of its roots and its land. And where you can find such impressive places as this one.

9. New Zealand

Undoubtedly, one of the countries that has grabbed the most positive headlines during 2020, a fact that made it an example to follow. The success has been achieved by putting health before tourism and completely closing the island and smaller cities or towns at the first sign of contagion. In addition, it is a country that never leaves anyone who visits it indifferent: natural parks, surfing, skiing, forests, mountains, lakes, beaches, fjords… nature in its purest form and one of the most important hiking destinations on the planet.

New Zealand ranks No. 9 on the list of the world's happiest countries

8. Norway

One of the most fascinating destinations in Europe, Norway is currently facing a strong advance of the pandemic in daily infection figures, which has led to a restriction of mobility in more than 50 municipalities. Its cities are cosmopolitan, full of cultural life and they showcase Scandinavian talent. As a counterpoint, its natural beauty, for example with the aurora borealis, or active tourism, for the more intrepid and adventurous ones.

7. Germany

Germany enters the ranking of the happiest countries in the world in a complicated context. Although its situation is currently quite critical due to the British variant of the virus, it has accomplished to be in the top 10 of countries that have best managed the pandemic. A country of contrasts, with large cosmopolitan and open cities but also with places straight out of fairy tales, such as Neuschwanstein Castle, one of the most Instagrammed places in the world.

6. Sweden

A classic that is never missing in lists of the happiest countries in the world. It ranks sixth for having been able to keep the pandemic at bay while maintaining social and economic activity. In addition, they have the secret of happiness: Lagom, which consists of: “neither too little nor too much: in just the right measure”. In other words, seeking peace and fulfillment by finding a balance between emotions and well-being. 

Sweden ranks No. 6 on the list of the world's happiest countries

5. The Netherlands

The Netherlands improved one position in the ranking of the world’s happiest countries over the previous year. And no wonder: from exciting Amsterdam to cultural Utrecht, this region has a lot of charm to offer. They are famous for their works of art, historic windmills or romantic candlelit cafés. Cycling is another of its great pleasures and its streets are full of color when the tulips bloom. A spectacle to behold.

4. Switzerland

Watches, chocolate, knives, cheese, captivating landscapes… all this is Switzerland! Another European country that stands out for its innate beauty, for its incredible nature (whether in summer or winter) and for being one of the most democratic and peaceful countries in the world. The counterpoint to the landscapes is signed by its urban facet, with castles, craft beer and lots of life. 

3. Denmark

In the TOP 3 is Denmark, a bittersweet position caused by the pandemic situation. However, a situation that is made much more bearable thanks to its lifestyle: hygge, or what is the same, the art of discovering the little things that make our lives a more beautiful place. Along with hygge, there are also other terms such as lykke or Copenhappy that constantly allude to the Danish state of happiness. Another classic that always tops the international meters of well-being and joy.

Denmark ranks No. 2 on the list of the world's happiest countries

2. Iceland

Iceland climbs to number 2 of the happiest countries in the world because while the world was closing, they were thinking about the future: one starring sustainable tourism, a bet on tourism but not at all costs. In addition, their list of titles also includes being the safest country in the world and the second most democratic. And, of course, we cannot forget its beauty, a country full of authors, artists and musicians who are inspired by the environment. Pure air and film-like landscapes to enrapture anyone.

1. Finland

One more year, Finland becomes the happiest country in the world (and that makes four times!). Nature, gastronomy, saunas, forest baths, dream hotels under the stars… All this makes Finland an incredible country to live in. But also its (curious) customs such as drinking in underwear or its advanced social policies. Undoubtedly, happiness made a country.

As a curiosity about this list of the happiest countries in the world, it is worth noting that of the first 20, more than half, specifically 14, are European countries. And, in addition, absolutely all the Nordic countries have a place in the TOP 10. They all share: a good economy, social policies and an idyllic environment. Is this the secret of happiness?

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