World’s Happiest Country Opens Applications For An Urban Happiness Expedition

Alice Duthie

Lifestyle Writer

Mar 25, 2024

Finland, the world’s happiest country for six years running, is inviting people to Helsinki in June 2024 to discover how they can hack their happiness. Applications to the five-day happiness-focused masterclass are now open.

Following the success of 2023’s Masterclass in Happiness, Finland and Helsinki will welcome a new group of happiness seekers to learn the hacks that make Helsinki the world’s happiest capital.

During the five-day masterclass, Visit Finland and Helsinki Partners will welcome lucky participants to the capital to learn from the Helsinki Happiness Hackers. The team of Helsinki Happiness Hackers will lead the group in learning the new happiness hacks that they can apply to their everyday life. During their time in Helsinki, applicants will learn what makes city dwellers in the world’s happiest country so happy, as they are fully immersed in the distinctive Helsinkian experience. Happiness hacks will highlight four key themes of Finnish happiness: nature and lifestyle; health and balance; design and everyday; food and wellbeing.

Happiest Country: Finland shares secrets to hacking happiness
Happiest Country: Finland shares secrets to hacking happiness.

Finns find happiness in nature and in the city

Crowned the happiest country for six years running, Finland is a vibrant blend of green forests, calm lakes and captivating islands, innovative design, unique sauna culture and quirky urban charm. Finnish happiness is often attributed to Finns’ close connection with nature and down-to-earth lifestyle. The Finns place great importance on preserving the great outdoors and in Helsinki, sustainability plays a key role in the lives of Helsinkians. The capital is aiming for carbon neutrality by 2030 and was ranked the fourth most sustainable travel destination in 2023.

Even in the bustle of Finland’s most densely populated city, Helsinki’s residents draw happiness largely from nature. An astonishing 88% of Helsinki residents are happy with their life in the city**.  Anu Syrmä, Director, Brand, Marketing and Communications of Helsinki Partners, explains,

“Helsinki boasts an impressive cultural scene and plenty of urban green oases. According to a recent survey, Helsinki residents appreciate the quality of life in their city. Helsinkians value proximity to nature and the sea, arts and culture, a safe living environment, and efficient public transport in their hometown. Still, we feel strongly that the Helsinki Happiness Hacks can be experienced by anyone, even during a short visit.”

Happiest Country: Finland shares secrets to hacking happiness
Happiest Country: Finland shares secrets to hacking happiness

In Helsinki, travellers can enjoy a vibrant urban atmosphere mixed with serenity and nature. The Finnish capital offers a world-class city break destination to suit every kind of traveller, with fantastic museums, sensational dining, verdant green spaces, and beautiful, design-led accommodation.

“Finnish happiness boils down to the simple things in life: connecting with nature, taking care of one’s mind and body, and appreciating design and art around us. Happiness can be found in moments of pure contentment you get when the setting is just right: on a bike ride in a forest with the perfect playlist on or enjoying a post-sauna sausage while cooling off on a beautiful summer evening. Most importantly, happiness hacks are skills that anyone can learn to boost their well-being,” comments Heli Jimenez, Senior Director, International Marketing at Business Finland.

Apply by April 4, 2024

Participating in the Helsinki Happiness Hacks masterclass will be free of charge for the chosen participants – Visit Finland and Helsinki Partners will cover travel expenses to and from Finland. The lucky participants will enjoy a curated five-day experience crafted by a group of Helsinki Happiness Hackers, aimed at guiding towards finding your inner Helsinkian.

Applications are open until April 4, 2024. To apply and find more information, see

Happiest Country: Finland shares secrets to hacking happiness
Happiest Country: Finland shares secrets to hacking happiness

The Helsinki Happiness Hacks

  • Visit Finland and Helsinki Partners are now accepting applications for an experience where anyone can learn how to master their happiness. The chosen participants will discover the Helsinki Happiness Hacks in the Finnish capital between June 9 and June 14, 2024.
  • The participants will enjoy a curated five-day masterclass with five Helsinki Happiness Hackers. The trip is completely free of charge for the participants.
  • Applications are open until April 4, 2024. To be considered, applicants must complete a social media challenge and fill in a sign-up form on the campaign page.

Get to know the Happiness Hackers

  • Lena Salmi is not your average 70-year-old. You’ll find her zipping through the streets of Helsinki on her skateboard, rocking a tutu and defying gravity with every twist and turn. The former swimmer and sports journalist heads for a morning swim at least five times a week throughout the year. For Lena, happiness is the freedom to be herself, just as she is.
  • Adela Pajunen is a true champion of the natural world. As a biologist, writer, and advocate for wellbeing through nature, Adela’s journey is a demonstration of the profound impact of our natural surroundings on our health and happiness. She pioneered a unique Finnish nature-prescription model, recognised globally for its scientifically proven effects. Today, she resides in the Helsinki region amidst the very forests she cherishes and guides people to discover the healing powers of nature through forest excursions, courses, lectures, and nature trails.
  • Luka Balac is a culinary virtuoso whose passion for food traces back to his childhood days spent mesmerized by his grandmother’s cooking. Since 2018, Luka has embarked on a remarkable journey with his partners, opening three renowned restaurants in Helsinki: Nolla, Elm, and Nolita. Rooted deeply in sustainability, these establishments are born from Luka’s commitment to spreading joy through food.
Adela Pajunen
Adela Pajunen

Helsinki Happiness Hacks examples

Wild swimming

  • The health benefits of swimming are known the world over with many people diving into the pastime headfirst. Former sports journalist and swimmer, Lena Salmi, among other many other fellow Helsinkians are turning swimming into a true happiness hack by taking a radical approach. Swimmers are taking the most out of the capital’s surrounding nature bypassing warmed indoor pools, in favour of swimming outdoors at every opportunity. Outdoor swimming in Helsinki can be a year-round activity and Lena’s happiness hack requires just a swimsuit and towel.


  • Gathering family and friends around the grill for good food and good times together is a beloved social event. Usually though, grilling takes place in private terraces or backyards, but in Finland these social gastronomy occasions are an integral part of the lifestyle. Almost every apartment building is equipped with a grill for common use for residents and there are plenty of public grill spaces available for use.
  • One of Helsinki’s most renowned chefs, Luka Balac has a simple hack to happiness, but it may be uncharted for many around the world. Luka recommends picking up delicious ingredients and have a grill party with friends and random Helsinkians at one of the many public spaces across the capital.

Vitamin forest

  • Walking in the woods is very beneficial for one’s health and mind – even a short time spent in the forest reduces stress levels and blood pressure. In Finland, where over 75% of the country is covered by forests – even the capital city has its fair share of woods. Locals take their relationship with forest seriously – doctors can even provide a forest walk to alleviate stress and other medical conditions. Biologist Adela Pajunen’s hack for happiness is to be one’s own doctor and prescribe yourself a refreshing walk in one of Helsinki’s forests. Adela could even take visitors to Helsinki through the capital’s forests to get back to nature.


By Alice Duthie

Lifestyle Writer

Alice Duthie is a beauty and lifestyle writer for The Carousel. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Commerce at The University of Sydney, majoring in Marketing and Business Information Systems.



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