Why Finland Hosts A Masterclass To Teach Visitors How To Be Happy

Visit Finland takes 14 visitors to the country’s Lake District for a master class in happiness.
Rachel Hosie/Insider Information

  • Finland is paying for people to visit the country so they can learn to be happy.
  • The Visit Finland organization will take 14 people to the country’s Lake District for a master class.
  • The organizers said they wanted to share Finnish culture and way of life with the world.

Finland is paying for people to visit the country so they can learn to be happy.

The country happiness masterclass, run by the Visit Finland organization, will take place in the picturesque Lake District at the Kuru Resort next month. The organizers decided to share some of the secrets to the country’s happiness after celebrating its sixth consecutive year at the top of the World Happiness Report.

In 2023, the Nordic country topped the rankings with a score that was “significantly ahead of all other countries,” according to the World Happiness Report. The report was published by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, but written by a team of independent experts and relied heavily on data from the Gallup World poll that measures assessments of life.

Visit Finland plans cover all travel and accommodation expenses, including a private room and access to a traditional Finnish sauna and spa.

“It’s about sharing our culture, our way of life,” Heli Jiménez, one of the organizers of the course, told Insider. “The better word for it in our minds would be content instead of happy, because we’re satisfied with our lives.”

Jimenez said the Nordic countries, and especially Finland, benefit from a “happiness infrastructure” such as safety nets, strong welfare systems, work-life balance, and a connection to nature.

“Not everyone is happy 100% of the time. But we have certain securities that give us space to do different things,” he said.

The master class is separated by theme each day and includes topics such as pure food, everyday design, nature, and health and wellness.

April Rinne, who is half Finnish but resides in Portland, is one of the masterclass trainers who works on health and wellness days. She said her experience will be unique to her because of the time she will spend working in the forests.

“You don’t get many opportunities to spend a day teaching about nature,” he said. “We’ll do a bit of reflection, a bit of group discussion, and we’ll do a series of activities in nature.”

“It’s really about increasing our self-awareness,” he added.

For Rinne, Finnish happiness comes from a society that knows how to be content with what it has.

“This is a society that is not about seeking more at all costs,” he said. “It’s not about more money in your bank account, more success, more meetings in your day, or being more productive.”

“That’s one of the things we’ll be looking at during the master class, another is the role of trust,” he said.

Visit Finland’s happiness masterclass has received a deluge of interest, organizers say. It even made it to Kourtney Kardashian’s Instagram story.

Jiménez said that originally the course was supposed to take 10 candidates. But after receiving more than 150,000 applications for the first phase of the contest and another 20,000 for the second, they had to raise the limit to allow the inclusion of four more invitees.

Applicants came from 190 countries and the finalists included three visitors from the US.