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Shiny Happy People

Posted on February 16, 2012
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A recent survey by Forbes has listed countries with happy economies, happy societies and happier natives. Looks like the world is one happy place — are you part of it?

Hong Kong

HK HappyStable economy is what makes Hong Kong one happy country to live in. The skyscrapers are perhaps a good allusion to the spirit of the natives. It may be a part of the Republic of China, but has its own currency, political and social systems well in place, and is mostly self-governed. Interlaced with the modern and the traditional, Hong Kong shows how the old and the modern can thrive harmoniously. ‘Hong Kong’ in English means ‘Fragrant Harbour’. Eating noodles here on your birthday is said to increase your lifespan, and the people here have two weddings (with the same person of course) — one is after signing the marriage register, and the other before the banquet.

Ireland

Ireland HappyIt’s safe and it’s secure, and it’s ‘mostly raining in Ireland’. With a low rate of violent crime only next to Japan, Ireland sure is one peace-loving nation. And the Irish don’t need a festival to celebrate — wherever you go, there is some or the other celebration going on in the country. Keep your eyes and ears open, and before you know you are holding your mug of Guinness, saying cheers! The delightfully chaotic country has given to the world quite a few of the very handsome actors — George Clooney, Mel Gibson and Alec Baldwin. And of course, not to forget U2 — one of the greatest bands of modern times.

Austria

Austria HappyIt’s a country where you are allowed to choose your own course of life and enjoy freedom to the fullest. Austrian standards of living are known to be one of the best in the world. Unemployment rates, that have not risen in a few years now make Austria a stable place to live in. The land of the Weiner Schnitzel and Red Bull, Austria is primarily German-speaking but way different from Germany. Never compare, just speak the language if you can. Arnold Schwarzenegger comes from Austria. Ice-dancing originated in Austria, and the Austrian flag is one of the oldest in the world.

Germany

Germany HappyEurope’s economic power-house supported by a vibrant culture, Germany’s listing in Forbes comes as no surprise. Germany’s contribution to the Auto world are BMW, Audi and Volkswagen. And what better way to celebrate this contribution than by drinking a mug of chilled beer? Famous for its 16-day Oktoberfest, Germany celebrates with the world, the largest festival of food and drink ever. Ludwig van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Heidi Klum and Rammstein — the list of famous personalities can and will never end. The world-famous Gummy bears were invented by the Germans, and the tradition of lighting a Christmas tree (Tannenbaum) originated in Germany. Take a taxi in Germany, and you will most likely sit in a Mercedes Benz.

Denmark

Denmark HappyThere is plenty of opportunity in Denmark, and the cost of starting your business in Denmark is the least in the world. Everybody is treated equally, and the government takes all measures to make the Danish welfare system a practical one. The country with the highest standard of living in the world has little need to complain. The first European country to legalise same-sex marriages, Denmark has displayed its liberal attitude to the West. Peace-loving Danes have not been in war for hundreds of years, and marry at the oldest age in Europe, at 32. A good many reasons to visit Denmark.

Norway

Norway HappyFor the third time in a row, Norway is ranked the happiest country in the world. Norwegians are happy with the standards of their living, love the freedom they have, and trust their neighbours — what else does one need, we say? Cynics have argued that Norway is a godless country, but really, who needs to go to the church when one can take a hike in the mountains and meet god himself? Modern skiing originated in Norway, and there are over 50,000 islands off the coast. Norwegians read more than any other population in the world, and more importantly, they are rich!

Finland

Finland HappyThe country that made ‘Connecting people’ easy, Finland is known for a great education system and competition in the fields of manufacturing, telecommunications, metals and electronics. The ingenious Finns are known to display their imagination in cuisines to objects as simple as bottle-openers. Take a trip to Finland, and unleash your creativity. There are no public payphones in Finland, and the amount of fine you pay for speeding depends on the amount you earn.

France

France happyThere may be lesser people getting into matrimony, but their ‘expertise’ in the world-famous French kiss is unquestionable. Great initiatives by the government in healthcare and other social security measures, France does enjoy a healthy life. Interestingly, it is said that there are two cook books published every day in France — no wonder the French cuisine and the popular molecular-gastronomy is famous all over the world. Napoleon, Cognac, Armagnac and Grand Marnier are gifts from France to the world. The land of haute couture, France is a testimony to perfection in fashion.

Switzerland

Switzerland happyThe best governance in the world, great healthcare laws, and of course, not to forget the cheese and the tourism, Switzerland never ceases to surprise. The haven of honeymooners, Switzerland is and perhaps will remain the top choice of the hopeless romantics around the world. And by sticking to their currency — the Franc while the rest of Europe has moved on to the Euro, Switzerland has shown the world what stability looks like. There are more banks than dentists in Switzerland. Ursula Andress, the Swiss actress was the first ‘Bond girl’ ever, and Albert Einstein loved Switzerland so much that he lived there and postulated his Theory of Relativity there.

Belgium

Belgium HappyA record-breaking 541 days without a government may have shown Belgium in the negative, but the country shows no signs of getting off the list of the country with the happiest people. Invaded by the Romans, Spanish, Austrians, French, Dutch and the Germans, modern Belgium today is characterised by its anti-authority and individualistic nature. Good enough reason to go there? But of course! Beer, chocolates, waffles and friendly people who love to speak English (or attempt to at least) and help tourists, the Belgians are a good reason to visit the country. Forced marriages can lead to heavy punishment in Belgium and did you know? Almost 90 per cent of unpolished diamonds in the world are distributed in Antwerp.

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