Skip to content

APN podcast: How happy is Finland?

This week All Points North asks if urban planning makes Finland a happier place to live, hears how Finland's protracted Nato accession has suddenly gathered pace, and counts down to parliamentary elections.

Ihmisiä istuu nurmikolla kukkivien kirsikkapuiden alla. Kuvassa "All points North" -logo.
Cherry blossoms in Helsinki's Roihuvuori district in spring. Image: Jorge Gonzalez / Yle
Yle News

With the World Happiness Report naming Finland the happiest country in the world for the sixth year in a row, All Points North assessess if urban planning is the secret to Finnish success.

"The natural environment has been shown in research to really contribute to the promotion of mental health and the recovery from stress," Marketta Kyttä, a professor of land use planning at Aalto University, tells APN.

Finland's formula for happiness

Nearer to Nato

Having delayed Finland's application to join Nato for months, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan unexpectedly announced his country will begin the process of ratifying the Finnish bid before Turkish elections scheduled for the middle of May.

Not long afterwards, a leading politician from Hungary's ruling Fidesz party said the Hungarian parliament was bringing forward a vote on Finland's accession. Turkey and Hungary are the only Nato member states yet to approve Finland's bid.

"If both Turkey and Hungary this time keep their promise and indeed proceed as now indicated it could be that Finland becomes a full member of Nato in the coming weeks," explains Minna Ålander of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs.

Election tensions, and tempers, rise

As advance voting for Finland's parliamentary elections got off to a brisk start, the leaders of the country's three biggest parties clashed over the economy, climate issues and immigration during Yle's televised election debates.

"I think one of the functions of this quite aggressive tone and this very harsh choice of words was that they [the party leaders] really tried to highlight and stress where the differences were and put less emphasis on the things they have in common," Kimmo Elo, a researcher at the University of Turku's Centre for Parliamentary Studies, tells APN.

Yle will broadcast a series of election specials in minority languages in the run up to polling day on 2 April. Yle News' English language discussion will be broadcast on Thursday 30 March at 3pm on Yle TV1.

Wali Hashi, who will host the Somali-language show, told APN about the importance for minority communities of speaking about Finnish topics in their own language.

"For the first time in history, they are not talking about us but they're talking with us," Hashi said.

Join the conversation!

This week's show was presented by Ronan Browne and Zena Iovino. The sound engineer was Laura Koso.

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, contact us via WhatsApp on +358 44 421 0909, on our Facebook or Twitter accounts, or at and

Would you like a roundup of the week's top stories in your inbox every Thursday? Then sign up to receive our weekly email.

Latest: paketissa on 10 artikkelia