It’s time to embrace the truth and shout it from the rooftops. Finns ARE the happiest people in the world, and we should let others know it. The Danes have their “hygge” and the Swedes have Abba and Loreen, but we can make happiness a Finnish brand and export product. Productization requires concretizing the concept and understanding where happiness comes from.
A major source of our happiness is the fact that we are still very much in touch with nature and share a deep appreciation for our beautiful surroundings. Wooden buildings are an integral part of these surroundings, and we should not underestimate the part they play in our happiness.
The wooden buildings in the countryside, in particular, represent the peace and quiet that Finns value as a source of well-being. These buildings offer shelter and security near our forests and lakes, helping us to relax and forget the stresses of everyday life. For many Finns, the countryside is a place where they can find peace of mind and potentially explore their own roots. We go there to relive our memories of joyful childhood summers spent splashing around in a lake, where the shorefront sauna kept us warm from sunrise to sunset. Children and adults alike slept peacefully in the comfort provided by wooden walls, and life felt carefree.
Wooden buildings are therefore much more than just buildings – they are integral to the happiness and well-being of Finns and key parts of the Finnish landscape and folklore. The countryside does have one shortcoming, of course: a lack of services. By providing this missing piece, we can make Finland the Mindfulness Centre for today’s stressed-out world.
This spring’s digital issue of Wood magazine includes extensive presentations on this “infrastructure of happiness”, as architect Teemu Kurkela so aptly calls our countryside’s wooden buildings. Puuinfo is kicking off the productisation of happiness by organising a tour of wooden architecture for a Canadian film crew arriving in Helsinki in early June. It probably goes without saying that the tour will include two saunas – as well as a school, library, and chapel.
Norway is home to the world’s tallest wooden residential building, and in their marketing of wooden construction the Norwegians have made sure to highlight the positive effects on personal well-being. Finland could and should now breeze past Norway by making happiness a visible part of our wood construction. After all, we already have 100,000 more summer cottages than they do.
Text: Anu Turunen, Managing director Puuinfo
Read the article in Finnish here.