What do the Norwegians think of themselves?

Quality of life: the happiness of the Norwegians

Happiness can't be far away, up here in the Scandinavian mountains. At 1011 meters above sea level, on the summit of the Hoven, the first impression is overwhelming. If you close your eyes, you can hear water rushing and birds chirping. If you take a deep breath, fresh mountain air flows through your nose. If you look down into the valley, you can hardly see enough.

Fjords meander through the landscape, narrow, elongated inlets. Small communities are formed on the banks, surrounded by meadows and dark forests. At the foot of the Hoven is the village of Loen, where visitors get on what is said to be the steepest mountain railway in the world. Somewhere down there, between fjords, forests and communities, Norwegian happiness is said to be hidden. There must be plenty of it, at least that's what researchers say.

According to studies, the happiest people in the world live in Norway. In the “World Happiness Report”, an annual survey by the United Nations (UN) and New York's Columbia University, no other nation fared better in past surveys. In 2017 Norway was lucky world champion, in 2018 it was enough for the runner-up title - just behind Finland.

Far behind was Germany, currently in 15th place, but without a chance for years. Well-being is not a German invention, that much seems to be certain. Time for tutoring.

On a trip through Norway we meet five people who share the secrets of their happiness with us. A mayor who does four other jobs in his spare time and is not alone in his community with this model. A pastor who exposes the concept of Norwegian neighborhood help.

A snow-crazy entrepreneur who is pursuing a big dream in a tiny ski resort. A glacier manager who traded city life for a home in the mountains. And last but not least, an artist who turned her life upside down at the age of 56 in order to finally study.

1. The mayor