Applications Now Open for a One-of-a-Kind Urban Happiness Expedition in Helsinki

Credits: Karoliina Bärlund / Helsinki Partners


Press release, Helsinki, 14 March 2024

Finland, the world’s happiest country for six years running, is inviting people to Helsinki in June 2024 to discover how they can hack their happiness. Applications to the five-day happiness-focused masterclass are now open.
Credits: Karoliina Bärlund / Helsinki Partners

Happiness and the city: Finland and Helsinki share secrets to hacking happiness

Following the success of 2023’s Masterclass of Happiness, Finland and Helsinki will welcome a new group of happiness seekers to learn the hacks that make Helsinki the world's happiest capital. 

During the five-day masterclass, Visit Finland and Helsinki Partners will welcome lucky participants to the capital to learn from the Helsinki Happiness Hackers. The team of Helsinki Happiness Hackers will lead the group in learning the new happiness hacks that they can apply to their everyday life. During their time in Helsinki, applicants will learn what makes city dwellers in the world’s happiest country so happy, as they are fully immersed in the distinctive Helsinkian experience. Happiness hacks will highlight four key themes of Finnish happiness: nature and lifestyle; health and balance; design and everyday; food and wellbeing. 

Credits: Aleksi Poutanen

Finns find happiness in nature and in the city

Crowned the happiest country for six years running, Finland is a vibrant blend of green forests, calm lakes and captivating islands, innovative design, unique sauna culture and quirky urban charm. Finnish happiness is often attributed to Finns’ close connection with nature and down-to-earth lifestyle. The Finns place great importance on preserving the great outdoors and in Helsinki, sustainability plays a key role in the lives of Helsinkians. The capital is aiming for carbon neutrality by 2030 and was ranked the fourth most sustainable travel destination in 2023.* 

Even in the bustle of Finland’s most densely populated city, Helsinki’s residents draw happiness largely from nature. An astonishing 88% of Helsinki residents are happy with their life in the city**. Anu Syrmä, Director, Brand, Marketing and Communications of Helsinki Partners, explains: 

“Helsinki boasts an impressive cultural scene and plenty of urban green oases. According to a recent survey, Helsinki residents appreciate the quality of life in their city. Helsinkians value proximity to nature and the sea, arts and culture, a safe living environment, and efficient public transport in their hometown. Still, we feel strongly that the Helsinki Happiness Hacks can be experienced by anyone, even during a short visit.” 

In Helsinki, travellers can enjoy a vibrant urban atmosphere mixed with serenity and nature. The Finnish capital offers a world-class city break destination to suit every kind of traveller, with fantastic museums, sensational dining, verdant green spaces, and beautiful, design-led accommodation. 

“Finnish happiness boils down to the simple things in life: connecting with nature, taking care of one’s mind and body, and appreciating design and art around us. Happiness can be found in moments of pure contentment you get when the setting is just right: on a bike ride in a forest with the perfect playlist on or enjoying a post-sauna sausage while cooling off on a beautiful summer evening. Most importantly, happiness hacks are skills that anyone can learn to boost their well-being,” comments Heli Jimenez, Senior Director, International Marketing at Business Finland. 

*Global Destination Sustainability Index 2023 

** In February 2024, Taloustutkimus conducted a study on the thoughts of Helsinki residents about happiness. The survey was responded to by 1,044 Helsinki residents over the age of 15.

Credits: Jussi Hellsten

Visit Finland wanted to raise and highlight aspects of Finnish life and culture that support this consistent outlook of happiness the Finns have in many ways mastered. The online masterclass is free of charge, so it is easily accessible and available for as many people as possible, describes Heli Jimenez, Senior Director, International Marketing & PR of Business Finland.

“With this masterclass, we want to give everyone a foundation they can use to build their own happiness. The key is that it is not just some mystical ability you are born with; it’s an approach to life that can be learned. At the same time, there’s no one-size-fits-all path to it: we believe you can find your own kind of inner Finn through the themes of this masterclass. In many ways, I think it’s what the world needs right now!”

Apply by April 4, 2024

Participating in the Helsinki Happiness Hacks masterclass will be free of charge for the chosen participants - Visit Finland and Helsinki Partners will cover travel expenses to and from Finland. The lucky participants will enjoy a curated five-day experience crafted by a group of Helsinki Happiness Hackers, aimed at guiding towards finding your inner Helsinkian.  

Applications are open until April 4, 2024. To apply and find more information, see 

Get to know the Happiness Hackers

  • Lena Salmi is not your average 70-year-old. You’ll find her zipping through the streets of Helsinki on her skateboard, rocking a tutu and defying gravity with every twist and turn. The former swimmer and sports journalist heads for a morning swim at least five times a week throughout the year. For Lena, happiness is the freedom to be herself, just as she is.  

  • Adela Pajunen is a true champion of the natural world. As a biologist, writer, and advocate for wellbeing through nature, Adela's journey is a demonstration of the profound impact of our natural surroundings on our health and happiness. She pioneered a unique Finnish nature-prescription model, recognised globally for its scientifically proven effects. Today, she resides in the Helsinki region amidst the very forests she cherishes and guides people to discover the healing powers of nature through forest excursions, courses, lectures, and nature trails. 

  • Luka Balac is a culinary virtuoso whose passion for food traces back to his childhood days spent mesmerized by his grandmother's cooking. Since 2018, Luka has embarked on a remarkable journey with his partners, opening three renowned restaurants in Helsinki: Nolla, Elm, and Nolita. Rooted deeply in sustainability, these establishments are born from Luka's commitment to spreading joy through food. 

Helsinki Happiness Hacker Lena Salmi
Credits : Maija Astikainen
Helsinki Happiness Hacker Adela Pajunen
Credits: Okko Oinonen
Helsinki Happiness Hacker Luka Balac
Credits: Eeva Suutari / Frenn Helsinki

Helsinki Happiness Hacks examples

Wild swimming  

The health benefits of swimming are known the world over with many people diving into the pastime headfirst. Former sports journalist and swimmer, Lena Salmi, among other many other fellow Helsinkians are turning swimming into a true happiness hack by taking a radical approach. Swimmers are taking the most out of the capital’s surrounding nature bypassing warmed indoor pools, in favour of swimming outdoors at every opportunity. Outdoor swimming in Helsinki can be a year-round activity and Lena’s happiness hack requires just a swimsuit and towel. 


Gathering family and friends around the grill for good food and good times together is a beloved social event. Usually though, grilling takes place in private terraces or backyards, but in Finland these social gastronomy occasions are an integral part of the lifestyle. Almost every apartment building is equipped with a grill for common use for residents and there are plenty of public grill spaces available for use.  

One of Helsinki’s most renowned chefs, Luka Balac has a simple hack to happiness, but it may be uncharted for many around the world. Luka recommends picking up delicious ingredients and have a grill party with friends and random Helsinkians at one of the many public spaces across the capital. 

Vitamin forest

Walking in the woods is very beneficial for one’s health and mind – even a short time spent in the forest reduces stress levels and blood pressure. In Finland, where over 75% of the country is covered by forests – even the capital city has its fair share of woods. Locals take their relationship with forest seriously – doctors can even provide a forest walk to alleviate stress and other medical conditions. Biologist Adela Pajunen’s hack for happiness is to be one’s own doctor and prescribe yourself a refreshing walk in one of Helsinki’s forests. Adela could even take visitors to Helsinki through the capital’s forests to get back to nature. 


Please note the photo credits and use them appropriately. 

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About Visit Finland

Visit Finland, a unit of Business Finland, is a national authority on tourism and an active force in promoting international travel to Finland. Its main goal is to develop Finland’s international image as a destination. Visit Finland supports the travel industry through research and helps businesses and groups develop products and services for the international market. For more information, please visit

About Helsinki Partners 

Helsinki Partners is a city marketing, investment and talent attraction company owned by the City of Helsinki. Helsinki Partners’ mission is to promote the city’s sustainable growth, to attract investments, businesses, talent and visitors, to conduct international sales and marketing, as well as to build Helsinki’s global brand and reputation.