Finland, known as the “land of a thousand lakes,” is considered the happiest place to live, especially the town of Lahti. This is the sixth year in a row the World Happiness Report points this country to the first place of the list! This prestigious place owes its prestige to two key factors – picturesque nature and a strong sense of community ties. The term “country of a thousand lakes” is not unfounded, but it is a certain simplification of reality, for there are as many as 188,888 lakes on Finnish territory. This impressive figure makes it the world leader in this regard.
Nature in Finland is not only beautiful, but also wild and untamed. The lush forests that surround the crystal clear lakes create a picturesque landscape. This proximity to nature, available at your fingertips, is one of the factors that allows Finns to feel happy. The second key element is a strong sense of social ties. Finns are known to value close relationships with family and friends, as well as the wider community. This, combined with the country’s natural beauty, creates an atmosphere that promotes happiness and contentment.
Lahti – the town of happiness
In particular, Lahti, a small city in Finland, reflects these unique characteristics. The beauty of the place , where they live, makes its inhabitants smile more. This city is also a leader in environmental sustainability, and such management further contributes to the sense of happiness of its residents. Initiatives and environmental awareness make Lahti a model for other cities around the world.
Lahti – Finland’s model for a sustainable future
With a population of 120,000, Lahti is located just an hour’s drive from Finland’s capital, Helsinki. This is a city that is firmly committed to sustainable development. In 2021. won the title of Europe’s Green Capital, and its pro-environmental initiatives are proof that even a small town can have a big impact on changing behavior to protect the environment.
- Carbon neutrality: Lahti has committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2025. It is the first city in the world to test personal CO₂ emissions trading – the app collects data on residents’ travels and then rewards them for making sustainable decisions that help reduce their carbon footprint. By choosing sustainable modes of transportation, the user earns virtual euros, which can be exchanged at local stores, bars and restaurants. This is an important part of the broader goal of turning Lahti into a CO₂-neutral city by 2025. Even the local ice hockey team, the Lahti Pelicans, is CO₂-neutral – they don’t travel by plane to away games and use green energy in the stadium.
- Recycling: the city has achieved an impressive level of recycling. As much as 99% of household waste is recycled, of which 46% is used to re-create materials and 53% is used to produce energy.
- Clean water: Lahti has the cleanest water in Finland, filtered naturally through sand and gravel.
- Green urban environment: Lahti is betting on a green urban environment, promoting proximity to nature and its health benefits. All residents have no more than 300 meters to green urban spaces. Authorities are encouraging residents to use local products, such as fresh fish caught in the surrounding waters.
- Protecting local water resources: The city was an industrial center for decades, and urbanization eventually left its mark on Vesijärvi, the main lake, making it in 1975. one of the most polluted in Finland. However, measures have been taken to change the situation, and thanks to the Vesijärvi 1 project, water quality has improved significantly. The lake is now rich in aquatic plants and fish, and people use it for recreation all year round.
- Education and awareness: Lahti is committed to education and awareness of sustainability, promoting environmental best practices.
Sustainability is a lifestyle
Lahti is a place that shows that sustainability is not just a concept, but a lifestyle. It is a city that combines modernity, innovation, sustainability and proximity to nature. If one is looking for a place that combines all these elements, Lahti turns out to be a perfect example.