Lonely Planet Writer

Learn to be happy by renting a Finnish person to teach you

According to a UN study, Finland is the happiest country in the world, and it has developed an initiative to spread that happiness to others. Visit Finland’s ‘Rent a Finn’ programme allows regular Finns to become “happiness guides” to introduce travellers to nature experiences, because it believes that the country’s special connection to nature contributes to its national wellbeing.

The Finns are deemed to be the happiest people in the world. Image: Kathrin Ziegler/Getty Images

The happiness guides will host travellers for three days over the summer and introduce them to Finnish nature through their own activities. Experiences can be anything from visiting a national park to spending a weekend fishing at a summer cottage, berry picking in the wilderness and enjoying a proper Finnish sauna.

Eight Finns have signed up to host visitors in their respective towns across Finland, including Esko, the mayor of Rovaniemi, Katja, a social services student and yoga teacher, and Linda and Niko, who live with their chihuahua Helmi. In addition, Petri, Juho, Hanna, Timo and couple Laura and Joni are available to host travellers and share their experiences.

How it works is that those interested in applying to “rent” a Finn have to film a three-minute video, where they describe themselves, their connection to nature and their goals for visiting Finland. They also fill out the application form on the website, and if selected, they will travel to Finland this summer for three days. All of their travel and accommodation expenses will be covered by Visit Finland, and they will be filmed throughout the visit.

“Rent a Finn responds to the current travel trend of authenticity and local experience,” says Visit Finland. “Now it’s time everyone had a chance to learn from the best. The world is getting busier and busier. Many travellers search for silence and serene nature. Well, Finland has those things in abundance. That’s why Finns are opening their homes and lives and welcoming visitors to experience how to reconnect with nature. Finnish nature with a local guide is the perfect way to find your calm.”

For further information on the Rent a Finn initiative, please see here.