For years Norway has been ranking as one of the best countries to live in. But why are the Norwegians so happy with their life? There is stunning nature, a good healthcare system and a rich economy. But this is not everything that makes the quality of life in Norway so high. What also contributes are an outdoor-focused lifestyle, healthy food and a good work-life balance with an emphasis on recreation and free time.
Let’s Start With Some Data
The United Nations collects data on life quality and other factors to create its so-called Human Development Report ranking all countries in the world, showing where people are healthiest and wealthiest. The 2016 report placed Norway as number one for the 13th time in a row. The index (Human Development Index, HDI) is calculated based on measures such as life-expectancy, education, gender equality, financial wealth and crime rates, to name just a few. Norway has the natural advantage of possessing a lot of natural resources such as gas and oil, as well as abundant reserves of seafood, hydro-power, lumber, minerals and freshwater. This has led to a strong economy with low unemployment and high purchasing power per capita. The government is also using a lot of its revenues to invest and maintain infrastructure such as the healthcare system and public welfare. All this contributes to a good score when it comes to the HDI.
But Norway is not just objectively a good country to live in. The OECD did a survey regarding life satisfaction and concluded that this satisfaction in Norway is well above average compared to other countries. The life expectancy of 81 is also above average. This is due to factors such as an active lifestyle, a good healthcare system and a diet rich in omega – 3 that are very popular in Norway. All those factors help maintain a healthy mind and body and therefore also contribute to the population’s well being.
Friluftsliv – An Outdoor Lifestyle
Norwegians love being in nature so much that they even have a specific word for their outdoorsy lifestyle. Friluftsliv is a term first coined by the famous Norwegian playwright Hendrik Ibsen in 1859, but the mindset it describes has been part of Norwegian culture for centuries. It is a kind of philosophy and way of life that a lot of Norwegians subscribe to and practice in their everyday lives. The idea behind it is to live life in the outdoors without destroying it, combined with a strong sense of appreciation for nature.
This lifestyle has even found its way into Norway’s legal system. The allemannsretten or “everyman’s right” is a century old tradition of the freedom to roam and describes the right of the public to access land, even if private, for recreational purposes. This tradition of allowing people to pitch a tent for a night or hike through the wilderness is also present in other Scandinavian or Alpine countries such as Switzerland or Sweden. In Norway this custom has been codified in the law in 1957 by the Outdoor Recreation Act, excluding activities such as logging or fishing and also imposing the obligation to protect nature and not damage or disturb wildlife or crops for those who exercise this right.
While many Norwegians love a cozy cabin to relax in after a day of skiing or hiking, not all can have their own. This is where the Norwegian Trekking Association comes into play. The organisation has over 25’000 members, many of whom volunteer to maintain the extensive network of hiking and skiing trails. The association has been working to promote trekking and hiking in Norway for 150 years and also has over 500 cabins all over the country that are open to anyone who is enjoying the outdoors.
The Importance Of Food and Nutrition
Another important factor for the good quality of life in Norway is the healthy and rich diet. Thanks to its abundance of coastline and fertile waters, Norway’s diet is traditionally rich in seafood and salmon is still one of the most important export commodities of the country. This abundance of seafood means that people consume a lot of omega – 3, which has a lot of health benefits for both body and mind. From supporting our immune system to positively influencing our heart health, the omega – 3 fatty acids in these cold water fish are very good for us. If you want to read more about the Nordic Diet, check out this article
However for people who are not living in Norway or near the sea it might be more difficult to reach the recommended weekly dose of omega -3 fatty acids through food alone. This is where you should start considering to spice up your diet with a high-quality omega – 3 food supplement such as fish oil or red krill oil.These supplements contain the omega – 3 fatty acids that naturally occur in fish and krill and have many health benefits.
It’s All About Balance
Of course, life in Norway is not just cross-country skiing and eating fish. People work, too! However there is an emphasis on a good work-life balance and free time is highly valued. Many Norwegians play sports with football and handball being the most popular ones next to the national sport of cross-country skiing.
The usual work week consists of five 7.5 hour days, weekends are off and most people have a few weeks of paid holidays each year. A good work-life balance is important for one’s mental health and the system that is in place seems to be working well for many people.
Overall the Norwegian culture is laid back and cherishes simplicity. Norwegians like it simple and stress-free and value an active lifestyle. Those cultural elements together with the good infrastructure of the country make Norway an ideal country for many.
Here at Omega 3 of Norway we value the Norwegian tradition of taking fish oil supplements and thanks to new technology we can provide a high-quality food supplement to honour this ancient tradition. We also highly value natural products and are doing our best to have highly traceable and sustainable production processes to safeguard the oceans of our planet.
Head over to our Shop to browse our range of products and learn more about fish and krill oil.