It’s a question I often hear: if you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live? Some say Hawaii, some say the Caribbean, some even say New Zealand. The area of the world I hear most though, is The Nordics. Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark seem to have a utopian attractiveness to many people – and there are plenty of reasons why. Here are our top five (and as you’ve probably already guessed, one of them is linked to their world-leading payments ecosystem).
Some of us live to work, and some work to live. Personally, I prefer the latter approach. We should treasure any time out of the office we can get – after all, the better rested and relaxed you are, the more efficiently you’ll work. The Nordic countries boast some of the most generous vacation allowances in the world. Allowances are often set at a minimum of 5 weeks, significantly more than likes of the US where some workers are only granted as little as 9 days per year.
2. Quality of life
For those who aren’t familiar with it, the UN’s Human Development Index is a summary measurement of a country’s average achievement in three key dimensions of human development. These are: a long and healthy life, being knowledgeable, and having a decent standard of living. Norway sits a top this ranking at the number 1 spot, with Denmark checking in at 4. Sweden, Finland, aren’t far behind either. If good health, long life, education and a decent standard of living are attributes that are important to you, then the Nordic countries are worth consideration.
3. Clean air
Clean air can be hard to find in the developed world thanks to transport pollution from vehicles emitting millions of pounds of hazardous pollutants into the air every year. Measures are being taken to counteract this and keep pollution at a minimum – IoT technology is already in play. However, it will take time to improve the overall air quality in many countries. If you can’t wait until then, and need cleaner air sooner, then the Nordics could be an option for you. Finland, Denmark and Sweden are all in the top ten countries in the world for air quality.
Saunas are in abundance throughout the Nordic countries, and come with a range of significant health benefits; they’re excellent for muscle relaxation, meditation, helping ensure better quality sleep and even improve cardiovascular performance. The tradition of regular sauna sessions throughout the week is engrained into Nordic culture and is a way of life for most of the population. And now you can even enjoy smart saunas!
5. The Nordics is home to the best payment ecosystem in the Europe
If you’re tired of cash, and want to enjoy simple, secure card and mobile payments, The Nordics is the place to be. Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden (and Iceland) lead the way on nearly every single metric in the E33 (the 33 countries covered in the European Payment Cards Yearbook 2015-16). These metrics include card payments per capita and point-of-sale terminals per million inhabitants. The average number of card payments per capita for Europe currently stands at 88.4. This is streets behind the likes of Denmark (268.6), Finland (243.6), Norway (353.7) and Sweden (270.2). This adoption of modern payment systems shows how the region already has one foot in the future, ahead of much of the rest of the world.
Norway in particular is moving forward quickly thanks to its world-leading national payment scheme (BankAxept), enabling all local banks to interconnect through a single credentials management hub for streamlined and secure management of mobile payment services. We at Gemalto are proud to be working with BankAxept to secure and roll out this latest version of the payment scheme (using our Allynis Trusted Services Hub), which will make life much easier for merchants in Norway looking to offer customers the option of secure, convenient payments via their smartphones. With this system in place, it’ll be even harder for Norway to be knocked off the top spot as the best country in the world to live in.
They are of course many other great benefits to living in the Nordics, such as excellent healthcare, the education infrastructure and welfare provision – the list could go on – but we think 5 reasons are enough, for now.
What do you think? Do you agree with our suggested reasons? Let us know by tweeting to us @Gemalto, or leave us a comment in the section below.