Vaasa: Creating the future and tackling current challenges

According to the UN Happiness Report, Finland is once again the happiest country in the world. Vaasa, for its part, has set a goal of being the happiest city in the world’s happiest country. Happiness is not only the responsibility of the individual – one’s own living environment is particularly important.
The happiness of the residents in Vaasa is developed comprehensively. One central way is to guide residents on how to develop themselves into happiness experts of their own lives. In addition to intensive work with residents, various units within the city’s organization are developing their own services from the perspective of happiness. The results of the recent Vaasa happiness survey were surprising with its positivity.
Many may wonder if now is the right time to talk about happiness, especially when the world is in a crisis and people are having to put restrictions on their lives in many ways. We believe that right now is actually the perfect time. Today, we can really show the world that happiness is still within the grasp of all of us and can be found surprisingly close by, such as in a nearby forest or in the arms of your dear ones.
Vaasa has digitalized many public services in order to stay close and encourage the inhabitants to be active. The city provides i.e. virtual PE-classes, childrens’ theater and free virtual concerts by the city orchestra. The entire region is actively providing everyone with cultural experiences. Citizens have enjoyed streamed live theater performances, free concerts as well as locally produced talk shows. It is also crucial to support and encourage the youth as well as university students, as some of them are suffering from loneliness right now.
Therefore engaging the youth through the outreach youth work and discussing students own development ideas is of great importance. Both cultural experiences and being engaged in something also increase the happiness of our citizens.
Vaasa built a very effective corona information channel in the form of a daily updated list, where possible places of exposure to the virus are listed with specific timeframes. The list includes places like schools or universities as well as stores, gyms, restaurants, specific bus routes etc.
The list states that if you have visited one of these sites within the mentioned timeframe you ought to be cautious in following your own health condition. This work is done in close cooperation with the entrepreneurship societies that coordinate the work of private places for exposure.
Susanna Slotte-Kock