When one embarks upon populating a list of the ‘Best Countries to Live In’, there are so may factors to be kept in mind. The working conditions, climate, ease of living, safety, economic growth, natural beauty- all these attributes determine the suitability of a country. The United Nations releases its Human Development Index or HDI report each year, ranking all the countries around the globe on the basis of the quality of human life and its progressive development over a period of time in that country. This, the author believes, is an ideal reference to get a fair idea of the ‘Best Countries in the World to Live In’, which is purely a subjective analysis. Lets, without further ado, embark on our exploration of these dream destinations..
The Land of the Rising Sun, Japan boasts of being one of the countries with the best standards of living. A gigantic economy( 3rd largest in the world) and a fast pace of development has largely contributed to Japan’s rise on the world map. The Japanese have excelled like no other in the field of science and technology( $130 billion in R&D) and have applied this advancement to create world class infrastructure to support a vibrant economy.
Blessed with a soothing temperate climate, Japan is one of the best places to work in. With one of the most efficient (and fastest!) public transportation systems, efficient delivery of government services and social welfare measures, this is one of the places you must visit once in your lifetime. Japanese culture boasts of being unique and diverse too! Buddhist and Shinto shrines across Japan offer a glimpse into Japan’s rich cultural history. The icing on the cake is the hardworking (and honest) inhabitants of this group of islands in the Pacific, who co-exist in absolute harmony. Mark my words, if you decide to make Japan your home, robots will be as common a sight as ordinary people- Japan has more than half of the world’s robots! The Sun, literally shines on the land of the Rising Sun!
The coveted honeymoon destination of any newly married couple, Switzerland is literally, heaven on earth. Adorned by the Swiss Alps, lush green meadows and enchanting lakes, the Swiss landscape has been the inextricable part of every tourist’s fantasy since time immemorial. And believe me, its not just the scenic beauty which makes Switzerland special. Switzerland has a stable, prosperous and high-tech economy and enjoys great wealth, being ranked as the wealthiest country in the world in per capita in multiple rankings. One of the highest life expectancy rates in the world, lowest corruption rates and and efficient public transportation system- Switzerland is the amalgamation of all these attributes, which are bound to make your stay here pleasant and memorable.
Literature, art, architecture, music and sciences flourish without inhibition and contribute to the vibrant Swiss culture. Swiss cuisine is unique too, with variations across different geographical divisions. Switzerland boasts of a great sporting culture and has made its presence felt in the world stage in football, motorsports, ice hockey and tennis (Roger Federer hails from here!) to name a few. Anything Swiss must never be given a miss!
At number 8 on this list, comes another Scandinavian country Sweden. Sweden is the seventh-richest country in the world in terms of GDP (gross domestic product) per capita and a high standard of living is experienced by its citizens. With the second highest public spending on social welfare, it is no wonder that Sweden’s vital social indices like healthcare, education, etc continue to be one of the best in the world. In fact, the Nordic model of social welfare necessitates universal healthcare and tertiary education for its citizens. As a percentage of GDP, the Swedish government spends the most of any nation on research and development and as a result of that, Sweden has rapid advancement in science and technology. After all, Sweden is the home of the Nobel Prize!
Swedish culture, arts and literature have found recognition worldwide. With a rich scandinavian cuisine, Swedish dishes are bound to tickle your taste-buds to the fullest. A vibrant sporting culture is the hallmark of the Swedish people, with more than half of the population actively participating in sporting activities. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Robin Soderling need no introduction. The life of a Swede is as holistic and interesting as it gets!
Fáilte go hÉireann- Welcome to Ireland! This country is blessed with a cool, temperate climate and vibrant cities like Dublin and Belfast boast of a rich history and high standards of living. Lush vegetation, low lying mountains, gushing rivers and exotic beaches make the Irish countryside all the more attractive. Though the Irish economy is not at par with the biggest in the world, this country has a high Gross National Happiness Rank of #7 in the world and an average life expectancy of 80, one of the highest in the world.
Ireland is a country of multiple ethnicities- Vikings, Welsh, Scots, English, Africans, Eastern Europeans, South Americans have all added to the population and have had significant influences on Ireland. A rich and diverse cuisine has its roots in the traditional Irish culture. Sport is religion here. Ireland beckons!
#6- New Zealand
At number six on this list comes the Land of the Kiwis, New Zealand. Tucked away far into a distant corner of the earth in the south Pacific, New Zealand has many delights to offer. Blessed with a thriving economy and great standards of delivery of public services, it is no wonder that this country remains one of the most preferred ones to live in. Cities like Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch have a well developed level of infrastructure and these cosmopolitan areas are inhabited by people from around the globe. That is not all. Pristine and emerald white beaches, breathtaking mountains and other scenic landscapes adorn this island.
New Zealand is a land of multiple ethnicities, with European migrants co-existing in absolute harmony with native Maoris. A great sporting nation, New Zealand is sure to enchant you!
Germany is home to one of the oldest and beautiful European civilisations. A highly developed country, the scientific and economic advancement of Germany has been a sight to behold. With six weeks of federally mandated vacation, free university tuition, and nursing care, living and working in Germany is considered easy and enjoyable. The ease of doing business and facilities for development of entrepreneurship are immense. Not only that, nestled in the middle of Europe, nature exhibits itself in its full beauty here and Germany is a paradise for nature lovers with its snow capped mountains and flower valleys.
Fittingly enough, in a 2013 BBC poll, it has been voted as ‘The Most Popular Country in the World’. Germany hosts the world’s largest annual fair- The Oktoberfest, where millions of people congregate, dance and dine, true to the German culture of fun and celebration. Be there next time!
Netherlands or Holland, as it is called, has been voted consistently as one of the best places to live by a variety of surveys. The survey reports are vindicated by the fact that Netherlands as a UN HDI rank of #4. With an efficient public transportation system, high policing standards, proper job opportunities and education, such a high HDI rank is a no-brainer. A high degree of industrialisation drives the Dutch economy and sustains its status as one of the developed countries in the world. Consequently, the amenities and public services are of the highest standard. With a bevy of heritage sites, museums, flowery meadows, pristine beaches and snow capped peaks, Holland has been bestowed with nature’s bounty.
Cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam and the Hague are the biggest cities of Netherlands. In a poll, the capital- Amsterdam has been voted as the best city to live in, in Netherlands. Dutch are indeed, top-notch!
#3- United States
At number three on this list, comes the United States of America- country where ‘The Great American Dream’ plays out for millions of people worldwide. The only superpower on the planet, America has progressed by leaps and bounds since its independence in 1776 to become the most developed country in the world. Home to the world’s best universities, the best policing standards and effective governance, immigration to the United States is considered lucrative like no other country. Cities like New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Las Vegas, etc are hubs of the American Economy and the infrastructure and comfort levels are of a high degree. Business and entrepreneurship get the best possible stimuli and thrive effortlessly.
With plenty of places of entertainment( the best in the world), the biggest sporting arenas, beautiful natural landscapes and a moderate climate, living and working in America, is indeed, nothing short of ‘The Great American Dream’.
Australia, one of the wealthiest countries in the world, is a land of diversities. An alpine environment, tropica rainforests, deserts and sun-bathed beaches- Australia has them all. Endowed with such natural beauty, Australia witnesses a huge tourist footfall, all over the year. In fact, living conditions on this island continent are one of the best in the world. Nearly 75% of the population lives in metropolitan cities and coastal areas. The sportive and affable Aussies, the immense diversity in the wildlife and natural beauty of this place, would make anyone’s stay in Australia memorable.
Not surprisingly, Australia, the ‘the thunder from down under’, is sometimes called ‘the lucky country’!
The country with the highest Human Development Index, the second happiest place on earth, country with one of the lowest crime rates, the birthplace of skiing, the land of the Midnight Sun- Norway is the proud holder of all these records. Norway’s breathtaking fjords, towering snow-capped peaks, deep lakes( it has more lakes than the land of thousand lakes- Finland)- all make it highly enticing for a traveller to go there and spend his entire lifetime! With such happy people around, inhabiting such serene environs, safety, peace, tranquility and enjoyment come automatically. A rich and unique culture, cuisine and music would make anyone’s stay all the more irresistible. Go there then. Norway awaits you!