Festival of Opinion Culture 2016: How strong are the Nordic countries? Strong enough to be happy!?

Folkemødet on Bornholm, Denmark. Folkemødet on Bornholm, Denmark. Photo: Mette Højberg/norden.org

The Festival of Opinion Culture (Arvamusfestival) will heat up the Estonian summer like similar festivals in the Nordic countries: Folkemødet in Denmark and Iceland, Almedalen in Sweden, SuomiAreena in Finland, Arendal in Norway and, for the first time this year, Qassimiuaarneq in Greenland.

We’re really pleased to be contributing to a culture of discussion that brings the Nordic countries and Estonia together, and to ask: How strong are the Nordic countries? Are they strong enough to be happy? Why do the Nordic countries come out on top in rankings and surveys measuring welfare and how content people are, and do Estonians have good reason to feel happier than they do?

These and other questions will be debated in Paide on 12 August by Happy Nordics experts:

Helen Russell

Helen is a British journalist and writer who moved from UK to Denmark a couple of years ago. She was eager to explore what makes Danes the happiest people in the world? A career and an impressive income? Family and free time? Equality? Freedom of speech? Her bestseller The Year of Living Danishly was published last year.

Helen Russell

Joar Vittersø

Joar is a professor of psychology at the Arctic University of Norway. He holds a MS in social anthropology, a MS and a Ph.D in social psychology. Author of more than 70 scientific journal articles and book chapters, he primarily conducts research on human well-being, positive emotions and intrinsic motivation. According to Joar it takes a fair amount of slow thinking to build a good society.


Bengt Lindroth

Bengt is a former Swedish journalist and writer. His book Revenge of the Electors: Populism and Nationalism in the Nordic Countries was completed in spring. How close are those in power, officials and the people in the Nordic countries?

Beng tLindroth

Our debate will start in Paide on Vallimäe Hill in the European Citizens area at 15:00 on 12 August. The discussion will be in English, with simultaneous interpretation in sign language. It will be led by Villu Arak.


Grete Kodi

Grete Kodi

adviser (on maternity leave)

ph: +372 627 31 00
e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Newsletter sign up

  • news
  • events
  • funding deadlines
  • recent publications