‘Huh? Norway’s not the best?’

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That headline in Wednesday’s newspaper Aftenposten pretty much sums up the reaction to the cover story of this week’s US-based magazine Newsweek, which placed Norway in a relatively lowly sixth place among the world’s allegedly best countries.

Norwegians are flag-waving folks, even when they place sixth, not first. PHOTO: Views and News

For several years, Norway has topped the annual list by the United Nations’ Development Program, which ranks the best countries in which to live as part of its annual Human Development Report. The UNDP’s list is based on residents’ life expectancy, access to education, literacy and per capita GNP.

Newsweek based its assessment on health, quality of life and economic and political factors, in addition to education. Its rankings were subject to a “quality control” carried out by monitors including a Nobel Prize winner and a top international consulting firm.

They placed Finland as the best country in which to live, followed by Switzerland and Sweden. Then came Australia and Luxembourg before Norway. Canada, The Netherlands, Japan and Denmark rounded off the Top 10.

Norwegians who’ve grown accustomed to being best could be consoled by the fact that fully four out of the five Nordic countries, and all of the three Scandinavian countries, landed in the Top 10. Only Iceland was left out, mostly because of its severe economic problems.

Views and News staff