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3. Februar 2005  
Healthy, wealthy and sad

A new study finds that Norwegians, despite their beautiful natural surroundings, oil fortune and having the country ranked as the best place in the world to live, are the saddest people in the Nordic region.

"We have everything and that is basically all we have. The meaning of life is to do difficult things," professor Thomas Hylland Eriksen told newspaper Dagsavisen. That is his explanation for Norway, regularly rated the best place in the world to live and one of the planet's richest nations, only finishing 14th in a study of world happiness.

"We don't have what is needed to be happy. We need something to aspire to, a project, a hope. Look at children, they can build the most complicated things. But when they are finished they tear them down, it isn't interesting any more. It was getting there that was fun, Eriksen said.

On a scale of 1-10, where one is deep depression and 10 dizzying happiness, Norwegians manage a score of 7.4 on the World Database of Happiness, a major scientific comparison of the state of cheer in 90 countries.

Stiig Broby, head of the Association of Danish Interests in Norway, has been puzzled by his nine years of living in Norway.

"Norway is one of the world's most prosperous nations. One should also be one of the most satisfied. Everyone complains about schools, the health system and Oslo Transit," Broby told Dagsavisen.

Researcher Ottar Hellevik believes that the steadily rising standard of living undermines contentment by stimulating a desire to have even more.

"More people look upon material things as the source of happiness. But that joy is short-lived, so it becomes an endless race, full of frustrations," Hellevik said.

Via Aftenposten News in English.


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