Nordic Countries Are The World's Safest, New Report Reveals
The Nordic countries of Northern Europe consistently place high in various standard of living and happiness surveys. Now, they’ve also been recognized as the safest places in the world.
A new report from international medical and security specialists International SOS includes an interactive Travel Risk Map, revealing in which countries people are most likely to encounter road safety, security and medical issues.
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While the report is designed for businesses looking to make big-picture investment decisions, the guidance is useful for travelers. It’s based on the responses from 1,346 professionals responsible for business travel in 214 countries.
More accolades for the Nordic region
Finland, Denmark, Norway and Iceland—four of the five Nordic countries—score well in all three categories and are ranked as the world’s safest.
It’s the latest in a long list of awards for the Nordic nations, and for Finland in particular. The country has been named the world’s happiest two years running in the UN World Happiness Report, the most stable nation by the Fund for Peace’s Fragile States Index and the country with the world’s best governance by the Legatum Institute’s Prosperity Index.
That’s quite an achievement for a nation that makes up just 0.07% of the world’s area and population.
In the preface to the Nordic Council of Ministers 2018 report, the secret to the region’s success is stated as “unglamorous cooperation.” The countries work together on many issues linked to safety including social inclusion and healthcare.
In 2020, Iceland will hold the presidency of the Nordic Council. The country has chosen to highlight three priority areas: safeguarding democracy including by fighting “fake news,” safeguarding biodiversity and strengthening knowledge in the Nordic languages.
Slight security issue in Sweden
Sweden also scored well on road safety and medical risks. However, Sweden was placed into the “low” category rather than alongside its Nordic colleagues in the “insignificant” category for security risk.
Concerns have been growing in Sweden about an increase in activity by criminal gangs. The country’s national bomb squad has attended the sites of 100 explosions so far this year. That’s more than twice the number in 2018. Recently, three explosions occurred in three different cities over the course of just 24 hours. One blew out the main doors and did significant damage to the ground floor of an apartment block in Malmö, one destroyed cars and property in Växjö while a further blast occurred in Landvetter near Gothenburg.
Danish police have become so concerned that the gang activity is spreading across the Öresund Bridge to Copenhagen that they have introduced temporary border checks. The Danish capital has also been rocked by blasts this year, although not on the scale seen in Sweden.
The countries with the highest risks
Overall, the report picks out Libya and Somalia as the riskiest places to visit, as they both rank in the lower positions of all three categories. Afghanistan and Venezuela are also considered high-risk.
Digging into the category-specific results, the countries that have the highest health risks include Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Yemen and North Korea. The biggest risks with security can be found in Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Iraq and in parts of Nigeria. The report also listed the places with the highest road safety risks as Belize, Dominican Republic and Saudi Arabia.