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CNN argues the key to Icelandic happiness is to be found in the (hot) water

By Staff

The public swimming pools and geothermal water are the keys to Icelandic happiness, CNN finds. The latest UN World Happiness Report Icelanders are the third happiest people in the world.

Read more: Icelanders are one of the happiest nations of the world, UN report finds

According to a CNN report the reason for Icelandic happiness is to be found in the hot tubs and public pools. “When it comes to socializing, England has its pubs. Italy has its piazzas. And Iceland has its pools.”

CNN is not the first major international media outlet to note the importance of swimming pools for Icelandic culture and their contribution to the quality of life in Iceland. Last winter the New York Times published a major feature on the swimming pools and their importance.

Read more: NYT finds geothermal public pools key to social harmony and well-being in Iceland

Both the CNN and the NYT argue that the place to find locals in Iceland is at the neighbourhood pool. Valdimar Hafstein, folklorist at the University of Iceland explains the importance of the pools, which are „a focus point of public life," Valdimar told the CNN:

"If you think of health and wellness not just as a matter of physical health and being free from disease but also the mental and social aspects, I think the geothermal heat and communal pools have a lot to do with that. … We feel good here. We know our neighbors, because we meet them in the pools. It creates a good vibe, and you feel at home in there."

We at Iceland Magazine agree. The public pools are really one of the best parts about Iceland, and certainly one of the very best places to blend in or meet with locals. We also agree with CNN’s summary of the baseline rules for pool behaviour:

"There are some rules to observe. Don't discuss anything too personal; keep it to broader social issues. Don't shake hands; a simple nod will do. And make sure to shower thoroughly before and after getting in the pool. Icelanders take pool hygiene very seriously."

We would perhaps add that showering thoroughly means you without your swimsuit!

Read more: Video: Beware of the Icelandic vigilante shower wardens

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