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Since 2007, each year the Global Peace Index has been issued by the IEP (Institute for Economics and Peace) and is a measurement of nations’ and regions’ peacefulness based on external and internal measures. Although it seems like the world is becoming crueller and more dangerous, according to the Global Peace Index, there are at least 20 peaceful countries in the world.

Here’s a list of top 20 best places to live on Earth!

Denmark

1.denmark

Denmark tops the list of the most peaceful countries on Earth, with low crime rates and even a “green zone” in Copenhagen where consumption of soft drugs is tolerated. Even when Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, was under occupation by the Nazis during the World War II, it still did not fight. The point is that people living in Denmark prefer to focus on economic matters, instead of involving themselves in various armed conflicts. Many would say Danish people are very friendly, open and helpful.

Norway

2.Norway

Many people do not expect Norway to appear in this list due to its Viking roots or the recent terror attack by Anders Behring Breivik, mass murderer, who killed 77 in a single day and hit the pride of the country hard. Sure, the attack was an extraordinary incident, but according to the Global Peace Index Norway is one of the world’s most friendly and safe places to live. Norway is the country with the highest level of human development in the globe, and the government of Oslo always places peace at the forefront of the priorities of the country. The Nobel Peace Center is located in Norway, probably because of their recent reign of peace.

Singapore

3.Singapore

Since achieving its independence in 1965 as a sovereign Republic, Singapore has always concentrated on being a great neighbor, through establishing social, peaceful, economic, cordial political relations with all countries. Singapore is among the most peaceful countries in the world, as well as one of the world’s wealthiest countries. It has one of the lowest violent crime rates in the world.

The country has worked consistently with the United Nations and participates in various global, unilateral and multilateral organizations to promote international cooperation, including WTO (World Trade Organization). Singapore has very harsh punishments for drug offenses, and visitors should understand their laws before coming.

Slovenia

4.Slovenia

Slovenia is a nice, small, and friendly European country. Slovenia has low numbers for its funding from the United Nations peacekeeping missions, number of police and security officers, level of perceived criminality in society, number of organized internal conflicts, violent protests, and number of internal and external wars fought. Slovenia has largely preserved its nature and become one of the best places to live it on Earth. Moreover, with its wonderful cities like Maribor and Ljubljana, teeming with unique culture, Slovenia is a fantastic travel destination.

Sweden

5.Sweden

According to the Global Peace Index, Sweden is one of the most peaceful countries in the world, and one of the most beautiful Scandinavian countries. In spite of the fact that it’s among the world’s top arms exporters, the country has relatively low violent crime rates despite their high reporting rates (explaining their seemingly high sexual assault numbers). Besides, Sweden has not been to war and has not participated in any combats for the last 2 centuries.

Iceland

6.Iceland

Iceland is also one of the safest countries, staying out of the major world conflicts. The country remained as an amazing place of spectacular natural beauty, which generates almost all of its energy renewably. Tourists from all parts of the world come to Iceland to view its huge glaciers and raging volcanoes, as well as numerous unique natural and cultural attractions in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland.

Belgium

7.Belgium

Belgium is considered one of the best and most peaceful places to live in Europe and on Earth. Situated in the heart of Europe, this small country holds a special place: Brussels, the capital of Belgium, is home to the European Union and NATO.

Belgium boasts medieval cities, beautiful town halls, majestic castles, and captivating natural beauty. Homicide and imprisonment rates are low in this country, even though Belgium did experience a crisis within its government over the 2008-2011 periods.

Czech Republic

8.Czech Republic

A relatively new country, the Czech Republicgained its independence from the Soviet Bloc in 1989 due to the Velvet Revolution and its subsequent split with Slovakia.

After the division of Czechoslovakia, the Czech Republic has largely concentrated on building a strong capitalist economy and creating a stable climate for investment. In 2009, the Human Development Index (HDI) ranked the Czech Republic as a country of ‘Very High Human Development.’ Renowned mostly for its magnificent capital city, Prague, and breathtaking natural beauty, the Czech Republic draws tourists from all over the world.

Switzerland

9.Switzerland

The Swiss maintain a well-functioning government and an open political culture allowing for referendums. Illustrating the quality of government, Switzerland received the lowest score for political instability. It’s also among the world’s most peaceful countries and has low levels of violent crime. Although Switzerland is known for its neutrality in regional, international and global political issues, it maintains strong diplomatic relations with various countries around the world.

Japan

10.Japan

One of the most intrigueing countries culturally, Japan, has the third largest economy in the world. Since the World War II, Japan, has been really peaceful, with little internal – and no external – conflict and low crime. Moreover, the country maintains cordial relations with its neighbors. Japan has not had a professional military since the end of World War II. The country settles on an internal security force in order to maintain the peace. A consider of the ongoing crisis in Fukushima would be worth considering before moving there, though.

Ireland

11.Ireland

With its rich historical sites, amazing green pastures, and friendly people, it’s not surprising that Ireland is one of the most pleasant and safe countries on Earth! Ireland is an overall fabulous country with a plethora of reasons for visiting! Its rich literary history, castle-topped hills, spectacular coastline, and legendary hospitality make Ireland a wonderful place to visit any time of the year.

Finland

12.Finland

Finland is considered one of the most calm countries, and is not renowned for its combative nature. Finland is still a country that requires mandatory civil and military service from its young people, and the country’s only participation in fighting has been as a part of joint United Nations peacekeeping forces.

Finland places education at the heart of literally everything. Finland’s education system is ranked 4th best in the world.

New Zealand

13.New Zealand

Each year since 2007, the Institute for Economics and Peace has ranked New Zealand as one of the most peaceful countries in the world. With a very small percentage of its population in prison, limited military capability, strong relations with Australia and down-to-earth hospitality, New Zealand is a wonderful country to live in. This is a country of natural beauty, diverse scenery, and quirky natives.

Visitors from all over the world come to New Zealand to experience rugged landscape, breathtaking alpine glaciers, awesome beaches, and fantastic geothermal and volcanic activity.

The country is also renowned for its fine wines, and there are a great number of grape varieties planted throughout New Zealand. So if you are a great wine lover, you should definitely visit New Zealand at least once in life!

Canada

14.canada

Having one of the best standards of living in the world, Canada is also one of the safest countries on Earth. It has a population of approximately 33 million people, yet it’s the second largest country in the world by area. With relatively clean and safe cities, spectacular scenery, and extremely friendly people, Canada is a wonderful and peaceful country to live in.

The largest strike against the peace score of Canada is that it has a comparatively high military capability, though it currently is not involved in any conflict. It is also privatising its environmental regulators, so its natural beauty is likely decreasing.

Austria

15.Austria

Austria is a small, landlocked, South Central European country which gains a place on the list as one of the most peaceful countries in the world, primarily due to its stance on international politics.

Since World War I and the break-up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and then World War II, Austria has been content to embrace a life of peace and serenity. Many people claim that Austria is a great country to live in, and I personally agree with them. After all, with its world-famous resorts in the breathtaking Alps, and magnificent cultural centers like Vienna, I think it’s not surprising to see Austria on this list.

Bhutan

16.Bhutan

According to the 2013 Global Peace Index, Bhutan is also among the 20 most peaceful countries on Earth. The point is, Bhutan has remained unchanged in its stance towards international and domestic conflict in the last 6 years, with a GPI score of 1.6 out of 5, with 1 being the lowest possible score. The report uses 22 indicators to measure internal peace, including number of police per 100,000 people, levels of perceived criminality, level of organized crime, and external peace indicators that include military expenditure as a percentage of gross domestic product, and nuclear and heavy weapons capabilities.

I personally think the Bhutanese are a wonderful and culturally mature people, who have many natural artifacts and philosophy to offer.

Australia

17.Australia

Australia is a beautiful and peaceful country that offers cultural diversity, spectacular beaches, loads of breathtaking natural beauty, wonderful fauna and overall friendly people with an amazing sense of humor. Although Australia is a large country, approximately the same size as the USA, it has a small population of only about 20 million, so there’s a lot of uninhabited space. Australia’s relatively low crime rate, stable political system, high standards of health care and well-maintained roads, make it a safe and comparatively easy country to live in or just to explore.

Portugal

18.Portugal

You might be surprised to know that Portugal is one of the most peaceful countries in the world, but it’s true!

The country has been a member of the EU for roughly 26 years, and it forms a part of the European Monetary System (it uses the Euro). Portugal is the world’s 43rd largest economy according to the World Bank, and it has one of the highest GDP growth rates among the OECD countries.

The country has low crime rates, great standards of living, and a stable government. It has fascinating sandy beaches, golden plains and impressive mountains: a millennial heritage and vibrant cities make Portugal one of the best places to live in. Its progressive policies on drug use have reduced use and kept users out of jail.

This is not an exhaustive list, and certainly other peaceful, beautiful, and amazing countries lay beyond. If you have thoughts or comments, or think something important was not mentioned on the list: feel free to express yourself in the comments.