Coming from a developed Western country, it is sometimes easy to take Finland’s many pleasures for granted. Sure, it’s safe. But safety is relative, and if the cities we come from aren’t exactly death zones, we aren’t likely to really give a lot of thought to the topic. Yes, it’s clean. But then so are Singapore, Oslo and Edinburgh.

But every so often I come into contact with people who have moved here from far less salubrious places, and their impressions of Finland tend to be radically different from my own.

A couple of months ago I signed up to climb Mt Kilimanjaro, attracted by the idea of conquering the world’s highest freestanding peak in one of the world’s most beautiful countries. As you might imagine, trekking to 6,000 metres comes with quite a training schedule.

Judging from the crowds outside, it seems as if everyone in Helsinki is training for some immense marathon. Everyone seems to be lifting weights, Nordic walking or taking Body Combat classes, if not doing all three at once.

Finns are justifiably proud of their history in gender equality. Few countries around the world have voted in female presidents, prime ministers, or cabinet ministers in the numbers that Finland has. France has never had a female president, and neither have the US, Italy, or Spain.

But in the business sector the record is dismal. Women make up a tiny minority of directorships, and are almost exclusively in under-valued fields like HR. A list of Finnish companies in which women lead production, sales or marketing would fit on the head of a pin.

Many companies genuinely care about greenhouse gases and slavery, but it is hypocritical for any company to claim to do so without looking at how their own staff are treated.

Never in the history of capitalism have companies cared so much or so vocally about social issues as they do today. Almost every major corporation promotes its vision of environmental awareness; reducing their carbon footprint, recycling raw materials and building a more sustainable business model. Major brands promote equal opportunity employment, support everything from local sports to new children’s’ hospitals, and generally do a fine job of appearing to care.

Across the developed world, people are enjoying better food than the world has ever known. Regardless of where you live, how you live, and almost regardless of your income, you are able to access the recipes and ingredients for anything you could possibly imagine.

Some are inspired by Gordon Ramsay or Jamie Oliver, some by friends or family, and some just love cooking entirely for what it is. Whatever the reason, we live in an age where dinner at a friend’s house may well feature a perfect pasta puttanesca, delicious Finnish pastries or a classic reindeer stew.