(and why not on the weekends to come as well...)
Only years abroad have made me realize the wonder of “Freedom to Roam” in Finland. No, I am not talking about the mobile data roaming across Europe which I am sure is more familiar to us in the large cities. Instead I am talking about the Every Man’s/Woman’s right, that makes nature and its beauty more available in Finland than anywhere else in the world.
As a child in Finland, especially from the smaller towns you are used to trips to the forest, swimming on the lakes, picking berries, mushrooms, flowers etc from the forest and even going on an overnight trip in the wilderness and tenting somewhere by a beautiful lake or in the middle of a forest. Believe me, it is not scary even as a kid especially with the midnight sun in June and July.
There are special rulings around Everyman’s rights in some areas such as National parks and of course you should act according to general best practices and not disturb people living closeby, cut trees etc. But generally this ruling gives anyone of any nationality the freedom to hike, pick berries and other nature supplements, camp, breath the fresh air and aim for complete relaxation. As long as people take the responsibility of respecting the nature, other people and property, we are all good to go!
Everyman’s rights are something you are used to if you are a Finn or from any of the other Nordic countries. It has been said that the right to roam has survived there in its purest form. However, the right to roam exists in more countries you might believe in some form. There is debate and much more restrictions than in Finland, but more countries than one might think offer rights for at least enjoying some parts of the land & wilderness without the need to ask for land owners permission.
In the interest and celebration of “Celebrate Finnish Nature day” on 25th of August, we challenge all of you to use the Everyman’s rights that exist in your country and enjoy the nature and wilderness that might be closer to you than you’d think! If you don’t have the full day at least go to a park close by, close your eyes and imagine you are somewhere in the middle of a beautiful forest under blue skies. Remember, nature is often closer than you even think, it does not require always a long hike or a trip as you can see also on the pictures above. Just remember to respect the nature and it will also respect us in the future.