You may have heard of the Everyman's Right
law in the Nordic countries
before, but if not, it refers to any individual's (man or woman) right to travel throughout nature regardless of who owns or holds property rights to the land they are crossing. In Finland
, Everyman's rights apply to almost 90% of the country. Only the government can designate an area exempt from everyman's rights, for example an area used for military training.
In brief, Everyman's Rights gives anyone the right to:
- Travel across, swim in, or bathe in bodies of water, as well as travel on ice, go fishing and ice fish.
- Travel freely throughout the forest or nature by your own on foot, on skis, or cycling
- Reside temporarily (camping) in the places where it is also allowed to travel
- Pick wild mushrooms, berries, and flowers
However, these open rights come with responsibility as the actions they allow cannot be used in a way that causes harm or damage to the environment or other persons property. To clarify, Everyman's right does not
give people the right to:
- Disturb or harm others, such as camping too close to personal homes or dwellings
- Disturb or damage animals and their dwellings
- Drive a motor vehicle across private property without the landowner's permission
- Leave litter in the forest or in nature
- Make an open fire without permission on someone else's land
- Cut down growing trees, take fallen wood, twigs, moss, or other debris from someone else's land
- Travel through private gardens, fields, or meadows which would be harmed by traversing such
- Hunt or fish without the necessary permits
- Let a dog or other pets roam unleashed in populated areas or public trails
To get a full explanation of the concept of Everyman's Right, have a look at this Everyman's Right Brochure
produced by the Finnish Ministry of the Environment.
The best part of the Everyman's Right for independent travelers
headed to Lapland is that it means you can camp almost anywhere as long as you are not disturbing anyone or anything. This does not mean that you should camp in someones back yard and be as quiet as possible to not bother them. But you can camp essentially anywhere in the forest just outside of towns or villages or off the highway, if you're not already planning to camp in the beautiful national parks. Its a great way to save on accommodation expenses if you do not mind sleeping outdoors for a few nights during your trip in the summer. So if you're coming to Lapland in the summer time, bring a tent with you