Allemannsrett, The Right to Roam
Updated: Apr 29
Following on from my post about friluftsliv, I thought it was apt to tell you a bit about allemannsrett. Allemannsrett literally means "everyman's right" and it's the right for anyone in Norway to roam or right of public access.. It is something that has been around in Norway for hundreds of years but was only cemented into law in 1957.
The right to roam is not a new thing in Europe, in fact, it has been adopted by many countries following calls from their own populations to have space to roam free. However Norway was one of the first countries in the world to have that right, and because it is such an old tradition, has one of the most developed and mature attitudes towards it.
The principle of allemannsrett is that everyone has the right to be able to walk or hike or use open "free" space such as woodlands, heath, moorland and mountains. In fact any space that is not in use for habitation or for farmland or where lots of people would be a nuisance to the landowner.. There are certain exceptions and specific rules apply, such as as fields can not be walked all over in when they are in crop, but come the winter and snow we are permitted to walk across them and use them. Anyone can camp anywhere provided it is more than 150m from a residence and for no more than 1 night, but in a country the size of Norway with such a sparse population that gives us plenty of scope. Allemannsrett also covers friluftsliv on water and even goes as far as foraging (although the precious cloudberries are not included, but more about that in another post).
All of this contributes to the Norwegian ideal of friluftsliv and the close ties that Norwegians have with nature. But it is also something that we can all enjoy an element of wherever we are.
So next time you take a hike, or use the park or are able to walk across a field or along a riverbank, remember that this is allemannsrett wherever you live.
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