Although a traditional right from ancient times, allemansratten has been part of the Outdoor Recreation Act since 1957. The rules are simple: you can sleep anywhere as long as you stay at least 150m away from the nearest residency, and if you sleep more than two nights in the same place, you must ask the landowner’s permission. Most important, though, is that those who practice allemansratten should have respect for nature, the wildlife and the locals.
Norway is not the only country to practice this ‘right to roam’ law. Other countries include Finland, Iceland, Sweden, Latvia, Austria, the Czech Republic and Switzerland. What separates Norway from the rest, however, is fjellvettreglene.
Fjellvettreglene, which encourages people to have a healthy and respectful relationship with nature, has since become a crucial part of Norwegian culture. It includes points such as planning your trip and reporting wherever you go, bringing necessary equipment to assist yourself and others, always knowing where you are, seeking shelter if necessary and feeling no shame in turning around.
“Fjellvettreglene taught us nature doesn’t care about our egos. We should show as much respect and take as much caution as possible.
Fascination for the outdoors comes naturally to Norwegians because of friluftsliv. Coined in 1859, the philosophical concept of friluftsliv means ‘free-air life’ and is used to illustrate the raw dedication and passion Norwegians have for nature. It equates the sensation of going backpacking in the mountains or camping on the shore with the feeling of being home.
But while friluftsliv encourages people to practice allemansratten and allemansratten encourages the love for friluftsliv, fjellvettreglene is the education to preserve and protect nature.