The Scandinavian Philosophy of Friluftsliv – Open Air Dwelling

Within the lonely mountain farm, My considerable catch I take. There’s a fireplace, and desk, And friluftsliv for my ideas.

– Henrik Ibsen

Based on The World Happiness Report, Norway is the happiest nation on this planet. There’s an enormous variety of causes for this, from their supportive welfare system to their excessive common revenue, however while you ask Norwegians why their nation seems to be so content material, there’s a really constant reply: friluftsliv.

Friluftsliv (actually, “free air life” or “open air residing”, and pronounced free-loofts-liv) is a type of scandinavian phrases which which is so distinctive to a language and tradition that it turns into onerous to explain in English. Like its Swedish predecessor Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga), friluftsliv encompasses an thought which is each acquainted but near-impossible to place into phrases.

Briefly, friluftsliv describes a connection to nature, a robust need to spend time outdoors and join with the world round you. To explain Norway’s infatuation with the outside as a “lifestyle” is, actually, disingenuous to the actual that means of Friluftsliv. Friluftsliv is a sense, a way of self. It goes far past a mere life selection and turns into extra like a cultural id.

free land

In 1957, Norway formally launched Allemannsretten (the ‘all man’s proper’) with the passing of the Out of doors Recreation Act. This proper to roam signifies that in Norway you may go on skis or foot wherever you need supplied you might be inside unfenced land – this implies all land that isn’t privately owned (like a backyard) or cultivated land getting used to develop crops or rear animals. Within the winter months, when Norway is reworked right into a white blanket of snow, Allemannsretten is prolonged to fields and meadows. Not solely are you able to go wherever you please, you too can arrange camp and sleep in all places besides in lay-bys or cultivated fields as long as you stay over 150 meters from the closest home. If you wish to keep one other evening, you have to ask permission from the proprietor of the land (except you’re in a distant space).

It’s properly researched that spending extra time outdoors is healthier on your general psychological and bodily well being, but within the UK, a number of folks keep away from going outdoors except they should. Going outdoors is a part of a chore, of a bigger sample. You should stroll to work, you have to take the canine out, you have to bike to the practice station to go to your loved ones. This isn’t friluftsliv – friluftsliv means going outdoors since you need to, as a result of nature calls to you, not as a result of you have to.

Within the UK there are fewer wild areas than ever, and it could actually typically be tough to “get misplaced” in nature in fairly the identical means as our Scandinavian neighbours. Within the UK, the place our inhabitants is fifteen occasions that of the Norway’s and our land mass smaller, there merely isn’t the area for rolling wilderness. For those who’re very fortunate, you may reside close to a patch of Nationwide Belief land which (save for the odd sheep) will probably be left as nature supposed. So, should you don’t really feel like emigrating to Norway, you’ll have to start out on the lookout for nature slightly nearer to residence.


There’s a shocking variety of wild areas within the UK should you simply know the place to look – the lofty peak district, the rambling chilterns or the Cornish Heritage Shoreline. There’s one thing very atmospheric about discovering your self alone in nature – be it the center of a deep wooden, atop a mountain doused in clouds or perched on a cliff watching the ocean beat on the rock. Discovering land which is totally untouched by people might be tough within the UK: you may see the annals of human historical past spelled out earlier than you within the land itself in historic stone circles or crumbling tin mines. Generally, regardless of our greatest intentions to run away from the impact of individuals on the world round us, it has an unerring means of following us. It exhibits us that people have, for hundreds of years, been wanderers. This doesn’t essentially should be a nasty factor.

On my approach to work I used to journey by means of a wierd patch of wilderness on the outskirts of Wokingham; partly a mud observe by means of fields and partly by means of an precise wooden. Whenever you develop up in a busy city with solely man-made out of doors areas (which are usually flat, grassy affairs), discovering a wooden feels virtually like a miracle. On the best way residence after one notably hectic day, I assumed to myself there’ll at all times be one other bus, and let myself get misplaced. At first I adopted the little filth paths after which I made a decision to forego the paths totally and simply wander whichever course I felt like.

Wandering by means of the woods was releasing. I used to be there for no cause apart from that I wished to be there, crunching by means of the leaves and working my arms alongside bushes older than my great-grandparents. I adopted a robin hopping from department to department and spent a superb ten minutes chasing down a wierd noise which turned out to be an indignant squirrel – one thing I’d by no means heard earlier than. I walked previous the identical group of ramblers three or 4 occasions, who’d at first checked out me (wearing my work garments and unsensible sneakers) like I’d gone mad, after which began to greet me with the rambler’s head nod. That is what friluftsliv seems like.


There’s a way of freedom synonymous with Friluftsliv which is what makes it so interesting. A way of disconnection from the remainder of the world and contentment with being at one with nature. Our lives are pushed by objective – we have to do that, we should try this – and so when that falls away and the one objective is to easily exist, it’s loads simpler to really feel content material.

Nobody’s asking that all of us immediately rise from our desks, depart our jobs and run away to reside within the woods. Certain, it appears like an important thought now, however quickly sufficient the final cellphone will run out of battery after which we’ll all be caught with nowhere to look at Sport of Thrones. Whether or not you reside in the midst of London or within the concrete jungle of Milton Keynes, there’s at all times a spot to discover a little bit of nature. Each city or metropolis may have a park someplace, even when it’s only a small patch of land in between workplace blocks and rows of terraced homes. The considered going outdoors and standing within the backyard in the midst of winter doesn’t essentially fill folks with inspiration, however discovering and supporting native wild areas is less complicated than it appears.

Within the harsh winter months it may be tempting to remain indoors and keep away from the chilly chew of the chilly air. However in Norway, the place the temperature common dips into the minus digits (at present standing at a brisk -7°C), spending time outdoors is solely the achieved factor. Because the Norwegians say – there’s no unhealthy climate, simply unhealthy clothes. So it’s time to swap these denims for a pair of sensible waterproof climbing trousers, the slippers for a sturdy pair of trainers and get outdoors to get again in contact with nature.

Jenny at PrimroseLotti works with the Primrose Product Loading workforce, creating product descriptions and publication headers.

When not writing, Lotti enjoys watching (and over-analyzing) indie motion pictures with a pint from the native craft brewery or cosplaying at London Comedian Con.

Lotti is studying to curler skate, with restricted success.

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