What are EVERYMAN’S RIGHTS in Finland ?
Finland has amazing nature, but so does many other countries. But what is cool with Finland is jokamiehenoikeudet, or everyman’s rights.
EVERYMAN’S RIGHTS – THE RIGHT TO ROAM
According to Wikipedia, the term Everyman´s right means:
“The general public’s right to access certain public or privately owned land, lakes, and rivers for recreation and exercise. The right is sometimes called the right of public access to the wilderness or the “right to roam“.
And in Finland, the nature is not only wild, amazing and beautiful, it is also FREE.
Finnish law (you heard me right, it’s your legal right) states that if you are living or visiting Finland, you have the right to roam in the forest and countryside. You also have the right to do some moderate fishing, and overall enjoy the nature. The coolest part is that you can do this anywhere, even on private owned areas.
This extraordinary arrangement applies to the whole country of Finland. Throughout the country, you can walk, hike, ski, bike, run, camp, tent, boat, swim or just roam around without fearing that you step on someones toes. The nature is literally your playground.
As you may know, Finland is mainly forest. The impressive arctic forest covers over 75% of the land, and it’s only separated by the roughly 188.000 inland lakes and islands.
As mentioned, you can even fish with a rod and a line. There’s no need a permission for moderate fishing. For more professional fishing you can buy a fishing permit, which costs some euros. And even after this, you can pretty much fish anywhere. Ice fishing is great in the winter!
You can sail, use a motorboat or swim anywhere you want. One of the coolest features of everyman’s rights is that picking berries and mushrooms are also included. If you wish to sell some berries, the income is tax-free by the law.
Obviously there are also some restrictions to everyman’s rights. It is generally agreed and accepted that most people in Finland respect the boundaries of their neighbours. We have the right to use the nature, but also the responsibility to take care of the environment.
Even though you don’t have to ask permission to walk on private property, it is widely considered a normal practice to do so. So if you happen to roam to a private surroundings, make sure you let the owners know if possible that you’re there.
One other restriction or rather or a responsibility when it comes to jokamiehenoikeus; Everyone’s rights always include a requirement to not harm the nature in any way. The right should not be used in a harmful or disruptive way. Particular care has to be taken care of other peoples houses. If you happen to stumble into a finnish grandma and her house, it’s good to know some basic greetings at least.
There is a concept in Finland called kotirauha, house peace, which means everyone has a right to maintain some level of privacy. The law doesn’t specify a strict limit or number of meters away from a persons house, rather everyone has to evaluate and understand the suitable limit.
Enjoying Finnish nature is a truly an unique experience, especially with jokamiehenoikeus!