Introduction to the Everyman’s right
Finland’s legal concept of everyman’s right gives everyone the chance to enjoy outdoor pursuits, and the freedom of the country’s vast forests and fells, and many lakes and rivers, with few restrictions. Public access to private land is much wider in Finland, and the other Nordic countries, than in most other countries. Nature is often fragile, however, and especially here in the North can be slow to recover from damage. With the freedom to enjoy the countryside comes the obligation to leave the environment undisturbed and preserve Finland’s rich natural heritage for future generations to enjoy.
The booklet, witch you can download as PDF, explains everyman’s right in detail, with reference to the relevant legislation, and describes the responsibilities that come with these rights.
The Finnish Ministry of the Environment
Helsinki, February 1999
What is everyman’s right?
The age-old concept of everyman’s right gives everyone the basic right to roam freely in the countryside, without needing to obtain permission, no matter who owns or occupies the land. In the sparsely populated Nordic countries everyman’s right has evolved over the centuries from a largely unwritten code of practice to become a fundamental legal right. Everyman’s right does not, however, cover activities which damage the environment or disturb others.