Have you ever thought about renting a country?
In 2017, Sweden put the entire country on Airbnb (an online apartment booking and rental system) to “rent”. From the province of Skåne, which faces Denmark across the sea in the south, to Abisko, where the aurora shines for half a year, tenants of the entire country can live in harmony with nature as they please.
To facilitate “renting”, the country even came up with a slogan like this:
Bathrooms? “Anywhere” (everywhere).
Bedrooms? “Outside” (outside).
Bed type? “Natural” (nature).
In this “rental operation”, the Swedish prime minister also generously shares his five favorite things, and gives the country’s “renters” some guidelines for enjoying nature:
– Enjoy wine with your partner while admiring the majestic coastline.
– Walk in the forests of Sweden and immerse yourself in a peaceful atmosphere.
– Summer vacation in the forest, cutting firewood in the morning, picking wild fruits in the afternoon.
– Try nature’s gifts, such as Finnmark raspberries, also known as the “gold of the North”, enjoyed with waffles and ice cream.
– Take a dip in the beautiful lake.
This “rental” activity is one of Sweden’s tourism promotion campaigns on Airbnb.
In fact, the Swedes’ close relationship with nature is also linked to their legal right – Freedom to roam (Allemansrätten).
“Freedom to roam”
Since 1994, Swedish law has provided: Anyone can own private land, but according to the “Freedom to roam” everyone has the right to explore nature.
According to Swedish Wood (Swiss Timber Industry Association), the total amount of forest resources continues to increase due to more planting than deforestation. 70% of Sweden’s land area is covered by forests of mainly coniferous forests.
Mountains, lakes, oceans, islands, endless forests and meadows full of wildflowers. This law makes it easy for citizens to enjoy nature freely.
This is not only the privilege of Swedish citizens, tourists also have the right to enjoy nature, the freedom to roam allows people to freely experience everything in nature: swimming in the lake, climbing mountains, camping camp under the starry sky.
In addition to outdoor activities, “Freedom to Roam” also encourages people to seek out “delicious foods” in nature: mushrooms, blueberries, cranberries and fresh vegetables.
Of course, you can pick and eat freely without worrying about any legal problems. If you see a favorite wildflower, as long as it’s not a protected variety, you can pick a bunch and take it home.
In addition, the law stipulates that personal property must not affect people’s right to enjoy nature. People can own land, houses, lakes, but not nature, because it is the common property of people. The relationship between nature and man has always been very close. Wild animals like squirrels and foxes roam the city, people consider them a part of life.
“Freedom to roam” is the pride of the Swedes.
On the official website of the Swedish Tourism Board, there is also a special section introducing “Freedom to roam”:
Sweden does not have an Eiffel Tower.
No Niagara Falls or Big Ben.
But Sweden has something else – Freedom to roam.
Summer “free” in Sweden
Rain usually lasts all four seasons in many areas of Sweden. But the people here rarely complain about the weather, they choose to accept and live with the things that cannot be changed in the natural environment.
It can’t be sunny forever, so learn to enjoy the rains. They learn to accept the volatility of unforeseen weather and see the world with the same eyes.
Summer is the favorite season of the Swedes. This season means not only “the sublimation of the weather”, but also “the dark winter nights that have finally disappeared”. In Sweden in the summer, it rains less.
During the summer festival, the Swedish government spends a huge amount of money to subsidize those who want to enter the forest.
Like other Nordic countries, prices in Sweden are dizzyingly high. Train fares on weekdays are certainly not very “friendly” to those who do not enjoy student incentives.
In the summer, Swedish Railways will issue a special discount Summer Ticket to encourage people to go out.
People go surfing, picnicking, hiking. Summer here is the time to do whatever you want in nature.
Perhaps because of its closeness to nature, the way the Swedes celebrate festivals is always related to plants.
The most important festival in the summer is Midsummer, which is also the most important festival in Sweden after Christmas. Even the province of Skåne can see the “midnight sun” (white night, or 24-hour day) during the week leading up to the summer solstice.
In addition to celebrating the sun all night long, the Swedes also celebrate Midsummer by picking fresh seasonal flowers and weaving wreaths.
In the eyes of the Swedes, the trees in the Midsummer night have magic. In this magical night, plants that can heal people, also possess the ability to predict the future.
There are many legends about Midsummer night. The most widely circulated legend is that if a girl picks 7 different flowers on Midsummer night and places them under her pillow, she will dream of her future husband. In order to maintain the magical effect of the plants, during the whole picking process, the girls must not make any noise.
Sometimes people even dry picked garlands in the middle of summer and store them until winter, to keep plants alive in the summer and trees in the cold winter and to help protect the family against the cold.
The materials to make the wreath are all taken from nature, not every midsummer night, they can freely pick flowers at any time, while walking in the mountains and grafting the trees they see. When boarding the train back, people often have in their hands and bags these “gifts of nature”.
American writer, Richard Love once mentioned a phenomenon called “Nature deficiency” in his work The last child in the woods. Because they are not exposed to nature, children in cities suffer from a variety of physical and psychological problems. And now, the shortage of nature has spread from children to adults.
Before summer ends, immerse yourself in nature.