All Aboard! "It's Very Swedish..." a train on a cultural journey through Sweden, exploring the differences big and small between American and Swedish culture.
***I had not heard of the concept of "open space" until we moved to Colorado in 1983. We lived on the East Coast where one city bleeds into another with no space in between. Trees line the roads so you can't see very far. The sky is hazy with humidity. It feels crowded, only you don't know that until you move to CO and can see forever.
That was my first impression. Wow, I can see. There's nothing blocking my view. I can see the horizon. I can see THE MOUNTAINS. Oh my gosh, I live in a postcard. It was browner and drier than I had expected, but the view went on forever, the sky was right there, and usually blue, maybe a few puffs of cloud. Bliss.
As I became an adult, I noticed signs. "This Open Space bought with..." "This is a designated Open Space, no trespassing." Um, what does open mean? Closed I guess...
Compare this to Sweden, as well as other European countries where there's a law called allemansrätt which directly translates "everyman'sright". In Sweden, you may go ANYWHERE, including private property. You may pick your berries, or your mushrooms ("very Swedish" activities still today). You may tarry. You may set up your tent.
You may pull over to the side of the road ANYWHERE and have a picnic. You don't have to look for a designated "picnic area" with the sign with the table. Nor do you need to worry about the sign with the table and a big, red X over it. Find a spot, lay out your blanket, or set up your folding table and chairs. Enjoy.
If you'd like to stay there and camp, have at it. None of those, "No overnight parking. No camping. Area closes at dusk" signs.
I remember Farfar telling me about this amazing right on a summer visit, and being just astounded. However, I remembered it as any public land. When I did my research and talked to the Swede, it's much more than that. It's "anywhere." So you will not find a "No Trespassing" or "Private Property Keep Out Sign" in Sweden. I think that's wonderful.
Sounds rather welcoming, doesn't it? What are the laws/norms in your country? Ever heard of this? Does your state buy "open space" and not let you into it?
~Tina, really wondering about my adopted country's policies today...
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Photo credit: Amanda Lee of House Revivals