Finnish NGO nominates “everyman’s right” for Unesco heritage list

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An outdoor association is pushing for everyman’s right, the guarantee of free movement in nature, to be added to the roster of intangible cultural heritage.

The Outdoor Association of Finland (Suomen Latu) en wants Finland’s “everyman’s right” to be added to the UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list.
“Finland’s legal concept of everyman’s right gives everyone the chance to enjoy outdoor pursuits and the country’s vast forests and fells, and many lakes and rivers, with few restrictions,” according to the Ministry of the Environment.
“Public access to private land is much wider in Finland and the other Nordic countries than in most other countries.”

The Ministry of Education and Culture is already pushing for two other practices to be added to the intangible cultural heritage list (ICH): the Finnish sauna custom and the unique Kaustinen folk tradition of playing the fiddle.
Suomen Latu says that the freedom to roam, also known as “the right of public access”, would be a strong third contender. No Finnish traditions are yet in the UNESCO list.
“Getting the right to roam onto the list would increase appreciation for the practice,” said PR specialist Anne Rautiainen from Suomen Latu.
The tradition guarantees the right to roam and camp in natural areas regardless of ownership and to forage for berries, mushrooms and plants that are not protected by law for their rarity.