Friluftsliv: The Scandinavian Concept of Spending Time Outdoors

Friluftsliv: a Scandinavian term directly translating to “open-air living.” First popularized by Henrik Ibsen in the 1850s, this term has been used to describe “the value of spending time in remote locations for spiritual and physical wellbeing.

Used more broadly today, the phrase can explain any venture outdoors, from riding a bike during a commute to joining friends for a hike in the mountains. Laws within Scandinavian countries are similar in permitting citizens to walk or camp almost anywhere, so long as respect is shown for the surrounding nature, wildlife, and locals.

In fact, there are many businesses and organizations within Scandinavian countries that prioritize friluftsliv; meetings are held outdoors, employees are encouraged to go experience nature when the sun is up and work when it gets dark, and some firms even receive tax breaks for promoting active activities in nature, such as walking to work.

In Sweden over the past three decades, the amount of time younger people spend outdoors has decreased. And while screen time can be beneficial in some ways, such as for planning different adventures or taking pictures, with an increase in technological advances many have turned to media for entertainment or escape rather than to the outdoors.

We can incorporate the idea of friluftsliv into our everyday lives, whether it be an action as simple as walking around the block or retreating to a natural escape to elude the stresses brought unto us by technology.

At Treebath, we believe that connecting children to a world without internet could help them to develop a life-long respect for the world we live in. Let your kids explore nature with our forest therapy for the little explorers. 

Oskar Elmgart