When 500 people, most of them Bulgarians, set up camp recently outside the village of Mehedeby, north of Stockholm, angry locals said the ancient right of public access was being abused. The pickers aren’t happy either. With no running water or toilets and not many berries, some have been trying to leave but cannot afford to go. Frantic efforts by local authorities and the Bulgarian embassy have seen pickers put up in schools closed for the holidays and then sent home on rented buses. Many weary-looking Bulgarians were waiting forlornly outside the embassy’s gates at the end of July.
- In practice, allemansrätten is defined as actions that are not crimes, will not make a person liable to pay damages, nor can be prohibited by any authority. As in other Nordic countries, the Swedish right to roam comes with an equal emphasis being placed upon the responsibility to look after the countryside; the maxim is “do not disturb, do not destroy”.
- Allemansrätten gives a person the right to access, walk, cycle, ride, ski, and camp on any land—with the exception of private gardens, the immediate vicinity of a dwelling house and land under cultivation. Restrictions apply for nature reserves and other protected areas. It also gives the right to pick wild flowers, mushrooms and berries (provided one knows they are not legally protected), but not to hunt in any way. Swimming in any lake and putting an unpowered boat on any water is permitted unless explicitly forbidden. Visiting beaches and walking by a shoreline is permitted, providing it is not a part of a garden or within the immediate vicinity of a residence (legally defined as the hemfridszon). According to legal practice this is between 100 to 300 metres from a dwelling house. To better protect access to water and the right to walk along beaches, it is since 1975 generally not permitted to build a new house near (generally 100 m) from a beach and/or shoreline.