From the southernmost fishing village in Sweden, resting on the Baltic seaside, all up to the wide wilderness and mountain peaks in the north, the whole country of Sweden is now listed on Airbnb. This is possible because of Sweden’s freedom to roam act, a law officially known as the right of public access or Allemansrätten.
Sweden’s tourist board, Visit Sweden, in collaboration with booking site Airbnb is turning the entire country of Sweden into an Airbnb listing. All publicly owned land in Sweden is freely accessible to everybody so officially no accommodation booking is necessary and camping anywhere on public land is allowed and is actually free. Every publicly owned lake is potentially a pool to dip into, every mountaintop a viewing terrace, every meadow a flowery garden and every forest a pantry filled with mushrooms and berries. Keep Out signs are non-existing.
Locally there’s been heated discussion in the past about Airbnb and its effect on Sweden’s complicated housing market. There was a landmark case in 2015 where a ruling barred a woman in Stockholm from renting out her apartment via Airbnb. Note that it’s completely legal for tourists to rent a property through Airbnb in Sweden. However, the idea of renting out a property for profit clashes with traditional Swedish attitudes and some housing companies are reluctant to see large numbers of short-term guests coming and going however the freedom to roam is regarded as a cultural trade. Sweden’s answer – Share everything freely! And thus Sweden became the first country ever to be listed in its entirety on Airbnb. So feel free to take a morning jog or a bike ride across open fields or challenging mountain terrain starting right where you stand once you’re in the country.
The move to collaborate in such a way with Airbnb is designed to promote Sweden as a destination through the power of the Airbnb community. “We are very excited to welcome Sweden on Airbnb, for everyone to explore. This partnership is a first of its kind collaboration between a tourism board and Airbnb. We see Visit Sweden as our long term partner and are happy to join forces in promoting Sweden as a destination”, says James McClure, General Manager Northern Europe at Airbnb. The campaign was officially launched yesterday, so it’s an experiment its early stages and a work in progress.
Sweden has a lot to offer in terms of outdoor enjoyment. Everything from mountain hiking to deep forest tracking, exploring the beautiful archipelagos or meditate in quiet meadows. The Freedom to roam act allows everyone and anyone to be free amidst Swedish nature with the right to access, walk, cycle or camp on any land, with private gardens and lands under cultivation being the only exception as IceNews reported earlier in a thought peace about the Scandinavian phenomena of the right of public access.
The idea of free nature accessible to anyone is imprinted in the DNA of Swedish people, they see it as a cultural heritage, but with great freedom comes responsibility. The general rule for spending time in nature is “do not disturb, do not destroy” – just like in any other home.