The tradition of Berry picking of Finns

Everyman’s Rights and collecting berries in the Helsinki region

Finland is famous for its pure and unpolluted nature. “Everyman’s Rights” allow everyone to take advantage of nature no matter who owns the land (excluding the nature reserves). The rights allow anyone to move freely and stay overnight in nature. Collecting berries, mushrooms, and unprotected plants are also allowed. In addition, fishing is permitted in some water areas.

Freedom to roam freely in nature is a great gift to Finnish people.

Everyman’s Rights forbids the disturbance of the land use of the landholder, strolling through the yards and plantings and damage of the environment. Camping and making an open fire is only permitted further away from the settlement, where it won’t disturb anyone. Also driving on motor vehicles is prohibited. Everyone must treat nature respectfully to protect the natural habitat.

In the summertime, forests all over Finland fill up with edible berries that are free for everyone to collect and enjoy. Even in the Helsinki region, there are plenty of forest areas that wait for the people to come and salvage the berries. Collecting berries is a great outdoor activity in the summertime. In the Helsinki region, you can find berries such as wild strawberries, bilberries, raspberries, and lingonberries.

Collecting berries is allowed in Finland as a part of the Everyman’sRights. Picture:  RaimoVoutilainen/Vastavalo

Collecting berries is by all means a great outdoor activity. Nevertheless, it’s good to be careful when collecting berries, because there are also some poisonous species in the forests. Especially bilberries are often mixed up with other blue forest berries.

The bilberry season has just recently started in the Helsinki region, so put your shoes on, grab the bucket and head to the nearest forest! Bilberry is a true superfood containing plenty of vitamins and minerals that are extremely beneficial for your health. They can be eaten fresh, used in cooking, or frozen for the upcoming winter (like many Finns like to do). Is there anything more Finnish than oatmeal with self-picked fresh bilberries?

The bilberry season has started in the Helsinki region.
Picture: Harri Tarvainen