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Friluftsliv, the Norwegian philosophy of outdoor happiness

Friluftsliv, the Norwegian philosophy of outdoor happiness

As winter approaches, most people prefer to stay warm wrapped up in their duvet. Well know that in Norway, we practice “friluftsliv”. No matter the season or the weather, Norwegians like to do an activity in the open air, far from stressful everyday life.

We knew about koselig – which consists of spending relaxed moments in a cozy and cozy place – here is friluftsliv, a Norwegian philosophy which will help you stay in touch with nature, even in winter. In summary, we celebrate time spent outdoors through various activities, regardless of age or physical condition. Walks with friends in the forest, picnics, bike rides, skiing… even taking your dog out or sitting in a park is “friluftsliv”.

For the record, this Norwegian term was invented by the playwright Henrik Ibsen in his poem “On the Heights” in 1859. At the time, friluftsliv had been used to express a spiritual connection with nature. Today, for modern Norwegians, the term refers to an art of living, which allows one to be happier on a daily basis by connecting to nature, respecting it, and forgetting one’s sometimes stressful routine.

Three-quarters of Norwegians spend time in contact with nature every week. A quarter would even do it every day, according to a Kantar TNS study cited by The Guardian. It must be said that with 450,000 lakes and around 40% of its territory covered by forests, Norway is the ideal country to take a deep breath of fresh air regularly.

And this notion of friluftsliv would be practiced from a very young age. “In many nurseries, toddlers spend 80% of their time outdoors; at school, special days are organized throughout the year to allow children to get out into nature and do campfires,” explains Bente Lier, the general secretary of Norsk Friluftsliv, which brings together hundreds of outdoor clubs across Norway. There is even a university degree in friluftsliv which is increasingly popular.

This philosophy of life has many virtues for health and well-being. Several studies have looked in recent years at the multiple benefits brought by contact with nature, both physically and mentally. Perhaps this is why Norway is placed seventh in the UN’s annual ranking of the happiest countries in the world.