If you talk to a random Swede, you'll quickly sense the texture of Swedish life. That texture includes a pastime that's normal for Swedes but foreign to many Americans: foraging, and the constitutional right that protects it. The above video shows some Swedes' thoughts about it, as well as what the policy means.
Thanks to the headline-grabbing Swedish Number, which links callers to random Swedes, we chatted with a few Swedes about their daily lives. We asked them about their country's most famous faces (like world-class soccer star Zlatan Ibrahimović), as well as what it's like to have seasons of the year with very little daylight, along with some times of the year when it's daylight for 24 hours straight.
But the most interesting responses came from the many Swedes who took foraging for granted. In the spring months, many said they looked for berries (one Swede we spoke to coveted cloudberries in particular), while the fall months were better for mushrooms. This foraging isn't hipster dumpster diving — it's done on public, and some private, land.
That's all thanks to a pan-Scandinavian concept of the "freedom to roam," enshrined as allemansrätt in Sweden. In the 1990s, the informal concept was even added to Sweden's constitution. It gives Swedes the right to travel through public, and some private, property, camp there overnight, and forage for a variety of treats.
This flavorful ritual hints at broader Swedish concepts of the boundaries between public and private life. Of course, don't take our word for it — call a Swede yourself and see what he or she has to say.