The term „Friluftsliv“ comes from the Norwegian language area and means „outdoor life“ in English. It is a special form of lifestyle that focuses on nature. There are different approaches to defining the term. Because under a nature-loving life different approaches can be derived. In Norway, life in nature still plays a fundamental role today. The country is one of the most sparsely populated in the world. There are only 18 inhabitants per 1 km², so that one can enjoy nature to the full here, away from the noise of the big city.
Consequently, the inhabitants of Norway have a special relationship with nature, which is why the idea for outdoor living comes from this country. But what exactly is it about when people talk about Friluftsliv? What is the significance of the setting in today’s age? More impulses and explanations follow to introduce the subject.
The origins of Friluftsliv – origin and development
The word Friluftsliv is composed of the Norwegian words „fri“, „luft“ and „liv“. The words stand for „free“, „air“ and „life“ in German. Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen influenced the term in 1850 and helped Friluftsliv gain notoriety. Friluftsliv is closely intertwined with the culture of the Nordic countries of Europe. For Henrik Ibsen, outdoor life was of particular importance in order to devote himself to mental and physical health. For him, spending time in remote places in nature was a source of strength that had a positive effect on both body and mind.
The Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen is also considered a role model and guiding figure when it comes to outdoor life. He lived from 1861 to 1930 and was an advocate of outdoor living throughout his life. The Norwegian was the first person to make it across the inland ice to Greenland. Away from it, he wrote the book „Outdoor Life“, which deals in depth with life in nature. For him, living in nature was a privilege and the very meaning of life, namely, contemplation to nature.
Outdoor life is ultimately much more than just spending time in nature for a limited period of time. In the culture of northern European countries, there is a deeper meaning behind the term. It is a life that focuses on nature. Through the tranquility, beauty and remoteness of nature, man should find his center. In the end, the philosophy of life does not only go back to certain persons. It has developed over the last centuries and has become part of cultural and social life.
Outdoor life in the 21st century – significance for today’s society
The ideas of outdoor living could not be more in tune with today’s zeitgeist than they are today. People who refer to outdoor life have a critical attitude towards the political and social turmoil and currents that have economic growth as their goal, without regard for the environment. The critical attitude has been consolidated after the Second World War. For followers of Friluftsliv have recently devoted themselves not only to living in nature. Increasingly, the fight for better environmental protection is coming into focus.
At the same time, social life is in a state of upheaval. In view of the environmental destruction and pollution leading to global catastrophes, a rethinking is taking place in politics and society. The focus is no longer exclusively on economic growth, but also on protecting the environment. People are increasingly paying attention to the eco-balance of products when buying them. Fairness also plays a central role in this context. The automotive industry is also facing entirely new challenges, because there is fierce competition for clean drive options. The paradigm shift is taking place at all levels.
In this respect, the philosophy of outdoor living fits perfectly into the current zeitgeist. Outdoor living stands for a harmonious life with nature. The ideas of Friluftsliv can give important impulses to make future life fair and sustainable. Because Friluftsliv looks back on centuries of experience, which is an important enrichment for today’s society.
Friluftsliv: health benefits summarized
The philosophy of outdoor living not only benefits the environment, but also your own health. It is no secret that spending time in nature is good for people. Below, the positive effects are explained in more detail to provide a better overview.
Among other things, being out in nature benefits one’s social life. It’s not just about solitude and seclusion when it comes to living close to nature. Nature has been shown to improve social well-being because it is a place of rest and relaxation. It is far easier to socialize here than in the noise of a big city.
Burnout and depression are companions of modern life because the demands on people are constantly increasing. That’s why we need places where we can regenerate. Nature helps to reduce stress, because spending time in green spaces ensures that the stress hormone cortisol is reduced. At the same time, blood pressure is lowered, which restores inner balance.
Ultimately, nature benefits physical and mental health. Scientific research has confirmed the positive effects that were already touted by 19th century Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen.
Conclusion about Friluftsliv
The concept and idea behind Friluftsliv is timeless and of fundamental importance, especially in light of today’s challenges. The climate crisis and the destruction of the environment have reached their peak in recent decades. Friluftsliv can play an important role in educating people to be aware of the dangers. Consequently, reclaiming life in nature is significant to leave a livable environment for posterity.
In addition, living close to nature helps people lead a balanced life internally. It is an ideal place to be with family or friends. The environment of nature provides an atmosphere of light-heartedness and openness. Thus, there are many reasons to make the ideas of outdoor living the focus of social life.