Sweden’s Fritidsbanken: FREE Exercising for ALL

When we were in Sweden a couple of months ago we discovered an exciting concept we had not come across before: Fritidsbanken. It basically is a library for borrowing sports and exercise equipment. The best thing is, everything is free!

Where does it come from?

The first shop was initiated in 2013 by Carina Haak in a municipality 30 km north of Karlstad. Together with the municipality and the local parish, she started a place where unused equipment was given a new life, thereby promoting an active lifestyle, and free for everyone to use.

Many Fritidsbanken locations have been opened since. Some are privately run, others by associations, unions, alliances, and even by churches. At the end of 2020, there were 107 Fritidsbanken all over Sweden. Exercising has become accessible for everyone, even if you cannot afford the equipment you need for the sport you like. Most of the equipment in the stores is donated.

What can you borrow?

You can borrow anything to do with sports and exercise. Because it is Sweden they have plenty of skis, snowboards, and ski boots. But also other sports equipment such as tennis and badminton racquets, skates, inline skates, and even outdoor gear.

You can borrow your items for 14 days. There is no late fee, but make sure to return it in time so other people can also make use of it.

This is a great concept if you are a minimalist, like me. You don't need to own all the stuff if you only use it a couple of times a year. And far better for this planet, a lot fewer items need to be manufactured.

Start your own fritidsbanken

If you feel excited about this concept you can even start your own Fritidsbanken. The brand is owned by Fritidsbanken Sverige, but you can use it if you stick to these simple rules:

  • Everyone can borrow
  • Everything is free
  • All equipment is recycled

There are no late fees and no deposit fees. And if you break something, they hope you've had fun with it. How cool is that huh?

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