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The Land Where Death is Illegal (Update: even for my Dad!) Answered

There are weird laws, and then there are Norwegian laws!

The government of Norway's Svalbard Islands have made it illegal to die there. If you are close to death - through age or illness - they ship you off to the mainland.

If you die quickly, through accident or sudden illness, they refuse to bury you.

The town's small graveyard stopped accepting newcomers 70 years ago, after it was discovered that the bodies were failing to decompose.

But although there is no old people's home, there is a kindergarten.

In winter - when the darkness lasts for months on end - the children make images of the sun with yellow paint and tissue paper and stick them to the windows.

Trips outside the kindergarten's walls carry a more immediate danger for the children and, for this reason, the teacher carries a gun.

Longyearbyen is in the land of the polar bear, an animal which causes real dread among its residents.

Every student at the university spends their first day learning how to shoot bears.

Aim toward the chest, runs the advice, rather than the head which is easy to miss.

If you are unarmed when you encounter a bear, toss your mittens on the snow in the hope of distracting it.

Full BBC Story
Svalbard Tourist Information.


I just found out - this is where my Dad is going on holiday in a few days, specifically to go see the polar bears.

Check out the webcams on the Svalbard Tourist Information site - Ee, it's grim up North!
(UK-specific joke)



they cant arrest a dead guy...

IIRC, its illegal to commit suicide in the US, and probably other places too.

Suicide attempts in the UK used to be punishable by death...


Couldn't help but to laugh at that....

yah,just ignore and let the guy kill himself if you are gonna punish him to death already

That is the weirdest law I ever heard! I mean REALLY weird...

Ah, the lovely land of armored bears! They should just start turning people into fertilizer. Much better than traditional funeral methods. :D

Ah, the lovely land of armored bears!

Well, in the USA we have Amor(ed) hot dogs :-)

Well when you toss them to the bears isn't that what happens ? People go in Fertilizer comes out .....lol, and the bears are happy the grass is happy and a few onlookers might be horrified...

I'm going to be fertiliser - cardboard coffin under a stand of saplings. Preferably oak.


Well, anything that's left over will be in the cardboard box. I carry a help yourself to anything that's useful donor card as well. If I don't die of hideous radiation poisoning, or being eaten by something big and scaly, I'll probably save half a dozen lives when I die, plus making a few other people's lives more convenient (a short-sighted cornea is better than no cornea at all!).

That's very generous of you. Good for you! Tell them to save the brain...:D

Indeed, it is actually much cheaper here, if one "makes plans ahead of time" for a cremation...and why not? It won't take up as much space, and that is what we become anyways.....


10 years ago

Nice! I've only been as far as Iceland....

-He should post a slideshow, or How to Distract a Polar Bear to Run Away From It. =P

I'm not so sure it would be so interesting. His photos detailing How to Avoid Being Chewed off the Back of an Elephant by a Tiger showed mainly long grass and the back of the mahout's head.

That's just mean

One of our family friends was taken away by a polar bear, they were doing a parachute expedition and when one of them landed it nabbed him and ran away, this was put down to the routine nature of the drops, meaning the bears had time to know when to wait. Another man was mauled by one but survived because the two people that had already landed shot it several times... It proceeded to run away... For some reason though I keep thinking of the polar top gear, when clarkson sees the polar bear with babies...

Toss them to the polar bears, after a few hours outside they will be just right, hard and crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside .......

Chuck 'em in the ocean, sharks need to eat too.

This is funny...... When i am about to die i am going to fly there just so i can die there..... I really dont care if i am buried or not.

Lol, I heard about this...pretty funny...