No One Is Allowed to Die or Give Birth in this Norwegian Town

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No One Is Allowed to Die or Give Birth in this Norwegian Town


There are many places in the world known for the oddest things. Try Longyearbyen, a coal-mining town in Svalbard, Norway on for size, a place where the government decreed that no one is allowed to die. 

As described by writer Kerry van de Jagt for Traveller, an Australia-based travel website offering informative articles about interesting areas of the world as well as planning advice, reviews, cruises, and other helpful content, this rule came up when they discovered a bizarre fact about the town. 


Photo Credit via Shutterstock


According to Hella Liira, Kerry’s tour guide when they visited the town, the no-dying rule was because of the composition of the land. “It’s because of the permafrost,” Liira says. “The corpses won’t decompose, so they have to be shipped back to the mainland for burial.” 

Previously, the town buried their dead in their small cemetery but they stopped the practice in the 1950s for fear that the preserved bodies could still carry the deadly Spanish flu virus that killed seven miners in 1918. Even now, the last trace of their cemetery sites is every bit as glacial and cold as everything else, “flanked by the skeletal remains of the long-abandoned 2b mine and watched over by the ice fingers of a glacier.” 

Liira adds that people can’t give birth in Longyearbyen either, but offered no further explanation why. “When a woman has three weeks left of her pregnancy, she must go back to the mainland to have her baby,” Liira offers. 

Longyearbyen sounds every bit like a sleepy town. Wait ‘till you hear about which countries can access it. See, even though it’s under the governance of Norway, Kerry adds that there had been a treaty back in the 1920s that gave people access to it by the 42 signatories. 


Photo Credit via Shutterstock


So if you happen to find yourself in this town, a multicultural surprise will greet you. With the population comprised of Russians, Chileans, and even Filipinos, this place is home to unique and no less homey establishments that’s emblematic of the people who live there.




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