The City Where You’re “Required” To Carry a Gun

The Arctic archipelago of Svalbard is the very definition of remote. In fact, it’s the world’s northernmost……well, pretty much anything. Among other things, it contains the world’s northernmost full-service hotel, liquor store, supermarket, cinema, library, and kebab van. Although it’s technically a part of Norway, even Norwegians have to show their passport when traveling to Svalbard. What’s most interesting, especially today, is that you must carry a gun outside the settlements. In a 2012 law, the Governor of Svalbard made it mandatory for anyone traveling outside of the settlements to have the means to scare off polar bears. That means carrying a firearm is mandatory, and you can thank the nearly 3,500 polar bears that live in the area. While they tend to steer clear of the settlements, hungry bears do sometimes approach buildings out of desperation. Should you happen to not survive a polar bear attack, don’t think you’re going to be buried in Svalbard. Because of the permafrost, burial isn’t possible, as bodies simply won’t decompose. So, if you can abide by these rules and feel like you’d like to join the some 3,000 residents who live there, feel free. The islands are an entirely visa-free zone, which means anybody can live there, regardless of their country of citizenship. Just make sure you pack a gun.