The Town in Norway That Has the World’s Most Bizarre Rules

As the world’s northernmost city, Longyearbyen, Norway, is a town with only a handful of inhabitants. Oddly enough, the town was founded by American John Longyear, who set up the Arctic Coal Company in 1906 with about 500 residents. Because the ground is permafrost — meaning the soil is permanently frozen year-round — all the buildings are on stilts to keep them away from the active layer in order to prevent flooding and sinking. Longyearbyen has its own set of strange rules that locals abide by with no problem. First, you have to take your shoes off indoors, and you’ll see a sign asking you to do so in all the homes and most of the businesses. Even the church asks that you remove your shoes before entering. Not to worry, slippers are provided to keep your feet from getting cold. You must also check your gun at the door. Since more than 3,000 polar bears live in the area, residents carry high-powered rifles at all times. Businesses and churches just don’t want them inside. Another strange rule: You can’t have a cat as a pet. You won’t find cats in Longyearbyen, nor will you find cat food in the stores. That’s because the town is home to abundant Arctic bird populations, and cats pose a problem for them. Finally, it’s illegal to die in Longyearbyen. In fact, the only graveyard there stopped accepting burials over 70 years ago. That’s because the bodies never decompose, but are perfectly preserved because of the permafrost. So, if you’re going to die, do it somewhere else……it’s the law!