Longearbyen: It has been illegal to die in Longyearbyen since 1950. It’s not that death is forbidden or you are being forced to preach longevity through ‘supernatural means’, Longyearbyen is located on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, and is so cold that dying has been illegal there since 1950 when locals discovered that bodies weren’t decomposing in the cemetery because of the frigid weather.
Scientists found out that those who died in the 1918 flu pandemic in 1998, were able to retrieve live samples of the deadly virus.
Inhabited by mostly coal miners, the place is also called the North of the world. Locals here fear of any disease breakout after they found that bodies weren’t decomposing due to the frigid cold weather.
While cremation urns are allowed to be buried there, so few people have taken up on this option that the terminally ill must leave the island and fly to the Norwegian mainland to spend their last days.
“If you seem to about to die, every effort will be made to send you to the mainland,” says Jan Christian Meyer, from the Norwegian University of Science.
Although, given the lack of any elderly care provision, most have long since taken the hint.
This phenomenon called permafrost prevents bodies from decomposing in Longyearbyen. The icy layer of the place does not melt, not even in summer.
The place is devoid of any modern amenities. This town comprising of 2,000 inhabitants has no nursing homes for the elderly. In the event of serious illness, patients are transferred to the nearest hospital which is 2 hours away. Pregnant women are forced to move to mainland three weeks ahead of the delivery date. The small hospital on the island is not equipped and only works in the case of an extreme emergency.
People about to retire are also asked to move to the mainland and spend their last days in peace.
No trees, no shrubs, no vegetation is visible in Longyearbyen. The only form of vegetation you see here is moss and lichens, capable of surviving this tyrannical westher conditions.
Husky bears, reindeer, and dogs are the animals used to help in navigate this arctic desert. The most common type of car is the snow scooter and there are over 3000 specimens of polar bears in the area. Residents are all armed with a rifle because chance meetings with polar bears is quite common.