Isobel O'Sullivan

News

There is a town in Norway where you're not allowed to die.

The residents of the small Norwegian town of Longyearbyen have to cope with some serious problems.

Firstly Young children develop flexibility problems thanks to wearing layers of heavy clothing. Second Polar bears attack everything on sight and people aren’t allowed to shoot them unless in self-defense. And last but not least, people are banned from dying in Longyearbyen.

That's a little bit catchy - of course the people who live there still die, but it is illegal to die there. Usually they are flown out of the town before they die to live out their final happydays somewhere else.

Longyearbyen is basically the end of the world. It sits on the island of Svalbard at the very north of Norway in the Arctic Circle with unbearably low temperatures during the cold season.

This means that the ground is in a state of permafrost - it's frozen and it never fully unfreezes.

The town’s graveyard stopped accepting new citizens 70 years ago, after it was discovered that the permafrost prevented the bodies from following the normal decomposition process and were instead remaining perfectly preserved.

Since the graveyard is closed for business, people who are near death are transported to other parts of the country in order to be put to rest in a different cemetery.

A few years ago a group of scientists decided to conduct a study on the permafrost phenomenon which preserves the corpses in the graveyard. They examined tissue from a person who died in the tow, and found that his body had preserved the Influenza virus since his death in 1918.

The sun doesn't come out for half the year, which must be a disaster. Also, you can't go outside without a gun because a polar bear will rip your face off.

There are laws that ban cats to protect birds on the island so prepare to be disappointed if cats are your thing.

And you are only allowed to buy a certain amount of alcohol every month.

Apart from that it's great.