A look at Some of the Strangest Laws from Around the World


Laws are made to protect us. To look after the best interests of a country’s citizens and keep them from harm. But, when we look at the laws around the globe we find many that seem strange to us.

In Saudi Arabia, women have only recently gained the right to drive. Which to us, in 2017, may seem utterly absurd. But to those women, it’s a huge leap forward for their civil and human rights. In Russia, the National Endowment for Democracy was banned in 2015, a non-profit organisation accused of posing a threat to Russian national security. This too seems a little strange at first glance. Yet at a time where our own legislation is changing, and laws we might not see the logic behind are coming to pass, it’s important to remember that each country and government has the right to their own set of laws. Here’s a look at some of the strangest.

Changing a Light Bulb

In Victoria, Australia, only a qualified electrician is allowed to change a light bulb. If you change one yourself, you could be fined. But the fine is just $10 AU, so perhaps cheaper than hiring an electrician to come and do the job?

All Smiles

In Milan, you can face a fine for not smiling in public. Unless you’re at a funeral or visiting someone in the hospital, then you’re allowed to look glum.

You Can’t Die There

In England, it’s illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament. But it’s not entirely clear how this would be enforced or punished.

Noisy Apartments

Most people that have lived in an apartment building have probably had some issues with noisy neighbours. From criminal to merely annoying. Not in Switzerland where noise pollution laws prohibit even flushing a toilet in an apartment building after 10 pm.

Too Fat

In 2009 The Japanese government passed a law which stated it was illegal to be fat in an attempt to avoid the obesity crisis facing many other nations. They use a waist measurement to determine what is too big.

Public Facilities

In Scotland, if a stranger comes knocking on your door and asks to use your toilet, you have to let them. It’s the law.

No Lions Allowed

In Baltimore, Maryland, it’s illegal to take a lion to the cinema. Now, this law makes complete sense. But, you have to wonder how often it happened that they needed to pass a law.

Not on a Sunday

Providence, Rhode Island have a law which states shopkeepers cannot sell toothpaste and a toothbrush to the same customer on a Sunday.

Some of these laws are hugely outdated and no longer in use, but, they are technically still laws. Others may seem a little odd to an outsider, but there is a clear logic behind them. Whatever you think about them, it’s important to respect the laws of other nations and states.

So, let this serve as a reminder to do your research before you travel somewhere new or move overseas. What’s fine at home, may not be elsewhere.

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