The place where no one can be born or buried

Photographer Kamran Karimi

One of my friends recently moved to Svalbard. Svalbard is a Norwegian archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole. One of the world’s northernmost inhabited areas, it’s known for its rugged, remote terrain of glaciers and frozen tundra sheltering polar bears, Svalbard reindeer and Arctic foxes. The Northern Lights are visible during winter, and summer brings the “midnight sun”—sunlight 24 hours a day.

Since he thought that I am going to love Svalbard he offered me using his travelling points to get up there and visit him. While chatting about when I could travel, he mentioned the dark season.

 “If you want to experience Svalbard while it is still light you should come up soon. The dark period is just around the corner, but if you can cope with the dark, you are welcome after Christmas as well” was his answer. 

The dark I could deal with. I longed to see a sky full of stars and the northern light. Continuing our chat, we got into money and prices. He mentioned that food was expensive, so he was eating out mostly. Cause it is almost the same price as buying the food and he spared himself for cooking.

“Alcohol is cheap though and I have got an alcohol card now.” 

My wild fantasy created a picture, us two getting drunk, wanting to explore the night sky, stars and aurelia. Forgetting about the polar bears and the cold, ending up being eaten up by one of the white big ones, or just freeze to death while watching the sky. 

Telling him about my wild imagination he just laughed. 

“Relax, it is not going to happen. If you do not behave here, the Governor is going put you in the first flight and deport you out. It happened latest today. “

“What? The major? Seriously? Have you met him and spoken to him? How is he like, except for being a man of power?” I wanted to know.

“Yes, no kidding. Major is a woman and she is very nice. The governor is the boss here. Being here is really about the survival of the fittest and If you are not awake enough to take care of yourself you have to leave Svalbard. They are just going to put you on a flight and deport you.”

“By the way, there is no NAV here, and you cannot give birth or be buried here, so special is this place. If you are pregnant, they are going to send you to mainland two weeks before your terminal time, and it is not possible to bury people here either. 

Hearing all this and seeing all his pictures, there was no doubt. Svalbard here I come. 

Being so lucky and getting an offer like this, of course, I could not say no.

Filled with gratitude I am going to pay a visit to Svalbard (when the time is in), the place where you cannot give birth or die. Who would not want to visit a place like that? Even if it is dark and you can run to one big white one.


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