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The Traveller's Magazine
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It was only last year that a law made in the 1800s was taken off the books in France, forbidding women to wear pants in Paris. However there are dozens of out-dated and very curious laws around the world that could land you a fine while travelling if you’re not careful! So don’t get caught chewing gum on the streets of Singapore and read up on the world’s more ridiculous laws.

Netherlands

It’s illegal to smoke a cigarette in coffee shops and cafés but you’re allowed to smoke a joint.

Switzerland

It is not allowed to flush your toilet after 22:00. Equally bizarre, it is forbidden to dry your clothes outside on a Sunday.

Singapore

Businesses have been banned from even selling chewing gum since 1992, at the same time when gum-chewing was also banned across this city-state. The law was made in attempts to clean up the city, and keep it that way.

Russia

There is a law against driving a dirty car, which of course makes good business for car washers! The reasoning behind this law is that many traffic-law breakers were getting away because police couldn’t read their license plates that were covered in dirt. Make sure you keep your rental car in Moscow scrupulously clean while on holidays!

Italy

Italy recently introduced a number of laws that seem, at first glance, completely absurd:

  • In Capri it is strictly forbidden to wear shoes that are noisy.
  • In Vigevano, a town close to Milan, it’s illegal to sit in the shadow of a monument.
  • In Eraclea, children of all ages (even you!) are not allowed to build sandcastles on public beaches.

Germany

Under no circumstances are drivers allowed to stop on the express way or Autobahn. Similarly it is against the law to run out of gas. This doesn’t just go for Germans, but for foreigner’s too! So gas up and keep going!

South-East Asia

Durians, a local fruit with quite the foul smell, are not allowed to be eaten or even brought near public places. That’s right, you can’t even bring it in your bag.

Canada

There is one peculiar law in Canada that protects businesses against annoying clients that want to pay in small change. You cannot purchase items costing at least $25 with Loonies, $1 coins, for example.

USA

Thanks to the prudish American jurisdiction system, they’ve won themselves the award for the most outlandish laws, here are just a few:

  • Alabama: You cannot drive a car blindfolded.
  • Florida: It is not allowed for an unmarried women to skydive or parachute on Sundays.
  • Arizona: If you are caught stealing soap, you are obliged by law to wash yourself with that soap until it is gone.
  • Kentucky: It’s against the law to put your ice cream cone in your pocket, so don’t even think about it!

United Kingdom

  • It is against the law to die in the Parliament (Westminster) in London, so if you plan on it, don’t!
  • When putting stamps on your postcards in Britain, watch out! It is considered an act of treason to glue a stamp with a Monarch’s head upside down on the envelope or postcard.

Dubai

This law is more cultural than absurd, but a growing number of tourists have been arrested while on holidays in Dubai for not knowing it:

It is illegal to kiss in public.

Greece

Since 2002, it is illegal to play video games. Theoretically this also means playing Doodle Jump on your iPhone is considered breaking the law!

France

Did you know it is still considered breaking the law to kiss on the platform of a train? So make sure you get your goodbye smooches over with before you reach the platform!

Do you know any others?

Img: solarnu / Flickr cc.

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20 responses to “The most ridiculous laws around the world

  1. A Singaporean here, I didn’t like gums in the first place, so that law didn’t bother me. And really if you compared streets in singapore to many other countries, they are so much cleaner without gums stuck all over the floor. As for the law regarding durians, it is quite a considerate act, not everyone can take the smell of durians and the smell is really strong and lingers for a long time so it is only sensible to ban it.

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