Weird But True: 45 Strange & Intriguing Laws That Exist Around The World
Laws are created worldwide to protect citizens’ lives, regulate society, and allow for fair treatment to all. These regulations squash down on criminals and crooks, enforce rules, and hold people accountable for their actions. That being said, people have varying opinions on which laws should be passed. Today we have some of the most interesting and just plain odd laws from around the world. Some of them are logical, others are weird, while most are just flat-out insane, but one thing is for sure; all of them are intriguing! You honestly may not believe that these laws are real, but they all are, and if you’re traveling to any of these countries anytime soon, you better brush up on the latest and greatest regulations. From not allowing your chicken to cross the street without risk of a fine to not letting your donkey sleep in a bathtub, and don’t ever consider taking up this career in Baltimore- these are 45 of the most outrageous laws we’ve come across.
Don’t Run Out Of Fuel On The Autobahn
The Autobahn is one of the world’s most famous highway systems worldwide and another German engineering and planning feat. The official German term is Bundesautobahn, which translates as ‘federal motorway.’ The Autobahn is so well-known because it has no federally enforced speed limit! Well, sort of!
Some areas of the Autobahn do have speed limits where needed, but around half of the network has no speed limit for cars. Although this sounds like a terrifying idea to us, it is not all that dangerous due to rigorous driving training in Germany. That said, running out of fuel or stopping while on the Autobahn is strictly illegal!
Going Green With Confetti
Confetti is a mainstay or at least a familiar enough addition to any celebratory event, be it for sports games, weddings, graduations, you name it. People just love to celebrate things in style, and a little confetti lets them do that.
The one complaint people often have with confetti is that it makes a mess and can be hard to clean up. The illegal use of confetti has become such a point of tension in Mobile, Alabama; it is illegal to use anything but bio-degradable confetti. We happen to agree with this law!
Sandcastles Are A Serious Matter In Spain
Making sandcastles while at the beach is a universally loved pastime that has captured the interest and wonderment of thousands of kids and adults over many years. It certainly is something that most kids eagerly wait for during beach days.
While building a sandcastle may seem like an ordinary and non-disruptive beach activity, making large (giant) sandcastles on Spanish beaches is illegal. It’s hard to say why it is, but supposedly it has to do with the chemical sprays that some sculptors use.
Turin’s Triple Walk Law
It seems the Italians are pretty serious about adequately taking care of their dogs. If you thought Capri’s mandatory poop picking law was interesting, then wait till you hear about Turin’s law and its step €570 fine.
Due to the introduction of an exciting law in 2006, it became mandatory by law to walk your dog at least three times a day! This law followed the law made in Rome the year earlier that sought to address animal mistreatment.
Don’t Fight Any Bears In South Africa
While most of these laws have been sensible for the most part so far, some of them are just downright bizarre. A fine example of that is a law in South Africa stating that it is illegal to wrestle a bear.
This law is utterly crazy for two reasons. The first is who would want to risk their lives to wrestle against a bear. The second is, where are they finding these bears in South Africa to wrestle? What was going on there that this needed to be a publicized law?
Don’t Bring Any Gum To Singapore
Singapore is world-famous at this point for being one of the most expensive, beautiful, and cleanest cities globally. They probably maintain their reputation for being one of the most pristine places on earth because of their harsh treatment against littering.
People have often heard about how hefty the fines are for people caught littering in Singapore, so it should be no surprise that it is illegal to sell or import chewing gum. However, this law was mandated because people stuck them on door sensors.
Ah The French And Their Weird Swimming Laws
France has a bit of a reputation for its famous resorts and beaches. Nudist beaches have been an old custom for many French sunbathers. For the French, it is just something natural and comfortable for them. For tourists, however, it could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
But when it comes to wearing swimwear for use in public pools, this French law is a bit weird. Men are not allowed to swim in anything but a pair of skin-tight swimming shorts (basically a speedo) for hygiene. We’re not sure how that one adds up.
Billboards Are An Eyesore
Billboards are a common feature across most modern cities, often taking up a lot of space, some of them interesting, most of them just ugly. It turns out that four states in the USA are not fans of them at all.
So much so that those billboards are banned in Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, and Vermont. Their rationale is that billboards ruin the natural beautification of their states’ landscapes, bringing in fewer visitors. A pretty creative mindset, really.
Bathtubs Aren’t Meant For Sleeping Donkeys
Some laws came about due to logical reasons, others for political reasons, and others still for reasons that were at least logical at the time but have since become irrelevant. Arizona is a perfect example of the latter, having one of the weirdest laws ever.
It is illegal for a donkey to sleep in a bathtub in Arizona. Yep, you read that right. The law had something to do with a donkey that was washed away in a flash flood while sleeping in a tub a century ago.
English Taxies Are Very Plague Conscious
When you come down with a cold or the flu, the mannerly thing to do is limit your exposure to other people to ensure that you won’t get them sick as well. A notion that the English Public Health Acts strongly supports.
A law was passed in the late 20th century that made it illegal to flag down a taxi or board any form of public transport if you had the plague or any other contagious diseases like smallpox, cholera, or typhus.
Those Heels Were Not Made For Walking
Greece is home to many architectural, cultural, intellectual, and philosophical wonders of the Western World and the entire world. Nothing makes that point as pronounced as the many ancient monuments, artifacts, and structures that dot the old country.
Monuments that continue to pull in thousands of tourists per year. However, Greece takes the preservation of these structures very seriously, so much so that it is illegal to wear high heels around them as they will damage the stonework.
Nude Hiking Isn’t A Great Idea
Switzerland is famous for the many mountains and hills that cover it, making the country an excellent place for anyone with a passion for hiking. That being said, the government does have a weird law that actually isn’t all that weird.
The law is that no one is allowed to hike nude. It was a reasonable request, seeing as the local Swiss people were getting tired of tourists roaming around their hills naked. Honestly, is it so hard to respect the norms of a different country?
Those Australians Take Their Weddings Seriously
It turns out that the people of South Australia take their ceremonies very seriously. Treating any disruptions purposeful made during one of them with some pretty hefty fines of either $10000 or two years of imprisonment in some cases! Crazy stuff.
Apparently, any purposeful disruption of a wedding, religious ceremonies, or funerals is against the law, and the culprit will face one of the two fines mentioned above. The law first came into effect back in 1953. No party animals are allowed!
People of Monaco Aren’t Allowed At The Casino
The Monte Carlo Casino of Monaco has to be one of the world’s most famous and iconic gambling halls in the world thanks to its lavished and dazzling design and architecture. It was developed by Princess Caroline back in the 19th century.
The princess developed the casino to inject some outside revenue into the country. To keep it a beneficial income source, she made it illegal for residents to play. Unfortunately, maybe, but she did excuse them from paying income taxes.
Sir, This Is Parliament, Not A Battleground
When it comes to watching politicians argue and insult each other back and forth, nothing seems to beat the organized chaos from watching the British parliament. They certainly know how to do it in style with their odd traditions and ceremonies.
Speaking of them, thanks to an ancient law passed back in 1313 by King Edward II, it is illegal to attend parliament or any assemblies in a suit of armor. Even weirder is that the law is still enforced today.
Don’t Completely Cover Your Face In Denmark
In 2018, Denmark approved a controversial law that made it illegal to cover one’s face while out in public entirely. The law aimed to reduce public criminal acts and foster and promote integration amongst the populace. However, many residents were unhappy.
The biggest issue was that the law was meant to promote integration, but the new law prohibited Muslim women from wearing traditional headwear, like the burqa or niqab. Politicians had argued that such headwear went against the country’s values on gender equality.
Cotton Undergarment Laws Of The Eurasian Union
Speaking of clothing laws, in 2014, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia (three members of the Eurasian Economic Union) passed a regulation law that required all clothing that comes in direct contact with skin to contain at least 6% cotton.
The law aimed to eliminate skin irritations brought on by synthetic materials that are worse at absorbing moisture. The issue was that this law, in effect, banned luxury lace undergarments which traditionally contained only 4% cotton. Beauty is pain, so they say.
Baltimore Bans Fortune Teller
Fortune tellers have captured the imagination of writers over the years, as well as many people who have wondered about the prospect of having their futures read to them. Unfortunately, there are a lot of “fakes” who use it to scam people.
In an attempt to crackdown on scammers, the city of Baltimore has made fortune-telling for money a punishable offense, where the punishment can vary between a $500 fine or at most a year imprisonment. That should, hopefully, teach those scammers.
Always Pick Up Your Dog’s Poop!
Owning a dog is an experience with equal parts responsibility and limitless joy. While our furry friends are undeniably great companions, they have a few needs that we are less excited about. Nobody loves to wake up early to take their dog for a walk.
What’s worse than taking your dog for a walk at the crack of dawn? Having to clean up their poo when they are done. While no one likes picking up dog poo, we all must do it. A fact that’s enforced in Capri, where the cops will track the dog’s DNA through his poo and fine the owner €2000!
Best Not To Eat Street Food In Florence
Taking a slight step back to Italy, Florence is known for being one of the most beautiful cities in Italy (but which of their cities aren’t?), with its historic center housing some truly marvelous feats of Renaissance engineering and design.
A law was passed to keep their city clean and unblemished in 2018 that banned people from drinking or eating while sitting or standing on specific streets or by the doorsteps of public buildings, with a fine of €500 being the punishment.
Midnight Dancing Used To Be Illegal In Japan
Japan is a stunning country that is often on the “must travel destinations” list for many people thanks to its rich cultural history, food, and breathtaking scenery, not to mention the night-time attractions like their karaoke bars- which originated in Japan!
While Japan certainly has a very active nightlife, apparently from the years 1948-to 2015, it used to be illegal to dance past midnight. A bizarre law sought to stop prostitution and gambling halls, but the law was never properly enforced.
When in Venice, Don’t Feed The Pigeons
Venice is another iconic Italian City that has attracted thousands of people over the centuries. It is famous for its many canals, importance during the Renaissance, and the birthplace for many operatic and Baroque composers like Antonio Vivaldi and Tomaso Albinoni.
Many tourists went to Venice and enjoyed throwing bird seeds at San Marco’s square pigeons. The issue was that these pigeons would damage the exposed marble by constantly chipping at it. The problem was so bad that the city banned bird feeding.
Wyoming, The Home For Artists?
Another fascinating law that many art lovers are sure to love is the Wyoming Statue 16-6-802. This law requires all newly constructed buildings to display pieces of local art valued at 1% of the building’s total construction cost. Wow!
However, buildings that are valued at over $100,000 are exempt. The law aims to draw more tourists to the state by beautifying it with the beautiful pieces of art that local artisans crafted. A truly great idea that should be a law everywhere!
Taking Care Of The Elderly In China
In 2013, the People’s Republic of China passed a law regarding the treatment and care of elderly parents. The new law stated that adult children of elderly parents must provide their parents with financial and mental support.
In addition, the law also demands that children visit their parents at least once a year, with failure to do so either resulting in a fine or a prison sentence. While the law certainly has good intentions, not everyone has a good family dynamic.
Why Didn’t The Chicken Cross The Road?
Because it was illegal! Yep, apparently, in the tiny town of Quitman, Georgia, it is unlawful to allow chickens or any other type of domestic fowl to run loose through the city’s streets according to their Code of Ordinance. That puts an end to that joke rather quickly.
What’s more, it is also illegal to have your fowl on the property of another person if that person did not give you permission or consent to do so—pretty strange law indeed and one that we have no idea who approved it or why.
Radios Are Proudly Canadian In Canada
Canada has a relatively cool law requiring Canadian broadcasters to include Canadian content, be it radio or TV. It means that Canadians at least partially worked on the content publicized. Or that a Canadian was involved in making a product for the show.
TV broadcasters must play at least 55% of Canadian-involved programming per year. On the other hand, radios are required to play Canadian music 40% of the year. The law was introduced to ensure that local talent could grow within the country.
No Overweight Employees In Japan
Next, we have a law from Japan that was quite controversial for Western audiences. In 2008, the Japanese government passed the “Metabo Law”, which required people aged between 40-74 to have their waistlines measured and attend dieting classes routinely.
This law was introduced to tackle the global problem of rising obesity; however, the claim that overweight Japanese employees would be fined caused outrage in the Western world. That said, there are conflicting accounts of whether obese employees would be fined.
Those Canadians Don’t Like Tree Climbers
Well, not the whole country of Canada, just the city of Oshawa. Basically, the city passed a law in 2008 that made it illegal to climb trees. Oshawa created this law in an attempt to limit climbing-related injuries amongst citizens.
An odd law, and one that makes you wonder just how many people injured themselves trying to climb a tree. The law does only really apply to trees planted on municipal property. I guess you can still climb the tree in your backyard then. Just try not to get hurt because if there are too many injuries, those might be the following trees to be added to the list.
Better Not Take Your Kite To Victoria
Kite flying is a fun pastime that both children and adults can enjoy. It even has a competitive scene, if you can imagine it! And while they can certainly look beautiful as they drift in the wind, not everyone likes them.
Some people do not like them at all. It would seem that a rather odd law was passed in 1966 in Victoria, Australia. The law outlined that you could be charged with an offense or fined if you annoy someone while flying a kite.
Water Guns Are Super Dangerous!
Every year in Cambodia, Cambodians celebrate the Khmer New Year. This celebration marks the beginning of their new year, starting and ending in April. It is an important celebration that lasts for three days, as you can imagine everyone is involved.
While the celebration is meant to be an enjoyable festival, full of games, there are limits to what one can do. In 2000, water guns were banned in Siem Reap during the festivities due to fear of people shooting acid, not water.
Feet On The Pedals At All Times
Cycling is a popular leisurely pastime, an economical means of travel, and a great way to stay fit. While it has its benefits, it also has its shortcomings and critics, the most forthright being drivers who seem to hate every cyclist.
While drivers and cyclists have been known to give each other a fair amount of grief, we imagine that any cyclist would gladly take an angry driver over Mexico’s odd law that requires cyclists to have their feet on the pedals at all times.
Gateway To Nevada
Nevada, that scenic and charming rancher county of the US, has a law that dates back to 1861. The law is a bit confusing due to some odd terminology, but basically, you can be fined for not closing a gate.
Failure to close a gate could result in a fine or a misdemeanor charge. That said, it would seem that the law only really applies to cattle ranches and their wooden gates, as the text appears to ignore “city/town gates.”
Better Not Be Reincarnated In China
This next one is quite a complex one once you understand everything. In summary, from 2007 until 2018, the Chinese government had passed the decree that all reincarnations of Tibetan Buddhism spiritual leaders would be illegal if the government did not approve them.
The law was basically made, in an attempt, to limit the influence of the Tibetan monks and, most importantly, the Dalai Lama, who they would control and secure if their law were enforced. All of which has to do with China’s conflict with Tibet.
Might Be A Good Idea To Leave The Camo At Home
Camo print and coloration might be the choice for many military troops and hunters, but it will forever remain a divisive subject when it comes to fashion. Especially seeing how unflattering some think it can look on self-proclaimed “hunters” or “woodsmen.”
Fortunately (or not for some), it is illegal for non-military personnel or civilians to wear camouflage-styled or patterned clothing. A bit of a sensible law if you think about it, as it ensures that no one could abuse the uniform.
You Really Shouldn’t Take Pictures Of Everything
We all like to take the odd picture, or 20 when we see something interesting. While on vacation, we want to capture the memories to share with friends and reflect back on our adventures. The trouble is that a lot of people don’t know when to draw the line.
Or, for that matter, how to best respect the customs of another culture and their regulations. Take Sri Lanka, for instance, where it is illegal to take selfies with any statues of the Buddha, as they view this as taboo and disrespectful to their faith.
If You Hear Drums In India, You Better Run
The Indian province of East Punjab has a rather odd law that nonetheless is pretty cool. The law requires that someone alert nearby residences, farmers, or passers-by of a possible locust invasion. How do they do this? By beating a drum, of course!
The law was put into effect back in 1949 by the local government to tackle the problem of locust invasions, which can damage and consume crops in seconds. The purpose was for those who heard the drums to rush to the aid of the drummer and his crops.
Honking Isn’t Rude In New Jersey
An apparently bizarre law in New Jersey states that you must honk your car horn when passing another car. We say apparently because a lot of New Jerseyites (yes, that’s a word) have never heard about it. Doesn’t sound like a well-enforced law to us.
You can find the law in Statute 39:4-85, where it seems the law was made for road safety, where an overtaking car would sound their horn to indicate that they were going to overtake their space while alerting the people around them.
Don’t Try Getting Rid Of Your Coins In Canada
Most people tend to pay with credit cards (or even phones or watches nowadays). Back when cash was still the default, at some point, you would keep collecting more and more change in the forms of coins, which you couldn’t use. Well, you could, but no one wanted to be the person to hold up the line as they counted out their pennies.
Many older comedies always had an actor paying his bill exclusively with coins as a humorous joke. A joke that would be illegal in Canada, where they have some weird laws on how many coins you can play with for a specific price.
Balconies In Trinidad And Tobago Aren’t For Hanging Clothes
If you have ever been to one of the Mediterranean countries, or have just seen a movie set there, then you have most likely noticed that they, rather oddly but conveniently, hang their laundry from their balconies and between buildings.
While certainly different, it’s oddly charming. It seems that people in Trinidad and Tobago wouldn’t do it as it is actually illegal there, with fines or even jail time being the punishment, as it is seen as publicly/aesthetically offensive.
You Better Have A Dance Licence In The Nordic Countries
Dancing is often regarded as the ultimate form of self-expression, or it’s just something fun to do when some excellent tunes start playing. Dancing is also something you can do, whenever the feeling is right—most of the time.
Apparently, in a lot of Nordic countries, it is actually “illegal” to dance to songs in bars or clubs if they do not have a “dancing license.” We know its sounds ridiculous, but it is actually a thing and enforced!
People of Seville Don’t Like Dominoes
Dominoes is a fun game that involves a lot of patient planning and placement as you try to outmaneuver and outthink your opponents. But apparently, the Spanish town of Sevilla is not a fan of the game. We thought it was just fun and games. Guess not!
In Sevilla, you are banned from playing dominoes while in public. Their government believes that the game creates too much noise pollution. Considering the town’s fame for music and streets full of dancing, it’s a rather odd excuse.
Phone Cameras Must Make A Sound In Japan And Korea
Technology and its advancements have, without argument, added so much to our lives, allowing us to do cool new things while also helping to make other tasks just more straightforward to do. However, it has also brought issues of its own.
Such as modern phones and tablets, which some people may use to take pictures of others who are unaware. The issue was so bad in Korean and Japanese subways that the government banned silenced camera shutters, forcing bought phones always to make a sound.
Don’t Pee In The Ocean When In Portugal
One of the most significant issues about using a public pool is worrying about whether or not someone decided to use it instead as a public toilet. We honestly will never understand people who choose to do this disgusting crime.
And fortunately, we are not the only ones who hate this. In fact, Portugal hates public urination in pools so much that they actually made it illegal to even pee in the ocean. We don’t know how they enforce it, but bravo!
The EU Doesn’t Stand Animal Abuse
While we all know of the horrors that exist in commercial/industrial farming, specifically the meat industry, and the numerous accounts of animal abuse, there are some who are trying to help where they can. The EU is one of them.
In 2005, the European Council passed a new mandate that reduced animal abuse. The law forbids animals from being dragged or picked up by their heads, legs, ears, tails, or any other form that will cause unnecessary animal suffering.
Always Wear A Shirt In Barcelona
Let’s end on a humorous note, shall we? When it comes to coastal or holiday towns, you are very likely to see a couple of tourists walking around in beachwear or without shirts—something which isn’t always tolerated or appreciated.
Lawmakers and the people of Barcelona got so annoyed by this that in 2011 they passed a law that would punish people with a fine for walking around in streets “half-naked” or without a shirt—stating that the beach or pool was the only exception.