Strangest Foreign Rules Banning Things That Are Normal Everywhere Else

1 Reincarnation Without Permission Is Prohibited In Tibet

Strangest Foreign Rules Banning Things That Are Normal Everywhere Else
The Conversation
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If you practice a religion that believes in reincarnation, you may want to steer clear of Tibet. In the Chinese territory, Buddhist monks must obtain special permission from the Chinese government in order to reincarnate. Apparently, the rule, passed in 2007, stems from a desire to hinder the Dalai Lama’s influence on the public.

If a person or organization fails to obtain permission to reincarnate, the state can legally pursue a criminal action against them. They’ll face administrative sanctions, which could involve paying a fine or other punitive measures. However, the exact punishment someone might face is unclear.

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2 Ketchup Is Prohibited In School Cafeterias In France

Strangest Foreign Rules Banning Things That Are Normal Everywhere Else
The Globe and mail
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France takes its food very seriously. The country is known for its elegant cuisine, and many of the best restaurants in the world can be found in France. However, the French may have taken their love for fine dining too far by banning ketchup in their school cafeterias in 2011.

While the move was described as a health guideline, officials also said it stemmed from a desire to pass the recipes of the French cuisine on to the next generation. However, students can still eat ketchup once a week with their weekly serving of french fries.

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3 Goldfish In Glass Bowls Are Forbidden In Rome, Italy

Strangest Foreign Rules Banning Things That Are Normal Everywhere Else
Pure Goldfish
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If you buy a goldfish in the US, you likely take it right home and place it in a glass fishbowl. But while that’s a completely normal place to keep your fish in the US, it’s prohibited in Rome, Italy. In the Italian city, keeping a goldfish in a round, glass bowl is considered cruel.

Rome may be onto something. Scientists have said that round glass bowls limit a fish’s oxygen, which could cause them to go blind. If fish owners ignore this rule in Rome, they could face legal consequences.

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4 Running Out of Gas Is Illegal In Germany

Strangest Foreign Rules Banning Things That Are Normal Everywhere Else
Car and Driver
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Putting gas in your car is a normal chore for anyone who owns a vehicle. However, if you’re distracted or trying to save money, you might have found yourself out of gas at some point in time. While this is considered a silly mistake in the US, it’s actually illegal in Germany.

If you run out of gas on the German Autobahn, a highway that allows fast speeds of over 100 miles per hour, you could incur a hefty fine. The German government believes each citizen should be responsible enough to keep their car properly gassed up. Running out of gas in a high-speed environment is dangerous, and it’s not tolerated in Germany.

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5 Most Foreign Entertainment Is Banned In North Korea

Strangest Foreign Rules Banning Things That Are Normal Everywhere Else
CJ Entertainment
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As a dictatorship that greatly limits the freedom of its people, it should come as no surprise that numerous things from the outside world are banned in North Korea. In particular, listening to foreign music or watching foreign movies is not allowed within the North Korean borders.

Depending on the source of the entertainment, the punishment for breaking this rule could be as severe as death. Watching American films could lead to execution while watching an Indian movie could result in imprisonment. But no matter where the entertainment comes from, breaking this rule is sure to result in severe consequences.

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6 Certain Hairstyles Are Forbidden In Iran

Strangest Foreign Rules Banning Things That Are Normal Everywhere Else
The Raider Wire
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In 2010, Iran came out with new policies to police men’s hairstyles. Certain looks, which were described as “homosexual” and “devil-worshipping,” were banned within the country. Some of these hairstyles include spiky cuts, mullets, ponytails, and long gelled hair.

All these hairstyles were deemed “un-Islamic,” and a desire to abide by the rules of the religion was ultimately behind the ban. Shops who cut and styled these hairstyles could be closed, and plainclothes militia could intercept and punish individual members of the population who did not follow the rules.

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7 Selling Chewing Gum Is Not Allowed In Singapore

Strangest Foreign Rules Banning Things That Are Normal Everywhere Else
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Singapore has a few odd rules that could get you into trouble if you’re an uninformed visitor to the country. One of the strangest laws, however, is that the selling of chewing gum is illegal. Apparently, most types of chewing gums are banned in the country. In fact, the only kinds that are allowed to be sold are those that have some sort of health benefit.

If you break this rule, you could face a fine of $100,000 for your first offense. Subsequent offenses could cost you even more in fines, depending on how many times you break the rule.

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8 Only Approved Baby Names Are Allowed In Denmark

Strangest Foreign Rules Banning Things That Are Normal Everywhere Else
Madonna Age Children
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You’re allowed to name your children whatever you want in the US, no matter how ridiculous the name might be. However, that’s not the case in Denmark. In fact, parents in the country must choose from an approved list of 7,000 names for their children.

If parents want to name their child something that isn’t on the list, they must obtain special permission from the church. If parents don’t follow these rules, they will be in violation of the law and could face punitive measures.

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9 You Can’t Publicly Celebrate Valentine’s Day In Pakistan

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If you can’t stand Valentine’s Day, you’ll feel right at home in Pakistan. In the South Asian country, public celebrations of Valentine’s Day are completely banned. Since the holiday is not a Muslim tradition and focuses on love that isn’t directed towards God, the country decided in 2017 that it would no longer support public displays of affection and celebration on the holiday.

Stores and businesses in Pakistan are banned from selling or promoting Valentine’s Day paraphernalia. Oddly enough, most of the Pakistani population was in support of the law.

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10 High Heels Are Banned On Ancient Sites In Greece

Strangest Foreign Rules Banning Things That Are Normal Everywhere Else
Wikipedia
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While this rule may seem a little random, it actually makes a lot of sense. As the birthplace of Western civilization, Greece is home to many ancient historical sites. In fact, ruins and historical buildings can be found almost everywhere you look across the country. The government obviously wants to preserve these important parts of history, which is why high heels are banned on ancient grounds.

High heels create a lot of focused pressure on the ground, which can chisel away at historical sites over time. Therefore, heels are not allowed on ancient grounds in Greece. If you must wear high heels on your tour, you likely won’t be allowed anywhere near the ancient monuments.

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11 Making International Calls Is A Crime In North Korea

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North Korea wants to keep itself insulated from the outside world. The less people know about what’s going on in the rest of the world, the easier they are to control. To that end, making international calls is considered a serious crime in North Korea.

In 2007, one man who made several international calls was put to death. The punishment may be less severe depending on the person and the number of calls they make, but it’s bound to be a severe reaction if citizens try to contact the outside world.

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12 Sweden Banned Advertising to Children

Strangest Foreign Rules Banning Things That Are Normal Everywhere Else
Raising Children Network
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Advertising directly to children is completely normal in the United States. In fact, children’s channels like Nickelodeon or Disney Channel run all sorts of ads for kid-related items, ensuring each child will be begging their parents for something new by the end of the night. But in Sweden, advertising to children is banned.

In the ’90s, Sweden instituted a ban on advertising to children under the age of 12. To put this ban into place, TV stations aren’t allowed to run an ad directly before or after a children’s show. The move is meant to protect children from advertisers.

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13 Canadian Radio Stations Must Play Canadian Artists

Strangest Foreign Rules Banning Things That Are Normal Everywhere Else
Wikimedia Commons
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Canada wants to be sure they support the celebrity talent coming out of their country. Rather than playing the top hits from the United States, Canada has a rule that radio stations must place Canadian artists at least 35% of the time. The rule particularly applies to business hours, so you’ll hear lots of Canadian voices from 6am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.

Thankfully, Canada has some serious talent, so playing music from Canadian artists isn’t a challenge. Justin Bieber, Michael Bublé, Celine Dion, and Alanis Morissette all hail from the Great White North. Unfortunately, you might also hear quite a bit of Nickelback on Canadian radio.

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14 Being Overweight In Japan Could Incur a Fine

Strangest Foreign Rules Banning Things That Are Normal Everywhere Else
The Jakarta Post
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In general, health and wellness are big topics of conversation around the world, which inevitably leads to discussions about weight. But in Japan, encouraging people to eat healthier and get exercise isn’t enough. Instead, they actually police the waistlines of their citizens.

In 2008, Japan instituted a law that forces companies to regularly measure the waistlines of employees who are 40 to 74 years of age. If their waistlines are too large, the company they work for could incur a fine. In addition, the individual will be given dieting guidelines in order to get their measurements back to the government-mandated guidelines.

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15 Many Rules Inhibit The Creation Of Memes In Australia

Strangest Foreign Rules Banning Things That Are Normal Everywhere Else
The Conversation
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While memes aren’t technically illegal in Australia, it is quite difficult to legally create the shareable internet content. Australia has strict copyright laws that prohibit sharing content owned by somebody else. Therefore, if you take a popular picture and create a meme, you could face serious fines for infringing on the owner’s rights.

However, Australia is trying to walk back this law and make it a little easier to share online content. They simply want to ensure that any new content isn’t taking away profit from the original owner, which makes changing the law complicated and difficult.

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16 Hiking Naked Is Illegal In Switzerland

Strangest Foreign Rules Banning Things That Are Normal Everywhere Else
Journey Era
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Hiking naked doesn’t sound like something most countries would have to worry about. But a few years ago, stripping down and taking a hike became the thing to do in Switzerland. Unfortunately, the move violates the country’s public decency laws.

After catching a few hikers naked, the Swiss government had to address the issue and remind tourists that clothes are required on hikes. One man who continued to ignore the rule was fined $100 in 2011.

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17 Wearing A Suit Armor In British Parliament Is Illegal

Strangest Foreign Rules Banning Things That Are Normal Everywhere Else
Audacy
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If you are a fanatic of the medieval era, you are encouraged to live your passion as you wish, but if wearing armor is part of your style of dress, you will unfortunately not be welcome at the British Parliament in London.

An ancient law dating back to 1313 prevents anyone wishing to visit the British Parliament from wearing an armor. Fortunately, armor is less fashionable than it once was, so the British government did not bother to abolish it.

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18 You Can’t Feed Pigeons In Venice

Strangest Foreign Rules Banning Things That Are Normal Everywhere Else
EF Tours Blog
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In most countries around the world, feeding pigeons is neither encouraged nor discouraged. But that isn’t the case in Venice, Italy. A few years ago, it became very popular for tourists to feed the pigeons in Saint Mark’s Square. Since the birds knew they could find food, they would descend on the square in the thousands.

After the pigeons caused immense damage to the city, the government put its foot down. In 2008, Venice made it illegal to feed the pigeons in the city. Anyone who breaks the law could pay fines of up to 700 euros.

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19 Wearing Camouflage Is Banned In The Caribbean

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If you’re taking a trip to the Caribbean, you better leave your camouflage clothing at home. In many of the Caribbean islands, including Jamaica, Barbados, and St. Lucia, you’re not allowed to wear camo clothing.

Apparently, camouflage is reserved specifically for the military of these island nations. If you wear camouflage, you could be asked to change.

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20 Baby Walkers Are Banned In Canada

Strangest Foreign Rules Banning Things That Are Normal Everywhere Else
Wikimedia Commons
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Baby walkers are supposed to be a safe way for babies to learn how to walk. Most of these devices feature a seat for the baby that allows their feet to reach the floor. While the seat supports most of the infant’s body weight, they can move around using their feet. However, these little devices were actually banned in Canada all the way back in 2004.

At the time, the Canadian government found that baby walkers can actually inhibit a child’s development. What’s more, they pose a certain danger to growing babies. If you use or sell a baby walker in Canada, you may spend up to six months in jail or pay a fine of $100,000.

Jessica Bedewi

A book lover and avid watcher of all things reality TV, Jessica Bedewi uses her BA in Communications and Sociology to put her love of reading and writing to good use. She stays on top of the latest trends in entertainment and employs a critical approach to poke fun at the things she loves most. Her work can also be found on Screen Rant, Ranker, and TheTalko. When she's not writing, she can be found binge-watching Netflix, practicing her mad crochet skills, and reading thriller novels.

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