There are plenty of ways to die here in Scandinavia. Most of them are the same ways people die in other countries but the Scandinavian edition of Mother Nature does have something special in store for those of us living in – or visiting – this cold corner of the world.
Warning: Do not read this if any of your loved ones died in Scandinavia or if you’re not comfortable with death as a part of life. I am not going to treat death with any kind of respect in this blog post.
Animals that kill
Some countries have sharks, alligators and crocodiles, venomous snakes and spiders (yikes) and even jellyfish that can kill you (yes, I’m looking at you, Australia).
Luckily it’s too cold for any of those animals to live in Scandinavia. Yes, we do have sharks but they’re about the size of a dachshund and not really very scary. Yes, we also have venomous snakes but they can probably, maybe, if you’re really unlucky, kill said dachshund if your vet is more than 24 hours away. Humans are safe.
So what kind of animals kill people here in Scandinavia?
Is it this guy?
Nope. Wolves may kill sheep–and may be killed by angry sheep farmers–but they do not kill people. Not even tourists.
Is it this girl?
Nope. Bears also like to snack on sheep and they can kill people. But it’s been a long-long time since they killed anyone in Scandinavia. If you’re not between a mother bear and her cubs, you’re probably safe. Polar bears are very dangerous but the only place in Scandinavia where you’ll find polar bears is on Svalbard. On Svalbard it’s mandatory to carry a rifle because of potential polar bear attacks.
So which mammal (apart from homo sapiens) kills most people in Scandinavia? Any guesses?
It’s this guy:
Hundreds, if not thousands, of Swedes and Norwegians are hurt or killed every year because they drive into a moose. Danes are safe because there are no moose in Denmark.
A moose is a very heavy animal with very thin legs. This means that if a car hits the poor moose, its huge body will land on the windshield or on top of the car and the passengers of the car will be crushed by the weight of it.
Other ways to die
Did you think Mother Nature wasn’t cruel enough to Scandinavians and tourists visiting us? A moose and that’s it? Ah, you’re forgetting something. Mother Nature has more than a couple of moose up her sleeve.
- Hypothermia. Did you know that more people in Norway die from hypothermia than from being murdered. Yes, part of the answer here is that Norwegians aren’t very blood thirsty–they don’t go around and murder each other to the same degree as people do in most countries–but cold weather does kill quite a few people each year. Most of the people who die from hypothermia in Scandinavia do so in Norway due to a combination of Norway’s colder weather and the fact that Norwegians are the most outdoorsy people in Scandinavia.
Unfortunately quite a few of the people dying from hypothermia are tourists. Bad weather can sneak up on you–be prepared.
- Falling off cliffs. It’s not as if Scandinavians don’t fall off cliffs–or need to be rescued after having fallen down part of the cliff–but according to the Norwegian police more and more tourists do this:
because they want some cool pictures to bring home with them. Unfortunately, not all of these tourists get to go home because Mother Nature can be mean sometimes. But hey, she wants respect not selfies.
- Drowning. People drown everywhere, you say, and you’re quite right. But the Scandinavian version of Mother Nature is a bit sneaky. She’ll make Danish beaches look like this:
And then she will tempt tourists with these:
Which is a baaaad combination considering the temperature in the water. Quite a few tourists have found themselves half way to Great Britain and that is really not where you want to be on that thing.
We also have people fall into wild rivers and people drowning in cold lakes. But most of the people who drown in Scandinavia fall from small boats. They are found with their fly open. It’s a sad and ironic fact that Mother Nature kills men when they answer the call of nature.
- Avalanches and glaciers. People on skis are often hit by avalanches, especially in the spring when the snow is melting and freezing and melting and freezing.
people also fall into glaciers. Luckily, this does not happen often since you need to have glacier guides with you when you cross a glacier.
But did you know that people are also hit by glaciers? Most of the People killed by glaciers falling on them are tourist who do not respect the warning signs.
After a family was killed by a glacier this summer in Norway there was a huge debate whether or not the warning signs should be bigger since tourists don’t seem to respect the small signs. The general consensus seemed to be that if they don’t respect the signs, they have to pay the price. Harsh, I agree.
You’re welcome but be careful
If I went to a country with venomous snakes or spiders, I would have absolutely no idea about how to avoid them (apart from running away screaming if I ever saw anything move). The same goes for tourists here in Scandinavia. So many of them don’t know how not to die from hypothermia, how to spot a moose in the forest while driving 100 km/h, how to avoid falling down from cliffs and how to respect warning signs.
So my only advice before you visit Scandinavia is this: Be careful!
Sooooo, can we Scandinavians get a little respect from all of you guys living in areas with dangerous animals? Please? Pretty please?