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If there is such a place as "Hell" in the Norse cosmology, it is definitely Nastrond.  So then, why is Nastrond what some would call the Norse version of Hell? Firstly, let's go over what is different. 



In the Christian Mythos, Hell is a place of "fire and brimstone" a place all unto itself where Satan, or the Devil reigns supreme and tortures those who have done wrong for all eternity. Some believe that regardless of your level of wrong doing, you are destined to Hell for all time to be tortured in unimaginable agony. 



On the other hand, is Nastrond.


The Völuspá says:

A hall she saw standing 

remote from the sun 

on Dead Body Shore. 

Its door looks north. 

There fell drops of venom 

in through the roof vent. 

That hall is woven 

of serpents’ spines. 

She saw there wading 

onerous streams 

men perjured 

and wolfish murderers 

and the one who seduces 

another’s close-trusted wife. 

There Malice Striker sucked 

corpses of the dead, 

the wolf tore men. 

Do you still seek to know? And what? 

Völuspá 38-39, Dronke's translation

Sal sá hón standa 

sólo fiarri, 

Nástrǫndu á, 

norðr horfa dyrr. 

Fello eitrdropar 

inn um lióra. 

Sá er undinn salr 

orma hryggiom. 

Sá hón þar vaða 

þunga strauma 

menn meinsvara 

ok morðvarga 

ok þannz annars glepr 


Þar saug Níðhǫggr 

nái framgengna, 

sleit vargr vera. 

Vitoð ér enn, eða hvat? 

Völuspá 38-39, Dronke's edition

Nastrond is located in Hel, the land ruled by Hella, a land of mist and ice, a land of the dead. Hel is not an evil place, it is just a place of death, and rest. It is the Christian idea, that death is bad. Hel, and Hella are facts of life, and are not evil. Nastrond is a hall, located on a shore in Hel. 


The hall is constructed of venomous snakes, tails outward. Any who go into the Hall, are never allowed to leave, and to get there, they must pass through the river of knives, and swords. Once they arrive at the hall, they are cut and bleeding.  For all eternity, these men and women will have snake venom dripped into their cuts, and they shall never not feel the pain. Pretty terrible yes? 


But worry not! Only the absolute worst of the worst find themselves in Nastrond.


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