‘Summer Island’ wants to be the world’s first time-free zone

Posted by Elise Kirsten on 24 June 2019

Residents of Norway’s Sommarøy (which translates to Summer Island) are petitioning to make the isle the world’s first time-free zone. During the summer, between mid-May and late June, the sun does not set at all for 60 days, and residents want to do away with conventional timekeeping for this period.

An initiative was started by Kjell Ove Hveding on 13 June at a Town Hall meeting to do away with time between 18 May and 26 July each year.

According to Afar, Hveding said, ‘There’s no need to know what time it is. The midnight sun makes clocks an unnecessary nuisance.’

The bridge that leads to the island with its fishing community north of the Arctic Circle has a number of watches strapped to it to highlight the fact that timepieces are unnecessary in the summer.

The petition was signed in a bid to formalise what the locals already practice. ‘There’s constantly daylight, and we act accordingly. In the middle of the night, which city folk might call ‘2am’, you can spot children playing soccer, people painting their houses or mowing their lawns, and teens going for a swim,’ Hveding says.

‘All over the world, people are characterised by stress and depression,’ Hveding told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

‘In many cases, this can be linked to the feeling of being trapped, and here the clock plays a role. We will be a time-free zone where everyone can live their lives to the fullest. Our goal is to provide full flexibility, 24/7. If you want to cut the lawn at 4am, then you do it.’


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Hveding has been in discussions with a Norwegian lawmaker to look at practical and legal obstacles to becoming a timeless society. According to Hveding, the Norwegian island ‘likely won’t become an entirely time-free zone, as it will be too complex.’

Image credit: Wikipedia commons

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