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This Norwegian Island Has Decided to Eliminate the Concept of Time

The inhabitants of Sommarøy, a Norwegian island, live in a very special condition. In fact, 69 days a year they are under continuous sunlight. That is why they have decided to eliminate time - or rather, watches. By doing so, they no longer submit to the rigid schedules that make their lives too limited. Their aim is to be a timeless zone where everyone can live their lives to the fullest.

norwegian island

The inhabitants of Sommarøy, a Norwegian island, live in a very special condition. In fact, 69 days a year they are under continuous sunlight. That is why they have decided to eliminate time. Or rather, they no longer submit to the rigid schedules that make their lives too limited.

How This Norwegian Island Is Actually Timeless

Just over 300 people live on the Norwegian island of Sommarøy, north of the Arctic Circle. Since they spend most of their days in total darkness or, on the contrary, in broad daylight, they have decided to give up watches that they consider useless.

In fact, they now even see them as an obstacle to their everyday life.

And in fact, that’s exactly what it is. For example, there are times of the year in Sommarøy at two o’clock in the morning when you can see children playing football, children swimming or people mowing the grass in their garden or painting houses.

At the end of May, the citizens of the island called an assembly to make a decision that was probably unique in the world. In fact, that is how they decided to eliminate the timetables. According to the local media (NRK), the agreement is based on the abolition of the rigidity with which time is measured. This means that there will be no more deadlines to meet – for example, no shop closing times.

Their intention is now to turn this idea into law by presenting this initiative to the Storting, the Norwegian Parliament. The main supporter of this idea, Kjell Ove Hveding, was really clear. “Our aim is to provide maximum flexibility, 24 hours a day, seven days a week”, he explained. “If you want to mow the lawn at four in the morning, do it. When you come here, you should be able to throw away the clock and live your life. (…) We’ll be a timeless zone where everyone can live their lives to the fullest.”

The Concerns of Some Locals

Despite the success of the idea, some inhabitants of the island are still doubtful. Among them is Malin Nordheim, a receptionist at a hotel in Sommarøy. “I think [the idea] is exciting, but I’m also a little skeptical”, he said. “It will be a challenge for the guests to find out check-in and check-out times and the opening hours of bars and restaurants.”

The aim, actually, is to extend this initiative to the whole archipelago of islands of which Sommarøy is a part. To do this, the inhabitants have also decided to make a symbolic gesture. The bridge that crosses the island has been decorated with dozens of clocks and visitors are asked to leave them as well. In this way, once they arrive, they forget about the time they have known up to that point.

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