Destinations

Norwegian tourist destination wants to remove time to make use of endless daylight

The Norwegian island of Sommarøy gets nearly 70 days without darkness, and residents reportedly want to get rid of traditional business hours during the period.

Residents of Sommarøy, a Norwegian island where the sun does not set between May and July, are calling for the island to abolish the concept of time by removing traditional business hours, in a move that they say would allow them to make better use of 24-hour days.

ABC News reported that the idea behind the time-free zone is that disregarding watches would make it easier for residents, especially students, employers and workers, to make the most of the precious months when the sun does not rise in the region through November to January.

According to CNN, a bridge across to Sommarøy is covered in wrist watches, a symbol for visitors to leave time behind.
According to CNN, a bridge across to Sommarøy is covered in wrist watches, a symbol for visitors to leave time behind.

Sommarøy resident Kjell Ove Hveding told Associated Press that the push would get rid of “conventional time keeping”.

“It’s a bit crazy, but at the same time it is pretty serious,” he said.

He met with a Norwegian politician this month to present a petition signed by dozens of islanders in support of declaring a “time-free zone” and to discuss any practical and legal obstacles to basically ignoring what clocks say about day and night.

Visit Tromsoe travel manager Chris Hudson said the change would not mean that shops are open all hours, but that residents could make better use of the daylight.

“There is nothing wrong with renting a canoe and paddling out in the sunshine, even though it is in the middle of the night,” he told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

Going off the clock “is a great solution but we likely won’t become an entirely time-free zone as it will be too complex,” he said. “But we have put the time element on the agenda, and we might get more flexibility … to adjust to the daylight.

“The idea is also to chill out. I have seen people suffering from stress because they were pressed by time,” he said.

The island, which is 34 hectares, reportedly has a population of 350 people, with its major industries being fishing and tourism.

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