Sommarøy is an island in northern Norway where the Sun doesn’t set for a total of sixty-nine days during the summer. The people of Sommarøy have decided to make conventional timekeeping obsolete, thus making Sommarøy the very first time-free zone of the world.
Sommarøy also endures the longest polar night with the Sun not rising from November to January. The residents of the island do their best to make the most of the summer where the Sun will stay up from May 18 to July 26. During this time, the traditional timekeeping is ignored. You can see people doing all kind of chores during the ‘night’. In fact, you can witness kids playing ball in their yards at 3 am. Everyone sleeps whenever they feel like it because it is daytime 24/7.
Kjell Ove Heveding, a resident of Sommarøy, said, ‘There’s constantly daylight, and we act accordingly. In the middle of the night, which city folk might call ‘2 am,’ you can spot children playing soccer, people painting their houses or mowing their lawns, and teens are going for a swim. To many of us, getting this in writing would simply mean formalizing something we have been practicing for generations.’
This might seem like a publicity stunt or a joke, but locals are quite serious about it. Sommarøy has however managed to receive a tourism boost ever since the plan was made public. Locals have already conducted meetings with Norway’s Parliament’s member for the sake of handing over the petition signatures and discussing the practical and/or legal implications of this plan. If the residents are successful, they have plans of making school and working hours flexible by going against the conventional opening hours.
Thanks to its long days and nights, Sommarøy was already famous as the land where time is a forgotten commodity. However, residents are all set to make it legal and formal. What do you think of this?