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19 Jul 2019 5:20
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  •   Home > News > International

    Norwegian island of Sommaroey wants to abolish time to make use of endless daylight

    Residents of the island of Sommaroey petition to abolish the concept of time on the island, so they can make better use of 69 days of the year when the sun does not set.


    Residents of a Norwegian island where the sun does not set for 69 days of the year want to abolish the concept of time.

    The push would abolish traditional business hours and "conventional time-keeping", Sommaroey resident Kjell Ove Hveding said.

    The residents do not experience time like the rest of the world.

    The midnight sun period lasts from May 18 to July 26.

    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 opposite is true.

    The sun does not rise over Sommaroey from November to January.

    Mr Hveding 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.

    "It's a bit crazy, but at the same time it is pretty serious," he said.

    Visit Tromsoe travel manager Chris Hudson said the change would not mean that shops are open 24/7, 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 time-free to help address 'stress'

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

    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," Mr Hveding 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.

    Sitting west of Tromsoe, the island has a population of 350. Fishery and tourism are the main industries.

    Finland last year lobbied for the abolition of European Union daylight savings time after a citizens' initiative collected more than 70,000 signatures.

    AP/ABC

    © 2019 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved


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