Sommaroy Island time free — Sommarøy means “island of summer”. A way to see the glass half full. During the 69 days of the summer season, between May 18 and July 26, the sun never sets on this peculiar island. In contrast, between November and January, its 321 inhabitants live a night that seems eternal.
Before clocks were invented, the only way to organize time was through the contrast between day and night. In a place where for so many days a year the presence or absence of the sun is of little use for orientation, the clock would seem more important than anywhere else.
However, the residents of Sommarøy took a drastic decision: to become the first “free time zone”. They are determined that they no longer need to worry about the time to decide what to do. The community assembly submitted the request to the municipal authorities last week. The project implies, among other things, that stores no longer have an opening or closing schedule.
“When you come here, you should be able to throw away your watch and live your life,” said Kjell Ove Hveding, the main driver of this cultural change, consulted by NRK. “People all over the world are characterized by stress and depression, and in many cases this can be related to the feeling of not arriving, and here the clock plays an important role, we will be a time free zone where everyone can live their lives to the fullest. “
The proposal is radical, although it does not go so far as to propose a society without rules. “Children and young people still have to go to school, but there is room for flexibility, one does not need to be put in a box in the form of school or work hours, our goal is to provide all the flexibility 24 hours a day, seven days a week, if you want to mow the lawn at four in the morning, do it,” said Hveding.
However, some inhabitants of the island have doubts about the feasibility of the change. This is the case of Malin Nordheim, who works as a receptionist at the Hotel Sommarøy Arctic.
“I think this is exciting, but I am also a bit skeptical, it will be a challenge for the guests in relation to the check-in and check-out, as well as the bar and restaurant opening hours,” he said.
But the defenders of the initiative maintain that it is about turning Sommarøy into a destination where everyone, including visitors, can experience what it is to live without time. It can be a magnet for certain types of tourists who are looking for unique experiences.