A Norwegian Island hopes to be the first place in the world to abolish time

Sommaroy Island
Sommaroy outside Tromso, Norway. (Credits - Flickr)

When people travel to the Nordic island, Sommarøy they have to forget the concept of time. Some of the travellers do this quite straight hence the bridge connecting the fishing village to the mainland is sprinkled with many discarded watches.

In West Tromsø which is located to the north of the Arctic Circle time is of very little significance. The sun does not rise in winter while for 69 summer days it never sets. This place is one of the extremes so its residents are now proposing a very extreme measure. Resident Kjell Hveding of 56 years, a human resources worker is leading the petition for the place to be the first time-free zone in the world. He told CNN that for many of the residents, getting this approved officially would only mean formalizing a practice that has been done for generations.

In Norwegian, Sommarøy means Summer Island which holds true for a part of the year. This time period is free-for-all as both children and grown-ups can alike can take calls at 2am, garden at midnight and swim at unusual times. Hveding told CBC that the discussions of the government about the new law regarding wintertime or summertime are insignificant here as it does not affect the citizens in any way. People here in the north of Arctic Circle lead a very different kind of life.

Hveding managed to gather close to 100 signatures which is nearly a third of the total population and he gave the list to the local member of parliament. The details of the proposal are not completely clear, as many have criticized the move as a way to boost the tourism of the place, while some feel it is just a symbolic move.

If the normal timekeeping method is abolished then it would mean removing the strict rigidity of a schedule from the lives of people. However even then, people need to go to work, attend schools or meet their friends.

What is to be accepted is that the daily rhythms of a human body follow the sun and not the clocks. Human beings have adapted the 24 hour cycle which is due to Earth’s rotation. Several of the activities performed by the human body follow the 24 hour routine. This internal body clock is followed by every organ in the body, so even though people who spent a lot of time inside caves lost the sense of time, their bodies still followed the same 24 hour cycle.
So we may choose to discard clocks but we cannot discard time.


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