This Island in Norway Will Be the World’s First Time-Free Zone

The residents of Sommarøy island near Tromsø call for business hours to be abolished.

Residents of Sommarøy island, west of the city Tromsø and north of the Arctic Circle, call for business hours to be abolished on the island. As their relationship with time is very different than elsewhere, the 350 residents of the islands ask to be allowed to “do what we want, when we want”.

Correction: It was confirmed that this news was a PR stant by Innovation Norway.

During winter time, the island spends two months in complete darkness. Then, during the summer, the people from Sommarøy island get 24-hour daylight from mid-May to end of July. As they say, going out for coffee with friends at 2 am is a normal thing on the island, as they enjoy every minute of the Midnight sun. So, 9 am to 5 pm office time does not make sense to them, not in the winter, not in the summer.

As a first step, the residents handed a petition to their local MP, Kent Gudmundsen. They hope to become the first time-free zone in the world. 

The campaign seems to be linked to the European Parliament’s decision from March this year, to stop the clock change extending daylight-hours in the summer. By 2021, Norway is considering taking the same decision as the EU States, to make summer time or winter time permanent.

MP Kent Gudmundsen told the iTromso newspaper, as cited by the DPA news agency, that the time-free zone idea “sounds exciting” and that instead of looking at summer and winter time, the government should perhaps consider the campaign “as a third option”.

Tourists visiting Sommarøy island started to support the campaign by leaving their watches on the bridge leading to the island, in the same way lovers leave padlocks on bridges all over the world.

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