World's first city without a time zone

Updated: Oct 19, 2019

Where is this mysterious location? How and why are they abolishing time?


An island in the northern region of Norway could be the first place on earth to become the world’s first time-free zone. But what does that actually mean you might ask?


Local residents are pressing authorities in Sommarøy --which incidentally means "Summer Island"-- to do away with conventional timekeeping.


The island in West Tromsø, north of the Arctic Circle, does not see the sun set for a full 69 days, from May 18th to July 26th, and during this brightly period of time there is abundant daylight as one might imagine, followed by a long polar night from November to January, when the sun doesn't rise at all.


Local residents are used to these daylight/night extremes and know how to make the most of each precious month they spend in the light or the dark, and tend to generally do so by disregarding conventional timekeeping.


"When there is constant daylight, we act accordingly" islander Kjell Ove Hveding declares to journalists. "In the middle of the night, which city folk might call 2 a.m., you can spot children playing soccer, people painting their houses or mowing their lawns, and teens going for a swim."


In mid-2019, locals gathered at the town hall to sign a petition for an official and internationally recognized time-free zone, the first of its kind. Making their way of life officially in terms of the law would be a great step forward for all the residents on the island, from the youngest of babies to the most elderly, as well as workers, tourists, and basically anyone setting foot on the island.


On June 13, Hveding met with a Norwegian member of parliament to hand over the locals' signatures and to discuss the practical and legal challenges of this initiative.

"To many of us, getting this in writing would simply mean formalizing something that we have been practicing for generations."


The 300+ residents of this "Summer Island" are awaiting the results of their petition with excitement, and hoping that they will soon be free of traditional opening and closing hours and able to introduce flexibility in school and trading hours on the island, where fishing and tourism are the main industries.


Hveding says local fishermen and women often spend days on the ocean pursuing their catch, with little regard to a schedule.


An interesting and fun fact: when visitors cross the bridge to the island coming from the mainland, they are greeted with watches instead of padlocks.


Watch the video and let us know some of your thoughts below.



Do you think this is a reasonable request from the islanders?

Do you think it will be accepted?

Do you think this timeless zone will work?

How will the rest of the world (the international community) react to this?

How will it help or hinder the island?

Did you come across any new phrasal verbs, vocab or expressions?





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