Norwegian island campaigns to abolish concept of time

20 June 2019, 18:20 | Updated: 20 June 2019, 23:21

People living on a small island in Norway are campaigning to abolish the concept of time.

Sommaroy, north of the Arctic Circle, experiences a period of 69 days every year when the sun doesn't set - and this, according to the locals, is why the area should be considered a time-free zone.

Speaking to Sky News, resident Knut Hansvold said it made sense to his fellow islanders to get rid of time during a period of midnight sun, although the idea, he admits, was "born amid much banter".

He said: "It's less windy at night. Perfect for painting your house."

The 69 days of constant sun usually lasts between 18 May to 26 July, which is around the time schoolchildren also break up for summer, Mr Hansvold said.

But, he adds: "Kids have no bedtime as Sommaroy is a small island."

When asked how business-as-usual would cope without time, he pointed out the island's small population of a few hundred people, many of whom work in the fishing industry.

That industry works "day and night, regardless of the clock," he said.

"The little shop closes in the evening," he added. "But it opens on request."

In a Facebook video that shows islanders abandoning and smashing their timepieces, the group says "time simply is no object to us" amid the midnight sun.

"We do what we want when we want."

"If we want to cut the grass at 'midnight', we will. If we want to take a swim at '4am', we will."

"That's why we want to be officially recognised as the world's first time-free zone," the group concluded.

Resident Kjell Ove Hveding has said he met a Norwegian politician earlier in the month to discuss practical and legal challenges of implementing a time-free zone.

He also handed over a petition signed by dozens of islanders.

"The idea is to chill out," he said. "I have seen people suffering from stress because they were pressed by time."

The island is plunged into constant darkness during the winter months from November to January.