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1-min read

No Time? Norway Island Now Wants to be the World's First Time-Free Zone

The island in West Tromsø, north of the Arctic Circle, doesn't see the sun set for a full 69 days, from May 18 to July 26.

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Updated:June 19, 2019, 12:22 PM IST
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No Time? Norway Island Now Wants to be the World's First Time-Free Zone
The island in West Tromsø, north of the Arctic Circle, doesn't see the sun set for a full 69 days, from May 18 to July 26.
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An island in northern Norway could become the world’s first time-free zone.

Local residents are pressing authorities in Sommarøy -- meaning "Summer Island" -- to do away with conventional timekeeping, CNN reports.

The island in West Tromsø, north of the Arctic Circle, doesn't see the sun set for a full 69 days, from May 18 to July 26.

This period of abundant daylight follows the long polar night from November to January, when the sun doesn't rise at all.

Local residents make the “most of these precious months, with no regard to conventional timekeeping,” according to CNN.

"There's constantly (sic) daylight, and we act accordingly," islander Kjell Ove Hveding was quoted as saying in a statement. "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."

Islanders recently gathered at a town hall meeting to sign a petition for a time-free zone and 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 the initiative.

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

The over 300 residents hope to be free of traditional opening hours and to introduce flexibility in school and working 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 timetable.

Unlike similar bridges worldwide, visitors crossing the bridge to the island from the mainland are greeted with watches instead of padlocks.

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