Summer Solstice has just begun in the Northern Hemisphere, beginning on June 21st! This means that the Nordic island of Sommarøy (meaning ‘Summer Island’) is currently enduring a full 69 day period where the sun does not set. Between May 18, to July 26, the island just north of the Arctic Circle will see nothing but daylight! This is a regular occurrence for these islands, which has lead to their small populations questioning the need of being part of a regulated time zone.
Like something out of Game of Thrones, the island has endured a long polar night, which lasts from November to January. This means that the islands population of around 300 has to adapt and change the way they work depending on the time of year. Whether it is always day, or always night, the people struggle to work what we would class as normal time. So, at 2am you can see children playing football, and people doing household jobs, according to islander, Kjell Ove Hveding. This is why the questioning of time has arisen for the islanders.
This matter has been labelled as a formalization, rather than a change. The islanders have gathered at the town hall to sign the petition to have the island changed to a time free zone, in a bid to have Norwegian parliament legally change the time zone laws. As we say, this is more of a formalization, as it is something that the people have already been living by for generations.
The main reasoning behind wanting this change, is so that the island does not have to conform to standard practices etc. things like shop, or school opening times for example. This would mean that they could work in a way that suits their lives, rather than sticking to the standard time zone rules.
Of course, it is not possible to disregard the concept of ‘time’ completely, but the people of Sommarøy are definitely making headway in achieving what they have set out to do so!
The Time Bridge
Time, and the Nordic island of Sommarøy share such a unique relationship that visitors actually leave watches behind! In some of the most famous cities around the world, most notably the likes of Paris and Prague, tourists travel from all over the world and leave ‘love locks’ locked to bridges to celebrate their own relationships! A trend that many disagree with, but one that people travel all over the world to take part in. Sommarøy has its own share of tourists too, and rather than leaving locks, the done thing is to leave a watch attached to the bridge! This bridge connects the island to the mainland, and as people enter the land that time forgot, they leave a watch on the bridge to mark their entry!
This is just another thing that makes the island so unique, hence why it has become such a popular tourist spot for those looking for a slightly different holiday location!