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Norwegian Island Wants To Be 'Time-Free'


There is an island in northern Norway that wants to become timeless, literally. The 300 residents of Sommaroy, which enjoys constant sunshine from May to July, are considering becoming the world's first time-free zone. Kjell Hveding is the leader of the campaign, and he joins us now via Skype.

Good morning, or good day. Or is it good evening? What does it look like there right now? Is the sun shining?

KJELL HVEDING: It is not sunshine, but it's daylight. And it's that 24/7, no matter what.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So I guess that explains the rationale for becoming timeless.

HVEDING: Yes, it is. You know, when people in the government of Norway are talking about wintertime and summertime and moving the clock, we have a good laugh up here. So that's why we were thinking, why on Earth do we need to follow all these practical - I call it practical jokes. So now we are thinking some new thoughts out here.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: But won't things become disjointed if everyone is running on their own time? I mean, what if your neighbor is mowing the lawn at his 2 p.m. while you're trying to sleep at your 2 a.m.? Or how do you arrange to meet someone at the coffee shop?

HVEDING: Neighborhoods here, they have started Facebook groups that they invite people in the neighborhood in the middle of the night. And suddenly, it is 20 people, grown-ups and kids, doing funny things together, no matter what the clock is. And that flexibility is what we are looking for.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So you're saying that people on your island, at this point, just decide to meet up at what would be 3 a.m. in the morning elsewhere and just have a laugh.

HVEDING: Why not? We are also talking about doing really funny things, you know? So now we make signs for every house in the village. Whenever you put out the sign, all people who see the sign can knock on your door and say, I seen the sign.


HVEDING: I know that we are most welcome. And that is the way of living, and we love it.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: It sounds like a very friendly place.

HVEDING: It is. And here, you don't need to tell the kids to come in before it get dark because if you do that, you will not see them before August.


HVEDING: And it's a funny way of living (laughter).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So now the decision on timelessness rests with the government.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: Is that right? And if they agree to this proposal from your island, what happens next? I mean, is it a bonfire of the clocks or...



HVEDING: Could it be possible that we, who live in the north, could have a special no time in the summer part, and we want to spend more time just being alive?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Kjell, it makes me want to come and live there, I've got to be honest.


HVEDING: But you are most welcome to come and visit us. I spoke with a professor in England. He is writing a book about this, and he is coming over next summer to study. How is it? How is the light influencing our life? How is the time influencing our life? That is a very, very interesting project because I see myself - I sleep about one to one and a half hour less in the summertime. And that makes something special for us up here. We have at least one or one and a half hour more time. We should spend it.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Kjell Hveding, speaking from Sommaroy island in Norway, thank you so much.

HVEDING: You're welcome. Have a beautiful summer and a beautiful day over there.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter) You too.