Dinner Table Conversation: Why Does Time Matter?

June 23, 2019

What is time? It’s hard to describe, but we use time to mark when to do things like go to sleep or head to school. But what if there was no time? One small island in Northern Norway is thinking about getting rid of this whole thing called time because it just doesn’t make any sense to them. Interesting, right? How? Why? Yes, we had lots of questions when we heard about this too! The people who live on Sommarøy, an island that lies north of the Arctic Circle, sees almost no sunlight during the winter months from November through January, and doesn’t experience any sunsets in the summer months from late May through July. During the summer months, residents of Sommarøy can be found playing outside, gardening, and doing other daytime activities when it might technically be in the middle of the night. To them, it just doesn’t make sense to categorize one specific time as day and another as night, because quite frankly, for sixty-nine days out of the year, it’s always day. Last week, the town council met with a Norwegian minister to discuss the possibility of being a time-free zone. After all, the people of Sommarøy are already functioning as a time-free zone—they just want to make it official.

Interesting Fact: While you may find padlocks on some bridges around the world to symbolize love, the bridge leading into Sommarøy is covered in watches. Yep, there’s no need for watches when you’re entering a time-free zone!