9 votes

Sommarøy – A Norwegian city wants to abolish time

5 comments

  1. nacho
    Link
    This is a stunt for tourism. It's created a lot of hubbub in the Norwegian media as the Norwegian Government essentially started and funded part of the stunt, and then sent photographers to take...

    This is a stunt for tourism. It's created a lot of hubbub in the Norwegian media as the Norwegian Government essentially started and funded part of the stunt, and then sent photographers to take pictures and shared those pictures and the story with national and international press without saying anything about the origin of the campaign.


    Yes, it really is light all summer round and dark for weeks on end during winter. Yes, that affects how one lives one's life because it's impossible to tell whether it's 4 am or 4 pm.

    But this is a stunt. No-one's seriously suggesting shops will just randomly open and close etc. This is an advertising campaign to draw tourists. It cost on the order of $50,000 and has been written about all over the world, giving advertising/exposure valued on the order of a hundred million dollars.

    8 votes
  2. [3]
    imperialismus
    Link
    Those places are called the poles! Everywhere else has regular sunrises and sunsets for most of the year or all year. This particular place, Sommarøy, has about two months of midnight sun in the...

    But in some places on Earth, the Sun rises only once per year, and sets once per year.

    Those places are called the poles! Everywhere else has regular sunrises and sunsets for most of the year or all year. This particular place, Sommarøy, has about two months of midnight sun in the summer and two months of polar night in the winter. Giving them 8 months of regular sunrises and sunsets.

    With their concept of a day already so estranged from the rest of the world’s, one Arctic population started thinking: What if we ditched the concept of time altogether?

    Actually, a bunch of technocrats far south of the Arctic circle, in cooperation with an international ad agency, came up with the idea. They then pitched it to various places until they found someone willing to play ball. The face of this campaign, Kjell Ove Hveding, is a local who's heavily invested in the tourism business.

    This was a PR campaign initiated by Innovation Norway, a sort of government-funded seed investor and general promoter of Norwegian entrepeneurship. They've since come out and apologized for their lack of transparency. E-mails leaked to the media state outright "this is not a serious idea, it's a PR stunt to drive tourism."

    It was an effective PR campaign, up until it blew up in their faces due to a lack of transparency. Now it's become a minor scandal, mainly because it's that time of year when the media don't have much else to write about. It's not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, but it's a bit dishonest. Luckily tall tales are a big part of the culture in Northern Norway, and if the dude fronting this campaign hadn't doubled down and insisted it was a real thing, I might have given him a pat on the back for fair play.

    I've lived in the same municipality where this island is located, less than an hour's travel away. There's indeed daylight or early twilight all around the clock for months every year, and also dark for most of, or all of the day for parts of the winter (of course it doesn't get dark as soon as the sun goes below the horizon, twilight is a thing). It's not, as @nacho claims, "impossible to tell whether it's 4 am or 4 pm." The sun doesn't stay at noontime height all day.

    It's almost comical the way this man, Kjell Ove Hveding, has doubled down on the idea being real. Today he published an editorial telling people to stop calling his culture fake news and talking about how people mow their lawns and paint their houses at night because society is timeless in the arctic. No, dude, just stop. I've walked the residential streets at night because I couldn't sleep. Nobody's doing shit, they're sleeping, the streets are deserted, the stores are closed, and if you start mowing the lawn at 3AM your neighbors will be angry.

    7 votes
    1. [2]
      nacho
      Link Parent
      Obviously it's not impossible, but that's only if you know in which direction you're facing. The sun crests around and around the horizon. I've spent more time even further north in Norway than...

      It's not, as @nacho claims, "impossible to tell whether it's 4 am or 4 pm." The sun doesn't stay at noontime height all day.

      Obviously it's not impossible, but that's only if you know in which direction you're facing.

      The sun crests around and around the horizon. I've spent more time even further north in Norway than exactly at this latitude. People do mistake the time of day by looking at a 12-hour watch when they're on vacation doing stuff like music festivals. That's no exaggeration.


      In the middle of summer, even in the middle of Norway things don't go dark, even if the sun sets.

      In university towns and other places with loads of young people, you do see strange things at strange times during summer because it's always light.


      Hveding's one of those eccentric people. He's apparently been gunning for something like this for at least a couple of years since he no longer works a regular day job, but is now someone with a little too much time on their hands...

      1 vote
      1. imperialismus
        Link Parent
        Not really. The sun is much lower in the sky, the temperature is consistently lower, the color and quality of light is different, and your circadian rhythm doesn't cease to function even if it's...

        Obviously it's not impossible, but that's only if you know in which direction you're facing.

        Not really. The sun is much lower in the sky, the temperature is consistently lower, the color and quality of light is different, and your circadian rhythm doesn't cease to function even if it's light outside all day and all night.

        Music festivals, where people go out of their way to bend their sleep patterns over, partying all night, often while ingesting copious amounts of intoxicants, are not a good place to go looking for evidence.

        In general, the notion that Scandinavia is a magical place might be good for tourist brouchures, but it's not a great idea to be promoting for real. It's different, but not that different, truly.

        In university towns and other places with loads of young people, you do see strange things at strange times during summer because it's always light.

        Young people doing strange things? That's just what youth is about, has nothing to do with confusion about the time of day. How are you supposed to confuse day and night when you check your phone which has a 24-hour clock fifty times a day? Or miss the fact that a city's streets are much emptier and the shops are closed at night? It's a peculiar leap of logic to think that any strange behavior you may have observed in the summer is directly related to the amount of light outside. Besides, my experience with university towns is they're fairly dead in the summer, because the students leave and the events targeting an 18-25 demographic dry up as a result.

        3 votes
  3. DonQuixote
    Link
    They should change tactics and call it "Clexit" after Great Britain's strategy for the European Union. I'm sure that'll go over much better.

    They should change tactics and call it "Clexit" after Great Britain's strategy for the European Union. I'm sure that'll go over much better.

    1 vote