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Why one Norwegian town has proposed an outlandish plan for 26-hour days

A Norwegian county mayor wrote the European Commission with a plan for switching to 13-hour clocks.

Why one Norwegian town has proposed an outlandish plan for 26-hour days
Cover Image Source: The "Zeitfeld" (Time Field) clock installation by Klaus Rinke is seen at the entrance of the Suedpark, on March 29, in Dusseldorf Germany. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen" - George Orwell's words seem oddly fitting for the people of Norway. A town there has proposed an unconventional idea: 26-hour days to allow more time for leisure and relaxation. This unexpected plan has left people online both intrigued and puzzled.

Image Source: A sunset on an old wooden cabin in the snow at Roros, UNESCO town, a snow path is leading to the cabin, Norway on February 25, 2018 (photo by Romain Chassagne/Art in All of Us/Corbis via Getty Images)
Image Source: A sunset on an old wooden cabin in the snow at Roros, UNESCO town, a snow path leading to the cabin, Norway on February 25, 2018 (photo by Romain Chassagne/Art in All of Us/Corbis via Getty Images)

Wenche Pedersen, the mayor of the remote town of Vadso in Finnmark County, sent a proposal to the European Commission, seeking a unique time zone with longer days. She requested establishing a time zone with days lasting 26 hours rather than 24 hours in the town. She said that a 26-hour day would give people more time to participate in activities such as fishing, hunting, learning new languages, or simply being with loved ones. “Through our ‘MOREtime’ project, we aim to celebrate and promote this unique way of life," the town of Vadso said in a letter, as reported by POLITICO.

Image Source: The main street in Longyearbyen on April 21, 2022 in Svalbard, Norway. (Photo by Rune Hellestad- Corbis/ Corbis via Getty Images)
Image Source: The main street in Longyearbyen on April 21, 2022, in Svalbard, Norway. (Photo by Rune Hellestad- Corbis/ Corbis via Getty Images)

In the proposal, Pedersen talked about the Scandinavian lifestyle. She told Politico, “What is the good thing about living here? It’s the time. We don’t run after the buses or after the trains or have to take a long time to travel to work and so on. We are very satisfied with living in a part of Norway where we have more time to be with our friends, our family and together.” Sadly, the soaring white mountains, emerald-green forests, and even Northern lights are not enough to attract tourists and new citizens to the place. Pedersen said that the area has had trouble drawing in new citizens, so by highlighting some unique qualities, the mayor hopes to change the luck of the town.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | stein egil  liland
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Stein Egil Liland

She added that longer days in Vadso could attract new residents, which is "more crucial than ever" due to the Russia-Ukraine war. “We like our lifestyle and believe it could be very appealing, especially for families with small children,” she said. “I think it’s a calmer and better everyday life compared to a big city.” On the “26-hour day plan,” the mayor admitted, "We haven’t thought a lot about that," as they believe the EU is unlikely to accept the proposal.

 

Norway is not a member of the European Union but is part of the European Economic Area (EEA). While the EU regulates summertime arrangements, the question arises whether the EU can create separate time zones. According to a Commission official, the EU cannot accept the proposal as time zones are decided by individual countries. Nonetheless, Pedersen believes northern Norway is one of the “richest regions in Europe” because they "have more time.”

Image Source: A group of employees at the Great Western Railway's signal works in Reading, test and repair some of the company's many clocks. (Photo by Harry Todd/Getty Images)
Image Source: A group of employees at the Great Western Railway's signal works in Reading, test and repair some of the company's many clocks. (Photo by Harry Todd/Getty Images)

Norway is considered one of the most beautiful countries in the world. It is dubbed as the “land of the midnight sun” and a place where the Sun never sets. During the summer months every year, a phenomenon, the midnight sun, occurs north of the Arctic Circle at 66º33′N. Beyond this, the sun never sets below the horizon during summer.

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