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Norwegians Goof Off for an Hour

June 7, 2000

OSLO, Norway (AP) _ Hundreds of Norwegians goofed off during working hours Wednesday with the government’s blessing in a campaign to remind people about the value of time.

Throughout the country, people left their offices and other workplaces, switched off their cellular phones and just enjoyed life for an hour from noon to 1 p.m., in addition to their regular lunchtime.

``This is about thinking through what we use our time for,″ said Minister of the Environment Siri Bjerke, who joined about 200 people in lollygagging for an hour outside parliament in Oslo.

A project called ″07-06-05″ had taken out full-page newspaper advertisements throughout Norway urging people to take a break and think about their lives. The group’s name was taken from the June 7, 1905, date that Norway gained full independence from neighboring Sweden.

The group said people need independence from the tyranny of tight schedules.

``Take a walk in the park. Dip your toes in the water. Talk about something different for an hour,″ said the group, set up by the environment ministry, the national association of municipalities and other public and private groups.

After an hour, people returned to their regular routines, often jolted back to reality by the ringing of their cellular phones.

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