Four Things to Learn from the IKEA World Time Zones Map

While the furniture of the Swedish retailing giant may not be to everyone's taste, the IKEA wall map enhances family knowledge on global time zones.

Without wanting to promote a commercial product on a non-commercial site, it has to be conceded that the IKEA world time zones map is incredibly useful, for a variety of reasons: for those stuck in a rut, the exotic sounding names on the wall are a reminder of a freer past or are a romantic clutch to a freer future; but the real power in the map is its ability to educate, almost by osmosis. Here are four things that jump out from a mere cursory glance.

There are no straight lines when it comes to timezones

For a system which separates the globe into organised temporal zones, the first striking thing to notice is that there is not a single timezone which is in a straight line. The reasons for this are self-explanatory upon perusal - with the tendency to keep countries on the same time where possible (the biggest exception to this being Russia), the layout of the world does not give rise to linear solutions to accommodate this. Some of the routing of the zones is incomprehensible, and there are only two zones which come close to a straight trajectory, with GMT - 2 being diverted round the north-eastern coast of Brazil and the islands of South Georgia (whose only other claim to international prominence is being invaded in the precursor to the Falklands War), and GMT -1, which has a slightly more circuitous route round the Azores, Cape Verde and Iceland, where it faces competition from GMT 0, which randomly chooses to deviate West of Iceland before assuming its previous course of due North.

The clock strikes late on the Chatham Islands (NZ)

While it might be expected that timezones, different as they are by necessity, would at least hit the hour at the same time, this is not the case and the hour strikes at four separate times around the globe, on the half hour in India and surrounding areas, fifteen minutes early in Nepal and fifteen minutes past the hour in the Chatham Islands, a remote location under New Zealand territorial control. This was in response to the 1945 Standard Time act, which the locals chose not to follow, and the timezone was formalised in 1955 by a vote of thirty-five to two.

The half hour brigade

With Nepal on its own hourly setting, there are also a number of its regional neighbours who chime thirty minutes after the hour, including Iran (+3.30), India (+5.30), Bangladesh (+6.30) and Afghanistan (+4.30).

Timezones in India have never been uniform, and the British Empire functioned under two different systems, namely Madrad Time, introduced by John Goldingham in 1802 and widely used on the railways, and Calcutta Time. The current time zones were introduced after independence in 1947, although Kolkata and Mumbai kept their own systems for a while.

The capital of Burkina Faso is number one for something

The world time zones map is not just about time though - it is an excellent resource for learning about geography, with capital cities particularly prominent. If you are looking to impress your friends with the ultimate quiz question, try this one - which capital city has the most vowels in its name? Enter the tiny West African country of Burkina Faso, whose capital is the exotic-sounding and vowel-laden Ouagadougou.

Last modified onThursday, 08 August 2013 22:37
Paul Bradbury

About Paul Bradbury

Author of Lebanese Nuns Don't SkiLavender, Dormice and a Donkey Named Mercedes and the Hvar's first comprehensive guidebook, Hvar: An Insider's Guide to Croatia's Premier Island, I have lived in Dalmatia full time since 2003 and run various tourism information websites about Hvar, Split and Zagora, and am co-author of Split: An Insider's Guide with Mila Hvilshoj.

I also have various blogging clients, including the Central Dalmatia Tourist Board, Restaurant Gariful, Hvar Adventure, Villas Hvar and Andro Tomic Wines, and print clients include Qatar Airways inflight magazine, Out! magazine from New York, and Croatian Hotspots. 

I also provide website content services, including Agroturizam Pharos, Toto's Restaurant, European Coastal Airlines, Restaurant Gariful and Divota Aparthotel. Please contact me if you would like help with your website content.

I also write for Google News via Digital Journal - see my range of articles here

Ongoing writing projects:

A History of Hajduk Split, co-author with Frane Grgurevic

Around the World in 80 Disasters

Total Hvar in the Media:

Interview of the Month, Croatian Embassy in Washington (May 2013)

Special Feature in Globus Magazine (May 2013)

Featured on Croatian TV show, More (2012) - watch the report here

4-page special in Nedjelji Jutarnji, Croatia's leading paper (August 2014)

Interviews in Slobodna Dalmacija, Dalmacijanews, Radio Split

I am available for writing services. Please contact me on [email protected] 

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