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Happy Birthday, timeanddate.com!

On May 24, 1998, timeanddate.com first went live. That was 25 years ago. Come to think of it, that’s a darn long time—especially in our line of business.

Steffen Thorsen in front of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim.

Steffen during his studies at the University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, Norway.


We Know What He Did That Summer

If you’re a die-hard timeanddate fan, you probably already know what a young Norwegian computer science student by the name of Steffen Thorsen did in 1998.

It was during those frantic days toward the end of the semester when the exams start to loom, and you better get your head down and revise, that Steffen took out some precious time to press some Publish buttons—and, hey presto, timeanddate.com was born.

But wait!

Before we continue recounting all the juicy details of our official corporate creation myth, we thought we’d embellish it by sprinkling in some of our 1998 stories and pictures.

After all, timeanddate has not only grown in traffic and clout over the past quarter century, but we have also evolved from a one-man show to a company employing more than 30 people from 11 countries.

And it’s those personal home truths about long-past dreams, fads, and tech marvels that make the nineties feel nearly pre-historic.

(By the way, if you want to see how we look today, help yourself to a peek at our team page!)

Geremy, Australia, Design Team Lead

A young man with braids looking at the camera and eating chips.

“I was awkward, at a new high school, in a new city. I listened to grunge & punk music and hated the RnB and house music scene (which I kinda like these days). I was all about skateboarding and watching terrible live music gigs. I remember experimenting a lot with my appearance.

I had both ears pierced to be like the lead singer of Alice in Chains.
I tried & failed to grow a beard, like Stone Temple Pilots.
I drew fake tattoos on my arms, like Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
I had my hair in braids, like Offspring.
I dyed my hair Ferrari red (which no one told me fades to flamingo pink after two washes).

We had two computers at my school, and they were in the library in an open space, so people were too shy to surf the net.”

See how he looks today!

©Geremy Krause

A Pretty Good Investment

But back to Steffen. He had spent the preceding months coding the great-great-grandmother of timeanddate on his Linux-driven Pentium Pro computer at home.

Now, he was eager to get it out—exams be damned!—as the summer would bring an end to his studies and, therefore, his access to the university’s IT infrastructure, with its record-shattering 10 Mbps internet connection.

“It was a bit of self-inflicted pressure,” he remembers, “but it turned out to be a pretty good investment.”

Coby, the Netherlands, Chief Operating Officer (COO)

Young woman with fruit stickers on her face.

“In 1998, I went to Barcelona, Spain, to be an au-pair. It was a bad experience, I did not connect with the family, and it was almost a 24/7 job, for which I was paid about 125 Euros a month. Now that I live abroad again, I realize how much easier it would have been with current-day technology. I love how the internet makes it easy to maintain daily contact with my family and have friends from all over the world. Home as a concept has become much more fluid.

Looking back, it would also have been great to have easy access to music and other entertainment, like today. You can see the results of my boredom in the picture: fruit stickers all over my face—an excellent usage of my time back then.

Oh, and it was my dream to become a teacher. But after taking care of 3 kids, I thought, ‘hell no, I’m not going to take care and educate 30 of those devils’ and changed to studying communication.”

See how she looks today!

©Coby Wijnands

All the Way from the Stone Age

As we turn 25, we take pride in the simple fact that we’ve come this far. Not many internet companies have made it from the 1990s all the way to 2023!

As Steffen sat at that clunky computer and uploaded the site, the world looked very different than today:

There were no smartphones; Wikipedia was 3 years away, Facebook 6 years, Twitter 8 years.

Even Google hadn’t been released yet (yes, we’re older than Google!), and people asked Jeeves to find stuff on the World Wide Web (don’t know who Jeeves is? Google it!).

Steffen himself recalls connecting to the web via dial-up modem (remember that sound?) and saving his work on zip drives before advancing to burning CD-ROMs.

Adrianna, Poland, Designer

Young girl hanging from a tree and grinning at the camera.

“1998 was the year when I turned 3. Since then, I might have gathered a few additional centimeters in the y-axis, but besides that, nothing has changed.

Even at age 3, I was already fully committed to the arts, and I had discovered my love for big formats. The walls in the house were covered with paint—until I could reach them. Mom wasn’t convinced that it would be worth millions one day, and I was forced to search for different forms of expression.

I found them in mud. Plenty of mud! (Yes, I still feel that excitement!). I remember sculpting by the river in the woods, wearing fancy dresses. I believed it was a requirement to become a princess.”

See how she looks today!

©Adrianna Opyrchal

We Still Had Pluto

Today, astronomy and space are among our most popular topics, and we travel the world to broadcast live images of eclipses to an audience of many millions.

When timeanddate.com was first published, even space looked different: the Space Shuttle and the Russian space station Mir were still orbiting Earth.

The first module of the International Space Station (ISS) was just about to be launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

And last but not least, Pluto was still a planet. (A recent poll among timeanddate employees shows that 100% of us want Pluto to be a planet again.)

Konstantin, Germany, Lead Editor

Smiling young man with dreadlocks and beard

“I was just done with school and went on a 5000-mile cycling trip from Alaska to California with my brother Alexis. I remember sitting in internet cafes along the route, writing home using Alexis’s Hotmail account.

My plan was to be a rock drummer and never work in an office. In a way, it still is.”

See how he looks today!

©Janos Bikos

24 Clicks

On the day when timeanddate.com was first uploaded to the web, it got 24 clicks (but some of them were from Steffen himself).

Today, we’re a bit disappointed when the daily number doesn’t reach a double-digit million figure.

“I didn’t actually intend to make any money with this in 1998,” says Steffen. “It was just a hobby, my passion project.”

Michelle, Norway, Finance & Administration

Empty red leather armchair standing in a dark space with a spotlight shining on it.

“I... wasn’t born yet.”


Here’s to New Adventures!

So, here we are, a quarter century later.

That’s precisely 788,918,400 seconds, by the way.

And the clock just keeps on ticking.

Happy birthday, timeanddate!