Artificial Island in the North Sea, Old Earth

Image from Bernd Helfert


Founded by Aristos AP, a front company formed by various European universities in 2032 c.e. (63 A.T) after the European Union stated their new goal of "standardising" all European education. Academion was intended to be an independent microstate with complete academic and political freedom.

Academion consited of a network of geodesic domes, vertical farms and other structures atop an artificially raised island, which was built by the EU three years earlier as an experiment. Many of the structures were put on the market to cover construction costs, and became home to a number of tax-exiles and other non-academics.

Academion was noted as a centre for research into human genetic engineering and artificial intelligence. Like other artificial islands in the region (such as Lyonesse and Doggerland), Academion encouraged unrestricted research into these subjects, which were strictly regulated and discouraged elsewhere.

Several important breakthoughs in artificial intelligence, human genetic engineering and nanotechnology were achieved here, and the island expanded in size until it was not practical to expand any more. The Academion Free Habitat, an orbital colony sponsored by the islanders was established in 173 A.T. and much of the most controversial research was relocated there.

The following information is taken from the CIA worldbook for Academion Free State, 2044 c.e. (75 A.T.) edition, preserved in the Luna Historical Databanks.


Location: North Sea, approximately 120nm from Norwegian coastline
Geographic coordinates: 57 00 N, 03 00 E
Continental affiliation: Europe
Area: total: 7.07 sq km
land: 7 sq km
water: 0.07 sq km

Area - comparative:

Land boundaries: 0 km
Border countries: none
Coastline: 9.5 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 3 nm
Climate: Artificially controlled


Elevation extremes: lowest point: North Sea 0m
highest point: highest point: Academion Clocktower 164m
Natural resources: none
Land use: arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 0%
forests and woodland: 10%
other: 90% (2041 est.)
Irrigated land: NA
Natural hazards: NA
Environment - current issues: limited natural fresh water resources


Population: 22,326 (2044 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 12%
15-64 years: 80%
65 years and over: 8%
Population growth rate: 6.6% (2044 est.)
Birth rate: NA
Death rate: NA
Net migration rate: 32.7 per 1000
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.0 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.0 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.2 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.4 male(s)/female
total population: 1.15 male(s)/female
Infant mortality rate: 0 deaths/1000 live births
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 120.84 years
male: 118.72 years
female: 122.95 years (2044 est.)
note: Telomere therapy standard for all inhabitants as of 2043
Nationality: noun: Academion(s)
adjective: Academion
Ethnic groups: Various
Religions: Atheist (Official), Various
Languages: English (Official), Various
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 100%
male: 100%
female: 100%


Country name: conventional long form: Free State of Academion
conventional short form: Academion
Data code: AC
Dependency status:
Government type: parliamentary democracy
Capital: University administration buildings
Independence: 18 July 2032
National holiday: Founding Day (18 July)
Constitution: 20 July 2032
Legal system: English law
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: Doctor GEORGE SOUTH (since 9 September 2040)
head of government: Doctor GEORGE SOUTH (since 9 September 2040)
cabinet: Heads of Departments, selected by academic staff plus student representative, support staff representatives and Finance representative.
Legislative branch: Legislative branch: Academic board (42 seats - selected by popular vote each academic year)
elections: 10 November 2044
note: No political parties, head of state is selected from heads of departments, serves until retirement from post.
Judicial branch: Academic Review, Criminal Court, Academic Board
Political parties and leaders: none
Political pressure groups and leaders: Island residents association, Student council, Union of university workers
International organization participation: ESA, EFTA, Foresight institute, IAEA, IMF, Interpol, OECD, UN, UNESCO, WHO
Diplomatic representation in the US: none (handled by UN delegation)
Diplomatic representation from the US: none
Flag description: none


Economy - overview: Academion benefits offshore banking, scientific research, freeport status, teaching and its status as an international conference center. the financial sector accounts for 52% of GDP, patent royalties, student fees, research contracts and satellite launch facilities also generate revenue.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $12.9 Billion (2044 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 0%
industry: 5%
services: 95%
Population below poverty line: NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 0.9% (2043)
Labor force: 12,211
Labor force - by occupation: services 95%, industry 5%, agriculture 0%
Unemployment rate: 0% (2044)
Industries: banking and finance, scientific research, education, satellite launch, hydroponics, tourism
Industrial production growth rate: NA%
Electricity - production: 570 million kWh (2044)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 0%
hydro: 5%
nuclear: 90%
other: 5% (2044)
Electricity - consumption: 520 million kWh (2044)
Electricity - exports: 50 million kWh (2044)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2044)
Agriculture - products: none
Exports: Exports - commodities: (principally reexports)
Exports - partners: UK, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, US
Imports: Imports - commodities: manufactured goods, foodstuffs, fuels
Imports - partners: UK, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, US
Debt - external: $NA
Economic aid - donor: none
Currency: 1 Academion Credit = 100 Centicredits
Exchange rate: 1 AC = 2.5 euros
Fiscal year: 1 July - 30 June


bandwidth number: 22 Tbit/s
Telephones - mobile cellular: 206,159 (2044 est.)
Telephone system: general assessment: integrated automatic digital telephone system domestic: NA
international: 3 satellite base stations; 2 submarine cables
Internet country code: edu
Computers: 386,980
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 9 (2044 est.)
Internet users: 22,326 (2044 est.)
Digital Subscriber World Link (DSWLs): 12


Railways: total: NA
Highways: total: 12Km
paved: 12Km
unpaved: 0km
Waterways: NA
Pipelines: NA
Ports and harbors: Academion
Merchant marine: total: 7
ships by type: satellite launch vessels 2, passenger vessels 4, cargo vessels 1
Airports: 1 (2044 est.)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 1
Runway length 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 0
Heliports: 1 (2044 est.)


Military branches: note: defense is the responsibility of Norway

Transnational Issues

Disputes, international: independence dispute with EU, research into nanotechnology, research into human genetic engineering, research into artificial intelligence, research into cognitive science

History of Academion

63Academion Island founded by Aristos, a front company of various European universities.
173The Academion Free Habitat, an orbital colony, is established by scholars and humanists as a utopian educational society.
189Academion degenerates into internal quarrels.
198Budget cuts, nagging technical glitches, and changing policies, cause the EF to sell EF-1 to an international educational consortium, Socrates Enterprises, who rename it Academion.
All dates in the After Tranquility calendar
Related Articles
Appears in Topics
Development Notes
Text by Ben Higginbottom
Initially published on 21 September 2001.