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Uhrzeit.org Blog

Change the time - Is this still current? Spoiler: Yes!

von Stefan 20 October 2023
Change the time - Is this still current? Spoiler: Yes!

On October 28th, the time will be set back by one hour. It goes from daylight saving time back to standard time - or rather to "normal" time. But why is the time changed at all, and shouldn't daylight saving time have been abolished long ago?

History of daylight saving time

Daylight saving time begins on the last Sunday in March at 2:00 a.m. and ends at the same time on the last Sunday in October. During the night, the time jumps from 2:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. and now back again. At the end of the 19th century, various scientists independently discussed the idea of daylight saving time in order to save energy through longer daylight hours. However, due to European rail traffic, implementing this idea was very difficult at the time and was therefore forgotten for the time being.

This factor became obsolete in 1916 due to the First World War. As a result, daylight saving time was introduced for the first time in the German Empire and Austria-Hungary on April 30th in order to save energy. Shortly afterwards, other European countries followed suit. During the Weimar Republic, this unpopular measure was temporarily suspended in 1919 and reintroduced during the Second World War in 1940. - Once again, the presumed energy savings during the war were decisive for the decision.

After daylight saving time was considered abolished again in 1949, the discussion only resumed during the energy crisis in the 1970s. At that time, France was the only European country to introduce daylight saving time, although forecasts showed that only a very small amount of energy would be saved. Other European countries gradually followed suit to facilitate trade in the internal market. Switzerland was the last European country to introduce daylight saving time in 1981.

Good to know!

Unlike conventional clocks, radio-controlled clocks and smartwatches do not need to be manually adjusted. They automatically adjust to daylight saving time and standard time.

Daylight saving time today - outdated or still necessary?

The argument of energy saving through daylight saving time has long been controversial, and many experts agree that from today's perspective, daylight saving time is nothing more than a relic from the past. That is why the discussion about its abolition has been going on for years. In a survey from 2018, in which 4.6 million EU citizens voted, 84% of the participants voted in favor of abolishing daylight saving time.

Finally, in March 2019, the members of the European Parliament voted in favor of abolishing daylight saving time with a majority of 410 to 192 votes. The last joint change should therefore take place in 2021. Since then, the member states can decide for themselves whether to retain daylight saving time.

However, a real EU-wide abolition is easier said than done. In many countries, little to no discussion has taken place on the topic. Concerns include the possibility of a patchwork of different regulations and problems in rail traffic and trade. For this reason, it will probably take several more years to find a uniform regulation.

In the end, there are mainly two groups in the population: those who enjoy long bright summer evenings and those whose sleep rhythm is disrupted by the time change. There are also proposals to keep daylight saving time as a time zone throughout Europe, which is more likely to be favored in the north than in southern Europe.


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