Europe to Set Clocks Back for Winter Time on Sunday

Geneva's iconic flower clock

Geneva's iconic flower clock

By Paul Riegler on 22 October 2015
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Come Sunday, inhabitants of the European Union will turn their clocks back one hour as they change over from Summer Time to Winter Time, a move akin to the switch from Daylight Saving Time to Standard Time in the United States.

Summer Time is observed in every European nation except for Iceland and Belarus. Russia is now on permanent Winter Time as the prior experiment of permanent Summer Time concept was not very popular in that country and was discontinued.

In moving to Winter Time, clocks are turned back one hour on the last Sunday of October.

The idea for modern Winter Time and Summer Time can be traced back to the First World War, although the practice ended when the war was over. It was reinstated by many European nations during the Second World War, only to be discontinued yet again in the 1950s.

The European Community brought unity to the Continent’s time keeping with the adoption of Summer Time in 1981, with a start date on the last Sunday in March. The cutover date for Winter Time has changed nine times since then.

Both Summer and Daylight Saving Time are similar as they are both systems that manage the changing amounts of daylight that occur during the year, with the goal of maximizing daylight hours during the workday. Many credit Benjamin Franklin with the concept, as he said the idea would save an “immense sum.” The United States only adopted the concept in the early twentieth century, largely as an energy-saving measure.

Daylight Saving Time will end in the United States on November 1. Until then, times in Europe and the U.S. will be off sync by an hour more than usual. The time difference between Central Europe and the East Coast of the United States will be five hours, instead of six, until the United States returns to Standard Time.

In 2016, Summer Time in Europe will begin on March 27, three weeks after Daylight Saving Time starts in North America.

Most of Asia, Africa, and South America do not observe Daylight Saving Time at all.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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