Europe – Except Perhaps for Parts of Spain – Sets Clocks Back for Winter Time

By Paul Riegler on 30 October 2016
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Most European nations adjusted their clocks back one hour early Sunday as the cutover from Summer Time to Winter Time, a move akin to the switch from Daylight Saving Time to Standard Time in the United States, took place.

The change from Summer Time to Winter Time is observed in every European nation except for Iceland and Belarus. However, parts of Spain are not happy about the switch.

Two days after the Balearic Islands’ parliament voted to ask the Spanish government to let it remain on Summer Time, the regional Parliament of Valencia voted last Thursday unanimously to do the same. The Balearic Islands are the country’s most eastern region, lying off the Spanish mainland’s eastern coast.

Calling the practice of changing the clocks twice a year “obsolete,” the Balearics said that “modern society needs the hours of daylight to adapt to its leisure time.”

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 timekeeping 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 Time 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” in the cost of candles, although his remarks are now believed to have been somewhat in jest. The United States first 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 6. Until then, times in Europe and the U.S. will be off 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 2017, Summer Time in Europe will begin on March 26, two weeks after Daylight Saving Time starts in North America.

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

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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