Summer Time for 2019 Set to Begin Sunday in European Union

By Paul Riegler on 28 March 2019
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Days after the European Parliament voted to abolish clock changes between Summer and Winter Time, Summer Time for 2019 will begin this weekend.

Clocks in the European Union will change on Sunday at 1 a.m. GMT. At that time, which is 2 a.m. in Central Europe, clocks should be set ahead by one hour.

The change will put both sides of the Atlantic back in sync after a three-week period that followed the switch to Daylight Saving Time, on March 10, in most of the United States and Canada.

Summer Time, called Sommerzeit in Austria and Germany and British Summer Time or BST in the United Kingdom, will end October 27, 2019 and return March 29, 2020. Daylight Saving Time in the United States and Canada will end November 3, 2019 and resume March 8, 2020.

The vote by the European Parliament calls for the change in clocks to end in 2021.  Each member state in the European Union will have to decide whether to keep Winter or Summer Time all year round.

Summer Time is traditionally observed in all European countries except for Russia, Belarus, and Iceland. Indeed, Russia permanently switched to Winter Time four Octobers ago while adding two new time zones, giving the country an aggregate of 11.

The concept of Summer, or Daylight Saving, Time was conceived to manage the changing amounts of daylight that occurs during the year, with the goal of maximizing the hours of available daylight during the typical workday. The underlying concept was first proposed in 1784 by Benjamin Franklin, who believed it would save an “immense sum.”

Germany was the first country, in 1916 during the First World War, to advance the time to take advantage of more sunlight and save coal, although the idea had been advanced by William Willett in Britain, who wanted an 80-minute change. Willett published a pamphlet, The Waste of Daylight, in 1907 and gained the support of several prominent politicians including a young Winston Churchill.

The German time change was quickly followed by Britain, France, and other European nations. The United States observed Daylight Saving Time in 1918 and again in 1919 although it did not in subsequent years.

By adjusting clocks ahead by one hour, people generally have more daylight available during the workday. For example, in the case of someone who typically wakes at 7 a.m., the individual would have to rise at 6 a.m. if they wished to take advantage of the additional daylight, since in the spring the sun rises earlier each day. Instead, by moving the clock ahead by one hour, that person can continue to arise at 7 a.m. and enjoy more daylight in the early evening hours.

In order to avoid problems with Summer Time, European travelers should remember to set their watches and analog clocks one hour forward, as well as any computer, smartphone, or other electronic device that does not adjust automatically, on Saturday before retiring.

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

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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