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The changing of the clocks in Germany

Every year, there is one week, that I really regret living in Bavaria – and not somewhere in the north of Germany.

Believe me, I really do love the area I live in – my lovely friends, the stunning nature around us, the beautiful city of Munich nearby … but yet, there is this one tiny fault in living here.

And it has to do with the changing of the clocks.

When do the clocks change in Germany?

Last date: 31. Okt 2021 - Daylight Saving Time Ends

  • Central European Summer Time begins on the last Sunday in March at 2:00 a.m. CET by turning the clock forward one hour from 2:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.

Start daylight saving time
Start daylight saving time ©Charlotte von Strotha

  • It ends on the last Sunday of October at 3:00 a.m. CEST by turning the clocks backward one. to 2:00 a.m.

End of daylight saving time
End daylight saving time ©Charlotte von Strotha

So, unless the rules will be changed, the next time changes will take place:

  • 26. Mar 2023 - Daylight Saving Time starts

  • 29. Oct 2023 - Daylight Saving Time ends

  • 31. Mar 2024 - Daylight Saving Time starts

  • 27. Oct 2024 - Daylight Saving Time ends

What is Daylight Saving Time about?

It all started during World War I, in the year 1916, on April 30.

The German Empire decided to turn the clocks forward 1 hour. The reason for this was to make better use of the natural light as the earth orbits the sun, changing its exposure.

By having daylight for more hours during the day, they wanted to save energy. That was obviously not for the same reasons, that we want to save energy today: electric energy was scarce, and producing more weapons was considered a better use than lighting private houses.

As this change was only intended for the oncoming months of summer, they called it

die Sommerzeit – summer time while the previous time became

die Winterzeit – winter time

The idea quickly spread to other European countries, as well as Russia and the United States.

After the war, there was a huge variety of time systems within the different countries worldwide over the course of the following decades.

Only in 1996, the different summer-time arrangements in the European Union got unified. Since then, the single daylight saving time has applied to all EU Member States.

Could seasonal clock changes be ending soon?

In March 2019 the European Parliament voted with a significant majority in favor of removing Daylight Saving Time permanently from 2021 onwards.

After all, 84 % of respondents in an EU-wide survey indicated that they would prefer to scrap the process. – In fact, it was particularly unpopular amongst Germans: of the 4.6 million Europeans who had participated, three million were Germans.

And even though, that this was not exactly representative, former European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker declared: "People want this, so let's do it."

But: The individual member states each must decide whether they want to remain permanently on ‘Summer’ or ‘Winter’ Time.

And this is not the most urgent question to decide.

Why do people want to end the changing of the clock?

The current clock changes cause problems for many people.

According to a survey carried out by health insurance company DAK in Germany, 76 % of people suffer from physical or psychological problems after a time change.

They reported feeling limp or tired, as well as having difficulty falling or staying asleep. Many people find it harder to concentrate and every tenth person even suffers from depressive moods.

So, why does the changing of the clocks make me want to live in northern Germany?

Sleeping woman

Well, because in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, the changing of the clocks in autumn always happens at the beginning of the autumn holidays.

And – what’s the benefit of being able to sleep in when you can do so anyway?



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