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Germany: Time to Change the Time

The next time change is coming up this Sunday, October 25th, 2020. But how long will this nonsense continue? And what way will we have to set that dusty kitchen clock this time? Forward, backward or both?

Berlin, September 18th, 2020. Update: October 22nd, 2020 (The Berlin Spectator) — It looks like the European theater play about daylight saving time (DST) in Europe will continue for some time. That is because making all E.U. member states take decisions on the matter apparently takes time. In the meantime, we will have to continue resetting our dusty kitchen clocks all the time.

E.U. Commission Wants to Dump DST

In 2018, the E.U. Commission proposed to throw the daylight saving time overboard by 2019, also because 84 percent of all E.U. citizens supported this kind of approach, as polls showed. Earlier this year, in March of 2020, just before the Coronavirus situation escalated, the European Parliament jumped on the bandwagon, saying the daylight saving time should be dumped ASAP.

But in order to abolish of those frequent time changes, a majority of the European Union member states have to agree. So far, they have failed to do so. First they were procrastinating. Then the governments in Europe’s capitals had something else on their minds, and still do. Hint: It starts with a ‘C’ and ends with the letters o, r, o, n and a.

Back in Time

What all of this means is that nobody has the faintest clue when the back and forth between daylight saving time and regular time will be flushed down the toilet. But let’s hit the rewind button and go back in time 40 years.

We are in 1980. Ronald Reagan is sitting at his desk at the Oval Office, while Chancellor Helmut Schmidt’s government coalition with the liberals rules West Germany from Bonn. The Cold War is causing headaches, the first version of the Volkswagen Golf is still the bestselling car in Germany, and Earth, Wind & Fire releases ‘Faces’, the best album of all time.

More Harm than Good

Back then, the oil crisis shock was not forgotten. In order to save energy, the Federal Republic decided to implement the daylight saving time on April 6th, 1980. It was actually not the first time. During WWI, the German Empire followed the DST concept for a while. Nazi Germany did from 1939 to 1942.

In the 1980s, what Germans call ‘summer time’ lasted from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in September. Then, in 1996, it was prolonged to the last Sunday in October. But, by now, experts say the daylight saving time hardly saves energy, but affects some people’s health in a negative way. In other words: It might be useless to harmful and therefore does more harm than good.

The Chaos Model

Once the European Union goes ahead with the abolition of the daylight saving time, it might be causing a giant chaos. That is because the member states are supposed to decide whether they want to stick with their ‘summer time’ or their ‘winter time’.

This means, if each country decides to go its own way, it might be 1:00 p.m. in France and Luxemburg, but 2:00 p.m. in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. Also because the European already has different times zones — for instance Bulgaria and Romania are always one hour ahead — nobody would ever know what time it is anywhere.

Time Changes and Confusion

Oh, we almost forgot: The next time change in the European Union, including Germany, will take place on Sunday, October 25th, 2020. At 03:00 a.m., the time is being turned back by one hour, meaning the hour between 2:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. will be taking place twice. People will be able to sleep longer that night, in theory.

Another issue with those time changes is the fact that the United States of America end their daylight saving time a week later, namely on November 1st, 2020. What this means is that the U.S. East Coast will be five hours behind Central Europe for a week, instead of the usual six hours. Getting confused is easy, thanks to all of those time changes.

A happy time change to everyone.