It will soon be summer time again – in Germany and most European countries the clocks will be set forward from 2 a.m. to 3 a.m. early on Sunday morning (March 31st). This means that Central European Summer Time (CEST) will apply again in this country.

While some people are annoyed about a “stolen hour” of sleep when they set the clock forward for summer time, others are happy about a welcome sign of spring. The aim of the measure, which was reintroduced in 1980, was to make better use of daylight brightness.

The meaning and purpose of the measure has been debated for years. Surveys often show majorities against the change. In 2018, the EU Commission surveyed citizens across Europe and 84 percent were against the change in the non-representative survey. In order to abolish it, the EU states would have to agree beforehand whether they wanted summer or winter time permanently. Because there is no agreement on this, the issue is on hold. The current Belgian EU Council Presidency also does not want to take up the issue, as it confirmed upon request.

The clock is being turned in Braunschweig

The Physical-Technical Federal Institute (PTB) in Braunschweig is responsible for disseminating time in Germany. Their scientific experts ensure that radio-controlled clocks, station clocks and many industrial clocks are supplied with the legal time via a long-wave transmitter called “DCF77” in Mainflingen near Frankfurt/Main.

Time experts advise complainers who think the change is too complicated to take a look back almost 100 years, when, from today’s perspective, there were still very strange regulations. On the PTB’s information page on the Internet, they describe the example that a change of 20 minutes was necessary during a trip from Germany to the Olympic Games in Amsterdam in 1928. Back then, a trip to the Netherlands in winter meant having to set the clock back by 40 minutes.