On the last Sunday in March, the clocks are set forward by one hour at 2 a.m.. This heralds Central European Summer Time, which should make better use of daylight. Daylight saving time will accompany us until the last Sunday in October, when the clocks will be set back by one hour to winter time – correctly standard time.
In which countries the clocks are changed from winter time to daylight saving time and what to consider when traveling is the subject of this article.
In which countries is the clock changed?
Daylight saving time was introduced in Germany and Austria-Hungary as early as 1916. It was not until 1996 that the time changeover was standardized throughout the EU and the time period was fixed: Daylight saving time applies from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October. This affects all time zones in Europe.
A number of other countries have also joined the EU’s summertime arrangements. The clocks will be changed at the same time in the following countries: Albania, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Morocco, Macedonia, Republic of Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland, Serbia, Ukraine and Vatican City.
Iceland is an exception to the time change in the European Economic Area. Daylight saving time is not used there because of its location in the far north.
In Russia, the clock was last changed to daylight saving time in March 2011 and then permanently maintained. On October 26, 2014, the clocks were set back one hour again. Since then, normal time has been permanently in effect, and daylight saving time has been abolished.
Daylight saving time regulation in other countries
Daylight saving time is also used on other continents. In English, daylight saving time is called “Daylight Saving Time”; “Standard Time” is normal time. In Great Britain, it is also referred to as “Summer Time”.
Large parts of the USA and Canada are changing their clocks to daylight saving time. However, the changeover is carried out on different days than in Europe. The same applies to other countries in the northern hemisphere, such as the Bahamas, the Bermuda Islands, Iran, Israel, Cuba, Libya, Mexico, Pakistan, the Palestinian Territories and Syria.
Daylight Saving Time in the Southern Hemisphere and at the Equator
South of the equator, the clock is set to daylight saving time between late September and early November, depending on the country. Then it is spring there and the days become increasingly longer. Countries with winter time/summer time change in the southern hemisphere include Argentina, parts of Australia, parts of Brazil, Chile, Namibia, New Zealand, Paraguay and Uruguay.
In the countries near the equator, daylight saving time is hardly used because the length of the day changes very little during the year. The main countries affected are those in the mid-latitudes in the northern and southern hemispheres. Even near the poles, the time change makes little sense.
Will the daylight saving time regulations change?
Before traveling, detailed information about the daylight saving time regulations in the respective country should be obtained. Some countries regularly change the beginning and end of daylight saving time or cancel it altogether. For example, Tunisia had daylight saving time for a short time, but then abolished it. Mongolia changes the time rules more often. Russia abolished the time change in 2014.
Current information about the daylight saving time regulations in the various countries of the world is provided by e.g.
The abolition of the time changeover is also being considered aloud in the EU. In the summer of 2018, 4.6 million citizens from different EU countries took part in a survey. 84 percent were in favor of abolition. Different countries tend to have different solutions, i.e. permanent summer time or permanent winter time. A confusing “patchwork” of time zones within the EU is feared. A solution for permanent daylight saving time or permanent winter time should be found. My personal favorite would be permanent daylight saving time. I like it when it is light longer in the evening and so I can use my free time better.
What impact does the time change have on travel?
The time change has the greatest impact on rail travel. In a detailed article, you can find out more about what you need to bear in mind when traveling by train due to the time change. This affects trains traveling between 2 and 3 in the morning. At this time, the clock is advanced from winter to summer time by one hour. As a result, a train traveling at this time will suddenly be delayed by one hour. This delay will not be made up by the time the train reaches the terminus, unless there is a longer scheduled stop in between.
Conversely, when switching from summer to winter time, the train is suddenly one hour “too fast” due to the hour gained when resetting the clock. As a result, the train must be stopped for an hour at the next suitable station.
The same problem also occurs when traveling at night by bus or other earthbound means of transport with a timetable. For air travel, the time change has no effect, since air travel is generally oriented to Greenwich Meantime (Universal Time).
When will the time be changed over the next few years?
In the European Union – and thus also in Germany, Austria and Switzerland – the time will be changed from winter time to summer time and vice versa on the following dates in the next few years:
- March 28, 2021, and Oct. 31, 2021
- March 27, 2022 and October 30, 2022
- March 26, 2023 and October 29, 2023
In March 2019, the European Parliament had voted by a large majority to abolish the summertime-wintertime changeover. By 2021, EU member states should have found a common solution to abolish the time changeover. So far, that has not happened. Therefore, the clock will continue to be changed to daylight saving time on the last Sunday in March and to winter time on the last Sunday in October.