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Clocks go forward: spring stays back

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Photo: DPA
17:20 CET+01:00
Summer is coming, but only in name. Clocks go forward an hour at 2 am on Sunday, depriving Germans of 60 minutes of sleep but also treating them to an extra hour of daylight to enjoy crunching through the unseasonable snow on Easter Day.

‘Summer-time,' or daylight saving time, was introduced to Germany back in 1916 and the hour change was observed sporadically during World War II. But from 1950 to 1979, the clocks ticked on without being switched twice a year. In 1980, the hour change was re-introduced, with some arguing that the extra hour of daylight in the evenings would save on fuel costs.

Even today, the arbitrary change is not without its detractors. Speaking in Munich on Saturday, Miriam Gruß, general secretary of the Bavarian branch of the pro-business Free Democrat party, called the hour change “superfluous” and called for it to be “immediately abolished.”

“The energy savings which were hoped for did not materialize and instead people's biological rhythms are needlessly interrupted every six months, affecting old people and children in particular,” she said.

The Bavarian branch of the FDP has been campaigning since 2011 for ‘summer-time' to be the year-long default and for the change of clocks to be abolished.

Sun-starved Germans have felt little seasonal change since December and have settled for a ‘white Easter' to compensate for the white Christmas they were denied.

The middle-of-the-night change can sometimes lead to confusion. When the clocks switch from 2 am to 3 am, it is as if the intervening hour never happened. As such, travel timetables must be observed taking the hour change from 2 am to 3 am immediately into account.

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Clocks go forward throughout Europe on the last Sunday of March and are turned back again on the last Sunday in October. So whether you're relying on your smart phone to tell you the time or are planning on manually adjusting your antique pocket watch, remember to go to bed an hour early if you want to be in top form for the Easter Egg hunt tomorrow.

DAPD/The Local/kkf

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