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Summer Time in Europe

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Title: Summer Time in Europe  
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Summer Time in Europe

Summer Time in Europe is the arrangement by which clocks are advanced by one hour in spring and moved back in autumn to make the most of seasonal daylight, also called daylight saving time. This is done in all of the countries of Europe except Iceland, Belarus, and Russia. Summer Time was first introduced in some countries during the First World War, then largely abandoned with some exceptions, mostly during the Second World War, until the 1960s and 70s when the energy crisis prompted a wide scale re-introduction. The practice has been fully coordinated across the continent since 1996.

The period extends each year from the last Sunday in March at 01:00 UTC/WET (02:00 CET/03:00 EET) until the last Sunday in October at 01:00 UTC (02:00 WEST/03:00 CEST/04:00 EEST).


  • History 1
  • Exact transition dates 2
  • Double Summer Time 3
  • Countries not using summer time / de facto "permanent summer time" 4
  • Local observations 5
    • Austria-Hungary 5.1
    • Bulgaria 5.2
    • Czech Republic 5.3
    • Czechoslovakia 5.4
    • Denmark 5.5
    • France 5.6
    • Germany 5.7
    • Hungary 5.8
    • Ireland 5.9
    • Italy 5.10
    • Norway 5.11
    • Poland 5.12
    • Portugal 5.13
    • Romania 5.14
    • Russia 5.15
    • Slovakia 5.16
    • Slovenia 5.17
    • Sweden 5.18
    • Switzerland 5.19
    • Turkey 5.20
    • Ukraine 5.21
    • United Kingdom 5.22
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • Further reading 8


Summer Time was introduced first during the First World War. However, most countries discontinued the practice after the war. It was then restarted in various countries during the Second World War and its immediate aftermath. Again it was widely cancelled by the 1950s, although re-introduced in isolated cases until the late 1960s when the energy crisis began to prompt policy makers to re-introduce the policy across the continent. It has remained in place in most European countries since that time.

Historically the countries of Europe had different practices for observing summer time, but this hindered coordination of transport, communications and movements. Starting in 1981 the European Community began issuing directives requiring member states to legislate particular start and end dates for summer time.[1]

Since 1981 each directive has specified a transition time of 01:00 UTC and a start date of the last Sunday in March, but the end dates have differed. Successive Directives laid down two dates for the end: one on the last Sunday in September applied by the continental Member States, and the other on the fourth Sunday in October for the United Kingdom and Ireland.[1] In 1996 the end date was changed to the fourth Sunday in October for all countries. In 1998 the end date was adjusted to be the last Sunday in October; this happened to be the same as the previous rule for 1996 and 1997.[2] The ninth directive, currently in force, has made this permanent.[3]

Exact transition dates

European Summer Time begins (clocks go forward) at 01:00 UTC on the last Sunday in March:

  • 27 March 2011
  • 25 March 2012
  • 31 March 2013
  • 30 March 2014
  • 29 March 2015
  • 27 March 2016
  • 26 March 2017
  • 25 March 2018
  • 31 March 2019

The formula used to calculate the beginning of European Summer Time is

Sunday (31 − ((((5 × y) ÷ 4) + 4) mod 7)) March at 01:00 UTC

where y is the year, and a mod b is the remainder of division after truncating a and b to integers. The above formula is valid until 2099.[4]

European Summer Time ends (clocks go backward) at 01:00 UTC on the last Sunday in October:

  • 30 October 2011
  • 28 October 2012
  • 27 October 2013
  • 26 October 2014
  • 25 October 2015
  • 30 October 2016
  • 29 October 2017
  • 28 October 2018
  • 27 October 2019

To calculate the end of European Summer Time, the same formula as the one above is used for October:

Sunday (31 − ((((5 × y) ÷ 4) + 1) mod 7)) October at 01:00 UTC

Double Summer Time

There has been observation of double summer time:

Countries not using summer time / de facto "permanent summer time"

There are three countries that do not use summer time, and keep the same time all year, but may be thought of as using a form of "permanent" summer time since they are using time zones which lie to the east of their location under a "pure" time zone system. Belarus explicitly decided to stay permanently on the former summer time after 2011. The effect of this is to give "later" sunrises and sunsets during winter than previously. (Spain, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands may also be thought of as observing "summer time" throughout the winter, and "double-summer time" during summer, because of their position far to the west of the central European time zone).

  • Belarus ended its last summer time switching after moving the clocks forward in Spring 2011, and is now observing UTC+03:00 all year round. The midpoint of Belarus has longitude 28°E (corresponds to UTC+1.8).
  • Iceland observes UTC all year round despite being at longitudes (13°W-24°W) which would indicate UTC−1. Iceland's high latitude (64°N) means that sunset and sunrise times change by many hours over the year, and the effect of changing the clock by one hour would, in comparison, be small.
  • Russia used permanent summer time from 2011 to 2014, but this proved unpopular and it adopted permanent standard time (or winter time) from October 2014 forward.[5]

Local observations

In most of Europe the word Summer is added to the name of each European time zone during this period: thus, in the UTC+01:00 time zone, Central European Time becomes Central European Summer Time (UTC+02:00).


Austria-Hungary used summer time during World War I in 1916, 1917 and 1918, similarly as the German Empire.


Summer time was introduced in Bulgaria in 1979 by a regulation of the Bulgarian Council of Ministers. Bulgaria observes the European Union rules for summer time.[6]

Czech Republic

In the Czech Kingdom, summer time was used in 1916, 1917 and 1918 under the Austro-Hungarian Empire during WWI. In the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, summer time was used since 1940. In 1940/1941 and 1941/1942, the summer time was kept continuously even during the winter. Czechoslovakia used summer time since 1945 to 1949 and since 1979 up to 1992. In winter 1946/1947 (since 1 December to 23 February), also winter time (CET−01:00) was used.

The Czech Republic use summer time yearly since 1979.


Czech lands and Slovakia used summer time in 1916, 1917 and 1918 under the Austro-Hungarian Empire during WWI.

Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia used summer time since 1940. In 1940/1941 and 1941/1942, the summer time was kept continuously even during the winter. The Slovakian State during WWII also used summer time.

Czechoslovakia continued to use the summer time since 1945 to 1949. In winter 1946/1947 (since 1 Dezember to 23 February), also winter time (CET−01:00) was used.

Czechoslovakia used summer time since 1979 up to 1992 (year of its dissolution). Czech Republic and Slovak Republic continue to use the summer time.


Although summer time has been observed in Denmark for the past few decades and its observance will continue in accordance with EU orders, a national association against summer time (Landsforeningen mod Sommertid) still exists.[7]


From 1923 until the Second World War France observed summer time from the last Saturday in March until the first Saturday in October. During the Second World War France also observed summer time. However, after the war the practice was abandoned (since the country changed time zones instituting de facto permanent summer time). In 1975, summer time was reimplemented because of the oil crisis.[8]

Since GMT (now UTC) is France's "natural" time zone its use of UTC+1 in winter can be seen as a form of daylight saving time in winter, while its use of Central European Summer Time (UTC+2) in summer can be seen as a form of "double summer time".[9]

France follows EU rules regarding the start and end times and dates for summer time.


Summer time was first introduced during World War I by the German Empire in the years 1916 to 1918. After the end of the war and the proclamation of the Weimar Republic in November 1918, summer time ceased to be observed in peace time. Summer time was reintroduced in 1940, during World War II, in an attempt to save energy for the war economy. After the defeat of Germany, summer time was retained by the occupation powers. In 1945, Berlin and the Soviet Occupation Zone even observed Central European Midsummer Time (Mitteleuropäische Hochsommerzeit, MEHSZ; UTC+03:00); in 1947, all of Germany switched to midsummer time from 11 May to 29 June. After the Federal Republic (West Germany) and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) were established in 1949, summer time again ceased to be observed in 1950.

In 1978, West Germany decided to re-introduce summer time, following the example set by several neighbouring states in the aftermath of the 1973 oil crisis. However, it only came into effect in 1980, after West and East Germany reached an agreement to simultaneously observe summer time from the last Sunday in March (02:00 CET) to the last Sunday in September (03:00 CEST). Therefore, both German states observed the same time until the German re-unification in 1990, after which the re-unified Germany retained the laws and thus also the Time Act (Zeitgesetz) of West Germany.

After 1980, West and East Germany; since 1991 reunified Germany: Central European Summer Time.[10]

Germany follows EU rules regarding the start and end times and dates for summer time.


Summer time was introduced in Hungary first in 1916 and it was observed until 1919. After that summer time was in use between 1941–1949 and 1954-1957. Summer time has been in use again since 1980[11] and follows EU rules.


In Ireland, Summer Time, known as Irish Standard Time (IST) is observed during Summer (March to October). IST is sometimes mistaken for "Irish Summer Time", though this is incorrect.


Summer time in Italy was adopted and abolished several times, being observed from 1916 to 1920 and between 1944 and 1948. A law was approved in 1965 that took effect the following year, and made the application of summer time mandatory in the whole country. Since 1996, it has been coordinated with the European Union.


In Norway, summer time was observed in 1916, 1940–45, and 1959-65. The arrangement was controversial, and in 1965 the Norwegian parliament (Stortinget) voted to discontinue the practice. Their neighbour, Sweden, did not use it.

However, in 1980 summer time was reintroduced (together with Sweden and Denmark), and since at least 2002 Norway has followed the European Union in this matter.[12]

Summer time make little sense in the Scandinavian countries, since during summer, there is already much more daylight than during winter, with the sun rising earlier in the morning (usually before the morning, during night) and setting very late at the night. Especially north of the polar circle, where the sun never sets in the summer and never rises in the winter, summer time seems redundant. (This is why Iceland does not observe summer time.) On the other hand, it makes sense to keep the same time in all of the Central European Time zone, so even though summer time doesn't add more daylight in the summer so far to the north, it is implemented in Sweden, Norway and Denmark. Sweden and Denmark are EU members and Norway is implementing most EU directives through the EEA treaty, so any directive that is not implemented would also spark possible tensions with the rest of the EU countries.


In Poland, "the summer time" was observed in the following years:

  • 1919
  • 1946 - 1949
  • 1957 - 1964
  • 1977 - (still)

In the years 1979 - 1995 the last day of summer time was the last Saturday of September. In 1996 it was changed to the last Saturday of October, in order to synchronise with other countries of the EU.

Many people in Poland treat "the summer time" as the proper time and therefore "the winter time" is perceived as the shifted time.


In Portugal, summer time (locally known by "Hora de Verão") was introduced in 1916. In the years 1922, 1923, 1925, 1930, 1933 and from 1967 to 1975 summer time was not applied.[13] For many years the official hour in the Madeira Islands was Lisbon hour -1 and in the Azores Islands was Lisbon hour -2. Today, in the Madeira Islands the official hour is the same of Lisbon and in the Azores Islands is Lisbon hour -1. The start and end times and dates for summer time in Portugal follow EU rules.


Summer time in Romania was originally introduced in 1932 (between 22 May and 2 October). Between 1933 and 1940 summer time started on the first Sunday in April and ended on the first Sunday in October. Summer time was abandoned in 1941 and reintroduced in 1979. Until 1996, with few exceptions, summer time started at the end of March and ended at the end of September. Since 1997, it has started in the last Sunday in March and ended on the last Sunday in October, in accordance with European Union rules.[14]


In Russia, a decree of the Russian Provisional Government introduced summer time (Russian: летнее время) on 1 July 1917 and clocks moved one hour forward. A decree of the Soviet government led to the abandonment of this system five months later: clocks moved one hour back again on 27 December.

From 1930, Decree time had the effect of imposing year-round time-zone advances in the Soviet Union.

Summer time was reintroduced in the USSR (Moscow Summer Time) on 1 April 1981, by a decision of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, and its practice continued into post-Soviet times until recently. The changeover dates in Russia were the same as for other European countries, but clocks were moved forward or back at 02:00 local time in all zones. Thus in Moscow (local time = UTC+3 in winter, UTC+4 in summer), summer time commenced at 23:00 UTC on the day before the last Sunday in March, and ended at 23:00 UTC on the day before the last Sunday in October. (Note that "day before last Sunday" is not the same as "last Saturday" in a month where the last day is a Saturday.)

Night black sky at 9:06 am (UTC+4) on 23 December 2013 in Moscow

On 8 February 2011, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced cancellation of biannual daylight switches in Russia in favor of a permanent switch to summer time. An hour was added in March 2011 for the last time, and clocks did not move back again. At the same time some of Russia's time zones were consolidated.[15] After this reform many Russian cities have a "standard time" two hours more than would be suggested by their "astronomical time" (because the original standard time was already ahead of astronomical time in many areas).[15]

During his 2012 election campaign, Vladimir Putin proposed re-introducing summer time, as there had been complaints about some workers not seeing any daylight during the winter, since the sun had not risen when going to work.[16] According to a report in the International Herald Tribune, the winter of 2011-12 was remembered as the "darkest winter on record" as a result of the time change.[15] However, Putin later said it would be up to then Prime Minister Medvedev's cabinet to decide how to proceed with a seasonal time shift, and it decided to stay with the 2011 policy.[15]

On 26 October 2014, Russia permanently returned to "winter" time.[17][18]


In Slovakia, formerly part of Czechoslovakia, summer time (locally known as "Letný čas") was with occasional breaks introduced in the early 40s. The annual summer time, however, was only implemented in 1979. After several years, Slovakia has established the rule that summer time begins the last weekend of March (the night from Saturday to Sunday) and ending on the last weekend of September. Since 1996, summer time has been prolonged about one month by means so it lasts until the last weekend in October, in accordance with European Union rules.


Summer time in Slovenia (locally known as "Poletni čas") was introduced on 16 November 1982 when it was one of the Yugoslavia republics. Same law was valid until 1996 when the end of summer time was changed from first Sunday in October to last Sunday in October. In 2006, the European Union standard was adopted and is still used today.


In Sweden summer time was originally introduced on 15 May 1916. Then it proved impopular, and on 30 September in the same year, Sweden returned to year-round standard time. This situation continued for more than half a century.

On 6 April 1980, Sweden again introduced summer time, and since then summer time has been observed every summer in Sweden. Except for the introduction year 1980, summer time has always started on the last Sunday in March. It ended on the last Sunday in September during the years 1980-1995, and ends on the last Sunday in October since 1996, following a unification of start/end dates of summer time within the EU as well as in several European countries then outside the EU.

The transit authority Västtrafik changes their clocks at 4 AM, so that the last tram that leaves around 3:30 actually goes 2:30 on last weekend of October for those who have changed their clocks at the legal time.[19] This in opposite to SL which changes their clocks at the legal time, and runs extra departures during the October transition hour.[20]


The last country in Europe to adopt summer time, in 1981, was Switzerland, despite the fact the summer time was rejected in a federal voting in 1977 by 52.1% of voters.[21] Since 1996 Swiss summer time follows EU regulations. It had been in use in 1941 and 1942.[22]


Turkey observes the EU rules for both the date and the time of its clock changes.

Summer time was introduced in Turkey in 1947, but suspended from 1965 through 1972. Since 1974, Turkey follows European Summer Time.

In 2008, the Turkish Ministry of Energy proposed that Turkey should abolish summer time while at the same time switching to GMT +2.5, originally from 2009 onwards, but when this appeared infeasible, to start in 2011.[23] The plan has not been heard of since.

For the year 2011, Turkey switched to European Summer Time at 3:00 am (03:00) on Monday 28 March, one day later than the rest of Europe, to avoid disrupting the national university-entrance examinations held on 27 March.[24]

Once again, for the year 2014, Turkey switched to European Summer Time at 3:00 am (03:00) on Monday 31 March, one day later than the rest of Europe, to avoid disrupting the local elections held on 30 March.[25]


Summer time was introduced in Ukraine in the early 1980s; from 1981 till 1989 this was Moscow Summer Time, after independence Eastern European Summer Time is being upheld since 1992.[26][27]

On 20 September 2011 the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament) canceled the return to from Eastern European Summer Time to Eastern European Time.[26][28] This meant Ukraine would have UTC+03:00 permanently (also known as Further-eastern European Time). On 18 October 2011 the Parliament abolished these plans to join Further-eastern European Time.[27][29] 295 MPs voted in favour out of 349 registered MPs.[27]

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom local time during this period is known as British Summer Time (BST) (UTC+01:00) while local time during the rest of the year is normally referred to as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). More generally British Summer Time is part of Western European Summer Time.

Legislation: Summer Time Act 1916; Summer Time Act 1922; Time (Ireland) Act, 1916; Summer Time Act, 1925; Emergency Powers (Defence) Act, 1939; The Summer Time Order 1964; The Summer Time Order 1967; Summer Time Act 1972; The Summer Time Order 1997; The Summer Time Order 2002.[30]

Since 1996 all clocks in the European Union, of which the UK is a member state, have changed on same dates and at the same time, 01:00 GMT.[31]

  • British Summer Time starts: Last Sunday in March
  • British Summer Time ends: Last Sunday in October
  • British Summer Time clocks change at 01:00 (1.00 am) Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

See also


  1. ^ a b "Commnication from the commission to the Ccouncil, the European Parliament and the European economic and social committee under Article 5 of Directive 2000/84/EC on summer time arrangements". European Commission. 23 November 2007. Retrieved 26 October 2012. 
  2. ^ Joseph Myers (21 January 2007). "History of legal time in Britain". Retrieved 24 March 2007. 
  3. ^ "Directive 2000/84/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 January 2001 on summer time arrangement". 
  4. ^ Attributed to Robert H. van Gent. "Daylight Saving Time: About this exhibit"
  5. ^ "Russia set to turn back the clocks with daylight-saving time shift". The Guardian. 1 July 2014. Retrieved 25 October 2014. 
  6. ^ Bulgaria Turns Clocks to Daylight Saving Time March 28 - - Sofia News Agency
  7. ^ "Landsforeningen mod Sommertid" (in Danish). Retrieved 2007-10-27. 
  8. ^ Poulle, Yvonne (1999). "La France à l'heure allemande". Bibliothèque de l'école des chartes (in French) 157 (2): 493–502.  
  9. ^ Thorsen, Steffen. """France and Spain kicks into "Double Summer Time. Time and Retrieved 11 January 2012. 
  10. ^ DST and midsummer DST in Germany until 1979, Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt. (2010)
  11. ^ @sztro.NET - horoszkóp, asztrológia - nyári időszámítás Magyarországon
  12. ^ "Hva er sommertid?". (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2007-10-27. 
  13. ^ "Hora Legal desde 1911 (Legal Time since 1911)" (in Portuguese). 
  14. ^ "Observatorul Astronomic - Ora de vara" (in Romanian). Retrieved 2008-11-15.  Contains tables with all historical summer time start and end dates since 1932.
  15. ^ a b c d Gessen, Masha (1 October 2012). "Will Russia Turn Back the Clock?". Latitude: Views from Around the World. International Herald Tribune. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  16. ^ "Russian prime minister promises daylight saving time". Time and 8 February 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  17. ^ BBC Russia: Putin abolishes 'daylight savings' time change
  18. ^ Российская Газета: Президент вернул "зимнее время"
  19. ^ Natten mellan lördag och söndag går vi över till sommartid (Swedish)
  20. ^ Sommartid blir vintertid - även i SL-trafiken (Swedish)
  21. ^ [1]
  22. ^ Seit 30 Jahren Sommerzeit in der Schweiz | Mein Regionalportal
  23. ^ "Turkey to abandon daylight saving time in 2011".  
  24. ^ "Turkey switches to summer time one day later". World Bulletin. 10 March 2011. Retrieved 2011-03-12. 
  25. ^ "Turkey's election delays summertime". World Bulletin. 23 March 2014. Retrieved 2014-03-30. 
  26. ^ a b Ukraine cancels use of daylight saving time, Kyiv Post (20 September 2011)
  27. ^ a b c Ukraine to return to standard time on 30 Oct (updated), Kyiv Post (18 October 2011)
  28. ^ Deputies cancelled the winter time, (20 September 2011)
  29. ^ Ukraine cancels plan to drop winter time change, Kyiv Post (18 October 2011)
  30. ^ Full text - Daylight Saving Time - United Kingdom Law - The Summer Time Order 1997
  31. ^ British Summer Time,

Further reading

  • David Prerau. Saving the Daylight: Why We Put the Clocks Forward. Granta Books.  
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