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Time change in Germany – When is the clock changed to winter time in 2021?

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In Germany the time is changed twice a year. The time change from CET (or winter time) to summer time takes place on the last Sunday in March and from summer time to CET (or winter time) on the last Sunday in October.

The clock is changed in autumn and spring. When does winter time start this year? Do you have to turn the clock forwards or backwards? Find of more about time change below.

Time change 2021/2022 in Germany

  • On the 31st the clock is changed – this time again from summer time to winter time
  • But when is the clock set back and when?
  • What people in Germany think of the time change

Back to winter time : The time is changed twice a year in Germany. The days have been getting shorter again since the end of June, but it will still take a while before the clocks can be changed.

The changeover to winter time – as normal time is also commonly known – takes place every year on the last Sunday in October. So in the year 2021 that is October 31st . During the night from Saturday to Sunday, the clocks are set back from 3:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. This means: the night is one hour longer, it gets light earlier in the morning and dark earlier in the evening.

Despite the discussions about summer and winter time in Europe, there will be time changes again in 2021 and 2022. The dates for the time changes autumn 2021 and spring 2022 are: 

  • Sunday, October 31, 2021 : Time change from summer time to CET / winter time. The clock is in the night from Saturday to Sunday at 03:00 to 02:00  reset . So the night is an hour longer. It gets light earlier in the morning, but it is  dark earlier in the evening .
  • Sunday, March 27,  2022:  Time change from CET / winter time to summer time. The clock is put forward from 2:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. during the night from Saturday to Sunday  . So the night is an hour shorter. It is dark longer in the morning, but it is  light longer in the evening .

Summertime

Summertime begins throughout Central Europe on the last Sunday in March at 2:00 a.m. Central European Time.

Winter time

The time change to winter time always takes place on the last Sunday in October at 3:00 a.m.


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Background to the time change in Germany

The sense and nonsense of this measure has been disputed since the introduction of summer time in 1980. In any case, the time change does not save energy. According to the Federal Environment Agency, electricity is saved in the evening during the summer, but at the same time there is more heating in the morning, especially in the cold months (March, April and October). All in all, energy consumption is actually increasing.

Time change in October 2021: How do I change my watch in Germany?

In most cases, both digital and analog clocks, there is no avoiding the need to manually change the time at the push of a button or by turning the appropriate wheel. The easiest way is if you have a radio-controlled watch: You don’t have to do anything on October 31, the clock changes itself. The time of radio clocks is based on the data from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt in Braunschweig.

Time change – the most important facts:

  • The clocks are changed twice a year: once in spring and once in autumn
  • On October 31, 2021, the clock will be set back to 2 a.m. at 3 a.m., then winter time begins
  • On March 27, 2022, the clock will be put back at 2 a.m. to 3 a.m., then summer time will begin
  • The EU actually wants to abolish the time change – but it is unclear when this will happen

Does the smartphone change time automatically?

Four atomic clocks are in use in Braunschweig. The cesium clock CS2 has been providing the time that is transmitted to radio clocks since 1991. Most cell phones, such as the iPhone, do not have to be set to daylight saving time either: they get the current time from the wireless network.

What is the “right” time? Summer time or “winter time”?

Before the time change as we know it was introduced, clocks in Germany ran the way they do today in winter. There is actually no such thing as “winter time” – it is more like “normal time”.

In the 1970s, Germany switched to daylight saving time for the first time . However, it is controversial whether after the abolition of the time change the summer or the earlier normal time should become the standard time.

In addition to summer time and standard time, there is also the coordinated universal time UTC (French: Temps universel coordonné). The German or Central European time, which applies to us in winter, corresponds to UTC + 1.

Why is there a time change?

The time change to daylight saving time in the EU (then EEC) was introduced in 1976 because the introduction of daylight saving time was intended to save energy . The argument: because it stayed light longer in the evening, not so much energy had to be used for electrical light or other aids.

After the 1973 oil crisis, France introduced the annual changeover to summer time – all other members of the then EC (European Community) joined later. By 1981 all member states had practiced the changeover. It is controversial whether energy was actually saved.

Does the time change save energy?

NO. The Federal Environment Agency is even sure: The time change does not save energy. “It is true that the light is actually switched on less often in the evening due to the time change in summer – in spring and autumn, however, there is more heating in the morning hours. They cancel each other out, “they say.

How long has the clock change been in place?

The American scientist and politician Benjamin Franklin had already put a time change up for discussion in 1784. He was also interested in savings in electrical light. The first change to daylight saving time in the USA took place in 1918, the time change in its current form has been in place in Germany since 1981.

Since then, daylight saving time has been changed on the last Sunday in March – and back on the last Sunday in October. In 1980 there was a one-time changeover to daylight saving time on April 6th.

Is the time change bad for health?

1. Time change: does it harm your health?

More and more people are suffering from health or psychological problems after the time change . That is at least the result of a representative survey by DAK-Gesundheit from 2019. According to this, almost every third German (29 percent) has complaints when switching to the end of summer time, which means a high level in recent years, said the health insurance company. More than three quarters of those surveyed are of the opinion that the time change is superfluous and should be abolished.

More than three quarters of those surveyed who have ever had problems changing the time change feel weak and tired (77 percent). In second place of the complaints come according to the survey with 65 percent falling asleep problems and sleep disorders, from which women with 70 percent suffer particularly often. 41 percent find it harder to concentrate, and almost a third feel irritated. Every eighth person even suffers from depressive moods. Men are affected more often than women (10 percent) (14 percent). At 18 percent, almost one in five employees came to work late after the time change.

Experts compare the restriction on sleep with the wrong shoes. he always wears a size 40 shoe, but actually having a size of 42 will break his feet, ”says chronobiologist Professor Till Roenneberg from the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich. It is similar if one constantly tries to fool the internal clock.

2. Is the clock change bad for animals?

The time change does not only affect people: Wild animals such as deer and roe deer also orient themselves to their own natural rhythm and are still mainly out and about at dusk, reports the German Hunting Association (DJV). The ADAC also warns of the increased risk of game on the streets.

Twilight now coincides with morning rush hour traffic for several weeks. This increases the risk of accidents involving wildlife . The animals are mainly on the move in the mornings and evenings. Focus: country roads, field and forest areas. Drivers should be particularly careful here at dusk and slow down.

If there are animals on the street, attempts should be made to drive them away by honking them, advises the ADAC. However, fading in with the high beam has the opposite effect. If a collision is unavoidable, drivers should on no account try to evade as this further increases the risk of accidents. After a wildlife accident, the road must be secured and the police or the hunting tenant informed.

Nationwide, a total of 191 game accidents with personal injury were counted in 2019, according to the State Statistical Office. A person was killed in the process. In addition, 36 people were seriously injured and 193 were slightly injured.

Even pets are struggling with the time change. Dogs and cats in particular are creatures of habit and therefore their rhythm can quickly get mixed up due to the time change. If you suddenly eat an hour later after the time change, it can quickly become uncomfortable.

“We therefore recommend a leisurely change to the new rhythm,” advises Daniela Schneider, pet expert at the animal welfare organization Vier Pfoten. It is best if owners start a few days before the actual time change to postpone the processes for their pet by 10 to 15 minutes every day.

3. Pill at the time change – what do women have to consider?

Many women take the pill at the same time. Do you have to change the time now? Only to a limited extent: When it comes to mini pills containing progestin, the timing is very important. But even here women can allow themselves a little deviation. But it shouldn’t be more than 90 minutes. In general, women should stick to the selected time, after a few days the body has compensated for this again.


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