Clocks moved forward 1 hour overnight as summer time begins

Most countries in Europe, including the Netherlands, changed their time zone early Sunday morning by moving their clocks forward one hour to start European Summer Time. Clocks in the Netherlands went forward at 2 a.m., and will change back to winter time on October 29.

Though the days are getting longer, the weather in the Netherlands feels anything but summery with moderate wind that gets stronger at the coast. Overnight temperatures at or near freezing could bring wet snow, freezing rain or frost through Wednesday. Daytime highs will be between 7-9 degrees Celsius at the start of the week, but that should get better later.

The maximum temperature will range from 10-13 degrees on Wednesday, and can even peak at 18 degrees by Friday. Despite the warmer weather, rain is expected on most days.

The European Union was expected to do away with daylight savings time several years ago. A 2018 proposal calling for Member States to make the final switch to summer time in March 2021 was well supported by the public and politicians, and was sent to the European Council in 2019. Once implemented, countries could then decide if they would stay on summer time permanently, or permanently switch to winter time in October 2021.

The proposal has quietly sat with the EU’s executive board ever since. Despite the measure’s popularity, there are concerns that countries in similar geographical regions will make different choices about their time zone, causing confusion and a logistical headache.

In theory, daylight savings time makes better use of daylight, leading people to cut down on electricity usage to power lighting. “No clear evidence has been provided of any positive impact on energy consumption, which was the reasoning behind seasonal time changes in the first place,” Danish MEP Pernille Weiss (PPE) wrote in a letter to the Council earlier this month. She pressed the executive board to take action on the proposal, or explain the reason behind further delays.

She also noted that the seasonal time change increases health problems, like the risk of heart attack and depression. Other critics have also pointed to more broad issues linked to sleep disruptions, such as a lack of focus and concentration.

The Netherlands began switching clocks forward and back in 1916, but stopped the practice 30 years later. The country then began to use European Summer Time again starting in 1996. The clocks are adjusted forward on the last Sunday in March, and then back again on the last Sunday in October.

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