Daylight savings starts early Sunday morning; Potentially NL’s last

Daylight savings time: The clocks change at 2 a.m.
Daylight savings time: The clocks change at 2 a.m.solegDepositPhotosDeposit Photos

The Netherlands will move its clocks forward by an hour on Sunday as daylight savings time kicks into effect across most of Europe. The shift will take place in the early hours of Sunday morning, when clocks will jump forward by one hour at 2 a.m., potentially cutting off an hour of sleep for millions of people.

Daylight savings time 2020 may potentially be the Netherlands’ last after all EU member states were given liberty by European Parliament to stop observing the seasonal time changes and switch to either permanent winter or permanent summer time as they see fit. The law was approved by the legislative body a year ago Sunday when MEPs voted 410 to 192 to no longer mandate that member states use daylight savings time in the EU from 2021.

This means that, in effect, the EU countries that want to remain on daylight savings time would be able to move their clocks forward for the final time in March 2021, while the countries that opt for a fixed standard time would be able to make their final move back in October 2021.

As of yet, the Dutch government has provided no indication to the public as to which route they will opt to follow. When the clocks went back an hour last October, several experts said the country's residents were not able to get enough daylight during the winter. One issue of concern is how too little sunlight negatively affects an individual's ability to sleep well at night.

Daylight savings time, known in the Netherlands as ‘summertime’, was first introduced in 1916, only to be abolished thirty years later. It was reintroduced in 1976. In local time, daylight savings means that sunrise and sunset will come one hour later than they had the day before, resulting in an extended period of afternoon sunshine.

At present, daylight savings time is used by all EU member states, as well as by other non-EU European countries such as the UK, Norway and Switzerland.