Czechia switches to summer time this weekend: When to change the clocks?

The time change will impact transportation schedules, with a dozen overnight trains facing one-hour delays.


Written by ČTK Published on 28.03.2024 10:22:00 (updated on 28.03.2024) Reading time: 2 minutes

Czechia will join most European countries in ushering in daylight saving time this weekend, despite ongoing controversy over the long-standing practice of adjusting clocks twice annually.

All clocks in the Czech Republic will move forward one hour at 2 a.m. local time on Sunday as the country switches from Central European Time (CET) to Central European Summer Time (CEST).

The time change will impact transportation schedules, with a dozen overnight trains facing one-hour delays.

Summer time will remain in effect for the next seven months before reverting to standard time again on the last Sunday of October, in line with EU directives.

A summer time timeline

  • 1915-1916: Introduced in the Czech lands during WWI but later scrapped.
  • 1940: Nazis reintroduce summer time in occupied Czech lands.
  • 1949: Communists abolish summer time in Czechoslovakia.
  • 1979: Reintroduced in Communist Czechoslovakia after 30 years.
  • 1996: Extended from six to seven months under EU directive.

Originally conceived as an energy-saving measure, the practice of shifting clocks forward in spring and back in autumn has drawn rising skepticism in recent decades over whether it achieves meaningful reductions in power consumption.

Critics also argue that biannual time changes disrupt natural human biorhythms and present potential health risks. The European Commission proposed scrapping obligatory time shifts in 2018, leaving it up to EU members to stick with either permanent summer or winter times.

Since 1979, summer time has been observed throughout Europe except in Russia, Belarus, Iceland, Greenland, and the Norwegian islands Jan Mayen and Svalbard.

However, the 27 member states have not reached a consensus, forcing countries like Czechia to maintain the status quo.

In 2021, the Czech government approved continuing summer-time observations for five years while awaiting an EU-wide resolution.

The roots of daylight saving time date back over a century to World War I, when it was first implemented in 1916 across territories then ruled by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, to which the Czech lands belonged. Summer time was abolished after 1949 during the Communist era before being reintroduced in 1979.

This weekend's shift marks the 35th year Czechia has observed daylight saving time since its Soviet Bloc revival.

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