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Clock change this weekend: wasn’t that finished? 

Credit: Creative Commons

Belgium will once again switch to daylight saving time on the night of Saturday to Sunday, which means that at two o’clock in the morning the hands will advance by one hour. 

In other words, we will lose an hour’s sleep.

Didn’t we stop changing the clocks?

No, not yet.

Introduced in the 1970s, Seasonal time change was aimed to limit the consumption of artificial lighting and thus achieving energy savings. Today, however, it’s not well-liked.

Criticism has focused on perceived negative effects on health, including mini “jetlags” (jetlag syndrome), which affect children and the elderly in particular. Critics also cite an increased number of traffic accidents due to poor visibility and fatigue.

After conducting a public consultation, the European Commission recommended in September 2018 that seasonal time change should be abolished as of 2019. Member States and the Parliament, however, considered this too short a timeframe, and deferred the choice until the end of 2021. 

The move means that each country essentially has until 2021 to make the choice of staying with winter or summer time, and Belgium is no different.

In a survey commissioned by the Belgian Prime Minister’s Office, the results show that the majority of the Belgian population (83%) is in favour of stopping the seasonal time change in general. As for ‘season’, 50% of respondents expressed a preference for winter time while 45% were in favour of summer time.

If Belgium opts for summer, it will still have three more time changes, while if the country favours winter time, citizens will still have to adjust their watches two more times.

Jules Johnston
The Brussels Times

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