Clocks will move forward this weekend in Belgium as the country makes the switch to summer time, or daylight saving time, in what might be the final such instance.
In the early hours of Sunday (28 March) at 2:00 AM, the time will change to 3:00 AM.
The result is the loss of an hour of sleep, but brighter evenings moving forward.
Summer and winter time changes have been the norm in Belgium since 1977, when the practice was introduced mainly as a means to save energy. Whether or not this goal is actually achieved by the changes in time is disputed.
The European Commission recommended abolishing the practice back in 2018, saying it should be done away with by 2019. But member states and the European Parliament said that was too short of a deadline, and suggested the target year be moved to 2021.
The measure leaves it up to individual countries to choose whether or not to continue with time changes, and Belgium hasn’t yet made the call.
An opinion poll commissioned by the Prime Minister’s Chancellery showed that the majority of the Belgian population (83%) was in favour of ending the seasonal time change. In terms of which time to adopt as the permanent one – summer or winter – respondents were more or less divided with 45% for the former and 50% for the latter.
Assuming no decision is reached between the two (or, if Belgium ends up choosing to keep winter time as the permanent one), the clocks will all go back an hour at the end of October.
Opponents of the seasonal time change point to the disruption of the biological rhythm, and the confusion in many countries, as not all of them switch their times at the same time.