In all European Union member states, clocks are set forward by an hour on the last Sunday of March and they are set back again on the last Sunday in October. Daylight saving time has existed in Germany since 1980, and everywhere in the EU since 1996.
According to recent polls, however, a large majority of Germans would like this time change to be eliminated. In a representative survey carried out by the Forsa Institute, a leading German polling organization, 73 percent of respondents were in favor of abolishing the time change in the fall and spring. The European Commission has just been tasked with reviewing the advantages and disadvantages of the time change, and, if necessary, abolishing it.
While daylight saving time is a purely political construction, changes in daytime length are invariably dependent on the Earth's orbit around the sun. Because of the tilt of the Earth's axis, the Northern Hemisphere is turned toward the sun for half the year (during summer) and away from the sun for the other half (during winter). Our day/night simulation shows how this creates considerable regional differences within Germany.
On June 21, the longest day of the year, for example, the sun rises first in the northeast of Germany, on the island of Rügen (at 4:29 a.m.). It rises the latest one hour later in the southwest of the country (at 5:31 a.m. in Lörrach). But because the sun also goes down there one hour earlier that day, the people in the southern Black Forest get 77 minutes less daylight than residents of Rügen on the Baltic Sea.
In our interactive visualization, you can see when the sun goes up and down on each day of the year. You can also compare two locations and see which one has more daylight. After inputting your postal code, you can also see how the situation would change if daylight saving time was eliminated, or what would happen at the other extreme if daylight saving time was implemented all year long.