Time in Europe

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Europe spans 7 primary time zones (5 of them can be seen on the map in this article, while 2 other zones contain the European part of Kazakhstan and some very eastern territories of European Russia). Most European countries use daylight saving time and harmonise their summer time adjustments. See Summer time in Europe for details.

The time zones actually in use in Europe differ significantly from their "pure" theoretical variants as used for example under the nautical time system. Theoretically the world is divided into 24 time zones of 15 degrees. However, due to geographical and cultural factors it is not practical to divide the world so evenly and actual time zones may differ significantly from their theoretical borders. In Europe's case, the widespread use of the Central European Time Zone causes a major distortion in some areas from the theoretical time or the solar time. CET is theoretically centred around 15°E. However, Spain lying almost entirely in the Western hemisphere, and France with some regions to the west should theoretically use UTC, as they did before the Second World War.[1] The general result is a solar noon which is much later than clock noon. This results in later sunrises and sunsets than should theoretically happen. The Benelux countries should also theoretically use GMT.

Russia and Belarus have observed "permanent summer time" since 2011.[2] Iceland can be considered to be on "de facto" permanent summer time because it uses UTC time all year, despite being located more than 15° west of the prime meridian. It should therefore be located in UTC-1, but chooses to remain closer to continental European time, resulting in legal times significantly in advance of local solar time.

The meridians of 0, 15°E, and 30°E mark the theoretical centres of the European time zones. However, the actual time zones extend far beyond the theoretical borders of ±7.5°
This map shows the difference between legal time and local mean time in Europe during the winter. Most of Western Europe and European Russia is significantly ahead of local solar time.
Color Legal time vs local mean time
1 h ± 30 m behind
0 h ± 30 m
1 h ± 30 m ahead
2 h ± 30 m ahead
This map shows the difference between legal time and local mean time in Europe during the summer. Most of Western Europe and European Russia is significantly ahead of local solar time.
Color Legal time vs local mean time
0h ± 30m
1h ± 30m ahead
2h ± 30m ahead
3h ± 30m ahead

Time zones[edit]

Time of Day Common Time Zone Name Coordinated Universal Time
18:22, September 27, 2014 GMT / BST (purge) Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)
Western European Time (WET)
UTC
19:22, September 27, 2014 CET / CEST (purge) Central European Time (CET) UTC+1
20:22, September 27, 2014 EET (purge) Eastern European Time (EET) UTC+2

Of the 28 EU member states, 3 use UTC (Ireland, Portugal and the United Kingdom) and 8 use UTC +2 (Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece and Cyprus). The other 17 member states all use UTC +1.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Poulle, Yvonne (1999). "La France à l'heure allemande" [France on German time]. Bibliothèque de l'école des chartes 157 (2): 493–502. Retrieved 11 January 2012.  (French)
  2. ^ Parfitt, Tom (25 March 2011). "Think of the cows: clocks go forward for the last time in Russia". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 January 2012.