The days are getting shorter


During the night of 27 to 28 October, Switzerland will be changing to winter time and putting the clocks back one hour, from 3 am to 2 am. Enjoy the extra long night and treat yourself to a lie-in.

The idea of introducing Summer Time was first broached in 1784 by Benjamin Franklin in a letter to the editor of a Paris newspaper. He, however, simply took it to be a joke. The subject was not brought up again until 1907, when the Englishman, William Willett, lobbied – albeit unsuccessfully – for a system of maximising the daylight hours. Summer Time was introduced for the first time in 1916, in Germany, Austria-Hungary and Ireland. But it was not until 1977 that large parts of Europe individually decided to observe summer time, based on the argument that they could save energy by making better use of the daylight.

Rebellious Switzerland
However, in Switzerland, resistance to this system of changing the time grew. In 1978, a petition submitted by Swiss farmers led to a referendum, which resulted two years later in Daylight Saving being revoked. But the chaos that this caused, particularly as regards international traffic, caused the Swiss Parliament to pass legislation to reintroduce Summer Time. And so since 1981, we have been ticking in rhythm with our central European neighbours.