hidden europe 29

All a matter of time

by hidden europe


How many time zones in mainland Europe? The answer is six. All a matter of astronomy, you might think. And to some extent that is true. But the way we set our clocks is often as much a matter of politics as a respect for astronomy.

Every one hour time zone, if you remember the geography lessons at school, coincides with fifteen degrees of longitude. But in practice of course governments decide how our clocks should be set and time is thus as much a political as an astronomical matter. So after the 1949 Revolution in China, the five time zones in mainland China were merged to create a single time zone — a nice example of political will trying to defy astronomical reality.

Mainland Europe has six time zones. Throw in the Azores and there is yet one more time zone for Europe, making seven in all.