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  • Cedric_Statherby

    Charles-P, Alexpo1

    Blame Hitler for this one! Most of Europe had more sensible time zones in the 1930s – France and Spain were on the UK’s time zone, which makes perfect sense as France is due south of us and Spain slightly west of us (Holland, for example, also had a different time – 20 minutes ahead of us, as befits a country slightly to the east of us).

    When the Nazis conquered and occupied much of continental Europe, they standardised the time zones on Berlin’s time. Spain, although not conquered by the Germans, was an ally and also switched in sympathy (Portugal was loyal to the UK and stuck on UK time – it still has the same time zone as us and is therefore awkwardly one behind its land neighbour Spain). The Channel Islands were also occupied by the Nazis and also switched to Nazi time.

    At the end of the War, most countries kept their new common time (only they changed the name from Berlin Time to Central European Time). Only the Channel Islands reverted to UK time, as part of their conscious effort to throw off all traces of their occupation (the only part of the British Isles to so suffer).

    Incidentally this also explains why Spaniards eat dinner so ridiculously late. It isn’t really that late by the sun – in summer, 10.00 pm by their clocks is more like 8.30 by the sun.

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