From Iceland — Most Icelanders Support Changing Iceland's Time Zone

Most Icelanders Support Changing Iceland’s Time Zone

Published December 11, 2019

Andie Sophia Fontaine
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Most Icelanders are supportive of changing Iceland’s time zone, RÚV reports, and a bill that could make the change may be introduced to Parliament this spring.

Iceland has not changed its clocks since 1968, and the fact that Iceland is in the wrong time zone has been known for years; the biggest question concerns what ought to be done about it. The Icelandic government is considering three options in particular: setting the clocks back an hour, launching an educational campaign encouraging people to go to bed earlier, or having schools and businesses open an hour later.

A bill in the Prime Minister’s office, which is still in draft form, sought the opinions of about 1,600 people on which of these options appeal to them the most. Of the three, the educational campaign was the least popular idea, with only about 4% of respondents supporting it. 37% believe the clocks should remain unchanged, and 56% support setting the clocks back one hour.

Setting the clocks back would indeed put Icelandic time more in alignment with solar time, in a country where the peak of sunlight is usually around 13:00. However, there are attendant downsides. The bill contends that it would widen the time gap between Iceland and mainland Europe, would reduce people participating in outdoor activities, and could lead to more traffic accidents in the late afternoon.

The Office of the Prime Minister is still putting the finishing touches on the bill, and final conclusions could be reached as early as this spring.

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