Why the Clocks of Mainland Europe Are Running Six Minutes Behind Those in the United Kingdom

In a timely episode of Things You Might Not Know, host Tom Scott explains why the clocks of mainland Europe are currently running six minutes slow, while the clocks in Britain are right on time. The issue, as with most these days, comes down to politics. The conflict between Serbia and Kosovo is slowing down the Synchronous grid of Continental Europe per a press release from ENTSOE, the governing body of that grid. Because the United Kingdom is on the British National Grid, they are not affected by these concerns.

Kosovo is low on power Serbia isn’t helping manage it and as a result the entire European grid has been slightly underpowered since the middle of January. Not by much but enough that the average grid frequency has dropped from 50 Hertz to 49.99 6 …it doesn’t sound like much but it works out to them losing 6 minutes over
the last couple of months problem.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails. Lori can be found posting on Threads and sharing photos on Instagram.