Daylight Savings in Denmark: History, Reasons, and Tips





Frederik is dedicated to helping foreigners living in Denmark get a good start. Whether you are a foreigner or working with them, you know how difficult it can be to find the correct information about your new home. Frederik is also from Denmark and now lives as an Expat in Thailand.

Daylight Savings Time, commonly abbreviated as DST, is a global practice where clocks are adjusted to capitalize on natural daylight during different parts of the year. By setting the clock forward by one hour during the warmer parts of the year and reverting back in the cooler months, the goal is to optimize the use of daylight and, as a result, reduce the reliance on artificial lighting in the evenings.

Denmark, nestled in Northern Europe, has a unique interplay with DST, influenced by its geographical position and historical choices. This article delves into daylight savings in Denmark, offering insight into its origins, the rationale behind it, and its practical implications for those residing or traveling within the country.

Key Takeaways

  • Denmark observes DST from the last Sunday of March to the last Sunday of October.
  • Daylight Savings Time (DST) in Denmark traces its origins to World War I for resource conservation.
  • The primary reasons for DST include energy conservation, economic benefits, safety, health, and regional alignment.
  • Adjustments to daily routines, transportation, and business hours are common during the DST transition.
  • Practical strategies, such as gradual sleep adjustments and staying informed, can help individuals navigate DST effectively.

History of Daylight Savings in Denmark

The inception of Daylight Savings Time in Denmark can be traced back to the early 20th century, intertwined with global events and local necessities.

World War I Era

The first official observation of DST in Denmark occurred during World War I. The primary motivation at this juncture was the conservation of resources, specifically coal. As with many European nations, the war exerted pressure on resources, leading Denmark to seek innovative ways to economize. By adjusting the clocks to make the most of natural daylight during the summer months, the need for artificial evening lighting was diminished, subsequently saving valuable coal. However, after the war's conclusion, DST was put on a hiatus in Denmark, mirroring the actions of several other countries.

World War II Revival

The re-emergence of global conflict with World War II once again brought DST to the forefront in Denmark. Similar to its earlier adoption, the primary impetus was resource conservation. With heightened pressures and scarcities due to the war, the Danish government reintroduced DST as a means to achieve energy savings and optimize resource utilization.

Post-war Era and Modern Observance

While the post-war period saw sporadic adoption of DST in Denmark, it wasn't until the energy crises of the 1970s that the country began to observe DST with increased regularity. Reacting to the global energy challenges of the time, Denmark, along with other European nations, recognized the long-term benefits of DST in terms of energy conservation. Since then, Denmark has been consistently observing DST, with occasional adjustments to the start and end dates to align with European Union directives or local considerations.

daylight savings in denmark

Reasons Behind Daylight Savings

The adoption and continued practice of Daylight Savings Time is anchored in a set of core reasons. While the exact motivations might have evolved over time, some fundamental factors have consistently underscored Denmark's commitment to DST.

Energy Conservation

One of the primary drivers for the introduction and persistence of DST in Denmark, as with many other countries, is energy conservation. By optimizing the use of daylight, there is a tangible reduction in the need for artificial lighting during evening hours. This not only results in a decrease in electricity consumption but also has positive environmental implications due to reduced carbon emissions associated with power generation.

Economic Considerations

DST also presents economic advantages. Extended daylight hours, particularly in the evenings, tend to encourage people to spend more time outside, leading to increased consumer activity. This has a positive effect on sectors like retail, tourism, and entertainment, as businesses can experience a surge in patronage during the extended daylight hours.


There is also a safety element associated with DST. Longer daylight hours during times of peak activity, such as early evening, can lead to reduced road accidents. With more light, visibility is improved, making it safer for both drivers and pedestrians.

Health and Well-being

Extended daylight can also have potential health benefits. It provides individuals with more opportunities to engage in outdoor activities post-work, promoting physical exercise and general well-being. Furthermore, natural light exposure has been linked to improved mental health, as it can help regulate the body's internal clock, improve sleep quality, and elevate mood.

Alignment with Neighboring Countries

Denmark's observation of DST is also influenced by its alignment with neighboring countries, especially within the European Union. Coordinating time changes ensures smoother cross-border trade, transportation, and communication. This synchronization is particularly significant in a region with close economic and cultural ties.

Practical Implications for Residents and Travelers

The application of Daylight Savings Time, while rooted in broader societal and economic reasons, has direct implications for individuals residing in or visiting Denmark. Understanding these can help in smoother daily planning and adjustment.

Dates of TransitionClocks are set forward on the last Sunday of March and reverted back on the last Sunday of October.
Daily RoutinesMornings start darker, but evenings benefit from extended daylight during DST.
Public TransportStrict adherence to DST-adjusted timings, especially for trains and buses.
Business HoursPotential changes in operating hours, particularly for businesses reliant on natural light.
Device AdjustmentsDigital devices often update automatically; manual devices need checking and synchronization.
Travel ConsiderationsAwareness of DST changes can prevent potential jet lag-like feelings for travelers.

Dates and Timing of the Change

In Denmark, as is customary in many European countries, the clocks are set forward by one hour on the last Sunday of March, marking the beginning of DST. This transition continues until the last Sunday of October, when the clocks are reverted back by an hour, signaling the end of DST and a return to standard time.

Adjusting Daily Routines

The immediate effect of the DST transition is the shift in daylight patterns. This means that while mornings might start darker, evenings benefit from extended daylight. Residents might need to tweak their routines, especially in the initial days following the change. For example, those who exercise outdoors might prefer to adjust their schedules to capitalize on the daylight.

Impact on Public Transportation and Business Operations

Public transport schedules, especially those operating on tight timetables like trains and buses, adhere strictly to the adjusted time. Travelers and daily commuters should ensure they are in sync with the new timings to avoid any potential disruptions. Similarly, businesses might have varying operating hours during DST, especially those that are outdoors or rely heavily on natural light. It's advisable for individuals to check the timings of establishments they frequent during this period.

Digital Devices and Automated Adjustments

Many modern digital devices, such as smartphones and computers, automatically adjust their clocks based on DST settings. However, traditional clocks, watches, and some appliances might need manual adjustments. It's a good practice to double-check and synchronize all devices to ensure consistency.

Potential Jet Lag for Travelers

For travelers moving between time zones and also grappling with DST adjustments, there can be a compounded feeling akin to a mild jet lag. Being aware of the DST transition can help in anticipating this and planning travel schedules or rest periods accordingly.

Tips for Adjusting to Daylight Savings in Denmark

While understanding the broader context and practical implications of Daylight Savings Time is essential, equipping oneself with strategies to smoothly navigate the transition can significantly enhance one's experience in Denmark during this period.

Setting and Adjusting Clocks

  • Manual Adjustments: Ensure that non-digital devices, such as wall clocks, wristwatches, and some older household appliances, are adjusted. It can be helpful to make these adjustments the night before the DST transition.
  • Digital Devices: While many digital devices, including smartphones and computers, update automatically, always double-check them the morning after the transition to ensure they've adjusted correctly.

Regulating Sleep Patterns

  • Gradual Transition: If you're sensitive to changes in sleep patterns, consider adjusting your bedtime by 10-15 minutes each day, a few days leading up to the DST change. This can help your body acclimate to the new schedule more seamlessly.
  • Limiting Screen Time: The blue light emitted from screens can interfere with the production of melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone. It's beneficial to limit screen exposure an hour before bedtime, especially during the DST transition.

Staying Informed

  • Public Transport: If you rely on public transportation, be proactive. Check schedules ahead of time, especially immediately after the DST transition, to avoid any missed connections or delays.
  • Business Hours: For establishments that might change their operating hours during DST, like certain outdoor attractions or businesses relying on natural light, it's advisable to verify their timings before planning a visit.

Embracing the Extended Daylight

  • Outdoor Activities: Capitalize on the longer evenings by engaging in outdoor activities. Whether it's a leisurely stroll, cycling, or exploring a local park, the extended daylight can be a boon for outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Cultural and Social Engagements: The extended evenings can also be a great time to indulge in cultural events or socialize. Check out local event listings or cultural programs that might be tailored to the extended daylight hours.

Travel Considerations

  • Anticipate Mild Jet Lag: If you're traveling to Denmark around the DST transition, be aware that the time change, combined with any time zone differences, might lead to a feeling of jet lag. Ensure you give yourself time to rest and adjust.

Related: New to Denmark: Complete English Guide (2024)


ABOUT Frederik

Frederik is dedicated to helping foreigners living in Denmark get a good start. Whether you are a foreigner or working with them, you know how difficult it can be to find the correct information about your new home. Frederik is also from Denmark and now lives as an Expat in Thailand.

Leave a Comment

Join our email list to receive our FREE relocation checklist for Denmark.