When is it really spring in Denmark?

The Local Denmark
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When is it really spring in Denmark?
This image from Copenhagen on March 30th does little to suggest spring is on the way. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

It’s nearly April and clocks changed to summertime last weekend, but it’s still cold, grey and bare outside. When should we expect it to actually feel like spring in Denmark?


The spring equinox or jævndøgn passed earlier this month, meaning the days include more light minutes than dark ones.

Springtime is popularly considered in Denmark to be the months of March, April and May. Last weekend saw the clocks jump forward by an hour to summertime, meaning sunset is now close to 8pm and will get later each day until the summer solstice in June.


Although all these things are related to the “astronomical” spring now having started.

But this doesn’t mean that the kind of mild temperatures and sunshine people tend to crave by the end of the Danish winter are about to begin, as meteorological agency DMI recently explained.

There are some natural signs of spring already, although you’d be forgiven for missing them amongst the still-bare trees and harsh winds that carry a stronger association with winter.

Blackbirds can now be heard to sign in the morning and small shoots have appeared on some types of bushes.

While the spring equinox marks the astronomical start of spring, meteorologists don’t declare spring to have begun until the temperatures meet a specified range, DMI explains.

To qualify as meteorological spring, the temperature in degrees Celsius must keep up with the time in hours until noon: 8°C at 8am; 9°C at 9pm and so on until noon, when it should be 12°C.

A glance at DMI’s app for the next 10 daily forecasts shows peak daytime temperatures no higher than 9°C, so the weather forecasters are probably not going to call spring in the imminent future.

If this seems disheartening when the calendar is telling you it’s time to get out the light jackets and short sleeved shirts, there is some consolation: the summer “half” of the year in Denmark is actually longer than the winter “half” by around a week – that is, if you take the two equinoxes to be the markers dividing the colder and warmer halves of the year.

This is because the earth’s orbital path around the sun is elliptical, rather than circular. Because of this, the summer in the northern hemisphere – the half of the year when the northern part of the earth’s axis points towards the sun – is in the part of the orbital path where the earth is further from the sun, meaning it takes longer to travel through it.

If you feel like winter won’t go away, you can therefore console yourself with the thought that it will actually be “summertime” for a bit longer than it has been winter.

READ ALSO: Whatever happened to the EU plan to ditch the changing of the clocks?


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