Daylight Saving Time (DST) rules

Clock changes - a brief introduction

Easy to remember: 'Spring forward, fall back'

'Daylight Saving Time', DST for short, is a pretty new entry in the vocabulary of time-measurement.

Clock changes can be considered a symbol of a profound change in society, from predominantly rural to urban and industrialized.

When do clocks change in Europe, USA and Canada?

A little more than a hundred years old, DST (read the story here) is not a universal norm. A lot of countries do not use DST.

Are rules made to be challenged?

The decision to adopt, observe or abolish Daylight Saving Time is taken by the government of a country, sometimes at short notice. In certain cases the rules are slightly adjusted, in others a major change is put forward to be debated and decided upon.

What is the EU doing?

New rules for are still on the EU agenda, but no progress so far on the original proposal, to end clock changes. Read more about the the results of the public consultation

For the time being, all the countries in the European Union and a few others in Europe change their clocks on the same date and at the same time, according to EU Daylight Saving Time rules.

Note: as future changes are always possible, do let us know if we missed anything in what is never a stagnant world.

In the United States and Canada, a set of rules is also in operation, accompanied by some exceptions.

The Daylight Saving Time debate in USA

The United States, a multiple time-zone country, has seen several attempts, by individual states, be exempt from the bi-annual clock changes. In March 2023 the US Senate voted in favour of making Daylight Saving Time permanent.

The Sunshine Protection Act would not be applied to Hawaii and most of Arizona, which do not currently observe DST.

It is now the House of Representatives' turn to decide one way or another, so it's all work in progress.

Spring Forward, Fall Back

In English, and in American English in particular, there is a phrase that makes it easier to remember when to put the clocks back or forward by one hour. "Spring forward, fall back".

The phrase is a pun and was coined on the basis of two seasons: spring and fall (autumn in UK). The verbal aid has been rendered a bit obsolete by digital clocks and devices. They should switch automatically between summer time and winter time.

Clocks and Time Tools

Our creative collection

Time Zones
European Union
North America
Pacific / Oceania
South America
All countries