Central European Time

Time in Europe:
Light Blue Western European Time / Greenwich Mean Time (UTC)
Blue Western European Time / Greenwich Mean Time (UTC)
Western European Summer Time / British Summer Time / Irish Standard Time (UTC+1)
Red Central European Time (UTC+1)
Central European Summer Time (UTC+2)
Yellow Eastern European Time / Kaliningrad Time (UTC+2)
Ochre Eastern European Time (UTC+2)
Eastern European Summer Time (UTC+3)
Green Moscow Time / Turkey Time (UTC+3)
Turquoise Armenia Time / Azerbaijan Time / Georgia Time / Samara Time (UTC+4)
 Pale colours: Standard time observed all year
 Dark colours: Summer time observed
Time zones of Africa:
 UTC-01:00  Cape Verde Time
 UTC±00:00  Greenwich Mean Time
 UTC+01:00 
 UTC+02:00 
 UTC+03:00  East Africa Time
 UTC+04:00 
a The islands of Cape Verde are to the west of the African mainland.
b Mauritius and the Seychelles are to the east and north-east of Madagascar respectively.

Central European Time (CET) is a standard time of Central, and parts of Western Europe, which is one hour ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). The time offset from UTC can be written as UTC+01:00. It is used in most parts of Europe and in a few North African countries. CET is also known as Middle European Time (MET, German: MEZ) and by colloquial names such as Amsterdam Time, Berlin Time, Brussels Time, Budapest Time, Madrid Time, Paris Time, Rome Time, Prague time, Warsaw Time or Romance Standard Time (RST).

The 15th meridian east is the central axis per UTC+01:00 in the world system of time zones.

As of 2023, all member states of the European Union observe summer time (daylight saving time), from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October. States within the CET area switch to Central European Summer Time (CEST, UTC+02:00) for the summer.

In Africa, UTC+01:00 is called West Africa Time (WAT), where it is used by several countries, year round. Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia also refer to it as Central European Time.

Usage

Usage in Europe

The '15th Meridian' monument in Stargard, Poland

Current usage

As of 2017, Central European Time is currently used in Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Kosovo (partially recognised as an independent country), Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (except Canary Islands), Sweden, Switzerland and Vatican City.

History

  • 1884
  • 1 October 1891
  • 1 April 1893
  • 1 November 1893
  • 1894
    • Switzerland switches from UTC+00:30 to CET
    • Liechtenstein introduces CET.
    • Denmark adopts CET.
  • 1895
    • Norway adopts CET.
  • 1900
    • Sweden adopts CET.
  • 1904
    • Luxembourg introduces CET, but leaves 1918.
  • 1914
    • Albania adopts CET.
  • 1914–1918
    • During World War I CET was implemented in all German-occupied territories.
  • 1920
    • Lithuania adopts CET (but subsequently rescinded in 1940) and 1998−1999 again.
  • 1922
    • Poland adopts CET.
  • 1940
    • Under German occupation:
      • The Netherlands was switched from UTC+00:20 to CET.
      • Belgium was switched from UTC+00:00.
      • Luxembourg was switched from UTC+00:00.
      • France, which had adopted Paris time on 14 March 1891 and Greenwich Mean Time on 9 March 1911, was switched to CET.
    • Spain switched to CET.

After World War II Monaco, Andorra and Gibraltar implemented CET.

Portugal used CET in the years 1966–1976 and 1992–1996.

United Kingdom

The time around the world is based on Universal Coordinated Time (UTC) which is roughly synonymous with Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). From late March to late October, clocks in the United Kingdom are put forward by one hour for British Summer Time (BST). Since 1997, most of the European Union aligned with the British standards for BST.

In 1968 there was a three-year experiment called British Standard Time, when the UK and Ireland experimentally employed British Summer Time (GMT+1) all year round; clocks were put forward in March 1968 and not put back until October 1971.

Central European Time is sometimes referred to as continental time in the UK.

Other countries

Several African countries use UTC+01:00 all year long, where it is known as West Africa Time (WAT), although Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia use the term Central European Time despite being located in North Africa.

Between 2005 and 2008, Tunisia observed daylight saving time. Libya also used CET during the years 1951–1959, 1982–1989, 1996–1997 and 2012–2013.

For other countries see UTC+01:00 and West Africa Time.

Discrepancies between official CET and geographical CET

Colour Legal time vs local mean time
1 h ± 30 m behind
0 h ± 30 m
1 h ± 30 m ahead
2 h ± 30 m ahead
3 h ± 30 m ahead
European winter
European summer

The criteria for drawing time zones is based on many factors including: legal, political, economic, and physical or geographic. Consequently, time zones rarely adhere to meridian lines. The CET time zone, were it drawn by purely geographical terms, would consist of exactly the area between meridians 7°30′ E and 22°30′ E. As a result, there are European locales that despite lying in an area with a "physical" or "nominal" UTC+01:00 time, actually use another time zone (UTC+02:00 in particular – there are no "physical" UTC+01:00 areas that employ UTC+00:00). Conversely, there are European areas that have gone for UTC+01:00, even though their "physical" time zone is UTC (typically), UTC−01:00 (westernmost Spain), or UTC+02:00 (e.g. the very easternmost parts of Norway, Sweden, Poland and Serbia). On the other hand, people in Spain still have all work and meal hours one hour later than France and Germany despite sharing the same time zone. Historically Gibraltar maintained UTC+01:00 all year until the opening of the land border with Spain in 1982, when it followed its neighbour and introduced CEST. The following is a list of such "incongruences":

Areas located within UTC+01:00 longitudes using other time zones

These areas are located between 7°30′ E and 22°30′ E ("physical" UTC+1)

Areas using UTC+02:00

Areas located outside UTC+01:00 longitudes using UTC+01:00 time

These areas are located either west of 7°30′ E or east of 22°30′ E (outside nominal UTC+01:00)

Areas between 22°30′ W and 7°30′ W (nominal UTC−01:00)

  • The westernmost part of mainland Spain (Galicia, e.g. the city of A Coruña); Cape Finisterre and nearby points in Galicia, at 9°18′ W, are the westernmost places of CET in Spain.
  • The Norwegian island of Jan Mayen lies entirely within this area and extends nearly as far west as Cape Finisterre, with its western tip at 9°5′ W and its eastern tip at 7°56′ W.
  • Western Morocco including the city of Casablanca, at 7°35′ W. CET usage in Morocco extends as west as 13°10′ W.
  • The entirety of Western Sahara with its western tip at 17°6′ W and its eastern tip at 8°40′ W.

Areas between 7°30′ W and 7°30′ E (nominal UTC+00:00)

Areas between 22°30′ E and 37°30′ E (nominal UTC+02:00)

Map of Petsamo area in northern Finland/Soviet Union/Russia. The green area is the Finnish part of the Rybachi peninsula (Kalastajasaarento) which was ceded to the Soviet Union after the Winter War. The Red area is the Jäniskoski-Niskakoski area ceded to the USSR in 1947.

See also


This page was last updated at 2023-12-12 13:17 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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