The German Time Act of 1978 (Bundesgesetzblatt 1978, part I, p. 1110-1111), recently modified and broadened to a Law on Units and Time (BGBl. part I, p. 1185, July 11, 2008) lays down Central European Time CET or Central European summer Time CEST as legal time in Germany, which ought to be used in official and business affairs. The time law can be understood as a continuation of legal practice going back to 1893 when mean solar time at 15 degree eastern longitude was laid down as legal time for the German Reich. Before the date, numerous regulations existed for the use of local times throughout the country. The law of 1983 was enacted only a few years after a consensus had been reached on the estabilishment of a system of 24 time zones of 15° longitude widht with the reference meridian (°0) passing through Greenwich.
The difference between CET or CEST and UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) is given by
CET = UTC + 1h,
CEST = UTC + 2h.
Daylight saving time (DST) was introduced in Germany by a decree of the Federal Government. The most recent related decree (Bundesgesetzblatt 2001 part 1, vol. 35, p. 1591, July 2001) states that beginning with 2002 and until further notice, daylight saving time shall be introduced between the last Sunday of March and the last Sunday of October.
In Germany, DST was established during wartime and more recently since 1980. All member states of the European Union follow the same schedule with respect to DST. World-wide several other schedules exist.
The Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt PTB is entrusted by the Time Act to realise and disseminate legal time to the public. The most popular means is the transmission of standard frequency and time signals by the transmitter DCF77 (Working Group 4.42).
More information on German legal time
- DST in the Federal Republic of Germany since 1980
- DST and midsummer DST in Germany until 1979
- Gregorian calendar
- The date of Easter
- Local times in various countries (in German language)
- Literature on German legal time and Gregorian calendar