Why is CET called MET?

Markus Kuhn mskuhn at cip.informatik.uni-erlangen.de
Mon Jun 17 23:49:23 UTC 1996

> Can someone please tell me why the heck Central European Time
> (i.e. the timezone for Central Europe) - which has been called
> that since I was a kid (a long time!) and still is called that
> by every English speaking European who cares, especially
> the satellite TV stations - is known as MET in International
> standards? Where on Earth is 'Middle Europe'?

The time zone in which Germany is located is called by a German
law "Mitteleuropaeische Zeit (MET)" in winter and "Mitteleuropaeische
Sommerzeit (MESZ)" in summer. Do you have any formal reference why
"Central European Time" is any more correct than "Middle European

The argument "since I was a kid" is of little value:
Americans write 12:00 a.m. and mm/dd/yy "since I was a kid" and
nevertheless the time experts have very good reasons to avoid this
notation and use ISO 8601 instead.

I can quote the German "Zeitgesetz" for MET, what can you quote for CET?

> Doesn't the ISO group, or others, responsible for writing the
> standards (ISO 8601 et al) have a native English-speaker on it?

ISO 8601 does not standardize 3-letter abbreviations for time zones. ISO 8601
has a much better numeric notation for MET: +0100 (see my Web homepage
for a detailed summary of what ISO 8601 says).


Markus Kuhn, Computer Science student -- University of Erlangen,
Internet Mail: <mskuhn at cip.informatik.uni-erlangen.de> - Germany
WWW Home: <http://wwwcip.informatik.uni-erlangen.de/user/mskuhn>

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