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Central European Time: Map


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Central European Time (CET), used in most European and some North African countries, is one of the names of the time zone that is 1 hour ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), with a time offset of UTC+1 (in winter).

Most countries have adopted the use of Central European Summer Time (CEST) daylight saving time in summer, with UTC+2.


Central European Time usage in Europe

The German Empiremarker unified its time zones in 1893, to use CET (MEZ). During the war, this time was implemented in all occupied territories.

Before World War II, Lithuaniamarker used CET (MET) in the years 1920–40. In Francemarker, Belgiummarker, Netherlandsmarker and Luxembourgmarker CET was kept. After the war Monacomarker, Spainmarker, Andorramarker and Gibraltarmarker implemented CET.

Irelandmarker and the United Kingdommarker experimentally adopted CET in the years 1968–71; however, this experiment proved unpopular and short-lived, mainly due to the increased number of road accidents (many involving children walking to school) in the dark winter mornings. Portugalmarker used CET in the years 1966–76 and 1992–96.

Central European Summer Time

The following countries and cities have introduced the use of Central European Summer Time between 1:00 UTC on the last Sunday of March, and 1:00 UTC on the last Sunday of October:

Central European Time usage in Africa

Algeriamarker and Tunisiamarker use Central European Time throughout the year.

For other counties that use UTC+1, see also West Africa Time.

Discrepancies between official CET and geographical CET

Color 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

Since legal, political and economic, in addition to purely physical or geographical, criteria are used in the drawing of time zones, it follows that official time zones do not precisely adhere to meridian lines. The CET (UTC+1) 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" UTC+1 time, actually use another time zone (UTC+2 in particular – there are no "physical" UTC+1 areas that employ UTC).

Conversely, there are European areas that have gone for UTC+1, even though their "physical" time zone is UTC (typically), UTC-1 (westernmost Spainmarker), or UTC+2 (e.g. the very easternmost parts of Norwaymarker, Polandmarker, and Serbiamarker).

On the other hand the people in Spain still have all work and meal hours one hour later than e.g.

France and Germany even if they have the same time zone.

Following is a list of such "incongruences":

Historically Gibraltarmarker maintained UTC+1 all year until the opening of the land frontier with Spain in 1982 when it followed its neighbour and introduced CEST.

Areas located within UTC+1 longitudes using other time zones

Areas between 7°30′ E and 22°30′ E ("physical" UTC+1), all using UTC+2

The westernmost part of Greecemarker, including the cities of Patrasmarker, Ioanninamarker and the island of Corfumarker

Areas located outside UTC+1 longitudes using UTC+1 time

Areas between 22°30′ W and 7°30′ W ("physical" UTC-1)

Areas between 7°30′ W and 7°30′ E ("physical" UTC)

Areas between 22°30′ E and 37°30' ("physical" UTC+2)

  • The easternmost part of the Republic of Macedoniamarker, including the city of Strumicamarker
  • The easternmost part of Serbiamarker, in the Pirot District, including the city of Pirotmarker
  • The easternmost tips of Hungarymarker and Slovakiamarker, bordering to the north and south respectively the Ukrainian Transcarpathian Oblast (Zakarpattia Oblast), a bit to the east of Vásárosnaménymarker, HungarymarkerUzhhorodmarker, Ukrainemarker (both at 22°18′ E) line
  • The easternmost part of Polandmarker, including the cities of Lublinmarker and Białystokmarker
  • The northeast of Swedenmarker, in the Norrbotten provincemarker, including the cities of Kalixmarker and Haparandamarker
  • The northeast of Norwaymarker, lying north of Finlandmarker, roughly coinciding with the county of Finnmarkmarker; for instance Vadsømarker, the capital of Finnmarkmarker, has a longitude of 23°49′ E. Actually, the easternmost town in Norwaymarker, Vardømarker, lies at 30°51′ E, which is so far east, so as to be east even of the central meridian of EET (UTC+2), i.e. east of Istanbulmarker and Alexandriamarker. The sun reaches its highest point at 10:56 (when not DST).
    The Norwegianmarker-Russianmarker border (incl. border passings such as Kirkenesmarker) is the only place where CET (UTC+1) borders Moscow time (UTC+3), resulting in a two hours time change for the passenger crossing that border.

    More so, there exists a "tri-zone" point (where UTC+1, UTC+2, and UTC+3 meet) at the Norwaymarker-Finlandmarker-Russiamarker tripoint (look for the town of Nautsi in this map).

    This is the only "tri-zone" point within Europe.

    It is interesting to perform the following mental experiment when looking at this map: Go to the westernmost point of the red area (the Jäniskoski-Niskakoski area); this belongs to Russian jurisdiction, hence the time there is UTC+3.

    Then, take a northeastern (NE) direction (that is an eastwards direction); you will soon be crossing into Finnishmarker territory, thus moving to the UTC+2 time zone.

    Continuing in that direction, you will eventually reach the Finlandmarker-Norwaymarker border and enter Norwaymarker, thus passing into the UTC+1 time zone.

    So, moving in a (north–)easterly direction, you will be moving from UTC+3 to UTC+2 to UTC+1.

See also


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