The German Hour
Four German soldiers stand guard at the Palace of Justice. The cannon aims at the Marolles neighbourhood, located right below the building. In 1914, Brussels was declared capital of the general government of Belgium. The occupation regime modified the administrative structure and upset political, economic and social life. In November 1914, for instance, official time was modified, replacing Greenwich time by “normal Central European time ”. All the clocks in public places and cafés were moved 60 minutes forward.
The population soon reacted to his persecutory measure. Public life could keep official time, but private time continued to follow West European rhythms. The event was rapidly appropriated by the zwanze (typical local humour). A song was whispered, announcing that by moving the clocks forward “we’ll throw out those boches (Germans) an hour earlier!”