DE EN ISO 8601 and its local German predecessors define a calendar week, Kalenderwoche, as a specific seven-day span in a certain year. Since the 1970s at least, the calendar week is understood as starting on Monday and the first one having the majority of it days in January, i.e. at least Thursday through Sunday. They are used more prominently than months in several fields and businesses.

However, it seems hard to find out exactly how people usually refer to a specific week beyond relative terms like letzte / diese / nächste Woche. One common way is using the abbreviation KW for Kalenderwoche followed by the ordinal number of the week in the year, e.g. "Wir machen das in KW 11". There are at least four ways to specify a certain week (using Unicode / CLDR terms from TR 35):

  • weekOfYear: ordinal 01 through 52 or 53, e.g. "KW 42" or "in der 31. Woche"
  • weekOfMonth: ordinal 1 through 4 or 5, e.g. "zweite Aprilwoche" or "3. Woche im Juni", but also counting backwards, e.g. "letzte Januarwoche" or "vorletzte Woche im Mai"; note that this is only covered implicitly by the applicable local and international standards
  • weekOfDate: a week specified by an anchor date, given by the month and the day of the month, e.g. "die Woche des 26. September" or "die Woche um den 4. Dezember" but also "die Weihnachtswoche" or "die Karwoche", where the day of the week of the anchor date may either be arbitrary (i.e. any from Monday through Sunday) or be limited usually to either the first or the last day of the week (i.e. mostly Monday or Sunday)
  • weekOfInterval: a week specified by its start date and its end date, both given by the month and the day of the month, e.g. "die Woche vom 2. bis 8. Februar" or "die Woche vom 27. Juli bis zum 2. August"

How frequently are these variants being used in predominantly German speaking areas? Is there any regional difference (e.g. between Northern Germany and Austria) or are conventions established in a specific field (e.g. academic administration) more important?

I would like empirical evidence, not just anecdotal evidence, because I'm trying to get the CLDR data changed. This data, which is used a lot for software translation and localisation, currently lists German as preferring weekOfDate over weekOfMonth and weekOfInterval, while not considering weekOfYear being used at all (which is definitely wrong). This is also why I'm asking in English and would prefer answers in English.

PS: Is "1. Adventswoche" the week that ends with the first Advent Sunday or the week that starts after it? (The Christian Churches usually start their weeks with Sunday.)

  • 2
    A general answer for all registers of the language simply cannot be found. KW is used in professional project planning, and nowhere else. In der letzten Januarwoche is what the (clueless) customer is told. I don't think anyone even bother to say in der Woche des 26. September but as in der Weihnachtswoche falls into that group, I can clearly see why it is preferred.
    – Janka
    Mar 21, 2018 at 13:39
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    Why are you trying to get CLDR changed without having researched the matter first?
    – PiedPiper
    Mar 21, 2018 at 21:44
  • The issue I initially had was with the omission of weekOfYear. I could have left it at that, but if the entry needs changing anyway, it should be done right.
    – Crissov
    Mar 21, 2018 at 21:48
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    zu weekOfDate: In der Woche vom 26. September höre ich öfter, In der Woche des 26. September nicht (spielt das eine Rolle?). Und die 1. Adventswoche (sowie die Adventszeit und das Kirchenjahr) beginnt mit dem ersten Adventssonntag, siehe ndr.de/kirche/adventszeit103.html
    – Arsak
    Mar 21, 2018 at 21:50
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    Not sure, if there are empirical data that compare usage frequency of all four options, but very sure that frequencies depend on context.
    – Arsak
    Mar 21, 2018 at 21:59

1 Answer 1


People usually use what you call weekOfMonth in common daily life, and weekOfYear is actually just used in companies where this is the schedule unit because of standard office calendars. People randomly use weekOfDate when the context is useful for it, for instance if you refer to a Christmas topic. If you want to plan a precise time range in common life without misunderstanding, for instance when you're a customer in a travel agency, you use weekOfInterval; and not weekOfYear, because nobody actually has an office calender in mind but people at work.

I don't think it's regional.

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