German institute for standardization

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DIN logo bordered.svg
Headquarters of the German Institute for Standardization at DIN-Platz in Berlin-Tiergarten
Headquarters of the German Institute for Standardization in Berlin-Tiergarten as seen from the east

The German Institute for Standardization e. V. ( DIN ) is the most important national standards organization in the Federal Republic of Germany . It was founded on December 22nd, 1917 under the name "Standards Committee of German Industry". It was first renamed in 1926 to “German Standards Committee” to express that the field of work was no longer limited to industry. The current name "DIN German Institute for Standardization e. V. ”was chosen in 1975 in connection with the standards contract concluded between the organization and the Federal Republic of Germany . A developed under the direction of working committees of the Organization for Standardization standard is called DIN standard , or German standard DIN referred.

The German Institute for Standardization is a registered association , is privately owned and supported in its European and international standardization activities by the Federal Republic of Germany as the only national standardization organization. It offers the so-called "interested groups" ( manufacturers , trade , industry , science , consumers , testing institutes and authorities ) a forum to develop standards in a consensus process. The interested group of consumers is represented by the DIN consumer council. DIN is a member of the European Movement in Germany .

Basic principles

The basic principles of the work of DIN are laid down in DIN 820 :

  • Ease of use
  • Participation of all interested parties
  • uniformity
  • Voluntariness
  • internationality
  • Antitrust harmlessness
  • consensus
  • Market orientation
  • General benefit
  • Publicity
  • Orientation towards the common good
  • Factuality
  • State of science and technology
  • transparency
  • Consistency
  • economics


It is the task of DIN to stimulate, organize, control and moderate standardization for the benefit of the general public while safeguarding the public interest. The work results serve innovation , rationalization , understanding in business, science, administration and the public, ensuring usability , quality assurance , compatibility , interchangeability, health , safety , consumer protection , occupational safety and environmental protection . When creating them, the aim is to ensure that the generally recognized rules of technology are adhered to and that the current state of the art is taken into account.

The electrotechnical topics are dealt with jointly by DIN and the German Association of Electrical Engineering ( VDE ) in the DKE German Commission for Electrical, Electronic and Information Technologies of DIN and VDE.

DIN works in the international and European standards committees ISO and CEN and in the electrotechnical organizations IEC and CENELEC to represent German interests and to promote the international free movement of goods. It organizes the integration of international standards into the German body of standards.

The DIN standards are distributed by Beuth Verlag , a subsidiary of the DIN group, in paper form and as a download for a fee. The publisher also sells standard documents from other and foreign standardization bodies.

In Switzerland the Swiss Association for Standardization (SNV) and in Austria the Austrian Standards International ( ÖNORM ) do similar work.

Organization and way of working

DIN is a registered association whose members are legal entities . The General Assembly elects the Presidium , which consists of representatives from all interested parties involved (all economic sectors , consumers, science and the state). Albert Dürr has been president since 2015.

DIN is run by management, which is chaired by the chairman of the board. The chairman of the board is also a member of the presidium. The permanent employees of DIN act as secretaries to ensure that the basic principles of DIN are adhered to, i. This means that, for example, no interested group is left out of consideration. They organize the work in the committees (also in international ones), draw up the work program and budget of the standards committees and coordinate both with the steering committee, which consists of representatives of the interested parties. DIN provides the electronic infrastructure for developing standards.

The result-oriented activities (for example the distribution of the standard documents by Beuth-Verlag) take place in GmbHs as subsidiaries and associated companies . They help to cover the costs of non-profit standardization activities.

Standards committees

The technical work of standardization is carried out in working committees or committees. Only one working committee or one technical committee is responsible for a specific standardization task. These committees and committees also represent their task in the regional and international standardization organizations. As a rule, several working committees are combined to form a DIN standards committee.

Some standards committees use the name “standards body”, the case-sensitive letters within the abbreviations for standards committees are unsystematic, many, but not all, abbreviations for standards committees begin with “N”. The names of some standards committees are misleading, e.g. B. the automotive standards committee represents the entire field of automotive engineering. At the moment (end of May 2013) there are around 70 standards committees. A complete list can be found on the homepage of DIN e. V.

List of standards committees (selection)


The budget of DIN and thus the financing of the standardization work is fed from four sources, whose share of the total budget is composed as follows:

  1. Own income (60.6%) - DIN generates the largest share with its subsidiaries. Above all, Beuth Verlag's proceeds from the sale of DIN standards and other products, as well as investment income, are important sources of income for DIN.
  2. Project funds from business (20.3%) - Composed of project contracts, funding contributions and cost contributions from business, they make up the second largest share of the total budget.
  3. Membership fees (9.8%) - With their contributions, members have, among other things, the opportunity to influence standardization policy and receive discounts on licenses.
  4. Project funds from the public sector (9.3%) - are provided in the interest of general business promotion, the promotion of competition and in the interest of public order ( occupational safety , health protection, etc.). These funds are earmarked for the implementation of certain standardization projects in the public interest.


Statues of Christian Peter Wilhelm Beuth and Wilhelm von Humboldt in front of the DIN building in Berlin.

The preparatory work for the rationalization of armaments production in January 1917 led to the realization that the whole of Germany had to become a production community for one customer, the armed forces , and that basic standards, in particular for cooperation in mechanical engineering, were necessary for this. The initiative that led to the founding of DIN came from the “Royal Artillery Factory (Fabo-A)” in Berlin.

The DIN in the German Reich was founded in May 1917 as the “standard committee for mechanical engineering” with the task of standardizing the most important machine elements. On December 22nd, 1917, it was renamed the “Standards Committee of German Industry” (NADI). The results of the NADI's work were the “German Industrial Standards” (initially as “DI-Norm”, but soon abbreviated as “DIN”). The first standard - DI-Norm 1 - appeared on March 1, 1918 and specified dimensions and materials for tapered pins . DIN has been a registered association since 1920 and in 1922 what is probably the most well-known standard for consumers, DIN 476 paper formats (for example DIN A4) was published. The standard font on traffic signs DIN 1451 , which is colloquially known as DIN for short , is also familiar in everyday German life .

In 1926, DIN was renamed from “Standards Committee of German Industry” to “German Standards Committee” (DNA), because as early as the 1920s, standardization in the Reich had exceeded the narrow field of industry. For the same reason, the DNA tried to assign the abbreviation “DIN” to “Das Ist Norm” in order to replace “Deutsche Industrie-Norm”. However, this term could not establish itself in the public.

After the Second World War , the Allied Control Council approved DIN to resume its activities in 1946. In 1951, DIN became a member of the International Organization for Standardization ( ISO ) with the aim of representing the German-speaking area.

In May 1975 (shortly before the conclusion of the standardization contract , see below) the name of the organization and its work results changed again. Since then the organization has been called “DIN German Institute for Standardization e. V. ", and the work results are the" German standards "or" DIN standards ".

On June 5, 1975, the DIN German Institute for Standardization e. V. and the Federal Republic of Germany signed the standard contract. This gave DIN considerable public recognition, because the Federal Republic undertook to turn to it exclusively for relevant questions and tasks posed by the state. The Federal Republic of Germany also recommends only DIN for international standardization work. In return, DIN made its previously internally applicable basic principles (DIN 820) publicly binding and undertook not only to take up standardization tasks suggested by the state, but to treat them preferentially. As a result of the public interest brought in by the contract, the commissions for safety technology and environmental protection and the consumer council were created at DIN . Contrary to popular belief, DIN remained an independent, non-governmental organization. The Federal Republic has not been given the right to issue instructions on the work of DIN, but has not given up any part of its own sovereignty to DIN.

The counterpart to the DIN standard in the GDR was the TGL , which was initially largely based on the DIN standards, later increasingly taking COMECON standards into account. East / West German cooperation in the field of standardization slackened considerably after the GDR government closed the DIN offices in East Berlin , Jena and Ilmenau in 1961. Since the dissolution of the Office for Standardization, Metrology and Goods Testing (ASMW) of the GDR in 1990, DIN has been responsible for standardization work throughout Germany again.

Today, standardization work is increasingly European and international: only 15% of all standardization projects are purely national in nature. In 2015, DIN had 17% of all secretariats in ISO and 29% of all secretariats in CEN working bodies.

In 2007, DIN attracted attention through controversial decisions for the capitalized ß (uppercase ß ) and for the Office Open XML document standard introduced by Microsoft .

DIN Software GmbH

In 1988 DIN Software GmbH was founded with the purpose of procuring, creating and selling certified files and programs on machine-readable data carriers in the field of technology, in particular for the production of DIN-compliant products and applications of DIN-standardized processes. The foundation was supported by four partners ( DIN , Verband der Automobilindustrie , VDMA and ZVEI ). DIN Software GmbH has been a 100 percent subsidiary of DIN since 1993. Initially, the main products consisted of CAD standard parts data for use in design programs. The data of the standard parts were taken from standards and expanded with metadata from the database of the German Information Center for Technical Rules (DITR). EDIFACT norm files have also been offered since the beginning of DIN Software GmbH.

The previous hierarchical structure of the DITR database was replaced in 1996 by a relational database. The DITR database was also used as a master database by DIN, Beuth Verlag and DIN Software GmbH for standard and document evidence from 2000 onwards . In 1989 the user committee of the German Information Center for Technical Rules (today DIN Software GmbH) was founded. He was and is a link between the users of information products or services from the DITR database and the manufacturer. In 2003, DIN Software GmbH took over the German Information Center for Technical Rules operated by DIN and the DITR database, including the electronic full-text archives for technical law.

Norms in the legal system

“The DIN standards are not legal norms, but private technical regulations with the character of a recommendation. You can reproduce the recognized rules of technology or lag behind them. "

- BGH, judgment of May 14, 1998, Az.VII ZR 184/97, full text = BGHZ  139, 16.

DIN standards form a benchmark for perfect technical behavior and are therefore important within the framework of the legal system . Basically, DIN standards have the character of recommendations. Everyone is free to use it, i. that is, you can use it, but you don't have to. Standards become binding when they are referred to in private contracts or in laws and regulations and their application is specified there. Because norms are unambiguous statements, legal disputes can be avoided through their binding character in individual contracts. The reference in laws and ordinances relieves the state and citizens of detailed legal regulations.

Even in cases in which the contractual parties have not made DIN standards part of the content of a contract, they serve as a decision-making aid in the event of a dispute due to material defects (sales and work contract law). There is basically the assumption that the DIN standards correspond to the recognized rules of technology . Such a presumption can nonetheless be shaken or refuted, for example if there is only an unfinished draft standard or through an expert report .


DIN standards are creative achievements and, as linguistic works, enjoy protection by copyright law . This principle has also been confirmed several times by the Federal Court of Justice . DIN standards may therefore not be used without the consent of the Deutsches Institut für Normung e. V. as the owner of the right of use, may be copied and distributed or made publicly available on the Internet. The limitations of copyright also apply to standards. So z. B. Individual sheets of standards are copied on paper for private purposes ( Section 53 UrhG), and there is no copyright for standards printed by the legislator ( official works ). The following exceptions apply to officially referenced technical rules in accordance with Section 5 (3) UrhG:

(1) Laws, ordinances, official edicts and notices as well as decisions and officially drafted guidelines for decisions are not protected by copyright.

(2) The same applies to other official works that have been published in the official interest for general information, with the restriction that the provisions on the prohibition of changes and the indication of sources in Section 62 Paragraphs 1 to 3 and Section 63 Paragraphs 1 and 2 apply accordingly are to be applied.

(3) The copyright in private standards is not affected by paragraphs 1 and 2 if laws, ordinances, decrees or official notices refer to them without reproducing their wording. In this case, the author is obliged to grant every publisher the right of reproduction and distribution under reasonable conditions. If a third party owns the exclusive right of reproduction and distribution, he is obliged to grant the right of use according to sentence 2.

The initiative against the direct application of private standards in the construction industry has tried unsuccessfully in 2003 to prevent the insertion of paragraph 3. It was criticized that standards declared to be binding by the state are not in the public domain, i.e. must be purchased, unless they are contained in an official announcement as full text.

DIN prices

DIN annually awards DIN prizes for competitions in various categories. The prizes are endowed with up to 10,000 euros.

  • Innovation Prize : The purpose of the Innovation Prize competition is to show convincing examples of innovative norms and standardization projects that encourage the initiation of further projects with similar innovation potential.
  • Benefit of standardization : The DIN prize "Benefit of standardization" honors contributions that demonstrate significant standardization successes in the company, in the market or in society in general using a convincing example.
  • Young science : DIN awards prizes for student work from all departments on the subject of standardization. With the DIN “Young Science” award, DIN honors outstanding diploma, study or semester theses that primarily focus on increasing efficiency through the use of standards in practice.
  • Best Practice : The DIN "Best Practice" prize is awarded for convincing examples of the integration of standards into operational processes.

Waldemar Hellmich Circle

The Waldemar-Hellmich-Kreis is the honorary senate of the DIN German Institute for Standardization. On the occasion of its 40th anniversary, DIN founded the Waldemar Hellmich Circle in 1957 to commemorate its founder Waldemar Hellmich and to honor personalities who have made a name for themselves in their professional activities in the field of standardization . It should maintain the tradition of DIN and contribute to the lively further development of standardization work through recommendations. The members of the group are appointed by the DIN presidium. A pin that shows the paper formats serves as a visible sign of belonging to the Waldemar-Hellmich circle. The number of members of the circle is limited to 50.


DIN standards are criticized for being industry- friendly and serving the well-being of the industry more than the common good. For example, in a report by the NDR, the “fire shaft test that is unrelated to practice” in DIN 4102 was questioned. According to the report, the polystyrene clamped as a narrow high rod during the test procedure melts towards the top and thus moves away from the heat or fire source (pilot burner and dripped (poly) styrene), whereby the test procedure is structured in such a way that it is used by industry the desired result to prove the non-combustibility of polystyrene and the lack of fire propagation. See the chapter on Fire incidents and controversies after media reports in the article Polystyrene .

See also


  • Rudolf Muschalla: On the history of technical standardization (= DIN standardization 29). Published by DIN, the German Institute for Standardization. V. Beuth, Berlin a. a. 1992, ISBN 3-410-12565-5 .
  • Albrecht Geuther: 75 years of DIN. 1917 to 1992. Report (= DIN standardization 31). Published by DIN, the German Institute for Standardization. V. Beuth, Berlin a. a. 1993, ISBN 3-410-12889-1 .
  • Josef Falke: Legal aspects of technical standardization in the Federal Republic of Germany. Center for European Legal Policy at the University of Bremen, Bremen 1999.
  • DIN, German Institute for Standardization e. V. (Ed.): General economic benefits of standardization. Summary of results. Scientific final report with practical examples "Executive Summary". Beuth, Berlin a. a. 2000, ISBN 3-410-14856-6 .
  • DIN, German Institute for Standardization e. V. (Hrsg.): Fundamentals of the standardization work of DIN (= DIN standards booklet 10). 7th, amended edition. Beuth, Berlin a. a. 2001, ISBN 3-410-14873-6 .
  • Torsten Bahke, Ulrich Blum, Gisela Eickhoff (eds.): Norms and competition. Beuth, Berlin a. a. 2002, ISBN 3-410-15478-7 .
  • Hauff: DIN-Mitteilungen + elektronorm 58.1979, No. 12, pp. 744-748 and DIN-Mitteilungen + elektronorm 64.1985, No. 1, pp. 18-25.
  • DIN-Mitteilungen + elektronorm 64.1985, No. 2, pp. 63-66.

Web links

Wiktionary: DIN  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. German industrial standard DIN.
  2. VDI / DIN commission for keeping the air clean (KRdL) - standards committee. About us. Association of German Engineers, accessed on December 20, 2018 .
  3., Standardization - an important topic for rationalization and quality assurance , accessed on March 12, 2020 .
  4. a b c d DIN - Financing of standardization work. DIN German Institute for Standardization e. V., accessed on June 11, 2019 .
  5. a b DIN - Financing of norms and standardization. DIN German Institute for Standardization e. V., May 2019, accessed on July 11, 2019 .
  6. Advantages of a DIN membership. DIN German Institute for Standardization e. V., accessed on July 11, 2019 .
  7. The first German standard appeared 95 years ago. In: press release. German Institute for Standardization V., March 1, 2013, accessed on September 23, 2019 .
  8. DIN: Colloquium 30 years of partnership between DIN and the Federal Republic , several relevant lectures (PDF; 1.3 MB).
  9. ISO working group suggests Unicode with "ß" as a capital letter - heise online. In: May 15, 2007, accessed March 2, 2015 .
  10. DIN says "Yes" to Microsoft's OpenXML document format - heise open. In: August 22, 2007, accessed March 2, 2015 .
  11. a b BGH, judgment of May 14, 1998 , Az.VII ZR 184/97, full text = BGHZ  139, 16.
  12., Waldemar-Hellmich-Kreis , accessed on March 13, 2020.
  13. Güven Purtul, Christian Kossin: Thermal insulation - the madness continues . ( Memento of May 12, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) NDR report, series 45 min , part II, first broadcast on November 26, 2012, 9:00 p.m.