Germination of barley is accompanied by changes in water-soluble seed proteins. 2-DE was used to describe spatio-temporal proteome differences in dissected seed tissues associated with germination and the subsequent radicle elongation. Protein identification by MS enabled assignment of proteins and functions to the seed embryo, aleurone, and endosperm. Abundance in 2-DE patterns was monitored for 48 different proteins appearing in 79 gel spots at 8 time-points up to 72 h post imbibition (PI). In embryo, a beta-type proteasome subunit and a heat shock protein 70 fragment were among the earliest proteins to appear (at 4 h PI). Other early changes were observed that affected spots containing desiccation stress-associated late embryogenesis abundant and abscisic acid (ABA)-induced proteins. From 12 h PI proteins characteristic for desiccation stress disappeared rapidly, as did a putative embryonic protein and an ABA-induced protein, suggesting that these proteins are also involved in desiccation stress. Several redox-related proteins differed in spatio-temporal patterns at the end of germination and onset of radicle elongation. Notably, ascorbate peroxidase that was observed only in the embryo, increased in abundance at 36 h PI. The surprisingly early changes seen in the protein profiles already 4 h after imbibition indicate that germination is programmed during seed maturation.