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Welcome to the Zoom Community, @Sebastian111,
For meetings Hosted by a Basic (unlicensed, free) user:
Unfortunately the timer starts when the meeting is first joined -- normally by the Host. As you've suggested, if you're in the meeting for 10 minutes and someone joins you, your meeting will end 30 minutes later... 40 minutes after the meeting was started.
Note also that if you have the Waiting Room turned off and Join Before Host enabled, the first person to attend the meeting starts the timer. I think (but have not tested) that if someone joins, then leaves (meaning that technically the meeting has ended), if someone else joins the meeting during the scheduled time, the clock restarts with the newly created session. Obviously this doesn't happen a lot.