Getting a License Plate in Germany

Our story getting a license plate in Germany

We had to say goodbye to our Swiss licence number, and that is not that easy because my hubby inherited a super short number from his grandfather. There’s a possibility to suspend it for two years, but afterwards, it will be available to someone else. In Switzerland, it is quite a thing with the licence numbers. The shorter the number, and the more valuable it gets. Also, people are willing to pay a lot of money for that because it is something you can show off. I think it is totally overrated, but whatever.

Well, our licence number was the last visual thing that connected us to our homeland. Believe me, it makes a difference if you are driving in Berlin with a Swiss licence number or if you are just one of thousands with a B xxx number on your ride. Well, but let’s start telling you our story about getting a German licence number. My hubby took care of it. He made an appointment at the Kfz-Zulassungsstelle in Kreuzberg. He had to wait for two weeks to get one and then D-day had arrived.

When it was his turn, and all the papers were found correct, the civil servant asked him if he had a wish number in mind. He did not know what she meant because in Switzerland, you cannot choose the combination of your licence number, so he was a bit stumped for an answer and asked how much longer it takes to do a customised one. The lady estimated another hour and 10 euros on top. He declined because he did not want to be late at work again. After paying, he was sent away, confronted with a new challenge. He had to go to get the tag for his licence number right away. He hesitated and asked about the procedure. The lady told him he had to go to one of the shops in front of the office and just buy a tag. It was that simple! Well, how much would it cost to produce a tag? “Ask someone you run across in the hallway; the prices are different, and I am not allowed to tell you what’s an appropriate price,” she told him. Thus, he did ask anyone he met carrying a tag, and the price range was from 20 to 70 euros.

When he was outside, he found himself in a bazaar-like situation. Tag dealers approached him and offered him a “very good price.” It was way too much. Of course. What the hell was going on? Was he still in Berlin? Yes, he was, and he finally got his tag for an appropriate price and was happy to tick another to-do point off his list. When he arrived at his office, he showed a picture with his new licence to one of his colleagues. He was so happy that he made it in time and that he could go back to work. His colleague laughed out loud and said, “Did you choose that number yourself?” My hubby looked sceptical. Well, he got BFC 123. For him, it was just a licence number, but the guys in his office suggested he go back and redeem another one. Why? What was going on?

German License Plate Format Legend
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BFC represents a Berlin football club that tends to be right-wing extreme, and it is a statement when you have such a licence number on your car. The fact that my hubby is bold would make it even worse. Well, he first thought they were making fun of him, but then Google approved it. He got the Zonk* (Zonk is a duffer well-known from the German TV show called Geh aufs Ganze).

When he came back home, he was mad and tried online to get another appointment at the “Kfz-Zulassungsstelle” to get rid of that unlucky licence number. Well, due to the fact it was close to Christmas, he had to wait for six weeks to get another appointment. However, there were two lovely side effects. We went back to Switzerland by car, so nobody paid attention to BFC, and we had enough time to think about our new number. After the holidays, my hubby went through that procedure like a pro, and we were all smiles when he came home with our new BZH 123 tag. (ZH stands for Zurich).

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