Like Banging Your Head Against The Berlin Wall

, , , | Working | June 3, 2020

It is 2009. Germany recently introduced “low-emission zones” in several major cities. In order to drive into those areas, every vehicle, even foreign-registered ones, must show a color-coded sticker — Feinstaubplakette — issued according to the vehicle’s emission standards.

As I frequently travel to Germany, I go to a RDW office — the Dutch equivalent of the DMV.

Me: “Good morning. I need a German emission class sticker for my car. Here’s my registration.”

Employee: “But sir, you don’t need that! You need it only if you drive to Germany!”

Please note the area I’m living in is just forty minutes from the German border.

Me: “Well, I’m aware of that. I guess it’s called ‘GERMAN sticker’ for that reason, right?” *Smiles*

Employee: “Yes, that’s why you don’t need it!”

Me: “I assure you that I need it. I often travel to Germany with my car.”

The employee gives me a blank look.

Me: “Okay, let me explain. On Saturday, I’ll be in Oberhausen. Next week Wednesday, I’ll be in Düsseldorf. Those cities are in Germany, and both require an emission class sticker and I don’t want to get a ticket. May I now have my sticker, please?”

The employee finally looked at my registration papers, checked on the computer, and gave me my emission class sticker, not without mumbling a couple of times, “You don’t need it here.”

Oddly enough, as The Netherlands is quite a small country bordering with Germany, many vehicles have this emission class sticker. I hope other drivers didn’t have to cope with this employee!

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