Talk:Vehicle registration plates of Germany

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External links[edit]

I've just removed the external links section, as the site appears to have been subsumed into some other website and, thus, the links no longer work — they just go to the new site's homepage. The original links were:

OwenBlacker 21:13, Dec 4, 2004 (UTC)

The latter two links above are no longer valid. -ThorstenS 06:45, 5 May 2005 (UTC)

on diacritics[edit]

There is a line that says that Diacritics are used in car plates. I think this is kind of obvious/not needed information, because The German language is using the diacritics on letters as complete new letter(Umlaut) It would be weird if a place that is written with an umlaut, that the umlaut is not reflected in the car plate.82.83.107.251 (talk) 16:43, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

I take your point. On the other hand, it's not unknown in Germany for the letters Ä, Ö, and Ü to be written as AE, OE, UE on occasion (especially where older technology -- such as early information display equipment at airports, for example) did not allow the display of umlauted letters: e.g. KOELN for KÖLN, MUENCHEN for MÜNCHEN. I think the observation about diacritics is therefore one that was worth making in the article, and deserves to stay. --Picapica (talk) 15:52, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

commercial external links[edit]

Currently there is the link [1] which shows on its page only a copy of this wikipedia arcticle. This link is not worth to be published on this wikipedia article and I keep deleting it. Isn't it possible to block this Internet address for good since it appears again and again after deletion? -Toshi 06:50, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

Same problem with [2]. Very little information and not worth to be listed in this article. But it is coming again and again after deletion. -Toshi 15:02, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

Hey Thorsten , I'll also keep an eye open to keep on deleting it--IsarSteve 15:17, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

I'd dispute that our link at [3] contains 'very little information'. It contains further additional information and is not a simple copy of the wikipedia page as some are.

If it's your own site, then I don't know that you're in a position to be judging it's usefulness; there's a potential conflict of intrest. More importantly, you shouldn't be adding links to your own site to Wikipedia articles, especially if it's a commercial link (and based on the credit-card logos at the bottom of the site, I'd say that your site is a commercial site). See Wikipedia:External links#Links normally to be avoided at point 3. If it's a useful site, be assured that someone else will find it and add it. Finally, I can see from the history of this article that links to your "special plates" site has been deleted several different times by several different people. I think this sends a pretty clear message.
If there is information on your site that would be useful to Wikipedia readers (who come here looking for encyclopediac information), why not just add that information to the article? You'd probably save yourself a lot of trouble and frustration. Wikipedia:New contributors' help page may also help you out. Good luck --Badger151 02:06, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
Oops: "you shouldn't be adding links to your own site to Wikipedia articles" isn't necessarily clear, is it? I mean that you shouldn't add links to Wikipedia if those links point to your own site. Sorry for any confusion. --Badger151 05:22, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

Yes it is our own site, but useful all the same - check it out, there is different and more information than is on the wikipedia page, providing further information on the subject. The link was deleted previously several times by our commercial competitor who has chosen to simply upload to his site a duplicate of the wikipedia article on German plates. We have checked our link everyday to find that it's been replaced by his duplicate article page... and commercial links.

I don't personally dispute its usefulness. I think that the issue is more the potential conflict of intrest. If I am, for instance, J. Michael Stevenson, then I shouldn't be adding text to J. Michael Stevenson, nor should I be adding links to that Wikipedia page that point to my own site. Even if I'm not Mr. Stevenson, if I sell posters of him, though I can (and am encouraged to) add correct (and referenced, if possible) information to his Wikipedia page, I shouldn't be adding links that point to my site, no matter how much useful information I may have. If consumers determine my information to be useful, though, they'll add that link for me, just as they will for you.
The issue of your competitor also bears mentioning in as much as she shouldn't be adding links that point to her site, either. Links to her site have also been removed just as prequently as they have appeared.
Again, I get the sense that this is a subject that you know a lot about - why not just add the information to the Wikipedia article? Or is the real point that you want to increase the traffic to your site? Best, --Badger151 18:57, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

Again there is link from "germanplates.net" appearing. I know from the German Wikipedia that it is possible to blacklist URLs so they can be banned easily for good. Anything else possible in the English version? Otherwise I would appreciate it if more Wikipedians could have an eye on the External links-list. -Toshi 07:51, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

Furthermore "germanplates.net" continues to remove our now non-commercial link [4] from the External links list. We have removed all commericial links and references and now simply display a long page of information including a full list of codes and pictures of German plates. - 13:24, 16 January 2007 (CET)
The page "germanplates.net" doesn't contain any further information than the more comprehensive Wikipedia article. And why does the registration offices list ends with "OBB"? What about the rest of the alphabet? BTW, a full list is already accessabel by another entry of external link list. Please read the guidelines about external links, see Wikipedia:External_links#Links_normally_to_be_avoided. I wait a few days (avioding edit-war) before I remove the "germanplates.net" again since it gives you in my opinion no further information than what it is already written in the main article and seems just to promote the commercial content of the website. -Toshi 18:32, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
It should be recognised that link [5] is independent to ours. It simply displays a copy of this Wikipedia article but spread over several pages even giving credit to Wikipedia. Our link [6] provides further discussion on German plates and shows a full list (now complete, thanks for the tip Toshi, the file hadn't been fully uploaded to the server and so finished halfway through!). There is no commercial content on our link - I fear there may be confusion again with [7] that does have advertising/product purchase options - 00:26, 17 January 2007 (CET)
Link [8] removed by IsarSteve despite no commercial references on this page. It could then be argued that external link [9] is commercial as the webmaster openly welcomes offers on his collection of plates.
I have cleaned up the external links section and put three links from the German Wikipedia linking to a comprehensive list of all German registration codes. Furthermore the German code lists will be regularly updated. -Toshi 18:56, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

Oval plates[edit]

Have seen oval plates displayed on some older German cars in the US. Was this a special plate series for export vehicles picked up at the factory? knoodelhed 10:13, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Correct! The oval plate was an export plate in use until the 1980s??.IsarSteve 13:40, 20 Dec 2004 (UTC)

American plates[edit]

Private vehicles belonging to American Service personnel based in Germany now carry german style number plates starting AD, AF, HK or IF

Do the letters have any sort of meaning/code ??

IsarSteve 12:25, 1 May 2005 (UTC)

I think I have on the internet the following: AD=Army Dept., AF=Armed Forces, IF=Intern(ational/al) Forces, HK=????. Also the abbreviations are used to destinguish of the use of the car, such as private or offical. But maybe I am totally wrong. -ThorstenS 13:02, 1 May 2005 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but you are... The abbr. were chosen accidentally, they have no meaning at all. AD and AF were just the first compositions consisting of two letters not used by german authorities. For security reasons and for a more "german lookalike' they were changed to IF and HK later. In the future, there won't exist special numbers for US-personnel in Germany anymore. US military staff will get the same number plates, beginning with the code of the district, like german car owners, so that soldier's cars can't be identified as so. strafrechtler 17:44 11.05.2006 EST

In the German article I have moved the section about the American plates to a separate article since the plates are not issued by German authorities. (The do not even bear any German signs like "D" or the European stars). Maybe there should be an article created such as "US car plates abroad" or so here in the English Wikipedia. Any hints? -ThorstenS 11:16, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I have moved the section regarding US plates to Car number plates (US Army in Germany). Also I added some information. -Toshi 11:12, 19 Jun 2005 (UTC)


HK = private cars of US soldiers in germany See here(german site). (was made to hide that they are foreigners)

from 2006 on US-Army personnel and their families get normal german plates from the city they live in! the old plates with HK, AF and AD are not renewed and there's only a few of them left since most personnel only stays in germany for 2 years or gets another vehicle...

IF are Nato plates, as are X plates, Y is german army.

Car number plates[edit]

I've noticed that the article is written in British English consistently except for "license plate" and was started by an editor from England. I'll change the title to "German car number plates" and copy-edit the article accordingly. SpNeo 08:04, 4 May 2005 (UTC)

No list?[edit]

Hasn't anyone compiled a list of all the Kennzeichen letter combinations? I used to have one or two when I lived there, even listing a few of the obsolete ones! --JohnDBuell | Talk 02:45, 2 October 2005 (UTC)

In the German Wikipedia you find the two lists. One for the currently issued plates and the other one with the obselete but still valid codes. -Toshi 09:58, 2 October 2005 (UTC)


Old plates[edit]

Anyone got some infos on old German plates i.e. before the current system was set up? I have seen some older cars with plates with an IA- prefix etc. Thanks Peter

In the German Wikipedia there is a list of historic codes. "IA" was used between 1906 and 1945 on a police vehicle in Berlin or during the time of the GDR (1945-1990) a private car registered in East-Berlin. -Toshi 17:08, 3 October 2005 (UTC)
East Berlin did not have IA. The GDR system was based on one letter codes, assigned according to their administritive units called Bezirke. In this framework East Berlin was a "Bezirk" and accordingly assigned I. The second letter was arbitrary. So while the combination IA existed, so did IB, IC ... The similarity of some of the codes with the pre-war code may have been intended, but not actually ingrained in the system. Anorak2 (talk) 08:10, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

IA was in place from 1906 till 1945 for privately owned vehicles in berlin. police had Pol from 1933-1945, before that the must have had the same plates as civilian vehicles. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 91.33.112.93 (talk) 08:03, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

Registration of Vehicles in Germany[edit]

I am looking for some information about the registration of vehicles in Germany. Specifically, I am looking for German and English translations of the statutes / ordinances / whatever regulating registrations of vehicles there are.

Please feel free to contact me at the following email address: michael_b_sachs@hotmail.com

Thanks for your help. Michael

The regarding law for this is the "Straßenverkehrszulassungsordnung" [10] (standards about vehicles to be registered, such as what colour does the brake light has and how bright it must be) , partly the "Straßenverkehrsordnung" [11]. I do not know an Englisch version for this laws. Another regulation are the "Anweisungen" (instructions) how to follow the laws. But they are not public as far as I know. They are intended for the work of the officials (like car registration inspectors). If you can tell me your questions I could help more specifics. Or you can write to the Ministry of Transport [12] (under "Kontakt"). -Toshi 13:00, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

Number of possible registrations[edit]

I thought it might be interesting to add the maximum number of possible registrations per location and also the maximum number of civilian vehicles permanently registered. I wanted approval first though, because my math isn't that great. Here is what I figured out:

Each license plate has the following format XXX-YY ZZZZ, where XXX the location, YY the random letters and ZZZZ the random numbers. XXX is of no importance in this calculation.

YY can be one or two letters in the standard latin alphabet without umlauts, thus 26^2 (676) combinations plus an additional 26 when only one letter is used. That makes 702 combinations there if I'm not mistaken.

Z can be any number from 0 to 9, but it doesn't have to be 4 digits long, as it can be 3, 2 or just a single digit aswell, but leading zeros arent allowed.
A single digit means 9 possible combinations ((10^1)-10/10)
2 digits mean 90 combinations (10^2-100/10)
3 digits mean 900 combinations (10^3-1000/10)
4 digits mean 9000 combinations (10^4-10000/10)

That means that there are 9+90+900+9000=9999 combinations in numbers alone. Multiply that with the 702 possible combinations of letters and you get 7,019,298 possible unique registrations per location.

According to this list, there are 560 possible location codes, but these include various state and government used codes which do not follow the standard combination key. If they were to follow the standard key however, it would allow for 3,930,806,880 cars, which means 47.65 cars per resident in 2004 (population: 82,501,000 according to 2004 census). But if someone has the time to filter the list for state owned and reserved location codes, it would be interesting to see what the maximum number of vehicles would be then.

Anyway, someone please double check my calculation and correct it if it's wrong!

Note: Some codes such as SS, SA, KZ etc. and combinations with area codes, example: S-S 100 for Stuttgart or K-Z 100 for Cologne are not allowed (see main article about prohibited combinations). Furthermore the maximum numbers and letters on a plate is 8. This affects three letter-code areas. Hence ABC-DE 1234 is not possible (9 letters/numbers in total). Please take this into account in your calculations. -Toshi 18:38, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for the reminder. I'll look into that later!
OK, some brief calculations have shown that 49995 will leave the list because they allow illegal combinations in the last two letter spaces and a further 49995 because they allow for illegal combinations with a single-letter city. Im assuming that the combination would be granted if the illegal abbreviation is inbetween other letters or split up between the location code and the random letters. Unless I'm mistaken, that should leave 6,919,308 legal combinations.
In order to determine the maximum lengths, i need to look into the location codes some more.
I had a look in your list mentioned above. It seems it is a little bit outdated (DB for Deutsche Bahn has been abolished around 10 years ago for example). I recommend the list on the German wikipedia [13]. Note: also federal government codes are on the list such as THW, BW, Y, or the local governments ("Landtag") such as BYL, NRW. -Toshi 12:29, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for the update. I had noticed the local governments myself. Since Bremen, Hamburg and Berlin use the same location code for the city as they use for the government, 13 other local governments will be left. Because of the Stadtstaaten, the final number will be slightly off anyway, since it would assume that the local governments have no vehicles registered. But are you sure about the fact that DB is no longer used for Die Bahn? I'm pretty sure I saw a vehicle with DB that was certainly not older than two years. Or could it be that license plates that have been issued to former government agencies can be transfered without typical Sperrfrist on civil plates? I also noticed on the German Wikipedia, that some cities reserve certain letter combinations for certain businesses. And what is also not considered in the calculations, is that people that are called something like Hanz Jürgen can PROBABLY register HJ, in spite of the association with the Hitlerjugend. It seems this calculation is going a bit out of hand. One can say for sure that there are probably enough possible combinations to issue a license plate to every vehicle on earth, not just in Germany.
With DB or BP they are definetely no longer in use since this companies have been privatized and therefore no longer entitled to use special plates. Have a look on these plate samples if you have really seen this plates. But BP has been assigned recently to the federal police (Bundespolizei). The current code BG (Bundesgrenzschutz) will be no longer issued. About the "Nazi"-Codes from my experience only NS and SD are maybe issued if you have your name starts with these letters . But SD is mainly banned in the federal state of Hessen and almost everywhere else in Germany available for registration (even without special reason). -Toshi 07:37, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

your forgetting that the combinations can be xxx-yy 1234 but in the same city there's also xxx-y 1, xxx-y 12, xxx-y 123, xxx-yy 1, xxx-yy 12, xxx-yy 123. germany doesn't have a rigid numbering plan, the same with its telephone numbers, it's a huge bummer for us... who like it simple... LOL... —Preceding unsigned comment added by 91.33.112.93 (talk) 08:07, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

Emmission test sticker[edit]

I'm guessing that the color of the sticker reflects the year in which the sticker expires? Also, could a photo or diagram of a sticker not expiring in December be uploaded? This would make it clearer how the black mark is used (particularly if the photo is placed next to a photo of a sticker expiring in Dec). --Badger151 19:04, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

Correct the colour shows the expiry year, see list at the end of the article. Regarding an impression of a different expiry month you can download the current photo, rotate it by software and upload it again (preferable WikiCommons). The registration offices in Germany just do like that, they turn the sticker on the plate rather than having for each month a differnt one (in case you ask whether the year is shown always on upright position) -Toshi 13:50, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

East German number plates[edit]

"As they only started using the modern system in 1990 after German reunification, many of the possible shorter combinations had already been used up in western Germany. Thus, big east German cities like Dresden have two letter codes (DD) instead of one (D)"

I think this sentence has to be questioned. As far as I know, all East German districts had been considered when inventing the new number plate system after World War II (already anticipating a possible re-unification). Waldgeist 22:01, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

Well the biggest city only in GDR was Leipzig, but L was taken by a smaller municipality. They had to give it up, in favour of Leipzig. Most other cities in GDR were not so big, compared to West Germany. Compare Magdeburg/München, Dresden/Düsseldorf etc-- BIL (talk) 12:45, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
L was originally reserved for Leipzig but reused in the mid-80s. After 1990 Leipzig fought to get its L "back". This case is an exception which proves the rule that East German codes were assigned in the 1950s, including some one-letter coes: C, G, J, L, P, Z Anorak2 (talk) 06:01, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

Old photos of plates![edit]

there's one picture of a license plate that appears to be current, but it's not! the "Official registered vehicle for disaster relief" example is the old pre-1994 plate, not the new plate!

also there's one license plate size missing, the one for small motorcycles and farm vehicles, those are smaller, almost like the US license plates, in fact US-Army personnel is issued those plates if they can't fit the regular german sized plates. imports from abroad are also issued those plates if the space is not sufficient for regular plates! —Preceding unsigned comment added by 91.33.112.93 (talk) 08:12, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

I disagree, the majority of the plates are still issued today. The old one's which are no longer issued but remain valid are: KA-RR 232, ERH 8500 and WÜ-06131. The oval Zollkennzeichen (408 Z-8330) is the only plate on the page which is not issued in this style anymore and has been replaced by the FE style plate (Sample: MKK 458 C) -Toshi (talk) 16:01, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

FE-Mittelschrift typeface[edit]

Interesting article at SpiekerBlog (en): Complete forgery detailing Germany's new licence plate typeface: "The official typeface for our license plates is now called FE-Mittelschrift, with FE meaning it is Fälschungs-Erschwert, i.e. difficult to forge. ..." Just a pointer, in case there's any usable information for this article, or somewhere else related. :) -- Quiddity (talk) 08:08, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

Blue EU-flag is NOT seen on all plates in the EU[edit]

In the section "Format" it is stated, that all registration plates within the EU displays the blue square to the left; this is not the case in Denmark, so the information is incorrect. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 84.238.27.168 (talk) 09:59, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

BÜS = Büsingen[edit]

Mention should be made of one exception, BÜS = Büsingen, this is not a Kreis (in this article translated as district, but more equivalent to a "county"), it is a mere "Gemeinde" (Parish). This is licence plate famed as having the fewest vehicles registered (812, according to the German version of this article, the one with the most vehicles is B = Berlin). Büsingen gets this honour because it is an exclave and a tax-free area. The different number plates distinguishes the vehicles from those of the rest of the Kreis (KN = Konstanz) because if a Büsingen vehicle is sold elsewhere in Germany tax must be paid. TiffaF (talk) 16:21, 20 May 2009 (UTC)

Bremerhaven[edit]

Why hasn't the city of Bremerhaven an own district code? --88.77.250.127 (talk) 15:32, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Bremerhaven belongs to the state of Bremen which has the code HB assigned

--92.224.61.243 (talk) 21:56, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

Green lettering[edit]

I see some German lorries on UK roads with green lettering instead of the normal black. Is there some reason for this, and if so, shouldn't it be in the article? (My apologies if it already is - couldn't find it.) Peridon (talk) 18:40, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

You'll find the explanation under 1.4 Special Codes in relation to vehicles exempt from taxes. Michael Poplawski (talk) 23:38, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
Ta. Peridon (talk) 21:28, 19 September 2009 (UTC)

No mention of Bonn plates?[edit]

International organisations have their own special plates, all registered to Bonn (BN) regardless of where its owner lives. It is then followed by 3 digits, then a hyphen, then 3 more digits (syntax: BN 111-111). The first 3 represent the organisation (e.g. 172 for European Aviation Safety Agency, which operates from Cologne), while the latter 3 represent the number within that series. Yet this is not mentioned at all in the article. --Svippong 17:06, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

East Germany[edit]

I think we need an article, or at least a brief section in this article, giving some details of the system of plates in the GDR, as presently it is not discussed here. If anyone is knowledgeable about this, I hope they will contribute something. Credulity (talk) 08:59, 30 July 2012 (UTC)

Region Decals[edit]

When did Germany begin using the regional decals? What decals would have been used on the following plates in 1990?

OS-AM 504 HH-DE 978 — Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.99.15.202 (talk) 17:09, 16 June 2014 (UTC)