German car registration plates

OK this doesn’t sound like a very interesting title for a post I know - but I have finally been able to understand why registration plates mean something different to Nicole than they do to me.

Ever since Nicole moved to the UK she has noticed regisration plates - foreign cars (especially German ones) and sometimes English ones also. I never look at registration plates - unless for some reason I am forced to, in traffic jam say or when following the same car for ages on motorway. I might know the end three letters for a few friends cars so that I could recognise them but nothing more.

I have always found it strange how Nicole knows the whole of the registrations from all her family and some of her friends - firstly I thought this was something peculiar to Nicole but then found out that this seems to be quite common in Germany.

Now that we have had to register our van I found out much more about the German registrations plates - and it all makes sense.

The first two letters (as you possibly know) represent the city that the car is registerd in, M for Munich and HH for Hamburg and in this region it is TR for Trier.  Then there are two more letters and then 3 numbers. When we went to register the van I found out that for €10 you can pick the letters and numbers and most people do - and therefore there is a system for them also.

I know from the top of my head Nicole’s dad’s registration plate as it has his initials and the last three numbers are the month and day of his birthday. Our van has my name AL and the last three numbers are the day after Nicole and I met (the actual day was already taken).

So what I have realised is that once you know the system you keep noticing cars on the road, if I am walking in the village and there is a car coming towards me I look at the first two letters straight away - if they are not TR I probably don’t know the people inside. If they are then I might see if I recognise the car then look at the next two letters to guess who it might be from their initials - honestly I didn’t start this on purpose like a train spotter I just suddenly realised I was doing it - they all do here!

So there you go - another little mystery about Nicole solved for me - each day I learn more! :-D