August Break: License Plates

I’m on an August Break from my regular blogging schedule. Here’s today’s picture.

License plates in Europe are kind of fascinating to me.  Within the European Union, modern plates (issued after 1994) typically look like the one pictured below, but with a few key differences.  They all have the circle of stars that represents the EU, but there’s a letter underneath which represents the source country.  This plate is D for Deutschland, naturally.  There’s also F for France, A for Austria, I for Italy, and so forth.  Plates from Switzerland look different because they aren’t actually EU members; they go their own way.


Here in Germany, the first letter (or grouping of letters) represents the city where the plate was issued.  Bigger cities tend to have single character codes, such as B for Berlin, L for Leipzig, M for Munich, and so forth.  The R below is for Regensburg.  Smaller cities have multi-letter codes.  Nearby Schwandorf gets the amusing license code SAD, which leads to all kinds of “sad” plates making me giggle on a daily basis.  Immediately after the city code, there are safety inspection and registration stickers, and then some other letters and numbers that are unique to each vehicle.


Do you think I’m a little nuts for being this fascinated by something as mundane as license plate configurations?


4 thoughts on “August Break: License Plates

  1. I like the visitors from Cham, whose plates often spell out words like



    You can’t do much fun stuff with the Regensburg-issued plates, because of restrictions on the format.

    1. The ‘R’ is obligatory, natch.
    2. The next group of two characters must be letters.
    3. The next group of three characters must be numbers.

    Source: Regensburg’s motor vehicle custom license plate webpage.


    1. Robert

      In a village nearby are 2 cars with a registration in Cham – one ready CHAOS and the other one reads CHAOT (slob).

      Btw.2 letters and 3 numbers are only used in the town of Regensburg – the county Regensburg uses (besides the leading R):
      2 letters & 1 number
      2 letters & 2 numbers
      2 letters & 4 numbers (they started using that just recently)
      1 letter & 3 numbers
      1 letter & 4 numbers

      It works out pretty well, if you like the initials of your name on your license plate and either your first or your last name starts with an R, but besides that there’s not much to do (R-EX would make you king, though ;-)).


  2. Not nuts at all. There’s a whole thread on toytown devoted to amusing combinations on licence plates. And when I worked in my dad’s garage years ago I used to spend hours pouring over the little books listing the various registration combinations for the different counties and years. Then Ireland changed to the very simple format they have now and it got boring and easy (two-digit year followed by city/country abbreviation followed by unique number – always fun trying to spot the car with the newest number in the new year all the same, e.g. 13 D 02 (01 is always the Lord Mayor’s car apparently – that might be an urban legend though)). My favourite German one is a painter’s van near me. He followed up the D for Dusseldorf with RY. Very fitting.


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