Amt ergo am

Forms have been filled, stamps stamped, rights read and Germany’s bureaucratic belly tickled to the extent nature is now allowed take its course. Finally, the kid can come.
Last week the Vaterschaftsanerkennung, this morning it was the gemeinsames Sorgerechtserklärung – the first to formally declare my fatherness and the second to have its rights explained to us in excruciating detail.
Fatherhood is not possible in this country without trips to the Rathaus, Bürgeramt, Jugendamt and Standesamt. I amt joking – a whole colony of amts. Otherwise the nipper’s existence could not be approved by Queen Amt Angela.
For the Vaterschaftsanerkennung I arrived armed to the teeth with all the forms I received from officialdom since I moved here, but your wan behind the desk wanted the one form I hadn’t got – my birth cert. Without it, she had no way of knowing I was born at all. Perhaps I was a figment of her imagination. Maybe I am.
The very notion of existence can only be comprehended by Germans if accompanied by a stamped form. Descartes’ theory? Worthless. It was never stamped by the Bürgeramt in Pankow.
Once I returned with the birth cert, there was a hullaballoo about it being in another language (one of those being English). Apparently my name and date of birth will have to be translated by a lawyer or judge or the King of Germany and stamped (very important) for some more bureaucratic challenges to come before I’m allowed be a proper father.
For the time being she contented herself by quizzing me to ensure I was sober/conscious/aware of what I was doing. Perhaps she still had doubts over my existence due to my birth cert being in an exotic language. Eventually she stamped her stamp and I stamped out.
It was the same today at Weißensee Rathaus – questions, forms, speeches – before the giant rat stamped its stamp of authority and I stamped out. I stamp, therefore I am.


  1. Oh lordy. Had that same birth certificate problem when we got married. First I attempted to just translate the damn thing myself, but as I have not been issued the official fucking stamp, that was, of course, not allowed. Never mind that everyone in this country takes English classes starting at 10 years old, no, no, that doesn't possibly qualify them to understand English phrases such as "date of birth" and "name."

  2. Hey, stop moaning and try doing any of these things when you're a foreigner in Ireland. Nightmare I tell you. mws

  3. Forked out €25 to have the birth cert translated (and stamped). Apparently that's good - some people pay up to €60! Thievery is all it is. I'd like a stamp so I could stamp it on their heads.

    MWS - I've never been a foreigner in Ireland but I'm pretty sure it can't be as ridiculous as it is here. And if it is - serves them right - bleedin foreigners comin to our lovely country and stealin our jobs and our women. It's them whats ruined the place I tells ya.
    Begob. I'm goin for a pint.

  4. And I thought Sweden was bad for paperwork.....

  5. oh the bureaucracy in german speaking countries! they love their stamps, don't they? when i read that part about the nipper's existence being approved, i immediately thought about the birth certificate drama and i was going to write something like "without that document you cannot prove that you were born or that you exist" and i couldn't help but laugh when i saw that you wrote something similar as i kept reading. i think i'm gonna write about my fun experiences at various "amt"s too... if i can make it sound much more entertaining than it actually was, that is. great job there, irish berliner.

  6. German paperwork keeps Swedish paper mills milling. Papier ohne Ende!

  7. Contrary to Ireland, Germany is a properly organised country. Get your act together.


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