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The Paperwork Cult

I’m starting to believe that German bureaucrats belong to some sort of cult – the paperwork cult. Its members hide in plain sight, spend hours in their filing fortresses, feed on officially approved certificates and have mental Bescheinigasms 1 every time they use their seal to stamp a document. 

Truth be told, dealing with paperwork in Germany seems pretty straight-forward, at least compared to other countries. However, the system has a catch: the daunting amount of documents, forms and certificates necessary to accomplish any task, which makes any bureaucratic procedure a highly intimidating and time-consuming experience. At times I even think that the system is so convoluted so that you give up halfway through the process. Oh, and don’t get me started on the Amtsprache 2.

I wonder if Germans have ever thought about simplifying their system. If they were to, it would go like this:

Expat Gone Foreign, tXc, Paperwork cult, paperworkmania, German bureaucracy, Bürokratie


If you liked this strip, check out The Anatomy of a Beamter to unravel the secrets behind the insatiable bureaucratic monster.

The Anatomy of a Beamter

What is Germany’s worst nightmare for both Germans and foreigners? Bürokratie. And who’s behind the insatiable bureaucratic monster? The Beamter.

Expat Gone Foreign, tXc, German Bureaucracy, Beamte, Bürokratie
To be honest, so far I’ve encountered a fair amount of decent government employees at the Ausländeramt (Immigration Office), the Bezirksamt (District Office) and even the Finanzamt (Tax and Revenue Office); but some months ago I started dealing with the LBV (the equivalent of the DMV) to have an American driver’s license transferred, and that’s when all the fun started. By fun I don’t necessarily mean the stack of official documents to be collected, but the fact that none of the many Beamte I’ve been dealing with seem to agree on the requirements and procedure for the transfer.

Also, I’ve started the series “the Anatomy of _______” to depict the different kinds of folks out and about. If you have cool ideas and want them cartoonized, leave a comment or send me an e-mail! : )

The Marriage Legalization

If you haven’t heard, Germany legalized same-sex marriage this week. It was high time, Germany. It was hiiiiigh time.

Expat Gone Foreign, tXc, Marriage, Germany, It was high time

P.S. Speaking of moving into the future… if you could “legalize” debit cards as a form of store payment – like every other country on Earth – that’d be great.