Ich bin ein Berliner

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After two attempts at Bürgeramt I am as of this morning a registered citizen of Berlin. I’m not sure if it means anything else than a go-ahead to press onwards towards a Finanzamt tax number and a Berliner Sparkasse bank account. Though right now I’m unsure of how these two missions can be successfully completed, since Finanzamt says I need a bank account for my tax registration and Sparkasse says I need a tax number before opening a bank account…

Registering your address at Bürgeramt should be quite easy. To avoid the potentially long queues you can make an appointment via the Bürgeramt webpage, which I did. My appointment was for yesterday, half past one, and after some initial language difficulty I was shown to an administrator who spoke English, and the whole thing was over in about 12 minutes. However, when I later took a closer look at my confirmed registration the address I had gotten registered at wasn’t my own but my landlords. So this morning I went back to Bürgeramt to get my registration corrected, and although I was there precisely when they opened, 21 people were already in line before me. And it was a actual line. A queue to an office where you state your business and get your waiting number (basically a queue before waiting some more). I managed to (in German, very proud about that) state my business and since it was regarding an error I was moved to the top of the queue. This made one guy freak out (a bit too early for a freak out I think, since the office had only been open for ten minutes), but I managed to explain (again in German(or some sort of German)) that I had already been there the day before and that my registration needed to be corrected. After which he apologized. When I think about it, maybe his unwillingness to spend an extra second at Bürgeramt was kind of understandable. The whole atmosphere there is boring (to me fascinatingly boring, but then I’ve only been there two times and never really had to wait for any substantial amount of time). Bürgeramt is the perfect stereotype of a grey or beige municipal bureaucratic institution. They have chairs. And rooms. And walls. And photocopied papers. There is also a rumor that in an office somewhere there are still GDR flags, but sadly I saw none. They do however also have stamps, which I really liked, and my registration paper got two of them. One with the bear, which certainly should be the best one.

The pictures above were taken last week when there was sun. This week there is none.

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