Saturday, 21 February 2015

vanity-plates

Ages ago, the private motor vehicles of Americas affiliated with the military stationed in Germany were plated with distinctive licenses, as if the major of American cars weren’t already conspicuous enough—with either the prefix HK for bumpers that took the short, standard US tags or AD for bumpers that could accommodate the longer, German style license plates.
These codes, which apparently did not stand for anything, were assigned since no county or city had claimed these particular combinations, e.g. KT for Landkriese Kitizen, M for Munich, S for Stuttgart, HD for Heidelberg, etc. Later, in the name of force-protection, vehicles followed the same naming-convention as their local hosts. With the devolution of the licensing and registration laws in Germany and districting reforms, a whole new slew of possibilities opened up, including the disused HK, that is now reserved for automobiles from County Heide (Landkriese Heidekrise) in Lower Saxony. We noticed this on our way back from Hamburg. The county seat of this area on the Lüneburg Heath is a town by the name of Bad Fallingbostel. The town is incidentally host to a garrison of the British Army—at least through this year, as the Ministry of Defense (MOD) plans to withdraw, as the Americans are drawing-down, all their soldiers from Germany by 2020.