What You Can Learn From License Plates In Switzerland

In Switzerland, license plates are assigned based on experience, thus low number plates usually indicate someone who has been driving a long time (i.e., an old person). Larger cantons (GE, ZH, etc.) have more cars and so the numbers on the plates extend much higher.

Very low numbers (e.g., “GE 3”) usually are assigned to taxis. On government cars have a single letter (instead of the canton): “A” for administration, “M” for military. There are no personalized license plates.

Diplomatic plates are all over Geneva.  They have CD in a blue square on the left of the plate.

Each canton (like a state) has its own abbreviation.  When you are in the parking lot of a ski resort, you are easily able to tell where the other skiers live in Switzerland.  I find looking at them is helpful in learning the coat of arms for each canton.

The abbreviations for the cantons (listed in German, French Italian and English) are:

Often, you see EU (European Union) plates in Geneva.  It’s understandable given our proximity to France.  Sometimes, you even see foreign plates.

I once saw US plates while I was riding on the bus.  Sorry, I couldn’t get a photo.


 

6 thoughts on “What You Can Learn From License Plates In Switzerland

  1. Pingback: Why Didn’t Hitler Invade Switzerland? | schwingeninswitzerland

  2. A low number plate in Switzerland has little to nothing to do with the driver’s driving experience. 1), you can get a low number plate like I did by simply walking into the registration office and being handed one, irrespective of how much driving experience you have. 2), low number plates are handed down from one family member to another. They can be given to first year drivers. 3), capitalism exists and no matter what the offices may tell you, wealthy individuals, including recent expat residents, seem to frequently have very low numbers.

  3. Pingback: Neuchâtel, As Cute As Any French Town…But Swiss | schwingeninswitzerland

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