Permission to Use Roads


This is from a family holiday back in the 20st century. In summer 1985, we crossed the inner-German border at checkpoint Lauenburg/Horst to tour Mecklenburg-Vorpommern for three days by car. Permission was needed to use the GDR road infrastructure. It cost 10 West German Mark and had to be bought with GDR border control. The fee receipt (Gebührenbescheinigung) was well kept in the family photo album. It is in one sentence and translates as follows:

“For using the Roads of the German Democratic Republic during a one-off trip to the German Democratic Republic (Level 1) and back according to legislation in force of the German Democratic Republic fees of 10 DM were paid.”


Ignaz Strebel is an urban geographer and senior scientist at the University of Lausanne. His research is on the social and material practices that make up and transform urban systems. Using ethnography and audio-visual projects, he currently researches building care work, energy infrastructure services and the transformation capacities of prefabricated buildings.

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