Keeping the hoodlums at home

I have finally discovered why only intelligent and well behaved Germans travel abroad.

This week going through Düsseldorf airport looking for my departure gate, I came across the following sign

Weird sums

Weird sums

Now, as a mother of three school children I am obviously familiar with this sort of thing. Just as I’m relaxing after work, one of them will inevitably come and push a piece of paper covered in impenetrable equations under my nose and say:

“Can you help me with number 4b? I’ve got to work out the value of x.”

I now know why they teach this stuff in German schools. It’s so that your kids can find their way through airports in later life. A little further on I saw this:

Hard mathematical problem

Hard mathematical problem

This one’s obviously a bit trickier – but I can see the point of setting difficult algebraic problems in an airport situation. I mean, a nation doesn’t want its ignorant unwashed lager-louts to head off to the world’s holiday resorts and disgrace themselves does it? Clearly there is a German government plan to stop the hoodlums from flying, simply by making it impossible to solve the mathematical problem which will lead them to work out the number of their departure gate. Only well educated, intelligent Germans will represent the nation abroad, and everyone else will be under the impression that there are only nice clever Germans.


Now, I must dash… does anyone know which gate I’m flying from?


Filed under Life in Germany

8 responses to “Keeping the hoodlums at home

  1. Okay, that’s hilarious! Why pluses on some and hyphens on others? So typically German!

  2. This truly makes no sense.
    Have fun on your trip. I think I am planning a cruise, but Hubby is dragging his feet.

  3. Well , no wonder! You’ve cleared up the mystery, Cathy! Nice blog.

    (sent to you via Ian in Hamburg)

  4. As someone who just navigated Frankfurt airport two days ago, I can sympathize. First you come out of the terminal (I’m talking international flights) and find the Sixt desk. Wahoo! It’s easy. HAHA. Next try to find an elevator for your luggage cart with 7, yes 7 suitcases piled on it. There’s one elevator with a mile long wait. So trek ten minutes to find another… with a half mile wait. So say forget it and take the darn thing on the escalator (while also managing a baby in a carseat stacked on a stroller and pulling another rolling suitcase plus herding a 6 year old). Once you do that, walk 20 minutes down the very hot humid hall to the actual rental car. Yep, easy as pie.

  5. Michael

    I have never been to an airport, but I think
    it has nothing to do with algebra.
    I think in this case “-” means “to” and “B” stands for “Terminal B”:
    “B73 + B75 – B80” is the short form for “gate B73, followed by gate B75, B76, B77, B78, B79, B80”. “B53 – B51” means “gate B53, followed by gate B52 and B51” and “B74 + B72 + B71″ stands for ” gate B74, followed by gate B72 and B71″.

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