Expatica news

Not so loud!

27 April 2004

BERLIN- Authorities in Berlin fined a woman about EUR 25 for laughing loudly – in her own home, according to a report Tuesday.

But the 47-year-old woman got the last laugh when she took the matter to court, where a judge threw out the fine, calling it “laughable”, said the report in Berliner Kurier newspaper.

It was no laughing matter last 3 December when the woman, identified only as Barbara M., invited co-workers from her architectural firm to her apartment in the Moabit district of Berlin.

“It was a working dinner and, after things got going, there was a good deal of laughter,” she said.

Next thing she knew, police officers banged on the door at 10:30 p.m., saying her downstairs neighbour had complained about “four hours of sustained, raucous laughter”.

The neighbour, 52-year-old Bernd F., who lives with his mother, pointed out that it is against the law in Germany to make too much noise after 10 p.m.

To top it off, she subsequently received a formal complaint from district authorities demanding she pay a fine of about EUR 25 for “loud laughter between 6 and 10:30 p.m.”

A Berlin judge on Monday threw out the complaint, saying, “The sound of human laughter and, for that matter human crying, is a generally accepted part of life.”


Subject: German news