After the last few years, it’s impossible to say what the world has in store for us over the next twelve months, other than expect everything and don’t rely on anything. Sounds pessimistic? Not at all, just being realistic and ready to roll with the punches.

Irrespective of what might happen this year, there already is one bit of decidedly good news for 2024: The Bundestag (German parliament) will finally be getting rid of all fax machines that are still in the building. Yeah! Last November, the Bundestag’s Budget Committee made the momentous decision to say goodbye to fax machines by 30 June 2024 at the latest, as they are no longer needed thanks to e-mail and the like (!) and all processes and activities “for which fax machines are currently used are to be carried out completely digitally”.

The special German relationship with fax machines, as embodied in this example of the country’s most important constitutional body, is something I have long wondered about. I still get lots of emails from German clients and business partners that feature fax numbers in their footers and I’m always thinking “are they really still using those?”. I mean, are they really? I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I can’t remember the last time I sent a fax and I also can’t remember any recent occasions where I thought “god, I wish there was a fax machine around, I don’t know how to communicate otherwise”. Ok, I’m fully aware of the danger of cyberattacks that can force us back to using pen, paper and fax machines as was the case last November in a major German hospital after one such incident. So, maybe I shouldn’t be so sneery after all because, as above, who knows what 2024 has in store.

Irrespective of that, I’m definitely not the only one who is surprised about the ongoing presence of fax machines in Germany: After having made the “out with the fax machines” announcement, a member of the Bundestag’s Budget Committee told a German newspaper that the many fax machines in the German Bundestag (at that time still hundreds of them!) are an “anachronism” as they are “completely superfluous” and “always cause astonishment among Bundestag visitors”. Want to be even more astonished? No problem, here comes the ultimate irony to end this oh so German tale: The corresponding motion to the Budget Committee to get rid of the fax machines was submitted – you guessed it – by fax… Happy New Year!

Barbara Geier is a London-based freelance writer, translator and communications consultant. She is also the face behind, a German travel and tourism guide and blog that was set up together with UK travel writer Andrew Eames in 2010.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Discover Germany, Switzerland & Austria.

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