Anti-terror red tape

How the west was won…and how the war on terror was lost.

After my passport got stolen last week, the police were very helpful filling out the right forms for stolen identity papers (not the same papers for a burglary), even on a Saturday. After the weekend was over, it was time to figure out how to get a replacement. A call to the consulate in Ã…rhus. They were closed for vacation. Bugger. Call the embassy in Copenhagen. I could try the consulates in either Aalborg or Fredericia, both about 100km from Ã…rhus, one to the north, the other to the south. Let’s try Fredericia. A very friendly consul explained the procedure and made fun of the insanely detailed new rules for the picture. Remember, this is for your safety only!

He explained that he had a cooperation with a photografer in Fredericia and gave me the address and route. So, I took half a day off and off I went. Oh no! The photografer was closed for vacation as well. Well, go to the consulate and see what we can do about it. No other photografer in Fredericia knew the dutch rules or couldn’t even make pictures with a grey (not white, as the rest of the world) background. Remeber, this is for your safety only!

After a lot of calls, the consul couldn’t find out which photografer i Ã…rhus the consulate there was working with, because then I would have been able to go home and send the picture to him. Oh well, not much else to do then go to Odense, where the nearest consulate was, only another 60km. So, back into Fredericia for some lunch, time was running late, and onwards to Odense. Low and behold, the one guy at the photografer who knew about the dutch rules, had a day off! After some discussion, this wasn’t necessarily a problem. Another one could take the picture, and then when the other guy comes in tomorrow, he can edit it in PhotoShop so it fits the dutch rules. This now means, that the picture is taken, then electronically edited, then printed, send to the embassy, then scanned to be added to the very super extra secure chip on the passport. I’ll leave it up to the reader to determine how secure this new procedure is. But I almost forgot. This is for my safety only!

All in all, I just used a whole day and over 300 km (200 mi) to get a new picture for my passport, which I could have made myself in PhotoShop. Looking at the bright side, the weather was fantastic (expect for the wind and the occasional tunder and hail shower) for a motorbike ride. The fresh air hopefully has done me good.

  1. i first read about this creative use of PhotoShop at and *wow* it happens in other countries as well.
    Luckily my passport is valid for another two years….

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