Do you ever wax nostalgic about passport stamps? If you’re European, you might.

As a result of more efficient border control, such as the Schengen Agreement, you can travel in much of Europe without a passport. Even when a passport is required, it merely warrants a cursory glance. And while I applaud easy access to European countries, a slightly silly part of me long for the days when things were just a wee bit more complicated.

passport stamps

Scandinavian passport stamps

The Nordic countries have had a passport-free union for decades, so this Danish passport stamp must have been by request:

Passport stamp, Denmark
Today, you won’t get a passport stamp, even on request.

Passport stamps – and a visa

For a while, France was plagued with terrorist attacks. Flights were dirt cheap and a visa was required:

French visa, 1987

DDR passport stamp

Some European countries no longer exist. Remember DDR?

DDR passport stamp, 1983

And crossing into East Berlin at Checkpoint Charlie?

Stamp from Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin, 1983

This wasn’t an official stamp, but an interesting one all the same. When entering East Berlin, you were forced to exchange 25 Deutsche Mark into Ostmark, East marks. Trouble was, there was hardly anything to spend it on, other than beer. You got gallons of beer for 25 marks in East Berlin back then.

How about Czechoslovakia?

Czechoslovakia passport stamp, 1989

Or Yugoslavia?

Yugoslavian passport stamp

Skofije is still in Slovenia. Only Slovenia is no longer a part of Yugoslavia.

Liechtenstein passport stamps – then and now

Liechtenstein passport stamp, 1976 Liechtenstein passport stamp, 2006

Today it’s strictly business: Get your passport stamped at the tourist office in Vaduz or Malbun for 4 CHF. As you can tell, I fell for it…