Süddeutsche Zeitung, Monday, November 13th, 1989, p. 2

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Welcome Money

The 100 mark payments which are handed out to visitors from the GDR on their arrival in West Berlin or the Federal Repulic have been around since 1 September 1987. The so-called "greeting money" is payable once per year; to control this, a stamp is placed in the visitor's passport. The cash is disbursed by municipalities, which are later reimbursed by the federal government. With the big crush, payment has in recent days also been entrusted to post offices and savings banks. Until the greeting money was raised to its current level, it had been thiry marks. Until that time GDR citizens arriving in the Federal Republic were able to convert 70 marks of their currency into DM. That was then reduced to 15 Marks. The Federal Government took to the cause to establish the greeting cash to make accessible to the visitors at least a certain amount of western currency.

In the year 1988 approximately 261 million marks in greeting funds were paid. In the current year's budget, 300 million marks are earmarked for the payments. After the torrent of visitors of this weekend, but more because of the number of visitors still expected, this part of the budget will have to be drastically increased.

  Frederik Ramm, 2001-04-27