What's in a name? - Balz Engler

Go to content

What's in a name?


Oh, and then there is the problem of my first name(s). My parents christened me "Walter Balthasar", after my godfather, and, well, one of the three magi (and any number of servants in Shakespeare). But I have always been called "Balz", which is a good old Swiss short form of "Balthasar". That's also how I sign. But ...
(a) Germans only know "Balz" as a second name. So I am often called "Herr Balz".
(b) Officially the name by which I am called does not exist. When I book a flight I have to remember that I am not "Balz".
(c) Recently it has been decided that the name by which one is called has to be the first, not the second first name. In the new passports the name by which one is called is no longer underlined.

(d) When I book a flight I have to use my full name as it appears in my passport. As there is not enough space on the boarding card, they call me ENGLER WALTERBALTH.
(e) A bank has told me that their computer only accepts the first first name, and the initial of the second one. For them I therefore have to be "Walter B. Engler".
(f) Only too late I realized that "Balz" may sound strange as a name in English.
(g) On my Swiss identity card my first first name is misspelled ("Malter"), and the authorities are only ready to correct it if I pay for it.

Who can tell me who I am? Or rather: What's in a name?

Back to content