Once upon a time, the town of Mittenwalde, Germany, was a seat of medieval power in Germany. However, since the glory days of the 1500s, Mittenwalde has fallen on hard times and its population has shrunk to 8,800 people. Meanwhile, Berlin has become one of the world’s most powerful capitals, but Mittenwalde hasn’t forgotten its place. On May 28, 1562, Mittenwalde loaned Berlin 400 guilders (gold coins) at a 6 percent interest rate. Today, Berlin owes Mittenwalde 11,200 guilders, or $136.79 million dollars US. Maybe Berlin and Mittenwalde can work out a trade to pay for the debt; I’m sure Mittenwalde could use some ginseng.
“In 1893 there was a debate in which the document was examined and the writing was determined to be authentic,” said Mittenwalde town historian Vera Schmidt, who uncovered the writ of debt from the town archives.
The debt was filed away in 1963, but every 50 years or so, someone in Mittenwalde discovers just how much Berlin owes them and tries to collect. Recently, Berlin finance senator Ulrich Nussbaum met with Schmidt and Mittenwalde mayor Uwe Pfeiffer and gave the town a historic guilder from 1563, but no serious attempt has ever been made at repaying the massive debt, probably due to Berlin’s existing financial obligations not dating back to the middle ages. Berlin is $77 million dollars in the red.
Tags: berlin, mittenwalde, germany, old debts, unusual debts, berlin owes mittenwalde 6.79 million dollars, 400 guilders loan turns into hundred million dollar debt, municipal debt, debt does unpaid since 1562, loans, interest, vera schmidt, Mayor Uwe Pfeiffer, ulrich nussbaum