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Sputnik, Schnucki, Tailbone? The baby names banned in Austria

In Austria, there are certain rules around naming a child - with some names completely banned.

Sputnik, Schnucki, Tailbone? The baby names banned in Austria
What baby names are not allowed in Austria? Photo by Matt Walsh on Unsplash

Naming a baby is an important part of welcoming a child into the world and becoming a parent. But did you know there are names that are not allowed in Austria?

Yes, you read that correctly. There are some first names in Austria that are actually banned.

The reason for this is to protect the welfare of a child, with rules in place to prohibit any names that are ridiculous or offensive.

A name must also correspond with the gender of a baby, which means naming a boy Mary, or a girl Günther, is off the table.

Here’s what you need to know about naming a child in Austria.

The rules for naming a child

In theory, parents in Austria have the right to choose the name of their child. But there are some rules to follow and bureaucracy to comply with before the decision is final.

First, a declaration of the first name has to be submitted in writing to the responsible registry office. This is a mandatory step to issue a birth certificate.

However, if parents can’t decide on a baby name straight away, the declaration can be submitted up to 40 days after the birth.

READ MORE: What are the rules for vaccinating children in Austria?

Next, the process has to include a declaration from one parent (or the mother if they aren’t married) to guarantee the consent of both parties to the naming of the baby.

But if a name is banned or deemed detrimental to the child’s welfare, then it can’t be entered onto the birth register.

This means a birth certificate can’t be issued, which can seriously impact the future of a child.

In some cases, such as the parents unable to agree on a name, the guardianship court might even be notified.

Austria is not the only country to have baby naming rules though, with most countries having a process in place to avoid babies being given offensive or inappropriate names.

Banned names in Austria

So, which first names are actually banned in Austria?

Basically, anything that is not typically associated with a person or considered as a legitimate name.

READ MORE: What are kids allowed to do alone under Austrian law?

For example, car brands, cities and comic book characters are all taboo. The same applies to names like Graf or Doktor.

According to a report in the Kurier, this is a non-exhaustive list of banned baby names in Austria.

  • Pumuckl
  • Medusa
  • Cerberus
  • Pepsi
  • Gramophone
  • Lenin
  • Bierstüberl
  • Atomic peace
  • Sputnik
  • Coccyx (tailbone)
  • Troublemaker
  • Majesty
  • MC Donald
  • Rasputin
  • Satan
  • Judas
  • Cain 
  • Nutella
  • Pi
  • Rainer (if the last name is “Zufall”)
  • Axel (if the surname is “sweat”)
  • Schnucki
  • Tiger

Most popular baby names in 2020

On the other hand, there are some names that are so fashionable they become the most popular baby names in the country.

According to the annual Statistics Austria report, the most popular names for newborns in 2020 were Marie and Jakob.

The name Marie was chosen 734 times and Jakob was selected 794 times.

In 2019, Emma and Maximilian took the top spots for baby names in Austria, while Marie and Jakob were both the third most popular names for girls and boys respectively.

READ MORE: What will the rules be for children returning to school in Austria this autumn?

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How to deal with fruit flies plaguing your Austrian flat

Do dozens of little fruit flies swarm across your Austrian kitchen in the warmer months? Now temperatures are heating up, here are a few clever ways of dealing with the problem.

How to deal with fruit flies plaguing your Austrian flat
A fruit fly on a banana skin. Photo: DPA/Daniel Naupold

Warm springs and summer in Austria are a time when tiny critters get in your face and generally behave in an irritating way. In hot years the wasps are out in force (at least later in the summer); in wet years the mosquitos have a field day. 

But whatever the weather is like you’re sure to have a fruit fly infestation in your kitchen if you’re not careful. So what can you do about the little pests?

A single female fruit fly can lay up to 400 eggs a day meaning that within a very short period of time a black cloud will fly up into your face every time you open the bin or stick your hand into the fruit bowl – harmless overall, but very annoying.

While the task of keeping fruit flies at bay sometimes seems hopeless there are some simple tricks that ensure the infestation doesn’t get out of hand.

Keep things ship shape

This might seem like an obvious one, but which of us hasn’t on occasion left a few plates in the sink to clean up the next day? While you might get away with that kind of behaviour in the colder months of the year, it really isn’t advisable when temperatures outside go above 19C (66.2F).

Fruit flies will feed on left over bits of food, especially if they are sugary. Washing up plates and cleaning surfaces immediately after you have eaten is one sure way of keeping the plague at bay.

More importantly still, you should empty out you bins daily. This especially goes for organic waste which, if you have it, you will have noticed is a breeding ground for the miniature flies.

Besides being attracted to sugar, fruit flies also like yeast. In fact Belgium scientists found out back in 2014 that the same smell that beer aficionados love about a good pint is also what attracts fruit flies – apparently it’s a strategy developed by yeast that lures the flies into spreading the microbe to new places.

The downside is that open or half empty beer bottles will attract fruit flies to your kitchen. So clean them thoroughly or, even better, take them down to exchange for Pfand at your nearest drinks store.

Some methods are more drastic than others.

Setting traps

There are a couple of tried and tested traps that people set in order to catch their fruit flies.

The classic trap is a cup containing a mixture of vinegar, fruit juice and washing-up liquid. If you cover the cup in clingfilm and pierce holes in the plastic the flies will crawl in, attracted by the smell but won’t be able to get back out. The washing up liquid breaks the surface tension, ensuring that the flies drown in the sweet solution.

READ ALSO: These eight words show just how different German and Austrian Deutsch can be

Of course, there is also a Bio version. You can put a banana in an open plastic bag. Wait until a load of flies have crawled before carefully closing the bag. Then take it outside where you can release the flies back into nature thus ensuring an honourable draw in which neither side suffers long term consequences.

Another trap which the website claims to be particularly effective involves mixing yeast, sugar and washing up liquid in a bottle (preferably one with a long neck.)

Scaring them away

Just as there are smells that attract fruit flies, there are others which deter them from sticking around.

One such deterrent is lemon juice mixed with cloves. This is apparently also an odour that wasps and mosquitos simply can’t stand.

There are various herbs that release smells that are discomforting to fruit flies. Basil, lavender, mint and chives are all said to help keep the little beasts away.

Other flying insects

It is worth pointing out that not every flying bug is treated the same in Austria. While fruit flies (Fruchtfliege) are generally despised and there is no shortage of methods to try and get rid of them, bees, for example, are very much protected. 

READ ALSO: Austrian fruit grower jailed for killing bees

Bees are essential to pollination and part of the group of animals protected in Austria, especially during spring and summer. 

The bee population and its colonies are closely monitored in the Alpine country. Many people have flowers and even small “insect” houses in their gardens and balconies especially to serve as refuge to these tiny animals and if your Austrian friend sees you killing a bee (even one that is aiming for your beer glass), you will be frowned upon.

Better to just gently wave them away, and show them outside where they can go on pollinating in the next few weeks. 

Another common headache in the Austrian kitchen is an infestation with kitchen moths, which can quickly clog up and ruin your non-perishable stores.

While it is possible to use a chemical agent against the moths (stores like DM have things like sticky traps that you can put on your walls to catch moths), there is a really interesting remedy for this that is favoured in many kitchens – setting other little flies on them.

It might sound like a silly idea to address an infestation by starting another one, but ichneumon (German: Schlupfwespen) are tiny little flies that live off the eggs of kitchen moths, yet are themselves completely harmless.

According to the environmental news site the ichneumon lay their eggs next to the moth’s egg. When the ichneumon eggs hatch they eat all the moth eggs, thus tackling the problem at its root.

And when there are no more moth eggs to be eaten, the ichneumon lose their food source and die too.

An easier idea might be the common suggestion of keeping all your stored items in plastic containers with proper lids.