Having a Seventh Child In Germany Gets You the President As a Godfather

Like many religions, Germany encourages its citizens to go forth and multiply. A family's seventh child automatically gets a bonus godfather — the German president. To submit such a request, the family must have at least seven living children — including adopted children — who share one or both parents. The godchild must be German as defined by Article 116(1) of the Basic Law. In becoming a child's godparent, the Federal President is highlighting the state's special responsibility for the welfare of large families, as well as the importance of the family and children to the community as a whole. The intention is also to focus attention on the problems of large families — finding suitable accommodation, for instance — and encourage cities and local communities to offer help and support. Another purpose is to raise the social status of families with a large number of children. Parental requests for the Federal President to become a child's godfather must be submitted to the Office of the Federal President via the local authority. If the requirements are met, the Federal President issues a certificate of acceptance which is presented to the parents along with a €500 ($658) gift by a representative of the local authority. Since 1949 the Federal Presidents have become godfather to some 82,100 children. Yesterday, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (inset) became the honorary godfather to a set of triplets born to Bushido and Anna-Maria Ferchichi, who were presented with a gift of €1,500 ($1,539.05). The couple previously had four children, including twins.