I live in Belgium and in August went to Dusseldorf on a weekend trip. As an autistic adult I have a EU Disability Card, which is a new trial project by the EU, which is only valid in 8 countries, one of which is Belgium. Germany notably isn't one of those countries. Still, I showed the card at the ticket booth for a local museum, the K20 museum for contemporary art, not knowing that the card was only valid in the 8 countries the trial is active in and thus wasn't yet in use in Germany. I assumed that given that it was a European project, it would be accepted as proof of disability, and I would get the 10 EUR discount ticket for disabled people instead of the full 12 EUR ticket for adults. The cashier apparently didn't know what to do with the card and waived my ticket price entirely.

The question I have: is what I did considered a crime, like fraud or theft? or should I just not worry about this? After all, the museum did have a discounted ticket for disabled people, and that card was proof of my disability, just a proof that wasn't commonplace yet in Germany. The cashier was within her rights to give me the 2 EUR discount or refuse to accept the card, but instead she waived the ticket price entirely, so

1 Answer 1


No, it doesn't seem like you did anything wrong. You can't have committed fraud because you didn't have the intent of entering the museum without paying.

Fraud is defined in section 263 StGB:

(1) Whoever, with the intention of obtaining an unlawful pecuniary benefit for themselves or a third party, damages the assets of another by causing or maintaining an error under false pretences or distorting or suppressing true facts […]

You had no intention of obtaining an unlawful benefit. You presumably did not misrepresent your disability status.

German criminal law has a related violation in Section 265a StGB, “obtaining benefits by deception”:

(1) Whoever obtains the output of a machine or the services of a telecommunications network which serves public purposes or uses a means of transportation or obtains entrance to an event or facility by deception with the intention of not paying the fee […]

Again, your lack of intent means that you haven't committed this crime.

Interpreting what actually happened:

  • The K20 ticket fees are reduced for severely handicapped people with 50% GdB (degree of disability indicating the person's difficulty of participating in society, in particular that person's difficulty for working a normal job, as determined by the VersMedV).
  • You were not attested such a degree of disability via the German system, and therefore were not eligible for the discounted entrace fee of EUR 10.
  • The museum has no obligation towards you to actually collect those fees. They can waive them whenever they want, for whatever reason they want. The museum could have given you the discounted price even without suitable evidence of your disability. Instead, they waived the fee entirely.
  • If anyone is going to have problems here, it is the person at the ticket counter for failing to collect the appropriate fees. But that is an internal issue for the museum.
  • You legally obtained a valid ticket to visit the museum.

Translations were taken from the official page https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/englisch_stgb/englisch_stgb.html

  • "You were not attested such a degree of disability via the German system, and therefore were not eligible for the discounted entrace fee of EUR 10." - I wonder if that statement is accurate. In my experience, museums around the world are often very generous when it comes to accepting proof of discount eligibility. Especially knowing that they are visited not only by locals whose documentation is issued by the local authorities, there are often no narrow requirements on what exactly counts as proof for your status to be eligible of any discount. Apr 1, 2023 at 22:32
  • @O.R.Mapper In this scenario, the museum had very clear rules that the discount is linked to the GdB, which OP hadn't been attested. The purpose of that quoted sentence is to say that OP would probably not be able to sue the museum for the EUR 2 difference if they had been required to pay the full price. But as I explain in the next paragraph – and as you point out in your comment – it's totally OK if the museum provides discounts for people who might technically not be eligible. Kindness is not generally illegal, and OP didn't commit a crime by accepting that kindness.
    – amon
    Apr 2, 2023 at 9:24
  • "In this scenario, the museum had very clear rules that the discount is linked to the GdB" - if that's the case, your statement is of course correct. The statement just surprised me because I had followed the link to the museum website from your answer, and the only mention I could find there was a very unspecific "Severely handicapped (50% or higher)" item in the "Reductions" list. Apr 2, 2023 at 11:36
  • @O.R.Mapper It is abundantly clear in this context (Germany, disability) that "50%" can only relate to a Grad der Behinderung. The German version of the page also lists this as “Schwerbehinderte (Personen mit einem Grad der Behinderung von 50 oder höher)”. The English version is a reasonably faithful translation, but nevertheless bad since it makes it impossible for international visitors to understand whether they would qualify for the discount.
    – amon
    Apr 2, 2023 at 15:28
  • Of course it refers to the Grad der Behinderung categorization. But does it mean that only people whose Grad der Behinderung has been determined by German authorities are eligible? Or does it mean that also foreigners without German documents whose disability would be classified as 50% or higher by German authorities are eligible? From reading the German page, and without any legal knowledge (i.e. just a layman's understanding), I'd rather understand it as the latter, as - as mentioned above - museums typically expect visitors from different countries with different kinds of documents. Apr 2, 2023 at 19:35

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