My personal top 30 license plates

A lot of people have already asked me for my favourite plate.
Therefore I picked 30 pictures I have taken in all these years that I like most or that have a story to go along with.
I hereby present Jeroen Coninx's personal top 30 license plate pictures (December 2007).


Northwest Territories

Canada - Northwest Territories, passenger series

This is definitely my ultimate favourite plate! I saw it in Jasper, Alberta (Canada) in June 2001.
We were leaving Jasper heading for Lake Louise in Alberta when I saw this plate parked along the street.
I did not hesitate and stopped to take a picture.
Luckily I did, because it was the only one I saw from Northwest Territories

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia - Export series

I saw this plate at the industrial park I am working. The car was driving in the opposite direction and I could not follow it and lost it.
In an attempt to find it back anyway, I checked all parking spaces of all companies on the industrial park - which are more than 200.
However, I was lucky and I found the car back very fast.
Another good thing was that at the very same parking, I spotted three plates from Bahrain as well, all at different times

Hong Kong

Hong Kong - Passenger series and border crossing Chinese plate

I saw this plate in Hong Kong airport.
I only was able to see any plates in Hong Kong because I missed my plane when travelling back from Taiwan to Belgium.
Please do not ask me why I missed the plane :-).
Anyway, I was stuck for 13 hours at Hong Kong airport and had the opportunity to go into an open air parking space.
This was the only special plate I saw - in the sense that it has a second plate used for cars that can cross the border with China.


Myanmar - Publicly owned car series

This plate was seen in Mae Sai which is a village at the border between Thailand and Myanmar.
It was the only place in Thailand I saw plates from Myanmar.
It is certainly a place worth going (it really felt like a border). Unfortunately we did not have the time to enter Myanmar.
It was also the only car (not bicycle) I saw from Myanmar.

Souverign Military Order of Malta

Sovereign Military Order of Malta

Not many people know the existence of this country, which is only recognized by a few countries.
More information can be found on wikipedia.
They do not have an actual territory, but only possess a few buildings in the city of Rome, Italy.
Eva and I went there for a city trip and were looking for their headquarters, which Eva found.
I was surprised by the small building their headquarters was located in. I was looking for something bigger.
I noticed a parking space inside a large gate with one SMOM plate but I could not see it too well.
Therefore I asked the security personnel if I could enter and take a picture of the plate.
I was very happy that they did not have any objections. This was for me the best moment of the trip (which was also very nice though).

Vatican City State

Vatican City State - Official series

I saw this plate during the same trip as the one above from SMOM.
I was able to take several pictures of Vatican City State plates while being there.


Mexico - passenger series from Distrito Federal

This was the first Mexican plate I saw when Eva and I were in Squamish in Canada, 50 kilometers north of Vancouver.
It was at the end of 15 great days in Canada. It was also the first time for us we were outside Europe.


Nicaragua - Diplomatic series

This car was seen in Heverlee, near Leuven at less than 2 kilometers from our home.
I first saw it when we went to the local market on Sunday morning.
Since that moment, I have spotted that car in the neighbourhood for several months.
At a certain moment the car switched to a Belgian normal plate before it disappeared forever.


Nigeria - Passenger series

I saw this plate in Budapest, Hungary in April 2006.
Eva and I made a 4-day trip to Budapest - a very nice city with many interesting plates to see.
One evening, we visited the Opera (worth visiting). The car stood in front of it.
It was very dark though so the picture I made was rather bad - also because the cars in front and at the rear were parked very close.
The next day we went back to the same place and by coincidence the car was parked a few streets further.
Later, I saw 2 other cars with Nigerian plates, old style though, but I was unable to take a picture.


Colombia - Passenger series

I spotted this plate in the north of Ecuador when we visited this magnificent country in June 2003.
Although being close to Colombia (less than 100 km) and being on the main road from Colombia to Quito,
capital of Ecuador, I only saw three cars from Colombia.
This was the first one and the only one I could capture well since the car was parked along the street.

Ecuador - Galapagos Islands

Ecuador - Galapagos Islands - Passenger series

This plate was seen on the Galapagos Islands during the same trip as the picture from Colombia in 2003.
The Galapagos Islands are best viewed by boat, so we booked a three day cruise visiting several islands of the Archipelago.
The advantage of travelling by boat is that you are able to visit more of the islands. The disadvantage is that there are no cars (plates) on a boat.
We arrived from mainland Ecuador with a military plane. However, at the airport were no plates from Galapagos which made me very nervous.
The last day, we visited the main island, Santa Cruz, to visit the Darwin Institute were they do research on and breed the giant turtles, famous for the islands.
After that we had only one hour free time to visit the town center, which is nothing more than a few streets.
After buying the obligatory T-shirt, I had only half an hour to take some plate pictures.
Luckily, that was more than enough to take many interesting Galapagos plate pictures.


China - Diplomatic series

This is the only Chinese plate I have seen in Belgium, it was parked in front of the Ikea shop in Zaventem.
I have been to China twice since then, but this one is still the nicest plate I have seen.
Talking about Ikea, I often see rare plates over there. For instance, I saw the following countries at Ikea;
China, Thailand, Korea, La Reunion, Guadeloupe, Iceland, Algeria, Cameroon, Chile, Senegal, Congo, Australia, India, Guernsey, Jersey, Lebanon, Malta, US, Canada, Mozambique and many more. When typing down all these countries,
I am even surprised how many nice experiences I have had at one single place.
I always try to go at least once a week to Ikea just to check the cars.


Argentina - Passenger series

This plate was seen in Ushuaia when Eva and I were there in October 2004.
We toured around for three weeks in Argentina and Ushuaia was the last stop before going home.
The current plates of Argentina do not show the province any more; this is an old-style plate.
The V stands for Tierra del Fuego (the end of the world / Fin del mundo).
It took me quite a while before finding an old plate like this in Ushuaia, but after running around for some time, I got this one.


Uruguay - Colonia National representative series

During the same trip in 2004 in Argentina, we also visited Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay for a few hours.
We took the ferry from Argentina, Buenos Aires, to Uruguay in the morning and came back in the afternoon.
Although we had little time and also visited some historic parts of the city, I managed to take many pictures.
Uruguay is a great country for license plate people. There were so many different styles of plates I saw in such a short time.
Almost every car has a different plate. I could have spent many days there without being bored.
This plate is just an example of the many plates I have seen there.


Thailand - Royal Household official series

In 2005 Eva and I went on honeymoon to Thailand.
We made a tour around the country, starting in Bangkok. We also visited Mae Hong Son, Chiang Mai and Chang Rai.
We finished on the island of Koh Samui relaxing for a few days.
We saw this plate in Ayuthaya, the old capital of Thailand and was a royal household official series.


Netherlands Antilles Bonaire - Passenger series

I saw this plate in Brussels. I noticed the car when it was looking for a parking space.
I was able to park a few places further and was able to talk to the driver.
It was nice to talk to a person from a different continent in my own language Dutch which does not happen too often.
He was visiting his niece who was expecting a baby. Then he asked me "Do you want to take a picture of her plate as well?"
Since then, I have two plates from Bonaire.


Kyrgyzstan - Passenger series

In April 2007 I had to give 2 days of training with a colleague in Erlangen (Germany), close to Nuernberg.
Instead of going by plane, I decided I would go by car. It was even faster, because the plane connections were not optimal.
When I drove back home, I decided to stop at a parking lot I know very well (Aachener land) for spotting good plates.
There I saw this plate from Kyrgyzstan. The truck also had a trailer plate.
Although it was already quite dark, it is still a very nice picture.
I was very enthusiastic, but I don't think my colleague shared my enthusiasm :-)

Faroe Islands

Faroe Islands - Passenger series

In July 2006 Eva and I went on holiday to Austria to do some mountain climbing in Virgen, Austria.
We have already been several times to the Alps in Austria, but Ost-Tirol is definitely the most beautiful place we have ever been.
At the end of the trip we also spent some days in Slovenia which was also very scenic.
We drove there with our car and stopped to eat something at a parking place around Munich.
There I saw this plate from the Faroe Islands, the only independent country of Europe I still was missing (Alderney and Aland are still missing).
I had already seen a car from the Faroe Islands when I was still a kid not taking any pictures at that time yet, but that was still the old-style series.
Seeing this plate made the vacation already a great success, before we even arrived at our destination!!


SBAA - Passenger series

This is a British Sovereign Base Area series seen in Cyprus on the British military base of Akrotiri/Episkopi.
When we visited Cyprus in October 2006, I had already read about these plates, so we made a small detour to find this base.
It was certainly not easy to find it, because it was not indicated at all as if they did not want to attract too much attention.
When we found the entrance I asked a military guy if it was OK for me to have a little walk on the base. Strangely enough that was OK!
Thanks to this guy, I now have 8 plates from the base, one of which is the one displayed over here.


United States, Wyoming - Passenger series

This plate has always been one of my favourite plates.
I saw this one in 2001 in Canada (when I also saw the Mexican plate and the one from Northwest Territories).
Eva and I were visiting Maligne Lake in Jasper National park.
We were walking alongside the lake when this car suddenly stopped. It was a father and a son that were going to do some fishing in the lake.
They did not mind me taking a picture of their plate. It was the first plate from Wyoming for me at that time.

New Brunswick

Canada, New Brunswick - passenger series

In March 2006, I had to give a two day training in Montreal, Canada.
Our plane left in the afternoon back to Europe so I had a free morning to see a bit of Montreal.
When walking around, I saw this plate (and two others) from New Brunswick, which made me very happy.
Now I had all American states and all Canadian provinces and territories, except for Nunavut.
When I came home, I downloaded all pictures to my computer and removed all pictures from the camera.
Unfortunately, I had some PC problems and I thought I lost all my pictures from that trip, more than 100.
Especially losing this one would have been very disappointing for me. Luckily, everything got solved later.


Canada, California - passenger series

This is my wife Eva. I guess the picture says it all.
The picture was taken in Banff, Canada in 2001.
There were only a few cars parked at this gigantic parking space in the city.
When we came back to our car after our city visit, I found a parking ticket, because this was a spot reserved for mobile homes.
This was of course very stupid, knowing that the entire parking space was almost completely empty.


Belgium - Kleine Brogel series

This is a very special plate, which was reported in one of the Europlate newsletters.
I had never heard nor seen this plate. Therefore Eva and I went to Kleine Brogel, a small village in Belgium.
It is actually a very famous village, since it has a major US military base and allegedly the only place in Belgium were nuclear weapons are stored.
That is the reason there are often demonstrations over there.
Anyway, Eva and I went there with my camera, but the military people were not happy to see us.
I asked about the plate, but they said there was no such a plate, so I had to return empty-handed.
That was sometime in 2003. Later in August 2007, I saw the plate I was looking for parked at a leisure centre in Brussels next to a car with US air force plate.
It is funny that the existence of this plate was denied some years before.


United States, Florida - passenger series

In December 2003 I went to Silicon Valley (Mountain View, USA) for a week to give an extensive training.
I had half a day off and just went driving around to look for some nice plates.
By pure coincidence, I entered a major parking space which turned out to be the University of Stanford.
This was a very good thing because I had never ever seen so many different plates at one place.
In less than two hours, I took more than 100 pictures of almost all States of the US, several Canadian plates and a few Mexican plates.
In 2006, I had to go back for a conference and I was determined to go over there once again.
I was not disappointed. In a few hours I saw all 50 states and Washington DC and again took more than 100 pictures.
If you are ever in that area, it is really a must-see. You will not regret it.
The picture here is just one of the many nice plates I could have chosen.


Greece - Official series

This is the plate of a police car seen in Corfu, Greece in 2003.
After taking this picture, I noticed a police man was looking at me and he was not exactly laughing.
Eva and I spent the next hour in a police station where we were questioned.
I was happy that I was allowed to keep my camera, but Eva was not happy at all. :-)


Iran - Commercial series

I saw this plate at the parking lot 'Aachener land' in Germany, close to the Belgium border.
When I took this picture, I suddenly realized that the driver was standing right behind me.
He was a very friendly older person that liked to talk a bit and explained me the plate in some sort of German.


United States, Delaware - Passenger series

I also saw this plate at Stanford University, California.
This one was really important because it was the only US state I was still missing at that time.
When I was walking around taken pictures, I got a parking ticket which was not so nice.


Congo - Passenger series

This is the first plate I saw from Congo, the former Belgian colony.
I saw this one in Brussels. Congo has three types of passenger series which I all have.
There are not that common to see, even in Belgium. So far, I have seen six plates from Congo; this one is the only one in this style.


Bulgaria - Passenger series

This plate is actually nothing special, an old-style plate from Bulgaria / Sofia. Even the quality of the picture is not very good.
The reason I wanted this picture to be here, is the fact that this is the first picture I ever took of a license plate.
This was in early January 2000. Since then, I have taken thousands of other pictures and I am still not planning to stop this any time soon.


Mozambique - Diplomatic series

December 2007 was also a special moment. It was a Friday after work I went to Ikea where I often go to check out the plates.
There I saw this plate. It came across me but it didn't have a front plate.
In my rearview mirror I noticed the colours and I knew I had to turn and follow him.
There were some cars in between, but I managed to follow him until he stopped at a shopping place.
It was a father, mother and three children. Since I didn't recognize the plate I asked them were it came from.
When the father said Mozambique I was really happy the rest of the day.
After 8 years (January 2000 - December 2007) I finally had 100 countries in my picture collection.
When I started taking pictures in 2000, I never could imagine I would ever have so many countries.

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