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Airline seeks Klaus-Heidi for new Berlin life

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Airline seeks Klaus-Heidi for new Berlin life
16:35 CEST+02:00
One lucky Swede will get the chance to start a new life in Berlin, complete with paid apartment and language lessons for a year, but there's a catch - they have to legally change their name first to Klaus-Heidi.

Germany's Lufthansa, which is the largest airline in Europe, is on a mission.

"The goal is to find a person who loves Berlin so much that he or she is ready to sacrifice their real name to become Klaus-Heidi," Magnus Engvall, senior marketing specialist at the airline, told The Local.

Sweden is one of the countries where citizens change name most often, and Berlin is on the rise as a destination among Swedes. Competition for budget flights to Berlin is fierce, and Lufthansa's marketing team decided to try something off the beaten track to tempt travellers.

"There's a lot of competition right now with flights to Berlin," Engvall said. "We think the reason to fly there should not just be that it is cheap, but that it is a wonderful place to visit. So we didn't want to talk price, we wanted to do something out of love and humour."

The first Swede to change his or her name to Klaus-Heidi and present proof of the change, as well as the best motivation for the move, will get to pack up and start over in the German capital at the expense of Lufthansa.

Klaus-Heidi will be flown from Arlanda airport to Berlin and will get a free taxi ride to their new apartment, which is pre-paid for an entire year including utilities.

"It's a lovely apartment, fully furnished on the fourth floor, located right between two very trendy areas," Engvall told The Local. "It's very Berlin, very romantic. And it's pimped with some Lufthansa stuff – the pyjamas we give to first-class passengers, Lufthansa towels, cups, things like that."

Other perks of Klaus-Heidi's brand new start include a bike, two additional flights within Germany to go exploring, and a Berlin tourist card with free access to various museums and activities.

Over 3,000 Swedes already live in Berlin, but Lufthansa wants to help the winner to integrate, and an intensive language course is also included.

"Personally, I would do it," Engvall informed The Local with a laugh. "I'm in the target group myself. I think it's a really fun thing, and a great start for anyone who wants to live there. And it gives you a great story. And you can always change back your name, though of course our wish is that they keep the name and are proud of it."

The contest began on October 11th and will continue until November 28th, and by then Lufthansa hopes to have found their new Klaus-Heidi.

"This is only a competition for Swedes, but there's a huge interest from other markets as well. I've gotten so many emails from Norwegians who also want to participate," Engvall said. "So hopefully at least one Swede chooses to change their name before then."

For those who adore Berlin but aren't quite ready for such a dramatic move, the airline is also offering discount tickets and the option of simply changing their Facebook names for a better price.

Solveig Rundquist

Follow Solveig on Twitter

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