Das Ampelmännchen


The Ampelmännchen (literally little traffic light man), is the symbol shown on pedestrian signals in Germany. Prior to German reunification in 1989, the two German states had different forms for the Ampelmännchen, with a generic human figure in West Germany, and a figure wearing a hat in the East.

The Ampelmännchen was a beloved symbol in Eastern Germany.

Following the German unification in 1990, there were attempts to standardise all traffic signs to the West German forms. East German street signs and traffic signs were dismantled and replaced because of differing fonts in the former two German countries. This led to calls to save the East German Ampelmännchen as a part of the East German culture. The first solidarity campaigns for the Ampelmännchen took place in Berlin in early 1995.

The protests were successful, and the Ampelmännchen returned to pedestrian crossings. They can now also be seen in some western districts of Berlin. Some western German cities such as Saarbrücken and Heidelberg have since adopted the design for some intersections.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Ampelmännchen acquired cult status and became a popular souvenir item in the tourism business.

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