Thursday, March 26, 2009


This picture is of the Berlin crosswalk guy "Ampleman". All over Germany this is a recognizable figure and very popular souvenir, even here in Bremen. One observation my family and I have made while living here is people really observe the crosswalk guy. We don't have a car, so we walk to our bus/tram and bike, so to say we are a crosswalks quite a bit everyday. We find it humorous that people will stand there waiting and waiting, and there is no cars in site or it's late at night and there are no cars in site. We always just go, and the looks we get you would think we just murdered their mother. Maybe it is the American in us and we are in a hurry. After missing my fair share of buses and trams, if it's clear you will be looking at my rear!
(now that's a bumper sticker! heehee) My impression of people here is that there are rules and you must follow them, but until I get a ticket or flatten by a car. I'll be damn if I'm waiting on the corner and watching my bus/tram drive away because the little guy is red!

Our crosswalk guy does not look like this friendly little guy, but still different than in the states. Here is a snippet of the "Ampleman" history.


He looks a little different than your standard crosswalk guy. The reason? The east German government wanted to come up with a more cuddly and friendly symbol to teach young children how to cross the street.When the wall fell and reunification began, the western government went about wiping out all signs of the east German communist government; streets were renamed, statues torn down, etc. When the time came to change the street lights, citizens of the former DDR protested. Literally went in the street and held demonstrations, the thrust of their argument being You´re changing all we've been used to for the past 41 years. At least let us keep crosswalk guy....please?The west German government abdicated, and now the image of crosswalk guy is one of the most profitable souvenir images in the city.

15 comments:

Belle said...

I think he is cute. And the children probably do too - that's good.

kks said...

interesting story.....i'm like you....go when there are no cars...green light or not! too funny!
xox

Kwana said...

People uniting for history and familiarity. I like the man.

Mrs. K said...

it must be a european thing because in London they just sit there and wait even though no cars are coming...and I also got those looks cute little guy though

preppyplayer said...

Germans are known for following rules... but Moskals aren't :)

Please call me this morning, (my morning) I wanted to know how long you are staying in Az.

Rachel said...

How interesting! We'd fit right in in Germany, I guess. I am so nervous about crossing streets, especially with the kids!

Joyce said...

He is cute and would keep a little ones attention or big ones too! Depending on my time I will most of the time wait my turn, but I have been known to be a little daring. Have a golden day!

Ronda said...

He really is cute! Sometimes I get a little impatient, and need to slow down a little.
XOXO

Ina J Offret said...

HEZAQT!! heeheeheehee.... :D

Could not resist, Frau!

Fifi Flowers said...

That is sooooo true Americans are in a hurry and cross where there is no crosswalk too. In NYC and Boston they make cars wait...lol
Cute crossing symbol!

A Day That Is Dessert said...

so cute!

K said...

He is cute.

I like the history behind the cross walk guy.

t.t. millers said...

It is so cute. What a great idea. Isn't it funny that the "harsh" german people are making a "cuddly" sign for children!

Such Lovely Freckles said...

Ah yes, I'm a German at heart, I guess. I still struggle crossing the street when I have a red light. Just doesn't happen easily. And my kids are absolutely positively NOT allowed to ever cross the street when the light is red. Why? They may not be able to judge the way I am. A car way in the distance may not be that far away, and cars are stronger than people. My friend's son was run over when he crossed the street during a red light. :(

bevchen said...

It's actually illegal in Germany to cross the road before the little man turns green. Where I am most people don't really seem to care - unless there are young children around - but at the crossing next to the police station everyone always stops without fail, just in case...