Today is Ampelmann's Birthday & Google Pays Tribute


The Berlin 'Ampelmann' or 'Ampelmännchen' was officially introduced on 13 October 1961 in East Berlin. Before this, the first traffic lights at pedestrian crossings were erected in the 1950s, and many countries developed different designs (which were eventually standardized). The East Berlin Ampelmännchen were designed and created in 1961 by traffic psychologist Karl Peglau.

Today, Google is celebrating the 56th birthday of Ampelmännchen with its animated "Doodle" dedicated to our beloved traffic signs.
Decades later, Daniel Meuren of the weekly German magazine, Der Spiegel, described the Ampelmännchen as uniting "beauty with efficiency, charm with utility, and sociability with the fulfillment of duties". The Ampelmännchen reminded others of a childlike figure with big head and short legs, or a religious leader.

The Ampelmännchen proved so popular that parents and teachers initiated the symbol to become part of road safety education for children in the early 1980s.

 After the German unification in 1990, the traffic signs were standardized and made similar to the West German design. East German street signs and traffic signs were dismantled and replaced by new design so the East German Ampelmännchen vanished. This led to several protests to preserve the East German Ampelmännchen as a part of culture and history.


The Ampelmännchen became a virtual mascot for the East German nostalgia movement, known as Ostalgie. The protests were successful, and the Ampelmännchen returned to pedestrian crossings, including all western districts of Berlin in 2005.

Today they are one of the most recognizable traffic signs not just in Berlin and Germany but worldwide.

Happy birthday Ampelmännchen 

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