Created by traffic psychologist Karl Peglau in 1961, the iconic Ampelmann silhouettes were inspired by a photo of the general secretary of the Socialist Unity Party Erich Honecker in a straw hat, and were soon stationed at every street crossing in East Berlin. Since the fall of the wall, the Ampelmann has become cult item and a positive symbol of the identity of the East Berlin citizens, and can now be seen splashed on merchandise at the many Ampelmann stores dotted around the city.
Walking into the store, it’s hard not to smile at the brightly coloured towels, key chains and t-shirts; the endearing stop-and-go symbols are plastered over every inch of the walls, floor and ceiling. Peruse through the racks of Ampelmann towels, rubber ducks and hilarious postcards, seeing why the Ampelmann is loved by so many.
After you’ve taken the obligatory photo inside the larger-than-life Ampelmann statue, sit back in the café and enjoy a coffee as you watch traffic lights from around the globe blink their green and red counterparts. After you’ve spent the remainder of your Euros on Ampel-merchandise, tip your hat to the ol’ crossing friend as you leave the store and wait for the green ampelmann to greet you at the side of the road.
Team CTR Berlin
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