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22/01/2011

Ampelmännchen (little traffic light man) by Karl Peglau (1927–2009), Berlin, Germany


This photo was taken in Berlin, Germany, and represents the Ampelmännchen (little traffic light man). This is the symbolic person shown on traffic lights at pedestrian crossings in the former German Democratic Republic (GDR -East Germany). Prior to the German reunification in 1990, the two German states had different forms for the Ampelmännchen, with a generic human figure in West Germany, and a generally male figure wearing a hat in the east. The Ampelmännchen is a beloved symbol in Eastern Germany, "enjoy[ing] the privileged status of being one of the few features of communist East Germany to have survived the end of the Iron Curtain with his popularity unscathed." After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Ampelmännchen acquired cult status and became a popular souvenir item in the tourism business.