IN PICS: Germany's funny obsession with little green men

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IN PICS: Germany's funny obsession with little green men
The Erfurt witch. Photo: DPA

The city of Augsburg unveiled a new, green traffic light man on Friday, which pays homage to the city's puppet theatre. But it is far from the first time that a German town has picked a strange figure for their pedestrian crossings.


1. The Augsburg puppet

On Friday the city of Augsburg in Bavaria unveiled their own funny take on the little green man. On the corner of Milchberg and Spitalgasse people will now be guided across the road by a Kasperle - a Punch and Judy-style puppet common to southern Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

2. The East German Ampelmännchen

Photo: DPA

The classic East German (GDR) Ampelmann has become one of the most famous little green men in the world. His creator based his dress sense on that of East German leader Erich Honecker, who was fond of wearing a straw hat. The idea behind the characterful creation was to make a figure that pedestrians would like and therefore obey.

After German reunification, the GDR figure was supposed to be replaced by the uninspiring West German one. But city authorities U-turned after hefty public protest, and the East German Ampelmännchen can now be seen in much of west Berlin too.

3. GDR man with umbrella

Photo: DPA

In the east German town of Erfurt, they’ve taken the idea of giving the Ampelmännchen a personality a step further, and equipped him with an umbrella, just in case the heavens open up. 

4. The witch

Photo: DPA

In fact, the east German town seems to be quite fond of coming up with funny takes on the green man. On the Juri-Gagarin-Ring in Erfurt, a green witch carrying a stick and sack signals to people when they can safely cross the road.

5. The girl with the heart

Photo: DPA

The reason that Erfurt has so many unorthodox green lights is that it is protesting against the “over-the-top standardization zealotry of the EU,” according to the Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung, 

Another pedestrian signal seen around the capital of Thuringia is a little green girl carrying a heart.

6. The television character

Photo: DPA

Mainz, the hiome of public broadcaster ZDF, has decided to celebrate this connection by making the "the little Mainz man" the green man on some of their traffic lights.


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