Friday, February 16, 2018

German Street Names

Back in January Zeit Online released a fascinating analysis of the most popular German street names. They have now extended their examination to explore what the names given to roads reveal about the past and how the attitudes of Germans have changed over the centuries.

In Streetscapes: Mozart, Marx and a Dictator Zeit Online explores how there is a distinct east-west split to some German street names, which owes a lot to the differing politics of the former East and West Germany, before reunification. One thing that is probably true in both east & west is that women are much less likely to be commemorated by having streets named for them than men. For example in Hamburg 2,511 streets are named after men and only 397 are named after women.

Zeit Online has also analysed which periods of history are commemorated in Berlin's street names. The most popular period is the period of the German Empire (1870–1918). The Nazi era is, for obvious reasons, very unpopular and "all street signs bearing the names of leading figures in the Nazi era have been removed." However you can still find street names from that period which "typify their ideology".

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