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17. April 2018

Ampelmann, the new ambassador for Berlin – from the “The Economist” April issue’s cover hero, to the first traffic light man in Tokyo.

“The Economist” editor Jeffrey Cliff has triggered a national media hype – approving and disapproving – with his ten-page report “Cool Germany”. The article, which is probably one of the few that is read by a large number of decision-makers on all continents, shapes the image of the Republic.

“Germany is reinventing itself. The country is becoming more open, more informal, more hip”, Cliff praises, drawing parallels to the East German traffic light man. “As a traffic sign of the former GDR, the traffic light man has also undergone a reinvention. He has escaped his dictatorial roots and became a crazy, hip icon for a modern Berlin and the whole united country”.

But it’s not only the British who celebrate the little green man as ambassador of the Berlin spirit. The Berlin traffic light man represents a cult and has enjoyed an increasing popularity all over the world for decades. Berliners and visitors see it as a symbol of modern, cosmopolitan and multicultural Berlin.

A symbol that will also set an example on the other side of the world in the future. In a distance of 8.910 km away from its place of origin -Berlin, district councillor Ephraim Gothe officially handed over the first traffic light system in Tokyo to the mayor of Bunkyō (Tokyo), Mr. Narisawa, on April 14th, 2018 as part of the city partnership between Berlin-Mitte and Tokyo.

The official donation celebrates the friendship between the two cities and focuses on an important aspect of cooperation: road safety in Tokyo. This aspect is to be made more attractive and “more European”. “The traffic light is the ambassador of peaceful coalescence and the city of Berlin,” proudly announced the Mitte District Office.

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