When we arrived in Berlin we were smitten by a cute little guy. We found him everywhere and really who wouldn’t be smitten with this?
The Ampelmann (translated to traffic light man) is a holdover from East Germany, one of the few leftovers of East German life. He was “born” in 1961 when a traffic psychologist (yes, there is such a thing!) created the Ampelmann as a pedestrian signal. He started with the typical red and green, but recognizing that the signal needed to be readable for people of all ages, the Ampelmann was born. After the fall of the wall, East Germans petitioned to keep the little guy.
I think the Ampelmann illustrates how even small things on a study tour can inspire learning. As soon as we saw the Appelmann in Berlin we began asking questions about this dude. We wanted to know his story and wanted to share this small piece of German life with our friends, family, and students back home. It doesn’t take much to spark some inspiration. Ampelmann is proof of this.
The Ampelmann is now an iconic brand in Berlin. No surprise. We were in love with the little guy the moment we stepped out of the Berlin Hauptbahnhof. Many of us, me included, may have gone overboard purchasing Ampelmann souvenirs (t-shirts, magnets, stuffed Ampelmanns).
I am also fairly sure TOP Study Tour 2 would make the appeal for the introduction of Ampelmann worldwide so I am starting with this blog post.