When you reach Berlin you may notice something slightly different in their traffic lights. Instead of the ‘green man’ there is a charming little fellow who goes by the name of the ‘Ampelmann.’ You will only see him lighting roads in the East, as he is one of the few features of communist East Germany to survive. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the two sides of Germany merged, but the good ol’ Ampelmann remained. He more than just remained, he became a symbol; a merchandiser’s dream as his red and green glow was suddenly a must-have for tourists, thanks to designer Markus Heckhausen. In fact, he’s that popular he even has his own restaurant.
There are a number of Ampelmann stores located across Berlin, with the original situated in Hackesher Höfe, a delightful wind of alleyways and courtyards. If you’re looking for a souvenir, and one that’s more than just a keepsake but something useful – look no further. You can buy the usual T-shirts, mugs and sweets, as with every other touristy store, all with the Ampelmann logo. What’s special about him though, is that his logo now adorns towels and lunchboxes, napkins and socks. He is even transformed into pasta shapes. And it keeps on going. The Ampelmann has his own beer and condoms, not to mention the cookie cutters in his outline. It is recommended to stop by, marvel at the wares and take away a fun and useful souvenir.
Tip: Other stores include those on Unter den Linden, Potsdamer Platz, Gedarmenmarkt, Hauptbahnhof, Grunerstraβe, Karl-Liebknecht Straβe
Address: Hackesche Höfe, Rosenthaler Straβe 40-41, 10178 Berlin
Transport: S-Bahn: S Hackesher Markt (S5, S7, S75)
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 9.30am–10pm, Sun 1pm–6pm
Address: Stadtbahnbogen 159-160, 10178