As a tourist you like to see the sights and feel the culture of Munich. But often it’s the small things that very interesting but unknown. For example the street signs in Munich. If you look close, there are many different types…
Usually you only look at street signs, when you’re looking for the right directions. In Munich, all street signs and street number signs are blue with white writing. Really? look close.
It’s belived, that the first wooden street signs in Munich were used at the beginning 19th century. As it was possible to use metal, the wooden signs were replaced. It is not known (or explored) when the metal signs were first used, but we know, that there are some street signs that are quite old, maybe they were produced in the 1880s. They are blue with white writing, but the street name is written in capital letters.
It’s said these are the oldest street signs you can find in Munich. You’ll also find signs in “Frakturschrift” (German type) which were used in until the 1930s. In the old city and around olympic park, you’ll find a special type of street sign, designed especially for the Olympic Games of 1972. But of course not only the street signs have different styles. There are also the house numbers. These signs are also from different times. If you walk down a street, look at the different signs, showing the house numbers. And Munich would not be in Germany if there wouldnt be a law about house numbers ;-).
There is the “Bavarian Street and Road Law”, which allowes the bavarian municipalities to make their own statutes about numbering houses and the specific signs. In Munich this is called “Satzung über die Benennung der öffentlichen Verkehrsflächen und die Nummerierung der Gebäude und Grundstücke in der
Landeshauptstadt München (Straßennamen- und Hausnummernsatzung” 😉 This translates to “Statute about the naming of space dedicated as public throughfares and the numbering of buildings and land in the state capital Munich”.
In this statute from 1988 you also find examples for house number signs and the design. Interestingly, there is no rule which font to use. Only the colour (cobalt blue) and the minimum size of the street name and number are defined besides the size of the sign itself.
But the Statute also says that signs from former times may stay, so we have a nice mixture of housenumbers. Since the 1950 the signs use a type of the Antiqua font. But there are also many tiny differences. Here an example. Look at the “g”. The official street sign has a “g” with a “single storey without loop”, while the housenumber “g” has a “double storey with loop”.
And of course there are quite old ones that use “Fraktur”. These signs are maybe from 1910-1920. Sometimes they are renewed when the whole building is renewed. Here you can see a renewed building (entrance) with the old sign. So if you walk through Munich, keep the eyes open… even the street signs and house numbers tell history… 🙂