Monday, July 07, 2008

More European Signage

The first time I came across this sign was in Portugal. I was assigned to be the driver for a while and I was about to turn down a street marked with this sign. Everyone in the car stopped me (not that it would have been the biggest deal). I think it was at that point - less than six months into my Dutch adventure - that I realized that there are a lot of street signs that are different here. (By the way, this looked like a T to me when I saw it - for what it's worth.)

Signs are mostly standard throughout Europe, I think. Or they're supposed to be. You can say that they are, but I would argue. I think it'll be a while before every little backwater country (read: Scotland) gets it together and changes their signs to the standard, although I'm all for it.

To me, street signs should have some logic to them. A lot of them don't have words, so that (in theory) anyone can look at them and make sense out of them. My first recollection of that idea was in Texas when they changed a lot of signs to wordless pictures. For some reason, I pictured a Japanese person driving down the streets of Hurst, Texas being able to make sense of our signage. I guess Japanese people were the most foreign people my prepubescent brain could come up with.

As I've said before, I don't think a lot of signs are that obvious. They are once you know them, but I was able to intuit it. So do you know what that sign means? (Anyone in Europe is automatically out of the game since you probably know.) It means Dead End. When I was coming up, a Dead End sign looked like this:

Almost literally. It was Texas after all - check the bullet holes. (I swiped that picture off the Internet. Don't tell anyone.)

Well, the European sign also comes in a Siamese twin version. They are prepared for anything here.
So now you know. P.S. These pictures of signs are from Almere (notice the lack of bullet holes) where we had dinner on Saturday. I get material for this blog every time I go there.


Mel said...

The first one looks to me like the volume slider on a computer.

We noticed when we were in Nova Scotia all the pictorial signage, like "dump truck hurtling towards a brick wall" (which, I'm fairly certain, is supposed to mean "trucks entering highway").

Anonymous said...

Bloomin' Cheek!

Personally I'd go for obscure (at least for the cognitively challenged) signs sans bullet holes than obvious ones that look like they've spent too long in Baghdad...