Did you know that there are traffic lights in the US state of Oregon, the Polish city of Karkow and the Ukrainian capital of Kiev that indicate to drivers the speed they should slow down to in order to hit the next green light running?
Or that the likes of London, Madrid and Cologne have in recent years installed same-sex traffic light figures – often in connection with Pride – although the Austrian city of Linz scrapped the gay lights they installed ahead of Eurovision 2015 following opposition from the ironically-named Freedom Party.
But the LGBT community isn’t the only one to get their own set, as councillors in Aarhus are installing 17 traffic lights in the city centre to recognise a group who have also suffered centuries of persecution from right-wing Christians.
Yup, you guessed it! The Vikings!
Erik the Red is in town!
The red and green men have been replaced by red and green Vikings (so presumably that’s Erik the Red and … er … the geezer who conquered Ireland?) to recognise the city’s foundation by the medieval warriors, and historians will be happy to note there isn’t a horned helmet in sight.
“There were no horns on the helmets, so they are not included,” explained Mads Kähler Holst, the head of Moesgaard Museum, who collaborated with the municipality on what is a project to educate the city about its history.
This autumn, the lights will be complemented by guided talks and facades.
Gets you thinking about your heritage
The good folk of Aarhus have Bünyamin Simsek, a councillor responsible for technology and the environment, to thank for the initiative – and they would appear to be happy!
“I think it’s a lot of fun,” Camilla Kirkegaard, a passer-by, told TV2. “It gets you thinking while you wait for the green light: about our history, cultural heritage and who we are as Danes.”
“It encourages discussions with our kids about our history,” concurred another pedestrian Marie Ravn.