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Swiss-French residents outraged as German road sign installed in Neuchâtel

Swiss-French residents outraged as German road sign installed in Neuchâtel

French-speaking Swiss in the town of Neuchâtel were outraged after a German road sign was erected in the town. Locals mocked the sign and soon complained to local authorities in the canton, before the sign was eventually removed. 

Netizens took aim at the road sign in Neuchâtel 

The 50-kilometre-an-hour road sign - that used the German word Generell as opposed to Limite générale, which is used in the French variant - was installed sometime last week. Naturally, as soon after the sign was displayed, comments began to appear online condemning the use of German on road signs to the west of the Röstigraben.

One witty netizen even joked that "the sign must come from the Prussian period", a nod to Neuchâtel’s history, having previously been part of the German state. Swiss newspaper Blick managed to figure out who was responsible for the signage blunder - their answer: the federal government. The newspaper contacted the Federal Roads Office (Astra) for comment but they did not respond. 

Road sign replaced on Tuesday

Despite the lack of response, the local authorities acted swiftly to rectify the situation. A spokesperson for Canton Neuchâtel, Emmanuel Gehrig, assured residents that the sign would be removed on 15 November, with authorities finally putting an end to the strange saga. 

In Astra's defence, Neuchâtel lies just 6,5 kilometres away from the language border where German-speaking Switzerland meets the French-speaking regions. Despite this, the signage mistake still managed to cause quite a stir.

Emily Proctor

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Emily Proctor

Emily studied International Relations and Chinese, and is now undertaking Master's degree in International Security. She enjoys writing, cooking, and playing piano.

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