The Ministry of Silly Walks is alive and well in Haparanda, Sweden. I think these signs are very cheerful, fun, and uplifting.
Close to Sweden’s border with Finland, Haparanda has brought a smile to local faces with these new road signs that are shaking up the town centre by urging pedestrians to jump, dance or play the guitar while crossing the street.
The Local got in touch with Terese Östling, who is in charge of “Remake the City”, a project launched in 2012 to revamp the heart of the historic parts of the town, to ask why.
She said the idea for the new signs came from Jytte Rüdiger, the local authority’s chief of culture.
“She (Rüdiger) picked up on the fact that people in Haparanda had lots of ideas for development in the ‘old’ parts of town. Many cities in Sweden struggle with dying inner parts as new, big shopping centres pop up outside of town, attracting visitors and locals out of the town centre. Business, attractiveness and inner city life suffers as a result,” she explained. […] But perhaps unsurprisingly, the signs have sparked the most reaction, with a report by national broadcaster SVT trending on social media on Monday.
The ideas for the various designs – which include a zebra crossing sign of a man doing a version of Monty Python comedian John Cleese’s famous silly walks – were thought up by local residents.
“The result has been overwhelming! Every day I go into town, I see people taking pictures of the signs and other new attractions, enjoying the new vitality of a once tired and shabby inner city. Haparanda is on its way back,” said Östling.
When asked if she had actually seen anyone give a quick boogie while crossing the street, she said: “I have seen it, but I can’t prove it with a picture sadly.”
Full story at The Local SE.