These little red and green men from pedestrian crossings in East Berlin have inspired a legendary cult. In the Hackesche Höfe shop, they have spawned an imaginative range of products

Courtyard 5

Ampelmännchen – a legendary Berlin original

Before pedestrians enter the Hackesche Höfe, they cross the road with the help of these famous little figures. Inside, in Courtyard V, the original AMPELMANN gallery shop reveals the history of the Ampelmännchen – and the incredible diversity of cute products from keyrings, snowmen, fruit gums and t-shirts to USB sticks and flower holders. 1,000 objects have been fashioned into the shape of little red and green men at the design workshop in Courtyard II.

These iconic figures have inhabited the streets of Berlin for many years. The traffic psychologist Karl Peglau designed them here in 1961 for the pedestrian lights in East Germany. After German unification, they were an endangered species and almost vanished altogether. Markus Heckhausen, a designer from Tübingen, managed to salvage them for contemporary purposes. He founded the company AMPELMANN, and started out by screwing the first lamps together by hand here in the Hackesche Höfe. In 2001 he opened the first AMPELMANN shop – the original one. Incomparable and irreplaceable.

Ampelmann shape sponges
Leuchten von Ampelmann Berlin aus echten Ampeln


A guest at Ampelmann Berlin

Founder Markus Heckhausen on the history of the Ampelmann Berlin brand.