Are you named after a famous person?

Street namesSchiller, Benz, Mc Donald's: Why Streets your Names wear

There are many street names - and each municipality decides for itself how to name its streets. In W├╝rzburg, for example, people are currently thinking about a Dirk-Nowitzki-Strasse to honor the city's most famous athlete. But in addition to life's work, sometimes it's just about the money when naming the street.

Tony Marshall has one, Steffi Graf has one and Ronald McDonald has one too: Street. Street names are a strange business, and there is no single principle of how streets are named. Sometimes there are street names in exchange for jobs, says our reporter Rebekka Endler: "Others sell street names to the highest bidder, for example Mc-Donald's-Strasse in Blumberg near Berlin can be explained."

In principle, municipalities decide for themselves how and to whom to assign their street names. Usually, however, every citizen can make suggestions about street names. The regional administrations then make a recommendation before the ultimate decision is made.

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Street name as an honor after death

Usually no living people are honored with street names, only the deceased. And for good reason: "Imagine someone who is still alive suddenly turns politically and becomes a neo-Nazi," says historian Rita Bake. She has dealt with the street names in Hamburg for many years, and she knows the rules by which the city names its streets.

"So you have to be dead two years before a street can be named."
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If you want to name a street after a person in Hamburg, you should know that usually only the names of the deceased come into question, explains Rita Bake. If a proposal is considered, the city archives must check whether the person is worthy at all. For Hamburg, it is also a criterion that the deceased person had a regional connection.

"The name shouldn't be too difficult to write and pronounce."

Simple and clear

And: the name shouldn't be too difficult. This point is so important so that the road can be named and found quickly in an emergency. Street names should always be unique so that there is no confusion. It is therefore generally more difficult for foreign names to assign street names.

Rita Bake did one count for Hamburg: around 2,500 streets in the city are named after men, only 400 after women. That's why the Senate now wants to find more women's names.

By the way: In Landshut, Baden-Baden or Sinsheim, people who are still alive have made street names, namely Steffi Graf, Tony Marshall and Dietmar Hopp.