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Government rejects bilingual direction signs

National News // Nov. 17, 2017

The Federal Government has rejected a proposal road signs should be in two languages.

Bundesamt für Strassen (ASTRA) Government rejects bilingual direction signs

With just a few exceptions, direction signs on the autroroute network show the place name as it’s spoken in the town.

So when leaving German speaking Bern for example, the signs say ‘Genève’ and not ‘Genf’, or ‘Neuchatel’ and not ‘Neuenburg’.

On the whole, this is accepted.

But there is an argument about Biel – or Bienne. Most road signs show both names as the town is bilingual.

But an exit sign says only Biel East – in German. This is upsetting some French speaking local politicians.

A proposal by a Swiss People’s Party MP, Manfred Bühler, calls for cities and towns where more than 30% of the locals use a second language to be reflected on the signs.

The government says no. It cites the lack of space on the signs for two languages and adds it would be too confusing for drivers.


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