This industrial region of Germany was once home to hundreds of mines, with thousands of local men heading underground every day. But the pits have now all but disappeared.
Jens Hapke, spokesperson for the Ruhr regional association, is delighted by the idea. “The miner is a symbol of this region’s industrial past, and of someone who’s dependable and down-to-earth and who seizes opportunities.”
And Duisburg is not alone in wanting to make a point with its pedestrian lights.
Berlin has long been home to the East German “Ampelmann” (traffic light man), a relic of the city’s divided past.
While in Berlin in the mid-1990s, a few years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany, Markus Heckhausen — who founded and now runs the firm Ampelmann — spoke with many frustrated former East Germans who felt they were witnessing the disappearance of their country.