Where the streets have no name (and voters keep it that way)

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Voters in a town in northwest Germany have delivered a resounding message to their local council – keep our streets nameless.

Residents of Hilgermissen were asked to take part in a referendum to decide whether or not local roads should be given names, with current addresses proving a challenge for visitors who do not know their way around.

History dictates that they are only made up of house numbers and the name of an old village, with Hilgermissen having been formed out of several small communities in the 1970s.

The town – no doubt the stuff of sat nav nightmares – now has 2,200 people living in it, and 60% of those who voted in the referendum said they wanted the existing system to be maintained.

It had been suggested by the council that giving each street a name would make it easier for the likes of the emergency services and delivery drivers, but not enough locals agreed in the vote held on Sunday.

Public broadcaster NDR said some residents had noted an “irritable atmosphere” between supporters and opponents of the proposal in the build-up to the referendum, but the result is binding for the next two years.

It came after three locals campaigned to hold a public vote in a bid to thwart the council plan, although it has not stopped some streets being given nicknames by residents.

Deutsche Welle reports that one of them includes Bäckerweg, or Baker Way, which is a popular name used in many German towns and cities.

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