Sweden: English 'Bed and Breakfast' sign irks authorities

Richard J Senghas richard.senghas at sonoma.edu
Fri Mar 9 18:48:43 UTC 2007

English 'Bed and Breakfast' sign irks authorities

Published: 9th March 2007 10:04 CET
Online: http://www.thelocal.se/6638/

For two years the Swedish Roads Administration (Vägverket) has fought  
for the replacement of a road sign bearing the English words 'Bed &  
Breakfast'. The administration has decided that the sign must be  
removed on the basis that motorists might not understand what it means.

The sign is used to advertise accommodation at a country house near  
the village of Dalkarlsberg in central Sweden.

"The number of tourists in the Nora region is increasing all the  
time. Many of them come from other countries and don't understand the  
words 'rum och frukost'. The 'Bed & Breakfast' concept on the other  
hand is well known both here and in other countries," owner Camilla  
Krupmann told newspaper Nerikes Allehanda.

Krupmann's legal wrangle with the roads administration has gone on  
for two years.

The County Administrative Board (Länsstyrelsen) has come down on the  
owner's side, arguing that the English spelling appears ten times  
more often than its Swedish equivalent in the Yellow Pages.

But the roads administration has now ruled that the sign must go.

"We are following the 1989 Vienna Convention regarding rules for  
signposting in Europe. It states that signs should be in the language  
of the country as much as possible," said administration spokesman  
Jan-Olow Bergwall.

But Camilla Krupmann fails to see the importance of this bureaucratic  
logic and has reached the end of her tether.

"What is actually the problem? What can it have cost the roads  
administration to focus on this, with all the reports and staff  
visits it has entailed?" she said.

TT/The Local (news at thelocal.se)

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