Germany was unified 33 years ago. But remnants of the GDR are still visible today. “You can find traces of the art, architecture and ideology of the vanished society on every corner,” says Stefan Wolle, scientific director of the DDR Museum Berlin. An overview of where and how the GDR legacy still influences Germany today:

Green arrow for right turns

Starting in the 1960s, the “green arrow” shortened waiting times for people turning right at red lights in the GDR. The sign was originally supposed to be abolished after reunification, but was introduced nationwide in 1994.

Today it still allows drivers to turn right even when the light is red after a short stop and the lane is clear. The road traffic regulations officially refer to the sign as the green arrow.

“Stayers” and “walkers” ensure more safety

The red “stayer” and the green “walker” characterized the intersections in the GDR. Traffic light man inventor Karl Peglau wanted to improve safety for pedestrians. Despite the planned exchange, the Eastern figures with hats, which are somewhat stockier than the Western men, survived reunification – and became a logo known far beyond Berlin.

In many cities there are even creative variants: for example, in Bremen the Bremen Town Musicians and in Mainz the Mainzelmännchen regulate pedestrian traffic.

Broiler – grilled chicken from the East

The East German grilled chicken, known as broiler, has also achieved a certain level of fame. The name comes from the English word “to broil”, which means to grill.

The GDR took over industrial poultry production from Bulgaria and founded the Industrial Fattening Combine in the 1970s. This meant that both egg and meat production could be carried out on a large scale in a cost-efficient and time-saving manner.

Short high school diploma

The GDR’s twelve-year school system also survived the unification. After reunification, Saxony and Thuringia stuck to eight years of high school (G8), while students in other federal states generally only received their Abitur after nine years of high school (G9). Afterwards, West German school authorities also adopted the G8 model, although some are currently gradually switching back to G9.

Sandman as a time traveler in dream worlds

The Sandman, as iconic on German television as the Traffic Light Man in traffic, first conquered the screens in 1959 on German television, as the state television in the GDR was called. The daily broadcast “Evening Greetings” became a regular bedtime ritual for many children. After reunification, the Sandman survived competition from the West.

Sweet GDR memories in ball shape

Another cult product from the GDR won the hearts of German sweets lovers: the Halloren balls, which have been around since 1952. The history of the chocolate factory goes back to 1804, when Friedrich August Miethe founded a small confectionery and honey cake bakery in Halle an der Saale. The low chocolate content in the Halloren balls goes back to the GDR era, when cocoa was extremely scarce.

The Schwalbe motorcycle is becoming electric

Although production ended in 1986, the Schwalbe is now experiencing a renaissance in the form of electrically powered versions. Companies like Govecs are bringing the original DDR product to market as an environmentally friendly alternative.

In the 1980s, production numbers reached almost 1.5 million units. The modern E-Schwalbe retains the characteristic design and features of the original version.

Wall as a symbol of division and reunification

The Berlin Wall, the symbol of the German-German division, stretched over a length of 155 kilometers in what is now the federal capital and once enclosed West Berlin. It finally fell in 1989. Their remains were processed by “wall woodpeckers” who collected souvenirs.

Today, parts of the Wall can be found all over the world, while in Berlin itself only a few authentic remains can be seen at the original location.