60 Ideas for Europe

In an integrating Europe and globalizing world, stop changing names of cities each time you cross a border!

There should be, as from say 2010, only one identification. Each city or public place should have only one official name, that is as called by the citizen who lives there.

Instead, today, the archaic habit persists of calling a city according to where one is calling it from, or where there is a sign indication. The consequence is that a city changes its name and spelling several times as you travel across Europe or even in a same country: München is called Munich in French and English, and Monaco in Italian. However, Monaco in French is Monte-Carlo in Italian! Liège is Lüttich in nearby Germany. Mons is Bergen in Flanders. More absurdly, Jezus-Eik (Jesus Oak) is called Notre-Dame-au-Bois in French (Our Lady of the Woods). So where does it fit on an international train schedule? Examples of such absurdities abound. One way around this for air schdules for instance, is to put everything in English, but this cannot be a general rule.

The “official” name of the fore-mentioned cities should therefore become: München, Liège, Mons, Jezus-Eik, Moskva, etc. Only in the rare bilingual towns would there be two official names: Bruxelles-Brussel.

If the EU adopted this formula, with a time to adapt, citizens would see better that Europe does change some old engrained habits that existed prior to the integration process.

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  1. Here in the UK, there is a move in some parts to put bilingual signs everywhere. So all the street signs in Wales show place names in English and Welsh (so Cardiff is Caerdydd) even if that meant inventing Welsh names for places whcih only had english names. Some places in Scotland have started putting up the Gaelic name, and even Cornwall says “Welcome to Cornwall” in English and Cornish.

    How would your suggestion deal with this?

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