Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Show Me the Way to a Place with a Very Long Name

The Finnish language has long words. Yeah, we know that. Indeed I have mentioned this many times before in this very blog, including here, here and here.

But what hadn't occurred to me until very recently is what a challenge it might be for road-signs.

A few weeks ago, on my way to Turku aerodrome international airport from the village vibrant town of Huittinen (10,000 inhabitants), I drove past a road-sign indicating the direction to the motor sport centre of Alastaro.

The sign looks like this:

Now just consider for one moment the challenge of accommodating a word with 21 letters (moottoriurheilukeskus), plus the distance (thankfully a mere 2 kilometres).

First, you need to employ all the Finnish engineering know-how to construct a metal sign that is at least double the length of a normal sign (just think of the problem of metal expansion and contraction across the seasons).

Then you have to put it in a place that will not be obstructed by trees and other such inconvenient obstacles. In this case, the sign is placed on a small, purpose-built brick island.

And that sign is big!

Just check out this picture, courtesy of Speedgroup Club Europe (yes, that woman is roughly of average adult size):

That got me wondering: what is the longest place name in Finland?

With the help of a search engine, I determined there was a place in Lapland called Äteritsiputeritsipuolilautatsijänkä. Sadly, it is a bog area, so presumably not needing sign-posting (at least, I couldn't find a photo of one).

One bar owner made a brave attempt to redress this omission by naming his establishment "Äteritsiputeritsipuolilautatsijänkä baari".

Sadly (once more), his bar closed in 2006, presumably because potential customers could never pronounce it: "Let's meet for a drink after work at the Äteritsi... Äteritsiput... Hei, let's meet at Dubliners."

That still leaves the question unanswered though: what is the longest place name with a road-sign in Finland?

Any ideas, dear trivia-loving readers?


  1. Well, it's about 915 km between Dubliner and Äteritsiputeritsipuolilautatsijänkä-baari, so usually that should not have been very hard decision..

    1. Sometimes I do worry that some readers take my posts a little too literally. Well, when I say worry...

      I guess technically I should have written No.14 Cafébar or Pub Papana Pupi. I stand corrected.

    2. Well, you write your posts literally...

  2. Haha! Salla is the place where I grew up! We used to call the bar just "Äteritsi". A place with pure Kaurismäki atmosphere...

  3. I love this post! I will be on the lookout for signs that rival Äteritsi :)