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Children's Crossing Signs in Belgium

Lier, 01.iv.2007; pict. J. Torfs
Lier, 01.iv.2007; pict. J. Torfs
Mariakerke (O-VL), 1998

Let's start with two versions of the most common Children's Crossing Sign in Belgium. The scene is rather static and fails to evoke the real danger of children in traffic, namely their unpredictable and fast movements. However, that is more than made up for by the detail of the drawing of some fine specimens, like the one found in Lier. In most cases, unfor­tunately, not that much attention is paid to the fine details.

prov. Hainaut, v.1996

prov. Hainaut, vi.1995

prov. Luxembourg, ix.1996

Belgium may be small and crowded, but some spots are over­looked by the future. That is good news because it means opportunities for road sign enthusiasts.

The first two panels are very similar. The girl wears some old-fashioned dress. Besides that, the poor child seems to be born with an old face. Notice the white patches in the boy. The left perforation certainly is odd.

The children on the second sign hover above the ground: quite some performance. It is an ability we have seen in very few other countries: see f.e. Cambodja, or Egypt.

The third sign is different in several ways. It features vividly pictured young people. The girl seems eager to arrive at school.

Notice how the boy holds the hand of the girl. He usually he grabs the arm at the elbow. See Italy for more signs where her hand is held (also modern versions) and find more examples of elbow grabbing in Brazil.

The other road signs show the more common situation where both children carry their books behind their backs. Here the girl carries a satchel, which she holds in front of herself. Both satchels are therefore on the outside (see also Zimbabwe, or Italy where both switch positions).

Dourbes,; pict. H. Van Herck

This design, first seen in Anhée in September 2003, was rediscovered 20 years later at a distance of about 50 km from the first sighting. Probably the last survivors of a lokal breed.

The wind plays with the girl's skirt and the boy is wearing his long trousers and a trench coat. There is room for improvement in the heads, though.

St. Pieters-Voeren,;
pict. B. Hoeyberghs

The design still adheres to the general convention. We recognize the scene which we have seen in most other finds. But the drawing is going down­wards. It is most visible in the heads which aren't real heads anymore. The boy's head resembles a boxing glove and the girl has lost her face. But as she is wearing a new hair­style and therefore at least our Monsieur Jean is happy.

Mechelen,; pict. J. Breine

Found at the back of a school bus operated by an international consor­tium. It is a German warning sign.

They did not consider it necessary to adapt the signaling on their bus to local conditions. Local authorities should specify this in the list of requirements.

Uitbergen, 18.iv.2003

Not a warning sign for a children's crossing, not even for a pedestrian crossing, but rather a warning that people may be walking on the road.

I decided to place it because it reminds me of the very first sign in the collection: the walking children in the Canary Islands.

pict. H. Van Herck

Children cycling

No bicycle in sight and this wrong combination just confuses the driver. And confusion is bad in traffic.

Lier, 18.xii.2000; pict. L. Nederlof

If you would like to study the effects of (natural?) selection, this is the place. Only the most swift-footed survive a speed limit of 90 km.

Speed limits in other countries are covered in Australia — limits range between 15 km in The Netherlands and 90 here.

Note: this is a mirrored version of the most common sign.

Gent, 01.ii.2023; pict. A.Anselin
Deep in the city we found this special sign that warns of a school. It is the only danger sign in the entire collec­tion on which farmyard animals are depicted.

The hen with her chick is not a fabrication, but a picture of reality. There are indeed parks in the city where the population allows chickens to roam freely between the traffic!

Note that the girl has two ribbons in her hair. That is not unusual, but the placement (on top of her head) does look a bit strange.

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