English ‘Bed and Breakfast’ sign irks authorities

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.