One of the few, and one of the first, neon ads of East Germany still hangs above the city of Leipzig. Over 650 feet of colorful glass tubes form a family happily enjoying a bowl of soup around the dinner table. Hence the sign’s local nickname, Löffelfamilie, or “Spoon Family.”
The 40-by-20-foot neon sign was an advertisement for a state-owned company called VEB Feinkost Leipzig (People-Owned Enterprise Delicatessen of Leipzig), which produced mainly canned food, vegetables, fruit, and soups.
Legend has it that the leader of former Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito, visited the German Democratic Republic in the early 1970s and criticized the socialist state’s lack of colors and illuminations. So GDR Erich Honecker himself initiated a masterplan to follow the neon examples of the West, namely the famous Las Vegas Cowboy.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall the sign fell into disrepair, but remained a fixture of Leipzig, a relic of another era. Now an association of local residents and businesses oversee the upkeep of the ad and pay the electricity bills—with a little help from visitors. If you want to see the Löffelfamilie in all its illuminated glory, just send a text to 0900-LOEFFEL; a donation of 3€ will illuminate the sign for three minutes.
Know Before You Go
Usually illuminated in the evening hours. If not, illuminate by sending a text (and making a small donation).