Austria bids farewell to Fucking after a millennium of misunderstandings

Village of 100 residents near Salzburg – a modern selfie hell – to be renamed Fugging

Locals from the small Austrian town of Fucking, population 106, has decided to change the name of their town after growing tired of English-speaking tourists stealing their signs. Video: Reuters

 

Tired of sniggering jokes and stolen street signs, the Austrian village of Fucking has decided to change its name. About f***ing time, say some.

On New Year’s Day, the 100 residents in the village 40km north of Salzburg, officially known as Fuckingers, will wake up in Fugging.

With that, the rural village hopes to be rid of – mostly British – tourists who make a detour to their village for selfies at the sign leading into town. The arrival of social media platform TikTok has triggered a fresh ring of hell, with visitors dancing on the road and blocking traffic.

Local mayor Andrea Holzner says the new name, applicable from January 1st, better reflects local pronunciation of the name.

Nevertheless it’s the end of an era for the village, first mentioned in the year 1070 – less than a century before Dublin. The name is believed to have originated from a nobleman who lived in the region at the time: Adalpert von Vucckingen.

In 1829, cartographers for Kaiser Franz I began documenting – and standardising – place names in the upper Austria region, and formalised the replacement of the V with the similar-sounding F.

Their suggestion for the town’s name was Fuking, as digital maps online show, but at some point in the last century a c slipped into the mix. From then on the village was both a place name and an English-language obscenity.

Only with the global spread of English, and the arrival of the internet, did the German-speaking locals begin to notice their dilemma.

Things began to get serious from 2000, as street signs began to vanish. In 2005 the eight signs leading into the town were welded, riveted concreted into place. 

The notoriety continued to grow when website Pornhub, in a publicity stunt, dubbed Fucking a “Premium Place” and gave all villagers free access to all of its digital offerings.

The final straw came with the arrival of Jeremy Clarkson and the Grand Tour television show in 2017, on a road trip from Fucking to nearby Kissing, Petting and, across the border in Bavaria, the town of Wank. Named after a local mountain, the “Wankhaus” hut offers spectacular Alpine views. 

Locals in these towns have no plans to change their names, according to a survey by the Süddeutsche Zeitung daily, though its shout-out for other curious names in the German-speaking world turned up a rich haul. One favourite among readers is “Poppendorf”, which translates roughly as “Screwsville”; another town, Rottenegg, speaks – or reeks – for itself.