The European City Centre With No Street Names

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In the Quadratestadt of Mannheim, Germany, the streets aren't named: instead, the blocks are. It's an exception to a rule that most people don't even think about — especially not mapping companies. (Thanks to João Correia for sending me this idea back in 2015!) I'm at on Twitter at on Facebook at and on Snapchat and Instagram as tomscottgo

Comments from Youtube

Thomas Skowron : OpenStreetMap Contributor here: We do have all the blocks mapped (since at least 2012), but not all OSM based maps display it. Nevertheless you will get a result if you use the search, e.g. "Mannheim C4 9b" will lead you to Zephyr

Gondras123 : Exception to the Rule. Create a Series! That would be cool!

I'm Very Angry It's Not Butter!! : Yikes, Tom, get away from that huge block of C4.

theminer3746 : “Presumably, that’ll be fix within a few hour after this video uploaded” If you don’t realize this before, this show you how much influence you have on the internet, Tom.

emojo1990 : i think this is quite useful for navigating a city, especially, say, a tourist destination. if you need to get to a train station and you know its code, say A and youre in B, you can easily assume its close by! also, im disappointed you didnt start at A and walk to B an make the awful joke.

Tom5tom Entertainment : U2's favorite city.

MLeoDaalder : I got bitten by those Mannheim streets once. A client had asked to search a database (and enriching the results with other systems before presenten). One of the most expensive parts was the address lookup (don't know why, we didn't program that part, only called it). So we did the smart thing and required at least 4 characters in the address field before starting searching. Within 10 minutes of delivery the client called, 'We can't find our own address here!' /facepalm

Jango Fett : E6. You sunk my battleship.

Deldarel : I don't get why google and apple can't just use the same system they use for Japan. Technically in both cases it's blocks that are named. Mannheim has a different naming convention, but it should technically work the same for computers.

bhayward2000 : So is this the place U2 were talking about?

Janek : I’m a bike messenger in this city. Let me tell you, this is a very handy nomenclature. Inside the ring road where this nomenclature is applied, I never have to look on a map. You just have to understand how the system works. An additional benefit: In a normal german street, the even house numbers are on one side whereas the odd numbers are on the other side. When over decades buildings with variable footprints come and go, or the avg building width differs from one side to the other, there is an offset (eg numbers 20 and 21 have a distance of several buildings DOWN the street) In one of Mannheims blocks, the numbers are neatly one beside the other, making it easier to quickly determine wich building is wich. Very handy are the blue signs that you can see in the video. They show wich numbers are on wich side of the block. Even for most house numbers they use an official blue sign with the number and an arrow, pointing in the direction of increasing numbers. One problem is that nowadays it isnt mandatory to have the signs on every corner. Newer buildings often dont have the block number and use alternative signs for their building number, wich are often hard to find.

Nood Dood : Tom, German humor is no laughing matter.

Dieter S. : Fun fact: I used to live in I6 (i6) but on the street signs its written as J6 because back in the days a J was written like a I and vise versa.....try to get a pizza delivered there correctly....oh and also the real J is missing, so ppl wont confuse it with I.... :)

TheJoebus666 : 🎵 Where the streets have no name🎵

Stephen Cresswell : Such a good way of doing videos. Is it interesting? Yes. Make the video. Should it be long? No. Make it short and to the point. Fancy music and graphics? Are they needed? So no.

Ellie Does Life : Not being creepy but I could listen to your voice all day 😂

Lelilslazuli : Always happy to see my hometown attract international attention! Although you definitely missed the chance to stand in front of block U2 and point out that in this city, the streets have no name...

Michael Edmond : If you shout random combinations eventually does someone (in German) shout 'you've sunk my battleship!'?

bobobobinalong : So instead of naming the streets, they name the spaces between the streets. Seems like a viable option to me.

bart batenburg : poor people living there, they probably have to tell this entire story everytime they talk to Amazon to ask them where their shipment went

Atomic Shrimp : OK, so if Google or whoever needs to coerce this into a system that expects roads to be named rather than blocks, it could still be done. The street between C2 and D2 could be considered CD2 - the street between C2 and C3 could be mapped as C23

Jan Sanono : Damn these guys live on motorways like the M1 and A1? Must be tough to sleep at night.

Retsam : I knew it would be Mannheim! I live in the vicinity :D

Fel : That's a lot of Tom Scott's.

Marimba Maurice : Nice to see you mentioning the great Openstreetmap :)

Jan Sten Adámek : This was fixed in OSM over a year ago (although it should use place=city_block instead of place=neighbourhood) but the default OSM renderer does not render city block

Thurston Cyclist : I've been to numerous villages in Austria that have no street names. Each building has a number, but the number is assigned based on the order in which it was built. So, 12 and 13 might be on opposite sides of the village, but 4 might be next door to 72. It's not fun trying to find an address.

VoltorbHater : I've never seen so many Tom Scotts in one comment section.

toffeebomb : Stockholm resident here, we have both block and street names! Usually our block names are nouns like "the cigar" or "the peach" and things like that

Heads Full Of Eyeballs : I could tell you were somewhere in Germany just from seeing the buildings in the little thumbnail :D

Ivan Denkov : Openstreetmap have this mapped, but the official site does not render it.

Rafael Formiga Santos : You just name the street appending both letters from the buildings in each side of it. CB street: the street between Bn and Cn.

Gunwoo Lee : Wow! You were in Mannheim! Wish I saw you in person

Cabalex : I just imagine google maps driving directions through the city: Turn left onto A5 Continue onto A4 Continue onto A3 Continue onto A2 Continue onto A1

Andy Brice : If we need a unique identifier for navigating the streets, couldn't we name them after their adjacent blocks? So the street between A5 and B5 becomes A5B5, or AB5.

BelialsRevenge : The C4/zephyr is not multi-lingual, it actually works even better in german, it is literally indistinguishable.

3vIL VIrUs : I live near Mannheim. Over here we call its city center "Quadrate" ("Squares") and Mannheim designed their logo around this fact aswell (Mannheim²) : This is a good system, because it's faster to type into the map search. There are also symbolic names for each street anyway.

Travis Gibby : "Where the streets have no name... Where the streets have no name..."

aModernDandy : I saw this title and thought: “that’s not so weird, Mannheim doesn’t have street names in the Quadrate“- and then it turns out that’s what the video is about 😄 i live just one town over and I work in the palace that’s at the centre of this grid system. Weird to see something so familiar on YouTube.

BinauralMindMusic - Relaxing, Soothing, Strange : I am not surprised: exceptions are the rule in Germany.

Rodrigo Suarez : In downtown Caracas (Venezuela) blocks corners are identified, not the street, so to give an address you say: go from Marrón to Pelota (from the corner named Marrón to the corner named Pelota)

cheekychappy1234 : Interestingly Google does "get it" up to the 200m zoom level. Below that it falls apart.

Moon Pie : I live in Germany and I live near Mannheim. I knew by the title that the video is gonna be about Mannheim, because I was there yesterday and was really confused by these numbers and letters.

Mo Shambles : I love this kind of thing. Long may the world continue to quirk

Rackergen : Whenever I watch you videos I'm split between admiration and envy. You travel a lot to get to the sites you talk about, just to deliver an authentic point of view. This takes extra effort that I guess few people really appreciate. But it is that special effort that really makes me admire you. And it's the travelling that makes me envy. I guess living in London has its perks after all.

C.T.R. Lee : Being used to street names, this truly blows my mind on how street name works. If the city grows larger it may start to have the problem of running out numbera

DonDuracell : At the end screen Tom is standing on the tram tracks that go between D7 & E7 facing towards the Rathaus (mayors office).

Paul O'Sullivan : As usual open source software outperforms the proprietary counterparts. Thanks Mannheim for providing another example of open source superiority!