Note: Nowhere in this article will you find profanity or obscenity. This article contains pictures that I did not personally shoot but still shows my appreciation of the beauty of this world through other people’s lenses.
Being interested in Europe brought me to the websites that feature travelling off the beaten path in Europe. It’s no surprise because during my annual trips to France and Italy I really enjoyed more the small towns than the places frequented by tourists in big cities. There’s something in the laidback lifestyle in the rural areas that still fascinates me. However, this small village that I saw in the internet may qualify under my description of a laidback village but not under places frequented by tourists because it has become popular to the British people since the end of World War II where the British often go there just to strike a pose beside one or in all of the four village signs.
What made the village famous is the village name that has an identical spelling to an English word that is oftentimes uttered with profanity or obscenity (spelling and NOT the pronunciation). Ironically, the village has no tourist attraction other than its four road signs that mark its boundaries. They are just typical European road signs made of white-painted metal sheet with a blue border.
However, the road sign has the 7 letters F-U-C-K-I-N-G prominently written in the middle, which is the name of the village. The signs do not even say “Welcome to Fucking”,”You Are Entering Fucking”, or “Fucking Starts Here.”
The Austrian village of Fucking (pronounced as foo-king) is in the municipality of Tarsdorf, in the Innviertel region, in Western Upper Austria. This village is near the Austrian-German border and also near the famous city of Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart. Despite having a population of 104 only and a small landmass, the village has become popular among the English-speaking tourists because of its name.
Since Fucking was “discovered” by tourists, their “hot” road signs were frequently stolen as souvenirs by some pervert tourists and this added burden to the taxes of the villagers because each sign costs around 300 Euros to replace. So in 2005 the signs were replaced with theft-resistant signs welded to steel and secured in concrete to prevent them from being stolen.
Tarsdorf Mayor, Siegfried Höppl, said that officials were fed up with English-speaking tourists stealing the signs, and noted that with the newly-installed signs it would take all night to steal one. Höppl said that tourists, and the money they bring to the area, were welcome, but locals were sick of replacing the Fucking signs. (Wikipedia)
When all the villagers (known as Fuckingers, not Fuckers as claimed by another blogger) knew what their village name means in English, and owing it mainly to the annoying cost of replacing the road signs, some proposed that the name be changed. However, the Fuckingers voted against doing so. Mayor Siegfried Höppl stated that it was decided to keep the name as it had existed for 800 years, and further stated that “Everyone here knows what it means in English, but for us Fucking is Fucking—and it’s going to stay Fucking.”
It was believed that the village was founded in the 6th century by a Bavarian nobleman, named Focko. The spelling of the name has evolved over the years. It is first recorded in historical sources with the spelling as Vucchingen, then changed to Fukching, then to Fugkhing. In the 18th century, it adopted its modern spelling Fucking which is pronounced with the vowel oo as in book. The ending -ing is an old Germanic suffix indicating the people belonging to the root word to which it is attached, thus Fucking Village means “The village of Focko’s people.” At first, the villagers were wondering why there are people stopping at their road signs to have their pictures taken until they learned what it means in English.
In 2005 it was reported that the village had 104 people and 32 houses. Below are screenshots of the village courtesy of GoogleEarth.
This sounds amusing to English-speaking people but not to the local villagers who are described as very traditional. Some were even scandalized by couples posing in provocative positions near the road signs. Reports say that the villagers recently installed CCTV cameras near the four road signs in their attempt to deter tourists from filming themselves while having sexual intercourse in front of the Fucking signs.
It’s true that some people with entrepreneurial spirit can make money out of the name. Some can sell shirts like “I Love Fucking in Austria” which, of course, refers to the village and not something else. I’m sure tourists would love to buy coffee mugs imprinted with “Souvenir from my recent Fucking trip.” A local shop will definitely attract tourists by putting up a sign that says “Fucking Postcards For Sale.” But it simply does not make sense to the villagers and it is not something for them to be proud of if their village’s name is maligned. They have a long history to protect and worth keeping as part of their heritage than desecrating it in the name of commercialism or laughed at by malicious tourists who give a different meaning to the village’s noble name. There is nothing profane in Fucking for it is the village of Focko’s people.
It’s also sad that almost all the articles that I read about Fucking have been written to ridicule the name and everything found on it like captions that say a fucking cat, a fucking house, a fucking apple, and a fucking windmill beyond the fucking sign. I have also seen a number of photos where people do scandalous pose in front of the Fucking sign. Below is a video clip of how an English-speaking host made fun of Fucking by pronouncing it the English way and using it in different context.
I was lucky to find a webpage that chronicled the visit of Japanese tourists in this little Austrian village. In the article, they described Fucking as “It is in this fantastic country, nestled in the picturesque countryside, lie the tiny little village of Fucking.” So positive, so inviting.
The author further wrote, “We were captivated by the beauty and tranquility of the small village. Japanese travelers tend to limit themselves to well-known travel spots like Vienna, but we think there’s something to be said for taking a day trip out to the countryside and visiting a village like Fucking to see the “real” Austria.”
Below is a video that shows the beauty of this quiet little paradise called Fucking. You can also hear the chirping of the birds in this video. The author even wrote a good advice. “A little tourism is probably a good thing for a tiny place like Fucking, but please try not to do anything that would trouble the locals, even if it is written on the signs.”
On the lighter side, the mayor of Tarsdorf better forge a twinning agreement with this US City that has a less vulgar name.