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Atlas Obscura Vienna’s Diversity-Themed Traffic Lights

Walk around Vienna’s city center, and you’ll likely spot traffic lights that celebrate diversity guiding you across the streets. These fixtures were inspired by Europe’s most politically charged and sequin-strewn annual popular culture event: The Eurovision Song Contest.

Debuting in Switzerland in 1956 as an idea for post-World War II reconciliation, the Eurovision Song Contest has both entertained and perplexed in equal measure. Held annually, the contest sees overs 50 countries battling in front of a live television audience of over 180 million to have their song proclaimed the Eurovsion winner. In return, the winning country gains the rather dubious honor of staging the next year’s contest, though the cost of this would, in actuality, bankrupt many of the tiny micro-nations that compete.

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1.29km
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1.08km
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