Fucking welcomes you. Don’t get worked up thinking that I am being vulgar.

Fucking (German pronunciation: “fooking”) is an Austrian village in the municipality of Tarsdorf, in the Innviertel region of western Upper Austria. The village is 33 kilometres north of Salzburg, 4 kilometres east of the German border.

Welcome to Fucking

Despite having a population of only 104, the charming village has become famous for its name in the English-speaking world. Its most popular tourist attractions are the four traffic signs with its Fucking name on them, beside which tourists stop to have their photograph taken.

One version of the sign features the village name with an additional sign beneath it, with the words “Bitte – nicht so schnell!” (“Please — not so fast!”). The lower sign — which features an illustration of two children — is meant to advise drivers to watch their speed, but tourists see this as hilarious when coupled with the village name.

Fucking....Please - Not So Fast!

Drivers heading into the village often disturbed naked couples romping in front of the signs, and local entrepreneurs made the situation worse by flogging off Fucking postcards – Fucking Christmas cards and even more recently a Fucking beer.

British tourists have left the residents of the Austrian village fuming by constantly stealing the signs as souvenirs. After a spate of thefts, which included the theft of all four signs in one night, and a total of fifteen over a period of several years, in August, 2005, the road signs were replaced with theft-resistant signs welded to steel and secured in concrete to prevent them being stolen. Mayor 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 signs.

The village of Fucking

Kommandant Schmitzberger, the local police chief, also hinted at other avenues to stop what he calls “foreign criminals” from disturbing order in the village. Regarding these “other avenues”, Schmitzberger stated, “what they are, I am not at liberty to disclose, but we will not stand for the Fucking signs being removed. It may be very amusing for you British, but Fucking is simply Fucking to us. What is this big Fucking joke? It is puerile.”

While British visitors are finding it hilarious, the residents of Fucking are failing to see the funny side.

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Local tourist guide Andreas Behmueller said it was only the British that had a fixation with Fucking.

“The Germans all want to see Mozart’s house in Salzburg; the Americans want to see where The Sound of Music was filmed; the Japanese want Hitler’s birthplace in Braunau; but for the British, it’s all about Fucking.”

Augustina Lindlbauer, the manager of an area guesthouse, noted that the area had lakes, forests, and vistas worth visiting, but there was an “obsession with Fucking”. Lindlbauer recalled how she had to explain to a British female tourist “that there were no Fucking postcards.”

It is believed that the settlement was founded in the 6th century by Focko, a Bavarian nobleman. The existence of the village was documented for the first time in 1070 and historical records show that some twenty years later the lord was Adalpertus de Fucingin. The spelling of the name has evolved over the years; it is first recorded in historical sources with the spelling as Vucchingen in 1070, Fukching in 1303, Fugkhing in 1532, and in the modern spelling Fucking in the 18th century, 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 means “(place of) Focko’s people.”

British and American soldiers based in nearby Salzburg noticed the name after World War II, and began to travel to the village to have their photos taken beside the signs while striking various poses. The local residents, the Fuckingers, were considerably bemused as they had not previously been aware of the meaning of their village’s name when read as English. Since then, the number of visitors to Fucking has increased, with the occasional visit by a tour bus.

A local resident of the village, Josef Winkler, attempted to cash in on the village’s fame by setting up a website (www.fucking.at), on which he sold t-shirts featuring the village road signs, with the slogan “I like Fucking in Austria” printed on them. According to Winkler, they were selling well, and he was in negotiations with Maxim regarding possible promotions, but was forced to stop his venture after being shouted at and threatened in the street. Winkler said, “It was a bit of fun that didn’t hurt anyone, but I found out that in this region you just can’t do something like that. The whole thing became a real trial for me and I had to stop. People are very traditional here.”

I like Fucking in Austria

In November 2008, the village hosted the Festival of the Fuck Bands music festival, which featured bands Fucked Up, Holy Fuck, Fuck and Fuck Buttons.

In July 2009, it was announced that the village would be installing CCTV cameras in an attempt to deter summertime tourists from filming themselves having sexual intercourse in front of the Fucking signs. A resident of the village said that installing cameras around the village may make tourists think twice and instead choose to only have a photograph taken in front of the sign.

The final straw has been a growing number of calls by pranksters from abroad who ring up locals and ask in English “Is That Fucking” – before bursting into laughter and hanging up.

“The phone calls are really the final straw”, said local Mayor Franz Meindl.

On April 17, 2012, about 104 Fucking fed-up villagers held a village meeting and have decided to switch the village name ‘Fucking’ to ‘Fugging’, irking folks in Fugging, Austria, a town some 200 miles to the south.

But, this is not the first time the villagers to clamor for changing their village name. Residents last voted on the subject in 1996 when it decided to keep the name despite problems caused by American servicemen from across the border in Germany that drove to the region just to be photographed in front of signs. They then sent the snaps back home to their girlfriends and wives.

Fucking signboard

There were once two Fucking in Austria, but in 1836 the people in the one nearest Vienna, the one most exposed to snickers from traveling English speakers, changed the name of their hamlet to Fugging. According to Andreas Dockner, mayor of that township, “We think one Fugging in Austria is enough.”

It is yet unclear whether the Fuckingers (fortunately the villagers are not referred to as Fuckers) will be allowed to adopt the name Fugging or if they will have to choose another name that’s not already taken.