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Differences In European Highway Lettering?  
User currently offlineDeltaRules From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 4174 posts, RR: 8
Posted (11 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 1834 times:

Next week, my family & I will be headed to Stuttgart, Germany, and then onto Luxembourg, France, Belgium & finally Amsterdam, Netherlands. What I'm wondering is what are the differences in these countries in the highways & their nomenclature?

For example, what does each letter mean when I see it on signs, or if we're driving, what kind of road is the A6 in comparison to the E25, N121, R22, etc. (random numbers)? Any help would be appreciated.


Let's Kick the Tires & Light the Fires!!
8 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineWorldoftui From Sweden, joined Aug 2007, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (11 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 1810 times:

It is a pain in the as* when driving over there.

A good European road map will help you out with this. Basically all different sorts of numbers and letters, not in any way similar to the more logical US system. The only common feature AFAIK is the "E" roads which are European international routes and are used in conjunction with the national categorisation.

Confused yet? You will be.

Nah, its really not that bad. Like I said, it will become perfectly obvious once you check out a good quality map and get out there.

Have fun!


User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 22783 posts, RR: 53
Reply 2, posted (11 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 1805 times:

France uses A for major highways, N for medium roads, and D for the smallest. A good translation to the American system would be:

N=US roads
D=State roads

I think Germany uses just numbers, though I'm not sure about that.

7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 14968 posts, RR: 61
Reply 3, posted (11 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 1790 times:

In Germany

A is an Autobahn, even numbers mean roughly east -west orientation, odd numbers north-south.

B is a Bundesstrasse, a federal highway, but not an Autobahn


Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
User currently offlineSwissgabe From Switzerland, joined Jan 2000, 5266 posts, RR: 31
Reply 4, posted (11 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 1719 times:

In Switzerland we changed several years ago from "N" for Highway to "A", don't ask me why ...

Smooth as silk - Royal Orchid Service /// Suid-Afrikaanse Lugdiens - Springbok
User currently offlinePetertenthije From Netherlands, joined Jul 2001, 3559 posts, RR: 10
Reply 5, posted (11 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 1672 times:

international routes have both national numbering and a pan-european numbering which starts with E**. Only the main highways, but it should help a bit.

User currently offlineJcs17 From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 8065 posts, RR: 37
Reply 6, posted (11 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 1669 times:

Also, from what I've noticed on European freeways, there will be an exit, but the towns listed for that exit are about 10 different roads and 20 miles away. Usually there are signs, but what you see is not always what you get. I noticed that especially in the French countryside and in Italy.

America's chickens are coming home to rooooost!
User currently offlineJwenting From Netherlands, joined Apr 2001, 10213 posts, RR: 17
Reply 7, posted (11 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 1640 times:

The exits list the nearest towns/cities to the exit. Some of those can indeed be a bit away.
Remember our highway system is not as dense as it is in the US, especially in rural areas.

AS Peter said, E numbers are more of a formality than anything else. Most people never use them, preferring the national numbers instead (in some places the E numbers if existant aren't even listed on the roads).

A6 would be the same road as the E25 (for example, don't think the A6 here has an E number as it doesn't cross borders).
It's equivalent to a US interstate, but remember the A number differs between the Netherlands and Germany (and elsewhere). You can drive the A1 in the Netherlands but when crossing the border into Germany the number changes (and A1 in Germany is a completely different road).

N roads in the Netherlands are national routes, these can be anything from US highways to simple 2 lane roads that run outside the jurisdiction of individual cities.

I wish I were flying
User currently offlineDeltaRules From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 4174 posts, RR: 8
Reply 8, posted (11 years 9 months 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 1581 times:

Thanks guys- it's helped me out in terms of what to expect when we get on different roads over here. Love the Autobahn....shame I can't drive on it though. It'd be awesome to have control of a car at 100+ for a few seconds!  Smile We hit 99 mph earlier today- something I haven't done in a car in a long time.


Let's Kick the Tires & Light the Fires!!
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