Archive for November 27th, 2010

November 27, 2010


The numbering of floors in a building is another of those slightly confusing and puzzling things to Europeans (well, at least Germans I shouldn’t speak for the rest of them).

From 12 on to 14 - an American elevator, pic:

So here is how it works:  When you enter a building in the US on street level you are on the first floor, not the ground floor.  The next floor up is the second etc.  In Germany the one on street level is refered to as ground floor and the next one up – the US second floor – is the first, etc.

That holds until you reach that ominous, bad-luck number 13, or rather you don’t reach it.  In the US many buildings have no 13th floor, it is simply skipped, you go from 12 to 14.  The reason is superstition, the notion that 13 is an unlucky number and that a tenant (or hotel guest) would not want to reside there.

On wikipedia I found the following bit of information, whether correct or not, I don’t know: “Based on an internal review of records, Dilip Rangnekar of Otis Elevators estimates that 85% of the buildings with elevators did not have a floor named the 13th floor.”

That is a lot of superstition going on!