Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Love Locks of Cologne and elsewhere

I’ve probably discovered the first love lock in 2005 or 2006. I use to the Hohenzollernbrücke in Cologne (that’s the bridge next to the cathedral or Kölner Dom and the Main Railway Station) cross several times a year, as I park my car on the other side of the Rhine, called Schäl Sick (Cologne dialect for wrong side). Once I’ve seen a lock right next to an inlet to the railway track and thought that someone had deliberately latched it there, in order to be able to fix his bike outside of the fence or something like this. I had not paid attention to an engraving. Now I know that this must have been the first love lock, because why would someone leave a padlock at the bridge and carry the chain? It was in later years that I recognized the growing number of locks.

Enamored couples have their names engraved on a padlock and latch it to the railing of the Hohenzollern Bridge to swear eternal love and fidelity, and then the key is thrown into the Rhine. How romantic!

And some criticism: "What kind of society is this, in which the symbol for love is a padlock?"  
The estimates of the amount of locks and their weight diverge. The highest estimate for the number of love locks has been 300,000, while the highest weight had been estimated around 46 metric tons. I think more realistic are 160,000 love locks weighing 22 metric tons. It seems much, but actually isn’t as one empty boxcar weighs as much. Therefore it is quite unlikely that the love locks pose a risk to the bridge’s statics.

The love locks have a touristic relevance, as many visitors specifically come to Cologne to put their love locks on the bridge, and often come back for a second and third time, for example on occasion of the wedding anniversary. But space becomes scarce for to put new locks. Some locks have been placed, where safety reasons might lead to removal [2].


Times gone by ... 
A food bridge in Kiew

At the quay in Arkhangelsk

Buenos Aires, the old harbor

 Buenos Aires, the old harbor

And back to Cologne

[1] http://rheumatologe.blogspot.de/2009/04/die-liebesschlosser-von-koln.html
[2] http://www.ksta.de/koeln/-sote-liebesschloesser-duerfen-haengen-bleiben-1152350


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