Love Padlocks in Cologne

Lucky locksmiths in Cologne are doing a roaring trade in engraved padlocks. Couples lock them onto the Hohenzollern Bridge then toss the key into the Rhine. From the bank of the river the fence along the length of the bridge appears glittering gold. I’ve never seen anything like it before, although apparently love padlocks adorn fences all over the world. It looks beautiful, and I like the idea of spontaneous collaborative art work, but I can’t help but wonder what will be the environmental impact of all that metal being produced and then abandoned.

Other quirky things I saw on holiday in Cologne: a cheeky carving on the town hall – see Abi King’s post on Cologne’s Secret Streak – and a terrifying mechanical musical duo in Papa Joe’s. You put your euro in the slot, select a song, and these two chaps behind the bar play it for you. I’m not all that keen on dolls or dummies or anything that looks human but isn’t. It was creepy enough having the guy on the left leer at me and shake his head while playing the accordion, so when he stood up, I nearly ran out the door screaming.

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10 thoughts on “Love Padlocks in Cologne

  1. And even a living person playing the accordeon is creepy enough!

    There’s something about simulacra that tends to get to us on a primal level.

    • One of the scariest experiences I ever had was in Madame Tussauds. There was a dungeon exhibition with actors hiding out amongst the wax works. As you walked past they’d suddenly leap forward rattling chains and brandishing knives. I still get a shiver thinking about it now!

    • Chocolate padlocks are a great idea. That will make it much easier on the couples who split up. No more sneaking onto the bridge in the dead of night with lock cutters; the one that got dumped can just eat the padlock. A bitter-sweet consolation prize 🙂

  2. Has just occurred to me that “love padlocks” sounds like kinky bondage gear. Disappointingly, the misleading title of this blog post has not led to an increase in traffic.

  3. The world is filled with strange things. Seems as though you discovered two. One that delighted, and one that did not. Think of it as a balance I guess. 🙂

  4. Love padlocks are cropping up in the UK now too led by a LoveLocks http://www.lovelocksuk.com
    I too think they are beautiful and make for really unique gifts or momentos. We visited a bunch of castles recently and were shocked by how much damage had been done to the stone work by carvings of ‘Jim loves Sue’ for example- maybe a padlock is a better way to express love but without causing damage to historical buildings!

  5. Pingback: Shoefiti | Helen Caldwell

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