Love Locks

Love locks are a popular way to show love, but are not well liked by city officials
When I found love locks attached to a fence overlooking the city of Zagreb, Croatia, it was new to me.  They were also on the river at Samobor.  How did this tradition start and how widespread was it?  I posed the question to a group on the Facebook page for Urban Travel Europe.  It turned out it was a hot topic and many travelers had their own photos to post. This blogpost by Its all Bee shows great photos of how big the "problem" can be in Cologne.

They have been around for a long time, and you can read more about them on the wiki page.  It's mostly been in this century that they have popped up across Europe and other parts of the world.  Apparently a couple creates a lock and puts it somewhere public to declare their love for each other, then throws away the key. Though the idea seems kind of sweet and innocent, they are being outlawed in many cities since the weight of love locks seems to be the reason a bridge rail failed in Paris at Pont des Arts in 2009.  Now they are treated like graffiti and removed.  Even the Eiffel Tower has been love locked!

The variety of locks seems endless.  You can buy an ordinary master lock and decorate it yourself using nail polish, permanent marker or even engraving, but if you want fancy, there's a website that makes personalized locks.  They can be created to celebrate special occasions like an anniversary or proposal.  Here's a small sample of those I found in Zagreb. They even have a map which tracks where love locks can be found.

 So what is the alternative?  There was a fundraiser by the British Heart Foundation where people could personalize a lock and have it added to what became an art piece at Covent Garden and Camden Lock.  The structure spelled LOVE.
In Budapest you will find structures surrounding trees where people are putting locks- a padlock tree.  They list a number of other cities where you can find them in Hungary.

In Venice they reengineered the bridges with a wider metal so locks can't be attached.

Moscow created metal trees for the sole purpose of love locks- a kind of art work.  This article shows a number of locks around the world.

No matter what your opinion on them, it looks like it's a growing trend that will be impossible to stamp out entirely.  Have you seen them?  What do you think?
Love locks on the fence in Zagreb

Love locks on the cable of the bridge at Samobor


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