Give them any excuse, the people in Köln (Cologne) love to party at any time. It’s a wonder but no surprise this is where I find some of the happiest people in the country. As the calendar flips to a new year, the time heralds the annual shenanigans of the Kölner Karneval. For residents and visitors, two of the best-known landmarks in the city are the Kölner Dom (Cologne Cathedral) and the Hohenzollernbrücke (Hohenzollern Bridge).
(Liebesgeschichten in Köln)
“Love locks” (Liebesschlösser) are for many a concrete declaration and manifestation of new and continuing love.
Found also in other places around the world, these locks now decorate the south fence of the Hohenzollernbrücke bridge in Köln (Cologne), Germany. Since their appearance here in 2008, the locks have been described by various sources, including the following from Germany and written in English:
- Locks of love tinkling in Cologne – Rhein Online
- Cologne Gets a Lock on Love – Deutsche Welle
- Folklorists baffled over ‘love locks’ in Cologne – The Local
At the end of September 2011, Altweibersommer or Germany’s version of “Indian summer” was in full effect with warm sunny days and many people escaping work and school to spend as much possible time lounging along the river Rhein.
I’ve been to Köln frequently to visit friends, drink Kölsch, eat döner. The conditions were perfect, and curiosity got the better of me – I finally made my way to the Hohenzollernbrücke.
After taking my own time on the bridge, I was pleasantly surprised by the size and shape of locks, and by the various inscriptions.
Most of the love-locks on Cologne’s Hohenzollernbrücke are on the south side of the bridge. Shown in the map below are the west (blue) and east (green) approaches on foot, after alighting from trains at either Cologne Main Train Station (Köln Hauptbahnhof, Köln Hbf) or Cologne Messe/Deutz Station (K-Messe/Deutz), respectively. Regional trains, S-Bahn trains, and local U-Bahn trains pass through both stations on either side of the river Rhein.
I made all of the photos above on 29 September and 1 October 2011. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com.
- Nicole Blaess-Smith found beautiful love locks in Copenhagen and in Helsinki.
- Anita Mac wrote about a different and historical perspective to the locks she found and photographed in Prague.
- Anita also provided a wonderful summary (and a bucket list!) of where else in the world love locks appear.