Padlocks of Love in Koln, Germany

Hohenzollernbrücke Bridge in Koln, Germany

Remember this bridge? It’s the Hohenzollernbrücke Bridge that crosses the Rhine river in Cologne, Germany. Here’s a really cool aerial shot of it.

Remember that YouTube video I linked to a couple of days ago showing this bridge destroyed during WWII? Back then it was a railway and street bridge. Anyway, reconstruction of this bridge began in 1948 and eleven years later was pronounced, as Wikipedia states: “usable without any impairment”.

Today, this bridge is one of the busiest train bridges in the world with a train crossing the Rhine once every two minutes.

Happily, this bridge is also a pedestrian bridge as well. I say happily because our hotel was located directly across the river from the Cologne Cathedral and the Hohenzollernbrücke bridge made it that much easier to get over to, well, everything.

Koln Locks smalls (3)

As we crossed the bridge on our first evening, we noticed some locks fastened to the inner railing between the pedestrian walkway and the railroad tracks. Well, it’s not that unusual to see stray locks, right? Maybe they were bike locks left behind.

Koln Locks smalls (26)

But gosh, so many people left their bike locks here?

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And then we realized we had stumbled across something.

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What in the world?

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A whole COLLECTION of abandoned locks.

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But upon closer inspection,

Koln Locks smalls (6)

we started noticing something else.

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These weren’t just ANY locks. And certainly they weren’t abandoned, per se.

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They were LOVE locks! Apparently, people started leaving these “Love Padlocks” fastened to the bridge sometime in 2008 and this lover-ly idea has really taken off.

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Some people leave elaborate attachments.

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Some leave fancy, professionally engraved locks.

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While others leave labours of love.

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We wondered if this represented heartbreak?

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This is, of course, just a small sampling of the love locks on Hohenzollernbrücke bridge.

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We did wonder at the significance of these handcuffs! Do they represent shackles? Not very flattering, I think!

Cologne isn’t the only city sporting hardware these days. Wikipedia says that cities in Latvia, Hungary, Italy, Uruguay, Guam, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, China, Ukraine, Spain, and Sweden have their own Padlock Love sites.

Here’s an article I found on the love locks on Hohenzollernbrücke Bridge. What do you think? Have you seen anything like this before? I sure haven’t!

Anyway, now that you know about this trend, you’ll know what’s what next time you see a cluster of locks. And you won’t be puzzled if your sweetie gets you a little charming thing in a pretty blue box from this jeweller. ;-)


Filed Under: BlogFeaturedGermanyOutdoorsWhat to Do


About the Author: JaPRA is an expat Texan living in Boston (by way of London by way of Houston) with her husband (Mr. DJ), their 19-year old daughter (Roxi), and their dog Trudy.

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  1. Kathy says:

    Gorgeous pictures, I haven’t made it to Cologne but your pictures certainly make me want to go. When we were in Florence we saw alot of the locking love but were told after a couple weeks the city workers cut them off. Our guide said it’s mostly tourist that do it. Have a wonderful Friday.

  2. Bee says:

    How very interesting. I’ve never heard of this before!

    It has obviously really taken off. So many of us are really romantically inclined, but I do wonder what happens when a couple breaks up. Do you think there is a symbolic lock ceremony for that, too?

  3. julia says:

    How cool – I love seeing the different locks – it’s so interesting how people can express themselves with just about anything! I love the one with the star hanging from it.

    Without knowing the story I first thought there was a lot of crime in Cologne – we have had 3 bikes stolen since moving to Fl – our neighbor’s was stolen two days ago.

  4. LucyLucia says:

    That is just the sweetest tradition! I love it!

  5. Kathy Amen says:

    There really isn’t any limit to human creativity, is there? And it seems that no matter how old you get, there’s always something new under the sun to discover.

  6. Emm says:

    That is so lovely!! I like such simple, heart felt art.

  7. Love locks – how sweet! Somehow the post makes me think of your jewelry too.

  8. With our text-lock padlock it would be possible to unlock it if you were to fall out of love and meet somebody else. If your new lover became jealous, it would save you a long and expensive journey to remove the love lock of the ex! Just text the lock, unlock and back to bed.

  9. Marko says:

    I love your photos! It really is a strange idea to put up those locks. It seems like you took some time for the close inspection.

    Keep blogging!

  10. Brian says:

    On arriving at the bridge from our hotel, the site was quite incredible. This collection is very impressive and taking into account the sheer number of locks, one would suggest you hurry if you wish to find space for your own.

  11. Breigh says:

    *GASP* I was in Koln last year but didn’t know about this! I plan to visit sometime this year and I’m going to get a lock engraved for me and my hubby and go there so we can put one on! Thanks for sharing, I’d probably never have known about this without you :) I’m such a romantic sap!

  12. David says:

    My wife and I were in Koeln this past weekend for the P!nk concert. We went across the bridge to get the traditional shot of the Dom and got quite a surprise. This bridge was the highlight of my weekend in Koeln. Fantastic, a must see! Plan on spending some time there as there are so many interesting locks. I’ll be posting photos of it on my site soon. Next time we go back we plan on having a lock for us and each of our children to place on the bridge.

  13. Lily says:

    I saw these this morning and did a quick Google to find out more. Thanks for the background and the lovely photos- I shall link to them on my blog! I love that some traditions and pieces of cultural art don’t get shouted about in guidebooks- it makes them so much more special to stumble upon.

  14. Tommy says:

    Wow this is really interesting. Can’t say I’ve ever seen locks used this way!

  15. Suzanne says:

    What a great article. Thank you for the background. It is spectacular to visit this bridge.

  16. Stephen Parkinson says:

    Might just go there and add a padlock with my name and e mail address on it and say looking for love .see what happens

  17. Stephen Parkinson says:

    Might just go there and add a padlock with my name and e mail address on it and say looking for love .see what happens . Male age 43 . Wrexham UK

  18. Cheri says:

    My Husband and I went to Koln recently and its a very beautiful place, and we are going back to this before we have to move back to the states, im so excited. :)

  19. Bob says:

    My wife of 20 years walked this bridge with me today 25th December 2012. We were very pleased to see all these love locks. Long may it continue.

  20. Debora says:


    I am writing a blog post about Cologne and I found some very nice pictures on your site.Can I use one of them, citing your site as the author? My blog is (in Italian language) and I am writing about various cities, mostly in Europe.


  21. Mitu says:

    I have never seen so many locks like Koln,all over the world. Please expand more Bigger space for placing bigger lock for big harts fore ever for my


    I will order a la…………rge lock to U K and bring it to here and put our names on the top of the lock for ever lock our life.

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