April 5, 2012

Love padlock bridge spotted in Amsterdam

Filed under: Architecture by Orangemaster @ 1:35 pm

In Paris, the Pont des Arts, a pedestrian bridge over the Seine is well known for its huge collection of padlocks that adorn the sides of the bridge, left by couples in love as an urban equivalent of carving your initials into a tree. And since international trends usually find their way to Amsterdam, a bridge on the Kloveniersburgwal downtown has started its own collection of love padlocks.

Unfortunately, many trends are not always adopted with the same spirit in which they came. What could be a lovely, new local tradition has already hit newspaper Metro as a tolerated public annoyance at best. “If those padlocks get in the way, we’ll take the necessary measures to remove them”, a spokesperson for the city told the paper. It wouldn’t be the first time cities around the world have threatened to remove padlocks, as they probably do damage metal, look awful in some places and clash with their surroundings in others. However, a bit like love, the cities often cave in to public opinion.

Love padlocks and wish padlocks have been around for a while, and have no definite origin. It’s probably one of those trends that started simultaneously in several countries because we’re all human after all.

UPDATE: In May 2012 all the padlocks had been removed.

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September 19, 2009

Lock picking increasingly popular hobby

Filed under: Sports,Technology by Branko Collin @ 10:49 am

The New York Times has an article (behind a pay-wall) about lock picking as a hobby almost exclusive to Germany and the Netherlands, and about Toool, The Open Organization of Lockpickers, which …

[…] is dedicated to picking locks for fun. The movement has been growing over the last five years, with a chapter now in Eindhoven, in the east of the country, and foreign branches in several places, including Germany and the United States.

[…] Its members see lock picking as a sport and organize annual competitions, a sort of Olympics of lock picking, at which entrants compete in various categories — padlocks, mechanical locks and freestyle, in which contestants confront a variety of locks with any tools they choose, as long as they do not damage the lock. The next tournament will be held in May in Istanbul.

At the hacker camps I attended the past 12 years, there always was a lock picking tent (where for some reason you had to take your shoes off, as if visiting a temple or Canadians), but I never imagined that what they were doing there was such a local hobby. According to the NYT, lock picking as a sport was invented by Steffen Wernéry of Germany, who in 1997 started the Sportsfreunde der Sperrtechnik club. The difference between the Dutch and German lock pickers is apparently that the former, in good security tradition, share their secrets with the lock makers.

(Photo of Kevin Mitnick‘s business card by Nathan Yergler, some rights reserved.)

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