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.