In the summer of 2008, padlocks engraved with initials and decorated with stickers and ribbons started to appear on the railings of Cologne’s Hohenzollern Bridge. Couples would fix their love lock, meant to symbolise everlasting and unbreakable love, to the bridge and throw the key into the tumbling river below them.
Nine years later, around 300,000 padlocks have been added, creating a colourful wall stretching across the entire length of the 400-metre (1,312-foot) bridge.
Deutsche Bahn officials initially feared that the added weight would create safety issues, and considered removing the padlocks. As 1,200 heavy trains cross the bridge every day, fans of the romantic gesture protested, and the train company quickly vouched not to take the locks down after all.
The padlocks have become an integral part of the cityscape, and removing them now seems unthinkable. The bridge is one the city’s most romantic spots, with locals, tourists and even the odd celebrity flocking to Cologne to lock their love eternally. Love wins!