Love locks or padlocks of love are something that lovers lock onto a bridge, fence or gate as a public showing to symbolize their love for each other. It is customary for the lover’s initials to be engraved into the key and the key is then thrown away as a symbol of eternity together.
This tradition has become highly popular over the last fifteen years and can be seen in many different locations around the world. Some countries love them and treat them as a tourist attraction or a fundraising project but other authorities think they are a nuisance and try to eliminate them.
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Love locks can be seen in many countries, including South Korea, Poland, Algeria, Canada, Australia, USA, Germany, Italy and the UK. One of the most famous bridges of love locks is in Paris on the Pont des Arts. Love locks have since spread to many other bridges along the Seine.
Many visitors believe the tradition to be old in Paris but only began fairly recently in 2008. Unfortunately, the number of locks is causing part of the bridge to collapse under the weight and so they must be removed. A website has now been created so that people can send virtual love locks instead.
Be careful if you feel romantic while abroad though, as in Berlin, applying a lock to a bridge is a misdemeanour and can result in fines. Venice, Italy is one of the cities where it is absolutely forbidden and can result in a fine of 3,000 euros. The main concern, apart from affecting the architectural aesthetics of the city is rust and structural damage caused by padlocks.