Monday, August 15, 2011

A Real-Life Meme Hits Heidelberg


The word "meme" usually brings the internet to mind, but a real-world meme recently hit Heidelberg.  It's the most subtle of PDAs - you and your very special forever sweetie romantically get someone to carve your names or initials on a padlock, then you lock it onto a local feature - often a bridge, where you can then symbolically toss the key into the water and make out a little bit before going on your merry way.

The first place I saw this was Cologne, one of the most well-known places to put up public locks o' love.  Since then I've seen people on Facebook post pictures of this being done in Rome and Bamberg.  A few months ago, they started showing up on the Old Bridge in Heidelberg.  There's really nothing good on the bridge to stick locks on - no chain-link fencing or ornate looped carved details.  Desperate that their relationships could be headed for disaster if they don't make this gesture in some famous location, they started sticking locks on these tiny little metal bars that you can find on the corners of the little look-out points along the bridge.  Our bridge doesn't have a lot of space for locks and it's already mostly taken up.  I wonder what happens then?  Are these things usually cut off by the police to make room for more couples to prove via lock that they care?  Does cutting them off spell doom for the lovers?

Wikipedia has a list of places you can perform this ultimate gesture of romance - but they don't seem to know where it really started, except that it might have been China.  They are, if nothing else, very photogenic, like shrines!  If you want a space on the bridge in Heidelberg, better hurry, we're running out.


  1. Who knew! I have never heard of this. But I bet it looks pretty neat anyways :)

  2. Crazy! I was just in Heidelberg this weekend (for about 6 hours as a stop-over on the way down to Stuttgart) and I saw these!!

  3. Thanks for the explaination. I recently saw tons of them by the Uffizi Palace in Florence and kind of guessed it was something along these lines. Seems like a silly eyesore, but I'm no romantic.

  4. I think it's such a cute thing to do. I saw them in Florence and read up on how it started. Here's what I found: Teenagers started putting them on a bridge in Rome after a 2006 movie based on the novel “Ho Voglia di Te” made it popular.


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