Leonard Cohen Crosses That Hohenzollern Bridge When He Comes To It
In his introduction to “Anthem” during his July 1, 2009 concert in Cologne, Leonard Cohen reports to the audience that he locked a padlock on the Hohenzollern Bridge and, following custom, threw the key in the river.
Leonard Talks – Cologne (July 1, 2009)
Love padlocks are a custom by which sweethearts affix padlocks to a fence or similar public fixture to symbolize their love, a tradition which perhaps began in the 1980s in Pécs:
Beginning in the 1980s, in the centre of the southern Hungarian city of Pécs, lovers began to clamp padlocks to a wrought-iron fence in a narrow street linking the mosque in the city’s main square and the magnificent medieval cathedral, as a symbol of their commitment to one another. However, after the fence was completely covered and no more padlocks could be added, couples, both locals and tourists, began attaching them to fences and statues throughout the town centre.1
According to Cologne Gets a Lock on Love (which holds that the love locks first appeared in Rome), the practice has spread to Cologne.
Rome is, without a doubt, a perfect place for romance. There, on the famous Milvian bridge over the Tiber, is where it all began — the hanging of lucchetti d’amore, or love locks. Young lovers still flock to the bridge today to immortalize their love with an engraved padlock, throwing the key into the swirling waters below.
Cut to the German city of Cologne. Unlike Rome or Paris, it’s not exactly known as a romantic destination. Despite this, love locks are currently all the rage, with over 300 of them clinging to the busy Hohenzollern bridge over the Rhine. The locks began appearing on the pedestrian footpath across the bridge last summer
… The tokens have also become an attraction for tourists, who stop to take a closer look at the messages inscribed on them.
Each inscription is different. Some are just initials written in marker pen, others have been more expensively engraved. …
Leonard Cohen – Escape Artist
Given Cohen’s deep-seated, well advertised, and self-professed avoidance of a permanent romantic commitment to any of the women with whom he has been involved, there is, of course, a certain irony in his participation in the the hanging of lucchetti d’amore.
There is, however, no evidence supporting the rumor that Cohen secretly kept a duplicate of the key he tossed in the river “just in case.”