Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Love locks

Love locks on bridge railings are a nuisance. A year ago it happened in Paris that a railing broke due to the additional weight. All those ardent vows went down the drain, pardon, the Seine. Red Baron reported already about the annoying practice. This blog is just a "German" update.

Padlocks on railings. In Freiburg not a real problem yet.
To avoid an accident as in Paris the city authorities in Bremen would like couples to refrain from decorating the railings of a particular footbridge with padlocks. They looked for a way to communicate the message.

One German word all foreigners know is verboten. Therefore it even has such a bad reputation with my compatriots that nowadays you rarely find it written in public. Constructions such as Es ist untersagt, den Rasen zu betreten (Stepping on the lawn is not allowed) or Bitte hier nicht pinkeln (Don't piss here please) replaced the harsh: Es ist verboten!

The city authorities in Bremen refrained from using words at all but remembered the German proverb: Ein Bild sagt mehr als tausend Worte (A picture is worth a thousand words). They placed the following sign on the footbridge already groaning under the load of more than one thousand metallic vows of love.

©Eckhard Stengel
Remember, we are in Germany. So the authorities hastened to declare that their sign is not a German prohibition traffic sign according to the official catalog. Although it shows the normal circle-backslash symbol its diameter is distinctly smaller. Bremen's sign should just warn couples: No chance. We shall remove your padlocks straightaway.

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