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Ahhh… those colourful fridge magnets are stuck on refrigerator doors in millions of homes around the world. It’s hard to think of a place anywhere on this planet that doesn’t sell them as a souvenir. They come in a dizzying array of shapes and sizes and are made with a multitude of materials (wood, shells, rubber, pvc, plastic, etc…). To me, they’re the perfect souvenir – they’re cheap, easy to carry around and are a great memento of the places I’ve visited.

Nowadays, the magnets found in the big tourist destinations are, more often than not, mass produced in China. However, I often make it a point to seek out the stuff that’s locally made. They’re authentic, often made from materials found locally and it’s a small contribution to the local handicraft industry.

I currently have more than a hundred of them, I think! As a special tribute to the ubiquitous fridge magnet, I’ve compiled a photo essay of some of my favourites. Long live the fridge magnet! ๐Ÿ™‚

PS/If you’re a collector of fridge magnets, you might like to check out the Velvet Escape magnet collection.

San Pedro de Atacama, Chile (cactus wood)
S.P. de Atacama, Chile (cactus wood)
Punta Arenas, Chile (wool)
Punta Arenas, Chile (wool)
Uluru, Australia (PVC)
Uluru, Australia (PVC)
Valparaiso, Chile (PVC)
Valparaiso, Chile (PVC)
Portland (OR), USA (Wood)
Portland (OR), USA (Wood)
Klein Bay, South Africa (ceramic)
Klein Bay, South Africa (ceramic)
Bora Bora, French Polynesia (oyster)
Bora Bora, French Polynesia (oyster)
Iguaรงu Falls, Brazil (PVC)
Iguaรงu Falls, Brazil (PVC)
Serengeti, Tanzania (PVC)
Serengeti, Tanzania (PVC)
Prague, Czech Republic (wood)
Prague, Czech Republic (wood)
San Francisco, USA (plastic)
San Francisco, USA (plastic)
Toronto, Canada (PVC)
Toronto, Canada (PVC)
Venice, Italy (porcelain)
Venice, Italy (porcelain)
Panajachel, Guatemala (cotton, cardboard)
Panajachel, Guatemala (cotton, cardboard)
Sarawak, Malaysia (plastic)
Sarawak, Malaysia (plastic)

See also: The Ubiquitous Fridge Magnet: Readers’ Favourites. I’ve also turned some of my favourite photos into fridge magnets. View the Velvet Escape fridge magnet collection in the panel below.


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35 Responses

  • Hi All,

    Nice collection. Friends please visit my FB page for my collection and let me know if anyone is interested i swap ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks,
    Vern

  • Hi! Nice collection… I like to collect international fridge magnets too and have about 60 in all (not all are international ones) but don’t go abroad too often ๐Ÿ™ … I request friends and acquaintances to get for me and also offer to pay but have not made much progress. The ones available online work out too expensive after shipping charges. Guess slow and steady is the way for me. Any cheap websites that you know of?

  • I love this collection! I always like to pick up a little trinket from wherever I go, have a few key chains and shot glasses, but not many magnets. It’s the one touristy pleasure I allow every trip!

  • hi velvet.
    they’re great. lovely
    im collecting too but due to my busy schedule, i dont hv time traveling like u guys
    would be very greatfull if any1want to xchnge ur FM from ur country with my country.. malaysia noorshahrazat@hotmail.com

  • Thanks Nisha! I used to collect keychains and t-shirts too but many travels later, my fridge magnet collection remains. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Cheers,
    Keith

  • Great fun article. Retweeted it. Besides fridge magnets I also collect key chains & T-shirts. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Fun post Keith! I’m a collector of these fine, little trinkets as well, and for the same reasons you list here! I also collect bookmarks and one of my faves is a wooden surfboard one from Maui! I guess my equal passion for travel and books is well-represented in these little items! Oh, and thanks for the reminder to “buy locally”…gotta do that!! Happy & safe travels to you!

  • I found your post very interesting, I think you are a brilliant writer. I added your blog to my bookmarks and will return in the future. I want to encourage you to continue that marvelous work, have a great daytime!

  • Fridge Magnet is one of my fave souvenir to bring home from traveling. It’s something to remind me of where I’ve been traveled before and bringing back old memories…

    Your collection are nice, I especially like the Patagonia and Venice one ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Hello!
    My name is Ioana and I’m from Romania! I collect fridge magnets and I have over 400.
    I’m inviting you to see my website. Hope you will like it!

    Best Regards!

  • I love fridge magnets, but I’m not very diligent about collecting them, so I just have a smattering of national park magnets. (Oh, and I lost most of my best ones during one of my many moves a few years back. Moving gnomes, you know?)

    I think that the Uluru one is my favorite!

  • […] I have a weak spot for local arts and crafts. My home is littered with locally-made handicraft collected during my travels around the world. In developing countries, the local handicraft industry can make a big difference in communities struggling to eke out a daily living. Not only does the industry help these communities by providing a much-needed source of income, it also helps keep old customs and traditions alive. As visitors to these communities, I believe we can play a tangible role in helping to nurture the local handicraft industry, even if it means purchasing a simple hand-made fridge magnet. […]

  • Thank you Kelly for your comment. I will certainly get in touch with you for a follow up post on the fridge magnet collections of my readers.

    Cheers,
    Keith

  • Enjoyed your blog post. Happy to find others who collect magnets as a memento of their travels. One of my favorites is the New York skyline before Sept. 11, 2001. I bought it on a trip in Jan of either 98 or 99. On that trip I visited the observation deck of one of the towers on a beautiful and unseasonbly warm January day. Another in my collection is from another of the world’s tallest buildings Taipei 101. I also create magnets from my personal travel photos to add to my collection. In addition to magnets, I collect Christmas ornaments when I travel.

  • great idea to write a post about fridge magnets! I am chasing at them when travelling but with a totally different philosophy. That’s part of a joke between my brother and me: trying to catch the most horrible, or ridiculous or trash magnet as a souvenir to each other. That’s real fun, because I happened to see things which I really considerend beyond any imagination…
    cheers,

  • Thanks for your comment. I’ll get in touch with you about a follow up post and get other readers to contribute pics as well. That would be very cool! Thanks for the idea.

    Cheers,
    Keith

  • Great and fun article! Maybe do a follow up on Reader’s magnets. I bet you’ll get some gems there too.

  • Hahahahaha! If you read the comments below, you’ll see I’m not the only one! I’m sure you’ve got a couple hidden somewhere! LOL!

    Cheers,
    Keith

  • Hi Keith! Nice to know I’m not the only one collecting them ๐Ÿ˜‰
    But I have to admit, you have some unique ones in your collection.
    Thanks for sharing,
    Isabelle

  • Long Live the Fridge Magnets! ๐Ÿ™‚ I used to collect those as well but now that my fridge is full of my kids’ artwork, dr. appointment reminder and other useless things. I have turned to collect Christmas Ornaments. It was fun to put up a tree and look at those ornaments we collects.

    I love that you pick a rather unique magnet and seems to represent the place you visit like Oyster made from Bora Bora, Wool from Chile and Wood from Portland. Very neat!!

  • Thanks, Keith!

    Also, I’m glad to see that you’ve included my home city, Toronto in your fridge magnet collection! What an honour!!

  • What a brilliant idea to collect fridge magnets! I especially like the Patagonia wool sweater. So crafty chic!

  • Thanks for the comments Gwen, Vera, Lisa & Jen!

    Jen, that Patagonia wool sweater is my favourite too! ๐Ÿ™‚ Btw, absolutely loved your latest Marrakech post! Wish I could take pictures like you! Wow!

    Cheers,
    Keith

  • Good one, Keith. I regularly cull my fridge magnets and find it interesting to see the ones that keep surviving my moments of de-cluttering!

    Cheers

    Gwen McCauley

  • Thanks for sharing. They’re great! My collection is a little more expensive–ceramic tiles, which I hang on my kitchen wall, and line up on my kitchen counters. Some are artsy, but most are blatantly touristy.

  • Hi Gaby,
    Thanks for commenting. Will have to go shopping for a Bali magnet soon! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Cheers,
    Keith

  • And I used to collect magnetic telephone card from around the world!..Those fridge magnet are cute!! Yeah! Long live the fridge magnet!

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