UNESCO World Heritage Site #181: Varberg Radio Station

UNESCO World Heritage Site #181: Varberg Radio Station
UNESCO World Heritage Site #181: Varberg Radio Station

From the World Heritage inscription:

The Varberg Radio Station at Grimeton in southern Sweden (built 1922–24) is an exceptionally well-preserved monument to early wireless transatlantic communication. It consists of the transmitter equipment, including the aerial system of six 127-m high steel towers. Although no longer in regular use, the equipment has been maintained in operating condition. The 109.9-ha site comprises buildings housing the original Alexanderson transmitter, including the towers with their antennae, short-wave transmitters with their antennae, and a residential area with staff housing. The architect Carl Åkerblad designed the main buildings in the neoclassical style and the structural engineer Henrik Kreüger was responsible for the antenna towers, the tallest built structures in Sweden at that time. The site is an outstanding example of the development of telecommunications and is the only surviving example of a major transmitting station based on pre-electronic technology.

As is the case with almost every industrial world heritage site I’ve visited, I found the Varberg Radio Station seemed sort of questionable before I arrived and positively interesting by the time I left.

The radio station is the oldest, operating long wave radio station in the world. It was originally built to communicate with stations in the US, primarily in Long Island, New York. Its sister stations have long since ceased operation, but the equipment at Varberg is still operational. They still even fire up the radio once a year to send messages, which is a big thrill for radio enthusiasts.

If you drive between Gothenburg and Malmo in Sweden, it is worth stopping by for a half hour to take a tour of the facility and learn something about the early days of radio.

View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

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