Tomorrow – Friday 13 February 2015 – is World Radio Day; what better time to tell you about Grimeton Radio Station, one of the more curious UNESCO sites I’ve stumbled on in my quest to see, well… many of them.
Why would a radio station in Sweden be on the prestigious World Heritage list? In short, it’s because Grimeton Radio Station is the oldest radio station in the world still operative. Or as UNESCO puts it:
The Varberg Radio Station at Grimeton in southern Sweden (built 1922–24) is an exceptionally well-preserved monument to early wireless transatlantic communication … 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.
Now, unless you’re particularly interested in how people communicated in the days before the Internet and social media, that probably doesn’t mean much to you youngsters. But I remember those ‘pre-electronic’ days, and spending glorious summer weeks at a cabin with no TV (still don’t have one there – or mobile phone reception), and I can well imagine how exciting it must have been to speak with someone on the other side of the Atlantic for the first time.
If you’re keen to see how that all worked back then, the old transmitter is switched on a few times yearly, on Alexanderson Day (Sunday in late June/early July) and at Christmas Eve. If you happen to be in or near Gothenburg tomorrow (13 Feb 2015), there’s a transmission on World Radio Day as well.
- Grimeton Radio Station is just a short detour off the E6, the main thoroughfare along the coast of Western Sweden, so if you’re doing a road trip from Denmark through Sweden to Norway, it’s an interesting little stop along the way. I’ll write more about this stretch of road later – loads to see and do here along this exceptionally pretty coastline.
- Opening hours: 10am-5pm June-August; sporadically (about once pr month) the rest of the year
- Admission: 100 SEK; up-to-18s free
World at a Glance is a series of short articles here on Sophie’s World, with a single photo, portraying curious, evocative, happy, sad or wondrous, unexpected little encounters.
Grimeton Radio Station, Varberg is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Here are more UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited around the world.