From radio station to smartphone

Radio means being wireless. Although the word is probably most associated with music, news and sport reports, radio actually refers to using radio waves to wirelessly transmit information from one place to another. So our mobile phones and home networks also use radio waves, although we don’t always think of it that way.

The foundations for this communication method were laid in the late-nineteenth century, and when Grimeton Radio Station was completed in 1924, it was far from the only station of its kind. During the same period, similar facilities for wirelessly transmitting text-based messages, and in due course phone calls and pictures, to other countries were being built around the world. However, development was rapid and old technology soon gave way to new.

For various reasons, Grimeton Radio Station escaped the fate of being scrapped and demolished that befell many other such facilities. Instead, both the buildings and the transmitter system for which the radio station was originally built were preserved. As a result, Grimeton Radio Station is now a unique and well-preserved example of the technological advances made in the first half of the twentieth century, on which our modern wireless technology builds.

In recognition of this, and the “particularly high universal value” it is considered to possess, Grimeton Radio Station was added to the list of World Heritage Sites by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in 2004. The fact that a radio station from the 1920s can be given the same status as ancient monuments or huge natural formations is due to the fact that world heritage sites should reflect the history of the earth and of humankind in a variety of ways. The basis for this is the World Heritage Convention, which was adopted in 1972 to help protect the world’s natural and cultural heritage. It was ratified by Sweden in 1985. New world heritage sites are added every year and there are currently 1,154 of them, 15 of which are in Sweden.

Criterion (ii) Grimeton Radio Station, Varberg is an outstanding monument representing the process of development of communication technology in the period following the First World War.

Criterion (iv) Grimeton Radio Station, Varberg is an exceptionally well preserved example of a type of telecommunication centre, representing the technological achievements by the early 1920s, as well as documenting the further development over some three decades.

World Heritage Committee, Suzhou Kina, juli 2004

From Royal Telegraph Agency to private foundation

Grimeton Radio Station has been owned by the Grimeton World Heritage Foundation since 2003. The foundation was set up by Telia to take over the care and maintenance of the site and to work toward making it accessible to the public.

In addition to the founder, the board includes representatives from Varberg Municipality, Halland County Council and Region Halland.

The Grimeton World Heritage Foundation has overall responsibility for managing the site for the benefit of future generations. Despite the foundation’s role as a successor to the now incorporated Telegraph Agency, Grimeton Radio Station is no longer state-owned.

Its day-to-day running therefore depends on, among other things, income from equity and commercial radio activities. As a result of the latter, we are still an active center for radio communications and offer services in this field.

The public activities are run by the subsidiary company Världsarvet Grimeton AB. This part is entirely self-financed and is made possible by income from visitors.
Other stakeholders also contribute to the World Heritage Site activities, including our partner association Alexander – Grimeton Veteranradios Vänner, which helps us pass on knowledge about the old transmitter system via courses and documentation.

A sustainable world heritage site

It is now widely known that world heritage sites can attract visitors. Similarly, it is known that unsustainable development of the tourist industry can have a negative impact on the value of a site. As a result, UNESCO has been actively working since the early 2010s to ensure that world heritage sites adopt sustainable visitor management strategies.

Since 2020, Sweden has therefore had a national strategy for world heritage sites. The Swedish National Heritage Board has drawn up this strategy in cooperation with the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and the Swedish UNESCO Council, and in dialogue with other world heritage stakeholders. In addition to UNESCO’s requirements and recommendations, the strategy is based on national environmental and cultural policy objectives.

In line with this strategy, the Grimeton World Heritage Site is working with several of the global sustainability goals in Agenda 2030 and is constantly striving to make improvements. Sustainability is a common denominator in all the various projects carried out on the site, and also permeates all parts of the organization in general.

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