Norway’s phone booths connect the present with the past / News / The Foreigner

Norway’s phone booths connect the present with the past. Hanging up on about 80 years of chatter does not mean some lines of communication are necessarily closed. Norway’s telephone booths were declared cultural heritage icons in 2007. While some 6,000 existed in the peak decade of 1970s, only 100 remain. All of these will be disconnected by July 2016, however, leaving Telenor with an issue of what to do with them.

communications, payphone, phonebooth, telenor



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Norway’s phone booths connect the present with the past

Published on Friday, 18th December, 2015 at 13:49 under the news category, by Tove Andersson and Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 18th December 2015 at 14:47.

Hanging up on about 80 years of chatter does not mean some lines of communication are necessarily closed.

Payphone with snow on the roof
Payphone with snow on the roof
Photo: Norwegian Telecoms Museum


Norway’s telephone booths were declared cultural heritage icons in 2007. While some 6,000 existed in the peak decade of 1970s, only 100 remain.

All of these will be disconnected by July 2016, however, leaving Telenor with an issue of what to do with them.

“We’ve started a campaign where the public can send in their ideas,” Laila Andersen, head of communications at the Norwegian Telecoms Museum tells The Foreigner by phone.

Payphone as toy exchange
Payphone as toy exchange
Norwegian Telecoms Museum
“One suggestion has been for a library; some wanted a toy exchange facility. Three have suggested Wi-Fi spots.” Two of these ideas have already been realised.

Norway’s very first phone booth was located at Oslo's Akershus Quay in Oslo in 1933. The project was designed by Bergen architect Georg Fredrik Fasting (1903-1987).

Ms Andersen remarks that the facilities have been very important in Norwegians' everyday lives.

“Many people have many memories about the phone booths, having had numerous conversations in them. And many people standing outside these on the street heard what the callers said about births, deaths, boyfriends, girlfriends etc.” she says.

One phone booth even turned out to be very lucky for one patient person. Per Erik Monsen became Norway’s first payphone millionaire in August this year.

The payphone library
The payphone library
Norwegian Telecoms Museum
Armed with a camping chair and laptop PC, he waited for days outside a phone booth in Bergen for a call from Norway National Lottery company Norsk Tipping.

“I've been sitting here for between 50 and 100 hours,” he explained to VG, having taken some short breaks just for food and to go for the odd walk.

“It was a little boring now and then, but I managed to while away the hours,” Mr Monsen continued.

This phone booth achieved notoriety, but others have only been used four times over the past year.

Why are the booths worthy of preservation?

“As well as being considered cultural icons, they are listed as having a unique architectural design. Moreover, there was hardly a village in Norway without one,” comments the Norwegian Telecoms Museum’s Laila Andersen to The Foreigner.




Published on Friday, 18th December, 2015 at 13:49 under the news category, by Tove Andersson and Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 18th December 2015 at 14:47.

This post has the following tags: communications, payphone, phonebooth, telenor.





  
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