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12 June 2009
10/2009
Commemorative Issue

Norwegian Year of Cultural Heritage

Norway
'Cultural heritage' tends to make us think of stave churches, Viking ships and historical objects.

However, the Norwegian Cultural Heritage Association, which has the main responsibility for organizing the Norwegian Year of Cultural Heritage 2009, has a wider perspective. Its motto is "Cultural Heritage in Everyday Life", and here both red telephone kiosks and Kurer radios have a natural place. Just as they do on postage stamps.

In 1932 a young architect, Georg Fredrik Fasting, won the Oslo Telephone Exchange's competition for the design of an outdoor telephone kiosk and received a prize of NOK 800. By 1933 the first telephone kiosk was in place on the quay below Akershus Castle. Soon the red telephone kiosk could be seen everywhere.

Until the 1980s, there was a large gap between the demand for and supply of private telephones. The Telegraph Service, later Norwegian Telecom, was unable to meet the demand and public telephone kiosks were a practical solution. This development gathered speed in the 1960s and the number of kiosks in Norway finally peaked at about 6000. Of these only 100 remain today, but they are protected by law. Under an agreement with Telenor in 2007, the Directorate for Cultural Heritage was able to ensure their preservation. The remaining kiosks are still in operation and serve as a significant cultural reminder in local communities in Norway.

A new icon saw the light of day in 1950 when Radionette launched its Kurer radio. The Kurer was the company's greatest success, and the red transistor model in imitation alligator skin was the undisputed winner. Radionette's history started in 1927 with 24-year old Jan Wessel, in a small rented room in Oslo. "Good, reasonably priced radios for everyone" was the motto of the company's self-taught founder, and with the Kurer he struck a gold mine. The radios sold like hot cakes, not only in Norway, but all over the world. They were exported to 60 countries and Radionette became a household name. Factories were set up in Iran, South Africa and Turkey.

After the golden 50s, Radionette found itself in difficulties. Sales fell at the end of the 60s and in 1972 the company was merged with Tandberg Radiofabrikk. In 1978 Tandberg closed Radionette down and went into liqui-dation itself later the same year. A major electrical retailer acquired the trade mark and the Radionette name still exists today. The radios are manufactured in Asia.

Kurer radio  

Kurer radio

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The Kurer radio was launched by Radionette in 1950. It was extremely popular and at its peak was exported to more than 60 countries.

Telephone kiosk  

Telephone kiosk

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This is the Norwegian version of the red telephone kiosk. It was designed by architect Georg Fasting in 1932. In its heyday, more than 6000 of these telephone kiosks were installed all around Norway.

Cancellation Stamps

Technical Information

Number: NK 1726
copyright notice: The source of the text and the images is Norway Post.
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