1955: Broadcast towers – rebuilding Europe after the war

Rambøll & Hannemann started building high-voltage masts and broadcast towers to help rebuild the communication infrastructure across Europe.

In the aftermath of the war, Børge Rambøll and Johan Hannemann had a vision: A vision to help create a united, safe Europe. With their backgrounds as civil engineers and Hannemann’s special interest in steel structures, a logical place to start was to help rebuild the communication infrastructure across Europe.

In many countries teletowers had been destructed and the only available means of communication was the postal service. And so the two partners decided to start building high-voltage masts and broadcast towers – a decision which turned out to be of vital importance for the company’s future.

The broadcast towers became Ramboll & Hannemann’s first international success. Their belief that broadcast towers had come to stay turned out to be a rather good bet, and over the next decade, television became increasingly popular in the Scandinavian homes. This resulted in Ramboll & Hannemann’s first large mast projects in Norway, Sweden and Finland.

According to Børge Rambøll, Johan Hannemann was “in love with steel”. His steel masts were unusually light in weight, cheap to produce and robust at the same time. His bright idea was to construct the masts from massive round steel bars instead of using the typical angled steel bars. This ensured lower wind resistance, higher corrosion safety and elegant, slim constructions.

At first, this innovation was met with skepticism from potential clients: they simply could not believe that these steel bars only used 2/3 of the amount of steel used by the rival German companies at the time. But eventually the cheap price made the skepticism evaporate, and soon Johan Hannemann’s masts could be spotted all around Scandinavia and later in the rest of Europe. These masts played an integral role in the so-called Konti-Scan transmission line, a high-voltage network between Denmark and Sweden, that later came to be known as one of the really successful functional collaboration projects of post-war Europe.