Many older Swiss still remember the Beromünster national transmitter from the golden days of radio. Those days are gone, but the iconic structure is experiencing a new lease of life. (SRF/swissinfo.ch)
Of the two transmitters above Beromünster in canton Lucerne, only one remains today and is under cultural heritage protection. The 220 metre steel tower was built 80 years ago with a 60 kW AM transmitter, replacing local radio stations at Zurich, Basel and Bern. Radio signals stopped emitting from it eight years ago.
Now the Federal Office for the Environment uses it to monitor harmful substances in the air, such as fine dust, ozone and nitrogen dioxide. The Beromünster is the newest of 16 air-monitoring stations run by the office.
However, the name Beromünster still reminds many Swiss of the heyday of radio. It was the main source of information and entertain in the 1930s and 1940s for Switzerland’s German speaking population. During the Second World War, the Beromünster also became an important source of information outside Switzerland. People in Nazi-occupied Europe listened to the transmission since it reported on the war from a neutral perspective.