Gerbrandy Tower

The Gerbrandy Tower (Dutch: Gerbrandytoren) is a tower which was built in 1961 in the Netherlands.

Description

It is situated in IJsselstein. The Gerbrandy Tower is used for directional radio services and for FM- and TV-broadcasting. The Gerbrandy Tower consists of a concrete tower with a height of 100 metres on which a guyed aerial mast is mounted. Its total height was originally 382.5 meters, but in 1987 it was reduced to 375 metres. On August 2nd, 2007 its analog antenna was replaced by a digital one reducing its height by another 9 metres. Its height is now 366.8 metres.

Towers of this type do not fit well in existing classification hierarchies of free standing tower antennas or guyed masts since they incorporate elements from both. If the structure is counted as a tower, it is the tallest tower in Western Europe. The Gerbrandy Tower is not the only tower which consists of a concrete tower on which a guyed mast is set. There are at least two similar but smaller towers with the same structure. One is the radio tower of Zendstation Smilde (Netherlands), which consisted of an 80 metre high concrete tower, on which a 223.5 metre high guyed mast was mounted. This structure collapsed after a fire on july 15th 2011. It is unclear whether the tower is to be restored to its original height and design. Another example is Waldenburg TV Tower with a total height of 145 metres.

Largest Christmas tree

During Christmas time lamps are put on the guys and make the tower the biggest Christmas tree in the world. There were plans to limit these decorations to once every 5 years, but sponsoring has allowed the seasonal lighting to be put up every year so far. However during Christmas 2006 there were no decorations on the mast.

Naming

The tower is named after Pieter Gerbrandy, prime minister of the Netherlands during World War Two.

Nearby, there are two other remarkable masts, the mast of mediumwave transmitter Lopik and KNMI-mast Cabauw, a mast used for meteorological measurements.

Fires in Dutch TV-masts

On 15 July 2011 there was a small fire in the Gerbrandy tower. Only hours later, a similar tower in Smilde caught fire and collapsed, after which all transmitters in the Gerbrandy tower were shut down as a precaution, leaving large parts of the Netherlands without FM-radio and digital TV (DVB-T) reception.

Owner

The ownership of the tower is complex: the concrete main structure is owned by Alticom: a company established in 2007 that bought many assets from KPN. Alticom was part of the European TDG Group, but in june 2011 it was announced that all shares in Altocom were acquired by investment company Infracapital which is the infrastructure specialists of Prudential plc.

Alticom is the owner of the concrete base and the first 3 meters of ground around this base. The metal mast on top of the structure is owned by NOVEC, which is a subsidiary of the electricity transmition operator TenneT. And the ground on which the tower is built, exlcuding the first 3 meters around the base, is (still) owned by KPN.

Sources