If you are visiting Norway and bump into a red telephone booth, make sure to click your picture with it. It is not just another nonfunctioning telephone booth that the government simply forgot to uproot, but one of the remaining 100 telephone booths in Norway, protected as part of the country's cultural heritage. This protection plan ensures that the telephone booths remain at their original location for all times to come.
Norwegians love their red telephone booths. They arouse memories of the past when there were over 6000 telephone booths distributed all over the country. Telenor (Televerket) maintained and kept them in working condition for over 6 decades. Talk to a Norwegian and he will nostalgically narrate stories of the good old days when hanging out at the telephone booths, making prank calls and declaring your love to your girlfriend by painting on the walls of the booth was considered cool.
The first telephone booth was installed in November 1933 at Akershus quay in Oslo and stands at the same spot even today in the middle of the Solsiden restaurant’s outside dining area. In the 1950's and 60's, the red telephone booth became a housewife's best friend where she could sit for hours chatting idly with her girlfriends, causing much vexation to men who wanted to use the booth for more pressing matters. In the mid eighties, almost every home in Norway had a phone line and that's when the termination of the booths began. Today, the remaining 100 protected booths stand not only as just another symbol of Norway's cultural heritage, but something much more precious and loved that will be cherished forever by the Norwegians.
I saw one of the 100 protected red telephone booths at the Vigeland Sculptor Park in Oslo. The pictures in this post are from my visit there.