90 years of "Langer Lulatsch"
A 147 metres tall giant on the fairground of Messe Berlin: By the locals also known as "Langer Lulatsch", now the Berlin Radio Tower is celebrating its 90th anniversary.
Since its inauguration on the occasion of the 3rd Radio Exhibition in 1926 it has welcomed more than 17.3 million visitors. Originally designed as an aerial mast, because of its exclusive 55-metre high restaurant and the observation deck, sitting at a lofty height of 126 metres, the Radio Tower rapidly became one of Berlin’s major attractions. The Radio Tower is owned by the Land of Berlin. The company operating it is Capital Catering GmbH, a subsidiary of Messe Berlin GmbH.
A chequered history
The Berlin Radio Tower was inaugurated on 3 September 1926, amid bright sunshine on the occasion of the 3rd Radio Exhibition. That year witnessed the first of many successful Green Week fairs, the birth of the future Queen Elizabeth and of Marilyn Monroe. It was also the year in which Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Daimler Benz AG were established. During construction of the Radio Tower's steel grid design according to Professor Heinrich Straumer’s plans the builders frequently had to pioneer technical advances, for example when constructing the lift system and service lines for gas, water, electricity and heat. In 1932 the Summer Garden was built at the foot of the tower, an oval with a lavish green area. The tower even survived a major fire in 1935 and the devastating destruction of the Second World War.
Helping the 'candy bombers' navigate their way
At the time of its inauguration the Berlin Radio Tower was Germany’s tallest tower. It acted as a beacon for planes flying to Berlin, Europe's aviation hub, and during the Berlin Blockade yellow warning lights helped the 'candy bombers' navigate their way to Tempelhof Airport. Beneath the restaurant electric advertising had been installed, comprising 4,000 light bulbs and featuring scrolling messages, at the time probably Germany’s highest advertising hoarding of this size. The tower also made radio history: on 8 March 1929 it broadcast the first televised images via the nearby transmitter at Witzleben.
Powerful LEDs by night
Today the Radio Tower has a gleaming new coat of paint and at night can be seen from afar with its powerful LEDs in a variety of different colours. In coordination with the Berlin Department of Listed Buildings, the restaurant was refurbished according to its original 1920s design. Visitors are spirited up to the observation deck in a remote controlled lift with glass walls in only 33 seconds. At the base of the tower is the Funkturm Lounge, a multi-purpose venue which can be booked as a spectacular party location or for conferences and exhibitions, and which is operated by Capital Catering.
Capital Catering GmbH (CCG) is a subsidiary of Messe Berlin. Core business at CCG focuses on Berlin ExpoCenter City and the new exhibition grounds at Berlin ExpoCenter Airport, where CCG organises catering for conferences, seminars, congresses and exhibitions. CCG also operates the Berlin Radio Tower and its restaurant. With its exclusive brand called Prime Catering CCG also organises catering services for external customers. CCG has a permanent workforce of 75 employees and relies on up to 400 part-time employees for major events.