Do We Still Need Payphones? Denmark Doesn't Think So

Knippelsbro, Telephone booth |© Styg Nygaard / Flickr
Knippelsbro, Telephone booth |© Styg Nygaard / Flickr
Photo of Aliki Seferou
21 December 2017

Aarhus’ residents soon will notice that something will be missing from their streets as the last public phone booths will are about to be removed from Denmark’s second largest city.

The era that people needed to go out of their home in order to call their favorite ones is long gone. But telephone booths are still set in many cities all over the world, reminiscent of a time when mobile phones weren’t that popular or not even known at all.

However, as almost no one uses telephone boxes nowadays, many countries, including the United Kingdom and Denmark, have decided that it’s about time to remove them from the streets. Earlier this month the Danske Mønttelefoner company, which was in charge of payphones in Denmark since 2009, removed the phones from the last remaining public call boxes; it probably it won’t be long until the booths themselves will be removed.

Frederiksberg | © Nillerdk / Wikimedia Commons

Already since 2010, there were only 500 phone boxes left in the streets of Aarhus, meaning 2,500 less than 10 years ago. Even though phone booths no longer have any practical use they’re a trademark of the public telephone era and to see them on the streets takes you on a journey back in time.

The first telephone box was in Copenhagen in 1896, and in Aarhus in 1900. The latter can still be seen in The Old Town (Den Gamle By), the open-air museum that brings its guests to different time periods, starting from before the 1900s, and presents daily life in Denmark through buildings and items of past centuries.

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