Stuttgart TV tower

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Stuttgart TV tower
Image of the object
TV tower 2012
Basic data
Place: Stuttgart - Degerloch
Country: Baden-Württemberg
Country: Germany
Altitude : 483  m above sea level NHN
Coordinates: 48 ° 45 ′ 20.7 ″  N , 9 ° 11 ′ 24.6 ″  E
Use: TV tower , telecommunications tower , radio transmitter , restaurant , observation tower
Accessibility: TV tower open to the public
Owner : SWR Media Services
Tower data
Construction time : 1954-1955
Operating time: since 1956
Last renovation (tower) : 2015
Total height : 216.61  m
Viewing platforms: 149.95  m , 152.8 m
Restaurant: 147.04  m
Operating rooms: 138.19  m , 141.35 m
Total mass : approx. 3000  t
Closure of the viewing platform: 2013-2016
Data on the transmission system
Last modification (transmitter) : 2006
Waveband : Volume II, Volume III
Radio : Radio
Send types: VHF, DAB +, directional radio , land mobile radio , BOS radio
Further data
Laying of the foundation stone : June 10, 1954
Opening: 5th February 1956

Altitude theater: 144.13 m
Height antenna: 55.6 m

Position map
Stuttgart TV Tower (Baden-Württemberg)
Stuttgart TV tower
Stuttgart TV tower
Localization of Baden-Württemberg in Germany

The Stuttgart television tower is a 216.6 meter high television and observation tower on the summit of the Hohen Bopers in the Baden-Württemberg state capital Stuttgart . The tower, which opened in 1956, became the city's landmark and, structurally and architecturally, represents the beginning of a new era in tower construction, as it is the first of its kind to be made of reinforced concrete , has a tower cantilevered from the shaft below the antenna and was built in a vertical cantilever construction.

In addition to the structural innovation , the successful economic use of a restaurant and a viewing platform paved the way for a worldwide wave of towers. It became the symbol of the Süddeutscher Rundfunk , which showed itself to be responsible as operator and owner. Due to its outstanding structural importance, it received an architecture award in 1959 and the title of Historic Landmark of Civil Engineering in Germany, awarded by the Federal Chamber of Engineers in 2009 . In 1986 it was also included in the list of cultural monuments .

The Stuttgart telecommunications tower , which is not accessible to the public, is located about 1.5 kilometers northeast at 462.2  m above sea level. NN high woman's head .



At the beginning of regular television broadcasting on Christmas 1952 (see also: History of television in Germany ), the technical television supply in southwest Germany was still very inadequate. In the Stuttgart area, the few television participants at the time were only able to receive the Südwestfunk (SWF) Weinbiet transmitter, which was around 100 km away in Rhineland-Palatinate and was only built in 1953 . If at all possible, this could often only be achieved with complex special antennas, especially outside the high altitudes of the Stuttgart valley basin , which was particularly noticeable in the first international direct broadcast in television history, the coronation of Elizabeth II on June 2, 1953. On August 11, 1953, the Heidelberger Tagblatt therefore asked ironically: "Is television a matter of luck?" The reception of the on FM from the station Degerloch broadcast radio broadcasting was not always satisfactory in the area of the state capital.

Süddeutsche Rundfunk (SDR) was aware of these shortcomings from the start and therefore submitted an application to the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of the Interior on January 5, 1953 , for a basic television broadcaster at 485.2  m above sea level. NHN high Bopser to be able to erect a 200 meter high steel lattice mast. The pole, which cost 200,000  marks, was to be secured on three sides with pardunas and to be completed by the 1954 World Cup . Due to the high location, the broad coverage of the Stuttgart basin should be guaranteed. The approval process for this stalled because the headquarters of the 12th US Air Force feared that their VHF relay station at Leonberg could be disrupted.

Planning and project planning

Fritz Leonhardt , who worked as a bridge and structural engineer, heard about these plans and had technical and aesthetic concerns about the project. For this reason, he got in touch with Helmut Rupp, the technical director of the SDR, and suggested that the functional building could be supplemented with a viewing platform and café. On May 27, 1953, Leonhardt sent Rupp various plan sketches that showed several possibilities of an unsupported tower. A few days later, Leonhardt sought a conversation with the Lord Mayor of Stuttgart, Arnulf Klett , in order to present his plan to him together with Rupp and to sound out a possible financial contribution from the city. In an accompanying letter he stated that:

“[...] the proposed transmission tower with a restaurant at a dizzying height would be a unique attraction for the city of Stuttgart. The difference in the architectural effect of the free-standing concrete mast compared to a steel lattice mast is so great that it should be worth a certain subsidy from the city of Stuttgart. "

Leonhardt's idea originally envisaged a three-storey tower cage stepped downwards on a tapering tower shaft , which has a narrow extension above the tower cage into which a steel antenna opens. The draft of June 8, 1953 provided for a tower height of 203.5 meters and a shaft diameter at the base of 8 meters. The viewing platform should have a diameter of 17 meters. The subsequent consultations between the SDR as the client, the city of Stuttgart and Leonhardt progressed so far that the project took on ever larger dimensions. In order to reduce the energy loss by up to 20%, the intention was to place the television transmitter directly in the tower cage. The restaurant should be big enough to be financially worthwhile. In addition to its own transmitter floor, a third restaurant floor with space for the kitchen and toilets was to be created. The city went a step further and suggested that the tower be placed on top of a multi-story hotel. On June 13, 1953, the Stuttgart news informed the public. The sheet published a not entirely accurate draft sketch in which the tower basket widens upwards like a goblet - a shape that was realized decades later, in the early 1980s, in the Düsseldorf Rhine Tower .

The public reactions to the construction project were skeptical to negative. The Stuttgart municipal council feared a financial fiasco and Heimatschützer a disruption of the landscape, which is why they raised an objection to the reduction of the forest area. After months of fruitless negotiations with the city, the SDR's board of directors decided on May 2, 1954 to finance the tower from its own resources. The state capital, however, accommodated the broadcasting company insofar as it made the required building land available as a long lease and laid out the necessary streets and squares.

Leonhardt's office began working on the project and presented the final draft on May 13, 1954. The new design took into account the corresponding requirements with a larger tower cage. Fritz Leonhardt was not only responsible for the structural design and calculation of the television tower, but also for its architecture. In the first decades after completion, the exterior design was repeatedly wrongly attributed to other architects. The architect Erwin Heinle was consulted for the project, who was responsible for the artistic, technical and business management in addition to planning the interior design in the tower cage and in the building at the base of the tower. Herta-Maria Witzemann carried out the interior design herself . Wayss & Freytag and the Stuttgart-based construction company Gustav Epple formed a working group for the construction work .


Construction work on the foundation and the shaft started on October 12, 1954

After the SDR had received the provisional building permit on June 9, 1954, the groundbreaking ceremony was carried out the next day at 3 p.m. by the then director Fritz Eberhard . Over the next few days, the excavators dug a pit 8.4 meters deep and 30 meters in diameter for the foundation . Investigations revealed by an expert in advance that the building of solid, gray-blue, interspersed of limestone benches Lias - shale existed and so good conditions for the foundation offered that a unilateral concession of the subsoil could be excluded. This also made the costly use of adjustment presses unnecessary . However, the solid, calcareous shale clay became soft as a result of the ingress of water, so that drainage ditches had to be laid after the excavation in order to collect the rainwater and then pump it out. The last 15 centimeters of the excavation work was carried out under a tent cover in the dry. After the blinding layer was completed, the floor slab could be formed about 60 to 70 centimeters above the ground.

The shell of the tower
Tower cage in the shell (spring 1955)

After the foundation work, the tower shaft was erected using climbing formwork . After a short run-in period, the tower grew by 2.5 meters a day. The changing shaft diameter was set using screw spindles. Due to the extremely wet weather in the summer of 1954, construction fell behind by around 32 days and only reached the 35-meter mark on October 19. The timely completion for the opening of the national exhibition on July 1, 1955, at which the tower was to be advertised as a main attraction, no longer seemed to be assured. The very frosty winter that followed brought additional problems. In order to protect the fresh concrete from excessively low temperatures, additional fiberglass panels were glued to the sheet metal and the upper part of the tower stump was wrapped in a tarpaulin. So that the temperature of the concrete inside did not drop below 12 degrees Celsius before it hardened, oil burners were also installed to generate heat. On December 21, 1954, the structure reached a height of 136 meters. Due to the persistent adverse weather, the external work was stopped from the end of December 1954 to mid-March 1955 and only the internal work continued.

During the winter months, Erwin Heinle and his advisor Linge traveled from the Technical University of Karlsruhe to the Paris Eiffel Tower and Berlin Radio Tower to have a look at the restaurants there. They were asked to discuss whether the air conditioning systems installed there were also necessary for the Stuttgart television tower, and finally decided to install it.

In mid-March the tower cage was placed on the shaft. For this purpose, 20 steel consoles were mounted around the shaft, on which the brackets for the casing of the cage floor were supported. A scaffolding made of squared timber was placed on the outriggers, which carried the formwork boards. This phase caused the costs and the speed of work to get out of hand because, due to a lack of experience, the effects of the altitude and the influence of the weather could not be assessed. In addition to the weather conditions, there were other obstacles. On April 19, 1955, Leonhardt complained in writing to the Epple and Wayss & Freytag consortium that the earth had not been filled evenly and that the tower had moved around 40 millimeters to the south-west as a result, and demanded that the excavation pit be filled immediately. Heinle noted several times that the construction site was only occupied by around 70 men, although 85 workers had been agreed.


But some time passed before
the tower was
discussed and financed in every part .
Finally, as a year had passed,
it was bravely started
and from then on it was urgent.

At the end of June 1955, work on the tower cage was completed.

In order not to expose the tower under construction to unacceptable wind loads, either the uncovered tower cage without a lattice mast or the clad tower cage with a lattice mast could be exposed to storms. This forced a double-track and thus more dangerous construction process. The parts were hoisted up with a derrick crane mounted on the basket roof. The individual parts for the lattice mast weighed up to two tons; the last part of the mast was carried up on August 17th. The topping-out ceremony was celebrated on August 23, 1955 .

On September 7th, an accident at work occurred as a result of a falling cable. The worker who had the accident had to be on sick leave for five days. However, this was the only accident of note during the construction phase. Since the expansion of the transmitter floor had already been completed, television broadcasts could begin on October 29, 1955 (and thus before the official opening of the tower structure).

The installation of the elevators caused problems with the adjustment of the guide rails due to the significant thermal expansion of the tower structure during the day - the tower cage moved up to 17 centimeters to the shady side . For this reason, the adjustment work had to be carried out at night, and the fastening work could then be carried out during the day, as is normal. Until the elevators were completed, a simple freight elevator carried components and people to the top. On December 31, 1955, Lord Mayor Klett and his wife even took this route to show them the tower. On January 27, 1956, shortly before completion, the construction workers stopped work for an hour and a half and protested that they had to use the stairs to get up, while the "masters of transmitter technology" were allowed to use the comfortable route via the open-air gondola.

At the time of construction, the tower was 211.96 meters high. This made it the highest non-guyed structure in the state of Baden-Württemberg and is still the second tallest television tower in Baden-Württemberg and, next to the Mannheim telecommunications tower, one of two with a public viewing platform.

Cost situation and attempts at marketing

In the final bill, the television tower cost DM 4,019,712 , which corresponds to a current, inflation-adjusted equivalent of around 10.3 million euros . Including the outbuildings, it was 4.29 million, including around 836,000 marks for the interior and 109,000 marks for the technical facilities. This means that the tower was more than twice as expensive as planned at the beginning, when the builder had assumed total costs of 1.8 million marks. Even the shell construction costs rose by 125,000 to 685,000 marks, which Fritz Leonhardt explained in a letter to the director of the SDR at the end of 1954 with the increased consumption of material: this higher expenditure was based on the static calculations for the foundations and conical shells, which were only made after the tender and Awarding could be completed, became necessary. Various measures were examined to reduce costs. Downsizing the visitor area would inevitably have resulted in lower profitability, which in turn would have negatively impacted medium to long-term costs.

They even checked whether the mast of the tower could be used as an attachment for a Mercedes star measuring 10 meters in diameter in order to generate advertising income. Although something similar was already successfully implemented in 1952 on the station tower of Stuttgart's main train station , the idea was discarded, as were other marketing ideas. Other Stuttgart-based companies such as Bosch or AEG were included in the considerations of providing parts of the tower with brand or product advertising. A suggestion for use as advertising space was to redesign the tower basket as a yogurt tub. Usually structural reasons spoke against the ideas. In the meantime, such projects fail due to aesthetic or monument protection considerations. The most prominent tower in which advertising elements have been integrated into its structural structure is the Vienna Danube Tower .

Since opening

Opening and commissioning

On February 5, 1956, General Manager Eberhard officially opened the building and expressed the wish, "May the tower [...] help to bring people all over the world closer together." The protocol did not allow engineer Fritz Leonhardt to give a speech hold even though he had specifically requested it. Even his seat reserved for the occasion was occupied, so he had to take a seat in the lower restaurant. As a reparation, the SDR director arranged for Leonhardt a lifelong ID card to visit the tower free of charge. The tower was open to the public from February 7th. Entry cost 1.50 marks for adults and 70 pfennigs for children. In the opening year on May 5th, the then Federal President Theodor Heuss visited the Stuttgart TV tower with his wife Elly Heuss-Knapp . After broadcasting the television program before the opening, the FM broadcasting began on May 25th. The radio tower in Degerloch -Hoffeld, which had become superfluous, was demolished and scrapped.

Stuttgart TV tower 1961

In the opening year, 876,809 people visited the Stuttgart TV tower; the rent paid was over 750,000 marks. Instead of an expected deficit in the first ten years, the SDR was able to book a rental income of 6.6 million marks during this time due to the comparatively stable number of visitors. The calculated income from the license fees did not have to be used, which means that the tower was practically paid for.

After several suicides by falling from the viewing platform, an additional protective grille was installed there on December 20, 1958. The Paul Bonatz Architecture Prize, first awarded by the City of Stuttgart on November 19, 1959, was awarded to the television tower in the civil engineering category.

Outstanding personalities who visited the building include the British Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip . The city invited the monarch and her husband to a reception in the television tower on May 24, 1965, where they signed the city's Golden Book . The event was broadcast live by SDR over several hours and was accompanied by around 500,000 onlookers.

On December 16, 1965, a new, more powerful television transmission system was put into operation. This went hand in hand with the master elevation from 211.96 to 216.61 meters. In 1967 a new transmitter for color television was installed in the tower, which was officially started by the then Vice Chancellor Willy Brandt at the 25th Great German Radio Exhibition in Berlin via a red button. Problems with fire protection and the lack of escape routes were discussed as early as 1968: On July 8, 1968, a fire broke out in the tower cage of the 217-meter-high tower, and the fire-fighting water pumps failed. Just because the smoldering fire in the restaurant suffocated due to a lack of oxygen did not lead to a disaster.

Renovations and changes in use

Johann Traber on his Smart at the television tower

Since the 1980s, the Stuttgart television tower has been repeatedly renovated and refurbished in different sections. A nine-month renovation work ended in the summer of 1983. On December 18, 1986, the Stuttgart TV tower was declared a cultural monument of particular importance according to Section 12 of the Monument Protection Act.

In 1994 the entire tower shaft was renovated and the weather-related influences treated. The concrete shaft got a new coat of paint. Fritz Leonhardt took part in the work and took an active part in planning the renovation.

On May 12, 1993 the Slovenian artist Branko Šmon (* 1955) had the wind art installation Inter-Info attached to the shaft of the Stuttgart television tower. For this purpose, huge, bright red tights were attached to the shaft, which moved depending on the wind strength and direction. In 1996 the SDR celebrated its 40th anniversary at the tower and welcomed the 22.222.222. Guest at the historic elevator fare of 1.50 DM .

In June 2001 and the following year, the world parachute champion Klaus Renz jumped from the television tower with an international group of base jumpers . The spectacle was accompanied by several thousand onlookers.

On May 20, 2004, the high wire artist Johann Traber drove along a steel cable attached to the shaft of the tower with a Smart that had been converted to special rims . He performed various artistic feats on the vehicle, which moved 53 meters above the ground. The event attracted 6,000 spectators.

Event level with stage

Between April and November 2005, the aluminum facade of the tower cage was renovated for 3.4 million euros. This had become necessary because it showed wear and tear caused by corrosion. For this purpose, a 40-tonne special scaffolding was installed at a height of 150 meters. In a 1:10 scale replica, a wind tunnel was used to test whether the television tower could withstand storms of the century such as hurricane Lothar at the end of the 1990s. In July 2006 the transmission of television programs was stopped; it is ensured by the nearby Stuttgart telecommunications tower . Since then, SWR has only used the tower as a transmitter for radio programs and for police and radio relay services.

Since November 2006 the tower has been used for theater performances and other events. The Schauspielbühnen Stuttgart regularly perform productions as a theater above the clouds . The event area on the second floor of the tower at a height of 144 meters - the former restaurant part - can be rented for various occasions. In addition, you can get married in the tower cage.

For the 100th birthday of the builder Fritz Leonhardt on July 11, 2009, the tower was awarded the title of Historic Landmark of Civil Engineering in Germany . The prize, which is awarded annually to a building in Germany by the Federal Chamber of Engineers, was given to the builder posthumously for his novel and initially controversial idea of ​​the constructive-aesthetic approach. The architectural achievement of Leonhardt, to make the tower cage so to speak float, is an outstanding work and not a matter of course for an engineering structure. A memorial plaque was inaugurated at the foot of the tower shaft for the ceremony.

Closing and reopening

On March 28, 2013, the television tower was closed to visitors for fire safety reasons. A reopening was initially considered uncertain. During the closure, the annual loss was 1.2 million euros. In February 2014, the security retrofitting was decided. The costs shared by the tower operator SWR Media and the city were estimated at EUR 1.2 million. On September 29, 2014, the city of Stuttgart issued the building permit. It was announced that the estimated costs would rise to 1.8 million euros.

The observation tower was reopened on January 29, 2016; the next day it was open to the public again. On the first weekend after it reopened, 3815 people visited the tower. A maximum of 320 visitors at the same time are permitted on the viewing platform.

The augmented reality app “Fernsehturm 360 Grad” has been available since October 2016 , which shows the sights and municipalities in the direction of which one is currently looking.

Architecture and construction technology

Location and surroundings

The Stuttgart TV tower stands southeast of downtown Stuttgart on a wooded area of 485.2  m above sea level. NHN high mountain Bopser (also called Hoher Bopser ), the highest mountain on the Filder plateau . Its location is around 650 meters northeast of the mountain peak at 483  m above sea level. NN height. The U15 line of the Stuttgart Stadtbahn has one of its final stops at the television tower. In addition, the lines U7 and U8 of the Stuttgart Stadtbahn stop there. To the south of the television tower is the Waldau sports center in the district of the same name in the Degerloch district . About 1.5 kilometers northeast of the television tower stands at 462.2  m above sea level. NN high Frauenkopf the 192.4 meter high Stuttgart telecommunications tower , which is not open to the public.

General structure and materials

The three-part architecture of the Stuttgart TV tower is characterized by a minimum of characteristic lines. The tower shaft tapers towards the top - hardly noticeable optically - in a parabolic curved approach. The shaft is not structured or profiled any further, apart from the imprints of the climbing formwork, which are formed in a network. At the upper end of the shaft, the multi-storey tower cage is carried, which, contrary to the shape of the shaft, tends to diverge slightly from bottom to top and thus becomes wider in the upper storeys. Its four rows of darkened windows stand out from the light aluminum outer skin. The shaft continues above the basket and leads in a truncated cone to the red and white painted steel grille antenna.

The following building materials were used to build the television tower: 1430 tons of cement , 5250 cubic meters of gravel and sand , 340 tons of reinforcing steel , 680 cubic meters of wood, 55,000 pieces of clinker and 85,000 bricks .

A cubic meter of paved concrete with a mass of around 2.4 tons was made up of the following components:

310 kg Z 325 cement from Allmendingen
10 kg Vauron lime
482 kg Sand 0/3 corresponds to 25.5%
427 kg Sand 3/7 corresponds to 22.5%
981 kg Gravel 7/30 corresponds to 52%
174 kg Water ( w / c = 0.56)
2384 kg

This concrete quality is considered excellent. Due to its pulpy consistency, the concrete could only be compacted with poking and tapping. The mean compressive strength after one, three, seven and 28 days was 10.5 / 26.8 / 36.2 and 48 N / mm².


Cut-open representation of the underground foundation foot

The 8.20 meter high foundation is founded at a depth of 7.20 meters and is formed by two truncated cones . The inner, smaller stump is the inverse of the outer one. It was inserted to stiffen the foundation, but is not absolutely necessary for structural reasons. It represents the transition element between the actual foundation and the shaft. The shell thickness of the outer cone widens from 30 centimeters below to 60 centimeters above; that of the inner tapers from below 45 centimeters to above 30 centimeters.

The outer cavity between the two cone shells is accessible for maintenance work via a staircase. It also serves as a restaurant warehouse, houses the tower's cooling system and is also accessible via the elevator. A platform in the foundation body serves as access to the underground rooms of the outbuildings, which are located at the foot of the tower.

View into the cavity between the two foundation cones

The 3.25 meter wide ring foundation with a 27 meter diameter is given additional support by a radial bundle of prestressed steel wires . The wires are embedded in concrete in the thin base plate to protect against corrosion from groundwater . Without the prestressing , the load of the tower would burst the ring foundation. Since the vertical load with a full circular plate as a foundation of the same diameter creates a significantly greater soil pressure than with a circular plate, it can withstand much stronger winds. In the case of a circular plate, a correspondingly high pressure would consume the windward side and cause the foundation to tilt, which would cause the tower to topple over.

In addition to the tower mass of 3000 tons, the 1500 ton foundation carries the earth load of 3000 tons. This distribution of mass gives the Stuttgart television tower sufficient support to withstand lateral pressure forces that correspond to winds up to five times wind force 12.

The fact that the conical foundation was laid underground, however, also has aesthetic reasons, as the slim appearance was not wanted to spoil. In other television tower structures such as the Berlin television tower , the Moscow Ostankino television tower or the Düsseldorf Rhine tower , the conical base is wholly or partially above ground and thus visible. The Stuttgart TV tower is the first reinforced concrete tower.

Tower shaft and base

View inside the tower shaft

The cylindrical tower shaft tapers parabolically towards the top. It has a diameter of 10.80 meters at the entrance and a diameter of 5.04 meters at the base of the basket. The minimum diameter of the shaft resulted from the need to place two elevators and an emergency staircase inside. The wall thickness of the tower shaft decreases from 60 centimeters at the base to 19 centimeters at the base of the tower cage. The closed tube houses the elevator shaft and the emergency staircase, which has 762 steps from the base to the cage.

The decision for a cylindrical shaft is based on the one hand on the favorable drag coefficient , which, together with a smooth surface, offers the wind a small area of ​​attack. On the other hand, a reinforced concrete pipe of this shape has a high degree of damping, which allows vibration triggered by a gust to subside quickly. The energy is consumed by the friction of the reinforcing bars, which stretch more than the concrete on the windward side. The wall of the shaft is stiffened by transverse frames at intervals of 10 meters. This deposition is also visible on the outside. Every second cross frame holds a platform for the emergency staircase. At the same time, they hold the five continuous concrete pillars on which the guide rails for the elevators and supply lines are attached.

Low annexes extend to the north-east and south-west at the foot of the tower. In addition to a souvenir shop, there is a restaurant with an attached beer garden .

Tower cage and antenna tip

Stuttgart TV Tower3v2.jpg
Stuttgarter Fernsehturm.svg

Tower cage with transmitter rooms and facilities as a photograph (left) and vertical section

The four-story tower cage of the Stuttgart television tower consists of a cylinder on the top floor; the lower floors are beveled conically. The head is held by a 2.35 meter high truncated cone shell. This prestressed shell rests on the shaft for 135.8 meters, on which the normal forces are primarily derived. The ribbed ceiling of the tower head is held in place by 18 reinforced concrete columns, each with a cross section of 14 by 18 centimeters. The outer skin of the tower cage is clad with aluminum panels and profiles in order to keep the wind resistance coefficient and wind noise within limits. This design contrasts with the dark-looking ribbon windows and the gray of the tower shaft and reinforces the impression that the basket is floating. This form of facade design, which was already used in the USA, was completely new for Europe.

The four floors of the basket are at 138 meters, 141 meters, 144 meters and 147 meters. The lower, not accessible to the public, is a purely operational floor, where the television station was installed until 1974. Today the building services, various radio links, systems for mobile phones and transmission systems for the police are housed here. The kitchen above was at 141 meters, while the tower restaurant was on the two upper floors at 144 and 147 meters. After the renovation of the outer shell in 2005, the lower restaurant floor was converted into an event level, and a café and bar were set up on the top floor. The kitchen floor is currently in the shell state. The facades of the lower three levels are inclined outwards by nine degrees, that of the fourth floor is vertical. The restaurant floor is not rotatable.

The lower viewing level is located at a height of 150.25 meters - on the roof of the tower cage in the outside area, as it were. In addition to the 1.30 meter high concrete parapet, a steel grille protects visitors. Since the renovation in 2005, the installed underfloor heating has ensured that the floor of the viewing platform remains free of snow and ice in the winter months. The upper viewing platform can be reached via a spiral staircase on the tower shaft. This viewing platform, referred to by Leonhardt as the children's platform, was specially designed for children three meters above the lower platform and is significantly smaller, but offers a clear view over the parapet. Due to the exposed location and the height of the tower, in good weather conditions, in addition to the view of the Stuttgart basin , a distant view of the Black Forest , Odenwald and Swabian Alb is possible. The assertion made by some media that one can even see the Alps is demonstrably not true.

The concrete shaft rises up to a height of 160.94 meters. The machine room for the two elevators is located in the area from 156 meters. Above that there is a stairway to the antenna mast, which was originally 51 meters high and has been 55.6 meters high since the 1960s. Xenon lights for obstacle lighting are located above the children's platform for identification as an aviation obstacle . In addition, the antennas and the tower shaft are equipped with appropriate obstacle lights.


Elevator shaft inside the tower shaft

The two elevators in the television tower were built in 1954 by the Stuttgart company Haushahn . The vertical elevators, which operate by means of a rope hoist, have a load capacity of 1.2 tons or 16 people each and transport visitors at a speed of 5.0 m / s, which corresponds to a travel time from the base to the observation floor of around 36 seconds. The plant was modernized in 2003. When it opened, the elevator system in the television tower in Stuttgart was one of the fastest in the world . A special feature of the elevators is that they can be used as an escape route in an emergency .

The system generates electricity costs of around 40,000 euros per year. The elevator machine room is located in the uppermost part of the tower shaft below the antenna platform. The elevator transports people to all levels of the tower cage and to the underground floors in the foundation. At 75 meters there is a maintenance platform inside the shaft that is not used for regular visitor traffic.

Visitor numbers

During the first ten years, the tower drew an average of around 800,000 visitors a year, which led to queues that were difficult to manage from an organizational point of view, especially during the rush hour on the weekends. Since the two elevators are equipped with comparatively small cabins and the capacity of the viewing area is rather small compared to other towers, increasing visitor throughput would not be possible without a structural change. By the end of the 1980s, the annual average number of visitors had dropped to around 600,000 - the twenty millionth visitor was welcomed on October 24, 1989 - and leveled off at around 300,000 by the end of the 2000s. The tower had the lowest number of visitors in 2005 with around 88,000 visitors, as the landmark was closed for renovation from May to November this year. From March 28, 2013 to January 29, 2016, the television tower in Stuttgart was closed due to fire protection deficiencies .

Number of visitors to the Stuttgart TV tower from 1956 to 2017
year Visitors year Visitors year Visitors year Visitors year Visitors year Visitors
1956 876,809 1966 753.431 1976 507.705 1986 437,576 1996 362.214 2006 332,542
1957 930,549 1967 656.845 1977 535.939 1987 427,538 1997 321,656 2007 329.110
1958 830.595 1968 618.912 1978 509.301 1988 459.279 1998 316,549 2008 298,757
1959 779.241 1969 620.744 1979 497.019 1989 434.393 1999 325,688 2009 283,515
1960 735.254 1970 648.993 1980 461.449 1990 441.311 2000 333.025 2010 266.264
1961 855.443 1971 623.563 1981 434.736 1991 396,549 2001 331,650 2011 307.254
1962 683.975 1972 540,807 1982 379.881 1992 334.293 2002 284,854 2012 331.381
1963 649.109 1973 521.048 1983 367,598 1993 299,752 2003 309.100 2013–15 closed
1964 659.325 1974 515.107 1984 408.660 1994 304,947 2004 278,522 2016 530,000
1965 779.244 1975 497.925 1985 410,574 1995 295,829 2005 088 141 2017 460,000


Although no agreement on the financing could be reached between the city and the SDR during the planning period, both parties founded a Fernsehturm-Betriebs-GmbH (FTB) during the construction phase on August 22, 1955 - one day before the topping-out ceremony 70% of the SDR and 30% of the municipal exhibition company - later Stuttgart Messe- und Kongress GmbH - belonged. As a minority shareholder, the exhibition company did not bear any economic risk in the event of losses. This contractual constellation came about because the SDR did not want to forego the company's experience in tourism.

The FTB was responsible for the commercial exploitation of the building, which included renting and leasing the rooms in the catering area as well as selling advertising space, operating machines, telescopes and operating the viewing platforms. Separated from this were the areas of the tower that were used to broadcast radio and television programs, such as the antenna system and technical rooms. These are operated by the broadcaster itself. With effect from January 1, 1984, the SDR transferred its stake to Rundfunkwerbung Stuttgart GmbH, which was merged into a holding company on December 16, 1991 . Through the merger of the Süddeutscher Rundfunk (SDR) with the Südwestfunk (SWF) on September 22, 1998 to form the new Südwestrundfunk (SWR), the SWR Holding GmbH became the owner of the Stuttgart TV tower. On the part of the city, FTB's share was transferred to Stuttgart Marketing GmbH on December 5, 2003. The owner is now SWR Media Services GmbH, a wholly owned SWR subsidiary.

This ownership relationship is a specialty in Germany, as the television tower is one of the few in the country that is not operated by Deutsche Funkturm , a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom , but by the broadcasting company itself.


Architectural classification and meaning

The Sentech Tower imitates the shape of the Stuttgart model

In front of the Stuttgart TV tower, there were mainly only two types of structures for transmitting antennas , which were not very varied: on the one hand, the guyed transmission masts , which are usually found in rural regions due to the corresponding space required by the steel cables attached to the ground for securing, and on the other, the self-supporting lattice towers such as the Eiffel Tower or the Berlin radio tower .

With the construction of the reinforced concrete tower in Stuttgart, a worldwide wave of tower construction was triggered, which also relies on reinforced concrete as a building material and provides the tower head with a spectator area. Most of these towers also contain separate restaurant and viewing levels. Often an attempt was made to give the tower its own character by customizing the tower cage. There are television towers that are very much based on the architecture of the Stuttgart model. One of the first was the GDR's first television tower , the Dequede television tower completed in 1959 . GDR functionaries had already visited the construction site in Stuttgart in 1956.

The Sentech Tower , built in Johannesburg between 1958 and 1962 , almost copies the shape of the tower cage. The steel mesh antenna also bears a striking resemblance to the construction in Stuttgart. Since it dispenses with the parabolic approach in the tapering of the shaft, in contrast to the Stuttgart TV tower, it looks significantly thicker at the base and overall less filigree than its Stuttgart model. The advertising label that has now been attached to the tower cage conceals the strong similarity nowadays. The Guishan television tower in Wuhan , China, clearly borrows from the Stuttgart landmark . Fritz Leonhardt was consulted in 1985 for the planning of the Chinese television tower.

When building the Space Needle in Seattle for the 1962 Century 21 Exposition , those responsible were also inspired by the Stuttgart TV tower. The expressive and independent architecture is not comparable to that in Stuttgart. However, the concept of a tower restaurant and the fact that this concept also paid off economically played a decisive role as an idea in the construction of the American observation tower, which became the symbol of the world exhibition and the city.

Based on the shape of the Stuttgart television tower, later television and observation towers were varied in their basic geometric shapes, especially the tower baskets and platforms left the most room for changes. The Stuttgart tower is regarded as an architectural model because of its elegance and harmonious lines. Even in the professional world it is sometimes described as "the most beautiful television tower in the world".

The publicist Clara Menck summed up the aesthetics of the Stuttgart TV tower:

"Compared to its successors, it is more architecture, less technical device, its silhouette does not bring a piece of science fiction into nature like almost all the others [...], it seems natural, even seems to belong organically to the landscape."

According to the motto “form follows function” established by Louis Sullivan , it is considered difficult to find a fundamentally different form for telecommunications or television towers than the one established by the Stuttgart television tower. Most television towers in the following decades only varied the shape of the tower cage. The Stuttgart model, which was limited to its main elements, was often surpassed in height, but according to experts seldom surpassed in simplicity, clarity and elegance.

Symbolic character in society

Historic SDR logo

Like many other towers, the TV tower in Stuttgart rose to become a symbol of the city and its region known around the world. The SDR, which adopted it as a figurative mark as early as 1954, showed a particularly strong identification with the building . The signet created by Anton Stankowski shows the tower as a line-abstract graphic. In a circle, three horizontal, parallel bars, which stand for the tower cage, interrupt the vertical line, which stands as the diameter of the circle for the shaft. The symbol characterizes the television tower and should make it quickly recognizable. With the merger in 1998 to form SWR, it was given up as part of the station logo . To this day, the station uses the television tower as an image and symbol in its issues of the state show .

In 2011 the television tower received a slightly modified version of the logo as a figurative mark based on the historic SDR logo. For this purpose, the word mark Fern-Seh-Turm was created separately in three lines, which is arranged next to the picture logo.

As part of the German radio exhibition in Stuttgart in 1965, the television tower symbolized the event on a postage stamp of the Deutsche Bundespost . The stamp ( Michel number 481) with a face value of 20 Pfennig, which appeared on July 28th with a circulation of 30 million, was designed by the graphic artist Heinz Schillinger and shows the Stuttgart television tower emitting waves in shades of blue.

Frequencies and Programs

Analog radio (FM)

In the case of directed radiation, the main radiation directions are given in degrees in the antenna diagram.

logo Station name RDS
Regionalization ERP
antenna pole
Deutschlandfunk Kultur Logo 2017.svg
Deutschlandfunk culture Dlf_Kult D220 - 1 round H
SWR4 Baden-Württemberg _SWR4_S_ D904 Radio Stuttgart 100 round H
Dasding 2011.png
Dasding (SWR) THE THING_ D3A5 - 5 round H
SWR3 Logo.svg
SWR3 __SWR3__ D3A3 Baden-Württemberg 100 round H
SWR1 Baden-Württemberg SWR1_BW_ D301 - 100 round H
SWR2 Logo.svg
SWR2 __SWR2__ D3A2 Baden-Württemberg 100 round H
Information board about the broadcast programs at the entrance to the transmitter area

In the course of the introduction of the then S4 Baden-Württemberg program on January 1, 1991, there was a legal dispute between the Süddeutscher Rundfunk and the State Institute for Communication Baden-Württemberg . The frequency 90.1 MHz, which was previously used by the S2 Kultur program , has broadcast this program since S4 Baden-Württemberg started broadcasting, while S2 Kultur was broadcast on the 87.9 MHz frequency from then on. However, this considerably weaker frequency could not completely cover the supply area and so there was a supply gap of 150,000 people in the Stuttgart area who could no longer receive the S2 Culture program. As a result, the SDR tried to sue, in addition to other frequencies, also the frequency 105.7 MHz, which was planned by the LFK Baden-Württemberg for a private radio program, invoking the basic service mandate . The administrative court of Baden-Wuerttemberg gave the Süddeutscher Rundfunk right on August 30, 1994; the judgment was upheld by the Federal Administrative Court on July 19, 1995.

The analog broadcast of SWRinfo (91.5 MHz, 300 W) takes place from the radio house in Neckarstrasse. The private programs Antenne 1 , bigFM and Die Neue 107.7 as well as AFN are broadcast from the Stuttgart telecommunications tower .

Digital radio (DAB)

DAB is broadcast in vertical polarization and in single-frequency mode with other transmitters.

block Programs
(data services)
Antenna pattern
round (ND),
directed (D)
horizontal (H) /
vertical (V)
Single frequency network (SFN)
DAB + block of the SWR 10 ND V Aalen , Baden-Baden (Merkur) , Bad Mergentheim (Am Kettenwald) , Buchen (Odenwald) , Heidelberg-Königstuhl , Heilbronn-Weinsberg , Langenbrand , Mühlacker , Murgtal (Draberg) , Oberböhringen , Stuttgart-Degerloch , Stuttgart (Funkhaus) , Waldenburg -Friedrichsberg , Wattkopf (Ettlingen) , Wertheim

DAB + block of Digital Radio Südwest 10 ND V Geislingen (Oberböhringen) , Freiburg (Vogtsburg) , Heidelberg (Königstuhl) , Heilbronn (Schweinsberg) , Hornisgrinde , Lahr (Schutterlindenberg) , Pforzheim (Langenbrand) , Baden-Baden (Merkur) , Stuttgart TV tower , Ulm (Kuhberg) , Ettlingen (Wattkopf )

watch TV

TV tower and antenna at night, downtown Stuttgart in the background

Since July 25, 2006, the Stuttgart TV tower only broadcasts FM and DAB radio programs. The television program Das Erste was previously broadcast. Since the TV antenna would have had to be exchanged at great expense to broadcast programs in the DVB-T standard, SWR decided not to broadcast its bouquets from the TV tower and relocated them to Deutsche Telekom's Stuttgart-Frauenkopf location.

Data of the previously broadcast program Das Erste (SWR):

channel Frequency  
program ERP
round (ND) /
directional (D)
horizontal (H) /
vertical (V)
11 217.25 The First (SWR) 100 ND H


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Technical article
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Web links

Commons : Fernsehturm Stuttgart  - Collection of images

Individual evidence

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This article was added to the list of excellent articles on October 19, 2012 in this version .