26 OF September 2018 TV Tower Netherlands

Turning a TV Tower into a Landmark 

When Alticom, a leading Dutch telecommunication infrastructure company, purchased 24 telecommunication towers from the National Dutch Telecom (KPN), it was hard to imagine the structures as a city’s prominent landmarks. Built in the early 1960’s, the transmission towers were outdated and in need of serious upgrades. 

Originally constructed for the distribution of TV and telecommunication signals throughout the Netherlands, Alticom took on the project to update the systems and set up sustainable data centers within the towers. In 2010, the data center of Alphen aan de Rijn was completed as a second data center, following the construction and successful delivery of the data center in the Zwolle tower. 

The idea to illuminate the radio mast came from an inhabitant of Alphen, Ben Wilms, who presented this to the Economic Development Board Alphen (EDBA). The goal was for the 135-meter-high tower to become a focal point of the city, as well as to be visible and recognizable from a distance.

Starting with a Vision 

When the EDBA approved of Wilms’ idea, ETK Lighting BV was brought in to develop the project. ETK Lighting BV was founded in 1987, and provides project-based lighting solutions, starting with calculations and lighting plans, but ETK also is a supplier of fixtures and necessities. 
To make this vision a reality, ETK Lighting enlisted Acclaim Lighting, Los Angeles, California, to ensure that the tower would be a landmark for the City of Alphen aan den Rijn. The project also involved the local marketing group Alphen Marketing, the city of Alphen aan den Rijn, fiberglass supplier Alphen On Fibre and Hillsafety, a security system company.

“World cities such as Paris, London and New York already have iconic buildings that can be illuminated at special occasions,” said one of the initiators Gert-Jan Woudsma, owner of Hillsafety. “Alphen aan den Rijn will soon be in that list with this illuminated showpiece.”

To make the structure comparable to the Eiffel Tower or the Empire State Building, the tower is illuminated daily with a basic color scheme of white and green, in reference to Alphen aan den Rijn as the center of the “Green Heart,” an area in the Dutch “Randstad”, which is a megalopolis in the central-western Netherlands. The colors can also be adjusted for special events and celebrations. For instance, the tower is covered in green and red light during Christmas time, while it is orange on the King’s Day, and red, white and blue in celebration of Liberation Day. 

According to Alphen Marketing and the EDBA, this project is accompanied by symbolism. The illuminated Alphen tower in the Rijnhaven area is tangible evidence of the decisiveness in Alphen aan den Rijn and the results that can be achieved when there is a goal-oriented collaboration.

Lighting the Way

As a permanently illuminated building, the products used to light the tower at Alphen aan den Rijn needed to be weather resistant, long-lasting and bright. Working in tandem with ETK Lighting to create a custom lighting system, Acclaim Lighting selected fixtures with a high IP66 rating for wet locations to provide durability and resistance against weathering and debris as a preventative measure against strong gusts of wind and extreme weather conditions. 

To illuminate the concrete base construction from the bottom upward, four Dyna Drums HO 4000K with a beam angle of 6 degrees were installed, each providing 10103 total lumens. The fixture features an adjustable yoke for customizable focus and an onboard digital display for menu selection and addressing to adjust color schemes. With a lumen maintenance rate of 50,000 hours at 70 percent, the fixture will shine bright for years – an important quality requirement for fixtures used on a permanently illuminated structure. The fixture also performs in wet conditions, adding to the lighting systems weatherproof capabilities. 

In addition to the lights at the base of the tower, the six different floors with balconies on the structure received their own unique lighting applications. 24 Dyna Flood XT DMX RGBA fixtures with a beam angle of 70 degrees were installed to highlight the six floors. Because of the high output, and the weather resistance, these fixtures are the perfect solution for large scale facade lighting and flood illumination, featuring a total lumen output of 3,200 for the RGBA version. With an adjustable head and internal DMX driver, the brightness and placement of the concentration of light can be adapted to the desired use. 

Finally, two Acclaim Lighting Dyna Drums SO 4000K were incorporated into the design, crowning the metal construction and antennas at the top of the tower with the fixtures. Ideal for facade lighting applications and as an area flood light, this high output, outdoor rated, LED flood fixture shines bright to make the tower the city’s focal point with 7,769 total lumens. The adjustable yoke, on-board digital display and weather resistant capabilities complete the customized lighting solution. 

A lasting Impact

Permanently illuminated since December 22, 2017, the end result is an energy-efficient, weather-resistant lighting system that accomplishes Alticom’s primary goal: to make a telecommunication tower a highly-visible and recognizable landmark of the City of Alphen aan den Rijn. 

“The tower literally serves as a landmark. If you see the tower, you will see Alphen,” said Woudsma. “With the lighting of the tower we make Alphen aan den Rijn visible, literally and figuratively. Many Alphen parties benefit from this, so it is logical that we work together. It ensures solidarity, even if we will illuminate the tower later on special occasions. With the tower Alphen becomes one.”