Belgium ends the telegram service

Interview with telegraph collector Fons Vandenberghen

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Andy Emmerson has supplied a translation of what Fons is saying in the second half.

Fons invites is to see his collection of more than 150 telegraph instruments.

These devices have sent many messages. His oldest example dates from 1846 [pic of single needle].

In those days you took your msg to an office, where a telegraphist sent to the destination elsewhere in your country [Fons operates the Morse key].

Later you could send message all over the world [shots of greetings telegrams].

The apparatus printed the message in clear text (klaare tekst) onto a strip of gummed paper. Often it was delivered by a telegram messenger boy (loopjonge).

In the 1980s more than a million telegrams were sent.

Since 2000 telegrams have been replaced by more modern means of communication, such as e-mail and SMS. [pic of Fons at his computer].

This year [2017] only 8,000 telegrams were sent. And this evening the service stopped for good. But other methods are available. For more information visit

Fons' website is at


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