Eisinga Planetarium

Franeker, Netherlands

The Royal Eise Eisinga Planetarium is an 18th-century orrery in Franeker. It is currently a museum and open to the public. The orrery has been on the top 100 Dutch heritage sites list since 1990 and nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site candidate based on its long history as a working planetarium open to the public and its continued efforts to preserve its heritage.

The orrery was built from 1774 to 1781 by Eise Eisinga. An orrery is a planetarium, a working model of the solar system. The 'face' of the model looks down from the ceiling of what used to be his living room, with most of the mechanical works in the space above the ceiling. It is driven by a pendulum clock, which has 9 weights or ponds. The planets move around the model in real time, automatically. The planetarium includes a display for the current time and date. The plank that has the year numbers written on it has to be replaced every 22 years.

The Eise Eisinga Planetarium is the oldest still working planetarium in the world. To create the gears for the model, 10,000 handmade nails were used. In addition to the basic orrery, there are displays of the phase of the moon and other astronomical phenomena. The orrery was constructed to a scale of 1:1,000,000,000,000 (1 millimetre: 1 million kilometres).



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Founded: 1774-1781
Category: Miscellaneous historic sites in Netherlands


4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Rob Veneboer (3 months ago)
Great small museum in the Frisian city of Franeker. Oldest remaining working planetarium in the world. Dates back from 1774. Well preserved and fully working. Little over an houre from Amsterdam. Combine with visit to Franeker.
Angelo (7 months ago)
Interesting museum to visit, a lot to see and learn about the universe. Also interesting for young(er) kids. Entrance fee was about 6 euro (adults) so that's reasonable.
Jeroen den Dunnen (7 months ago)
Amazing place, a 250 year old planetarium on the ceiling of a living room. All made in Eise Eisinga's spare time. The surrounding part has substantially improved in the last few years, with a lot more attention for Eisinga, his family, his place in society, and why he started to make the planetarium in the first place. Also nice for the kids, they liked the background story, and they were offered a seperate quest (the grown-ups had to help with some of the questions). A must visit when in Friesland.
Nigel Diamond (10 months ago)
Fascinating historical device kept and presented well. Unfortunately the rest of the museum was a bit confusing (for English) with unclear signage. We'll worth a visit.
Dennis van Bommel (12 months ago)
Fantastic museum to go to, to learn everything about the planets in our solar system. A very nice in person explanation about Eise Eisinga's home made planetarium! A nice challenge for the kids to be actively researching the museum ? ? A must go when visiting Friesland!
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