Franeker is a small historical city in the north of the province of Friesland. Friesland lies in the north of the Netherlands. The distance from the city of Franeker to Amsterdam is about 125 km. The city Franeker is a wealthy city and a former university city. The center of Franeker reflects its glorious past with grand monuments and small historical gems. The great Franeker church has its own garden with a fountain depicting the birth chamber of comets. The city of Franeker is not a great city, it is even smaller than the average village in the Netherlands and it has a grand and beautiful city hall.
Franeker, a historic city with grand monuments
The center of Franeker reflects its glorious past with grand monuments and small historical gems. The great Franeker church has its own garden with a fountain depicting the birth chamber of comets. Many sheep farmers lived in the Franeker area and in Franeker itself, many people lived by the craft of wool combing. In Franeker, you can still visit a house of simple wool combing. This wool comber was also the builder of the oldest working planetarium in the world.
Museum Planetarium Franeker
This city has a very nice little science museum: The Planetarium from Eise Eisinga. The Planetarium is the oldest working planetarium in the world and it still runs on time. This reason alone, if for no other, makes it worth visiting this northern town. A planetarium is a solar system according to scale. In the planetarium room the English, French, and German-speaking guides tell you everything about the life of Eise Eisinga. The guide explains the way the planetarium operates and there is plenty of time to ask questions.
The museum is located in the former home of Eise Eisinga who lived in the 17th century. The museum also gives an impression of family life in the old days with a bedstead, kitchen, and workshop creating an authentic ambiance that brings it all back to life! The founder, Eise Eisinga had a wool factory next to his home. The tools Eisinga used for wool combing are also shown in this museum.
Until the 20th century, many Dutch people slept in bedsteads. These sleeping places were found in residential houses in cities but also in rural areas on farms. A bedstead is a sleeping place in a closet that is closed with doors or a curtain. A bed box is no larger than the size of the mattress and was built into the living room. In winter, a bed box was nice and warm. A box bed is not large, today’s man can hardly sleep there. In the 16th century, a box bed was even smaller. At that time, people slept half-sitting up because they were afraid of dying if they slept lying down.
Visit Franeker museum and you’ll be amazed by the size of the bed. Dutch people were not as tall as they are nowadays and they slept sitting upright with a nightcap on their heads.
The Franeker Museum Planetarium is all about the Planetarium room, the ceiling, and the radar work in the attic. On the ceiling is the planetarium with the model of the sun as the center and the 6 planets revolving around it. Keep in mind that in the days the planetarium was built there were only 6 planets discovered. The planetarium is still working on time. This planetarium is the oldest working planetarium in the world. A specialized guide explains in detail how the planetarium was built, works, and how the builder, Eise Eisinga lived here with his family. In the attic you can see the radar work for yourself, take your time because it is a more than special mechanism. The guides speak very well English, German and French and there is always enough time to ask questions.
In the attic of the Franeker Planetarium museum, you find the wooden mechanism. This mechanism is driven by an ample system of wooden disks with thousands of hand-wrought iron pins. These pins are the cogs that keep the system working. It’s amazing to see this old mechanism working. The complete mechanism is controlled by a single-weight pendulum clock.
Astronomy and mathematics
Eise Eisinga dedicated his life to astronomy and math. He builds the planetarium in his living room. On the first floor, located above the Planetarium, you can view a set of wheels that drive the planetarium. Take care not to bump your head as you make your way up the stairs because the ceiling is very low. This museum exhibits many historical astronomical instruments.
The museum shop sells amazing gadgets, stars, planets, Perpetuum mobiles, postcards, air maps and lots of other nice things.
The Eise Eisinga Planetarium in Franeker, Friesland, has been nominated for the Unesco World Heritage List. The Minister of Education, Culture, and Science submitted the nomination.
An entry on the World Heritage List is worldwide recognition of the special value of this planetarium”. In addition, it also has a positive influence on the fame of the historic city center of Franeker and the Friesland region. It is a nice addition to the other world heritage sites in Friesland. The Wadden Sea and the Ir. D.F. Woudagemaal in Lemmer, the first steam pumping station in the world, is already on the famous list of cultural and natural heritage.
Best place to stay in Franeker
➔ Book here Hotel B&B Turfkade
In the center of Franeker, in one of the oldest historic buildings in Franeker, you will find the B&B Trufkade. A warm welcome, trendy and modern rooms, comfortable beds, and delicious breakfast make this B&B a highly recommended place to stay.
Frisian delicacies, Fries suikerbrood – Fryske sûkerbôle – Frysian sugar bread
When you visit Frisian don’t forget to buy a delicious “Fries Suikerbrood” (Frysian Sugar Bread at the local bakery. This bread is made from fine patent wheat flour, butter, sugar, water, salt, and yeast and filled with pearl or grain sugar, cinnamon, and ginger syrup. This bread used to be given to mothers who had given birth to a girl. When they had a boy, currant cake was given.
Amazing chocolate planets are sold at the local bakery in Franeker.
In the city of Franeker, you’ll find lots of nice restaurants and cafes for just a coffee or tea or lunch or dinner.
Fresh pickled Herring
And if you happen to be visiting Franeker on a Saturday go to the market and eat a fresh pickled herring with onions. If you find yourself a nice place like a cafe you can eat this delicacy accompanied by a traditional Dutch Beerenburg or fûgeltsje. Enjoying a herring with a Beerenburg will make your day perfect.
Friesland is about an hour’s travel time from the Dutch airport Schiphol
Franeker is an important historical city in the north of Holland, in the province of Friesland. A university was located there in the past. The Frisian people speak Frisian, and Dutch and most of them speak various foreign languages.
Franeker is the 10th largest city of the Frisian “11-City Skating Tour”. A world-famous skating race on natural ice. Thousands of people skate from city to city when the weather is just right. A tour of almost 200 kilometers. Holland goes berserk when this event is coming up, they wait in keen anticipation to see whether or not the weather will be cold enough to allow the race to be run, they love it because it is comparable to a World Cup Event and is a long and old tradition!
Contact information and ticket information Planetarium
Address; Eise Eisingastraat 3, Franeker, Friesland in the Netherland.
Visiting hours: the whole year on Tuesday till Saturday from 10.00 till 17.00 and on Sunday from 13.00 till 17.00 hours.
This museum is closed on Christmas Day and on New Year’s Day.