Koninklijk Eise Eisinga Planetarium

( Eise Eisinga Planetarium )

The Royal Eise Eisinga Planetarium (Dutch: Koninklijk Eise Eisinga Planetarium) is an 18th-century orrery in Franeker, Friesland, Netherlands. It is currently a museum and open to the public. The orrery has been on the top 100 Dutch heritage sites list since 1990. In September 2023, it received the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the oldest working orrery in the world.

The orrery was built from 1774 to 1781 by Eise Eisinga, a wool carder and amateur astronomer.

Eise Eisinga’s mechanical planetarium is built into the timber roof of the living room ceiling of his historic canal house. William I, Prince of Orange and the first King of the Netherlands was so impressed with the planetarium, he purchased the house and it became a royal planetarium.[1]

The museum consists of the planetarium room, a screening room where documentaries are shown, and special exhibits based on modern astronomy.  Other parts on permanent display are Eisinga’s former wool combing establishments and a collection of historical astronomical instruments.  Those instruments in the collection include Georgian telescopes, 18th century octants and a tellurium, an educational model of the Sun, Earth and Moon.[1]

The museum has a Planetarium Café and Brasserie De Stadstuin located in the former Van Balen coffee-roasting house.

In 2018, the Planetarium celebrated the 250th anniversary of Eisinga’s move to the city of Franeker in 1768, six years before he began work on his Planetarium.[2]

It is listed as a Rijksmonument, number 15668.[3]

The orrery was nominated 12 December 2011 by the Dutch government for UNESCO World Heritage status, based on its long history as a working planetarium open to the public and its continued efforts to preserve its heritage.[4] In December 2018, it was announced that the Dutch minister of Education, Culture and Science will be sending an application to UNESCO to request a formal nomination of the orrery, bringing heritage status one step closer.[5]

^ a b "The World's Oldest Working Planetarium". Archived from the original on 2018-03-20. ^ "Eise Eisinga Planetarium". Archived from the original on 2013-09-26. ^ "kich.nl (Kennisinfrastructuur Cultuurhistorie)". Retrieved 2010-08-27. ^ Nomination on tentative list at UNESCO website ^ Omrop Fryslân: Eise Eisinga Planetarium voorgedragen voor Werelderfgoedstatus UNESCO
Photographies by:
Erik Zachte - CC BY-SA 4.0
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