Welcome to the unofficial Eise Eisinga Planetarium site

Eise Eisinga (Photo by ???)
Eise Eisinga
(1744 - 1828)
Eise Eisinga’s planetarium in Franeker, province of Friesland, The Netherlands, is the oldest working one in the world. It was built in the years 1774 - 1781.

In my opinion, Eise Eisinga was a remarkable man. I am not only impressed by his knowledge and skills, but also by his way of thinking.

He built the planetarium because people love to spread lies to scare ignorant people. In this case it was the Leeuwarden Newspaper of Saturday, 9 April 1774. The paper wrote something like this:
“On Sunday, 8 May, the planets Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and our Moon will all be found in [the House of] Aries. They will surely collide and this will be the end of the world. A booklet on this subject will be available soon!”
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Having read this article, Eise found that it was time to teach the ignorant people something about orbits and distances in space. He could only do that by making a working model of our Solar system.

Software builders of nowadays could have learned a lesson from Eise, because he thought centuries ahead. The planetarium still works correctly because he left us drawings, explanations and a list of all things that should never be forgotten. Most important things on this list were:

  • Don’t forget to set the date ring correctly on the leap day.
  • Check the speed of the clock during sudden temperature changes.
  • Adjust the orbit of Saturn every year because I made a little miscalculation.
  • Don’t forget to paint new year numbers every 22 years.
By thinking this way, he really made his planetarium both century and millennium proof!

Proceed to the Gallery!

Joop van Dijk, September 1999 / Last edited: November 2006.

This site is dedicated to Eise Eisinga and his work, but it is not an official site.


Please visit the official Eisinga Planetarium site for opening hours, phone number and more.

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Website created by Joop's Unique Services (JUS), Netherlands - Minor update: November 2020