(photo by Roel Wijnants)
The Royal 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 and in December 2011 was nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site candidate.
The Royal Eise Eisinga Planetarium in Franeker is the oldest working planetarium in the world. Its moving model of the solar system was constructed between 1774 and 1781 by Eise Eisinga, a Frisian wool-comber. It is still in its original state.
Eisinga built the planetarium in his own home. So that it would fit into his living-room, he used a scale of 1:1,000,000,000,000 (1 millimetre: 1 million kilometres).
Eisinga built the planetarium to disprove a contemporary prophecy that certain planets were on a collision course and that the end of the world was therefore imminent. He hoped his model would demonstrate that the planets were actually in conjunction. He was not a scientist in the formal sense but a creative genius who built the planetarium entirely on his own initiative.
The planetarium has always been accessible to interested members of the public. It has also received scientific recognition. All Eisinga’s books and writings have been preserved and are accessible to the public.