While Franeker University no longer exists, you can still sense the presence of the academy, which Napoleon closed in 1811, in the town’s old streets. Stroll past the professorial residences and enjoy a beer at the Bogt van Guné student pub.
- Enjoy a beer in Holland’s oldest student pub.
- Visit the planetarium from 1781 that still works.
- Enjoy a Frisian handball match on the Sjûkelân.
On the fifth Wednesday after 30 June, tension in Franeker rises. This is the day of the most important ‘kaats’ or Frisian handball competition of the year on the Sjûkelân, the most famous handball field in Holland. It is the perfect opportunity to enjoy an unforgettable, typically Frisian sports event. The best player of the winning three-man team becomes the King of the PC. He is presented with the silver kaats ball.
Eise Eisinga Planetarium
The Eise Eisinga Planetarium shows the exact position of the heavenly bodies. The wool carder Eise Eisinga built it in the course of seven years in the 18th century. He wanted to make astronomy more accessible for regular people. When you step out of the door, you can see the town hall dating from 1591. The pleasant inner city of Franeker can be explored on foot. Don’t forget to check out the tiny grain carrier’s cottage, as well as the orphanage, Martini Church, and ‘t Coopmanshûs museum.
A tribute to Franeker’s scholarly history, French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel’s ‘The Oort Cloud Fountain’ pays tribute to astronomer Jan Hendrik Oort’s namesake ‘cloud’: an extended shell of icy objects that exist in the outermost reaches of the solar system. ‘The Oort Cloud Fountain’ was designed as a series of waterfalls flowing from a large basin along a vertical chain of night-colored pearls, in which two large beads stand out, one silver like the color of the moon, the other the color of the sun. The Oort Cloud takes shape as a mist of very fine droplets fall into the basin from a mesh of golden tubes around the sun, a delicate centerpiece between an assortment of benches in a small city park by the Martinikerk in Franeker. The fountain was created as part of the Leeuwarden-Friesland 2018 cultural program 11Fountains, in which a fountain was created for each of Friesland’s 11 cities.