Sonnenborgh Museum & Observatory takes both children and adults on a journey of discovery of meteorology, astronomy and the history of the Sonnenborgh bastion. Located in the centre of Utrecht, Sonnenborgh is situated on one of Utrecht’s bulwarks, built back in the middle of the 16th Century. Utrecht’s observatory has five telescopes and organises evening events for viewing the stars.
- See the Sonnenborgh telescopes.
- The oldest telescope was built over 150 years ago.
- From mid-September to mid-April, you can watch the stars on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Location and telescopes of Sonnenborgh
Sonnenborgh Museum & Observatory was originally located on Smeetoren, one of the largest and oldest fortifications of Utrecht. It was there that Utrecht University’s first observatory was established in 1642. By the middle of the 19th century, the building was in such a poor state of repair that physicist Buys Ballot proposed building a new observatory and meteorological office on top of the Sonnenborgh bastion.
Five large telescopes pointing heavenwards are found there. You can view the moon, the planets, the stars or the sun. The oldest telescope is more than 150 years old; the newest only a couple.
Tours and stargazing evenings
During a tour of Sonnenborgh, our guides will show you the museum and relate the most wonderful stories about the observatory, the old bastion and the meteorological office. Sonnenborgh Museum & Observatory is open from Tuesday to Friday from 11.00 am to 5.00 pm and Sunday from 1.00 pm to 5.00 pm. There are stargazing nights every Friday and Saturday from 20:00 to 21:30 from early October until the end of March.