University City

Both feet in the Frisian soil (clay) and at the same time connected to the grandeur of our solar system, as Eise Eisinga made tangible with his world-famous Planetarium. As Star of the Frisian Eleven Cities, the former university town of Franeker has everything a person could need for relaxation, reflection, and inspiration: hospitality, character, space, and a daily dose of a bit of happiness. How to find that? Franeker is a city full of stories that come to life if you look closely, listen, taste and are open to encounters.

Are you looking for practical information for your trip? Contact VVV Franeker!

Stargazers, Academics and Old Town

Planets in the box-bed

A timepiece, made of wood and thousands of nails, that has been running accurately for centuries: next to the box bed of Eise Eijsinga, the pendulums that keep the gears going, still swing up and down. Since 1781. And there is more, because this timepiece not only displays the days and months... suspended from the ceiling of the small living room, six planets rotate around the sun. Our solar system has been recreated down to the millimetre. On this entire planet, our earth, you will not find a planetarium that is so old and still works anywhere else. Prepare for getting a stiff neck from staring at the ceiling. The planetarium will make you squint for hours.

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Academic, in the cradle

The University of Franeker is not the most famous university in the Netherlands. You can no longer graduate there nowadays. We owe that to Napoleon; under his rule the university was closed. The number of students had already dropped to an all-time low, along with the reputation of the 'suypa academy', drinking academy. Nevertheless, names such as Descartes, Peter Stuyvesant and Willem IV van Oranje-Nassau grace the list of alumni. The building was given a new purpose thanks to former student Jelle Banga. As mayor and doctor, he converted the institution so that it could serve as a psychiatric hospital.

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Historic gems and more...

It is the combination of historical heritage, urban delights and the vastness of the surrounding landscape that make Franeker unique. The experience of time and attention is different here. Greeting each other in the street, strolling in charming shopping streets, cycling, sailing or walking towards the horizon in the free space of the Fryske lân (Frisian country), on a journey of discovery in museums and, of course, lighting a fire somewhere when you sit down to enjoy a snack and a drink.

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Want to know what to do?

There is everything you should not miss in Franeker. Namely museums, walking areas, restaurants and shops. You can soak up culture, shop, enjoy culinary delights and explore the vast surroundings.

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11steden - 11fountains

On foot, by bike, by motorbike or even by boat…. but above all known from doing it skating: the 200-kilometre Elfstedentocht (11 Cities Tour). Who doesn't know it? A household name for over 110 years, and not only in Friesland. Shivering, hopefully with well- sharpened blades, thousands of daredevils ventured across the frozen Frisian waters, past the eleven Frisian towns, for the last time in 1997. All along the route, the shore was packed with loyal supporters, cheering on the skaters everywhere possible in the icy cold. With the help of a piece of cake and a ‘zopie’, a warming Boomsa herbal bitter or purely by character, they saw Klasina Seinstra and Henk Angenent cross the finish line within eight hours in 1997. Although it has now been more than 25 years since the Elfstedentocht has taken place, winter remains the time to recall stories about the Tocht der Tochten (Tour of All Tours). 

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The 11 Cities - Visit them all!

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