Walking route 11fountains: Franeker

30 minutes (2.5 km)
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  • About the walking tour
    Franeker is a small academic city, with hidden gardens and characteristic façades. Ideal for a short walk that will make a big impression. From the sumptuous façades of the canalside houses, to the bulwarks and hidden gardens in the city centre. Anyone with an eye for detail will be delighted. And this extends to the sky: Franeker, once a university town, is also the city of stargazers. It’s the birthplace of the brilliant astronomer Jan Hendrik Oort and home to the world’s oldest working planetarium, built by amateur astronomer Eise Eisinga. During this 30-minute walk, you will discover the story behind the fountain and see the hidden gems of this city.

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    About the Oort Fountain
    The fountai…

    About the walking tour
    Franeker is a small academic city, with hidden gardens and characteristic façades. Ideal for a short walk that will make a big impression. From the sumptuous façades of the canalside houses, to the bulwarks and hidden gardens in the city centre. Anyone with an eye for detail will be delighted. And this extends to the sky: Franeker, once a university town, is also the city of stargazers. It’s the birthplace of the brilliant astronomer Jan Hendrik Oort and home to the world’s oldest working planetarium, built by amateur astronomer Eise Eisinga. During this 30-minute walk, you will discover the story behind the fountain and see the hidden gems of this city.

    Easy navigation?
    View the route in Google Maps

    About the Oort Fountain
    The fountain is an ode to the world-famous astronomer Jan Hendrik Oort, born in Franeker. His assumption that a ‘cloud’ of billions of comet-like objects moves around our solar system marked a breakthrough in astronomy. The fountain’s design consists of a series of waterfalls flowing from a bowl into a basin along a vertical chain of pearls in colours of the night. One of the pearls is silver-coloured, like the colour of the moon, another is gilded, the colour of the sun. The ‘Oort Cloud’ itself is a haze of fine droplets falling into the bowl from a gold-coloured wire mesh structure.

    Sights on this route

    1

    11Fountains Franeker

    Breedeplaats 1
    8801 LZ Franeker
    11Fountains Franeker
    2

    Martinikerk Franeker

    Breedeplaats 2
    8801 LZ Franeker
    Martinikerk Franeker
    97 98
    3

    Eise Eisinga Planetarium

    Eise Eisingastraat 3
    8801KE Franeker
    Eise Eisinga Planetarium
    78
    4

    Bolwerkkerkje de Mouterij

    Zilverstraat 46
    8801KC Franeker
    Bolwerkkerkje de Mouterij
    5

    Geuzengat

    8801 PG Franeker
    Geuzengat
    6

    Vier theehuisjes op de wal

    Noorderbolwerk
    8801 KL Franeker
    Vier theehuisjes op de wal
    99 65
    7

    Keatsmuseum

    Keatsmuseum
    Voorstraat 67
    8801 LE Franeker
    Keatsmuseum
    8

    Museum Martena

    Voorstraat 35
    8801LA Franeker
    Martenastins
    Museum Martena
    9

    11Fountains Franeker

    Breedeplaats 1
    8801 LZ Franeker
    11Fountains Franeker

    Directions

    1

    11Fountains Franeker

    Breedeplaats 1
    8801 LZ Franeker
    11Fountains Franeker

    How the church and art formed the city

    Immediately beside the church Martinikerk you will find the Oort Cloud Fountain. A narrow fountain with a golden sphere on top, from which a cool cloud of mist emerges occasionally. With its colours - gold, black and white - the fountain refers to our starry sky, as a tribute to astronomer Jan Hendrik Oort. The short walk through Franeker starts here.

    Don’t dive straight into the city, even though that may be tempting. A walk around the church is very rewarding because of the beautiful garden full of herbs, such as valerian, verbena, nepeta and salvia. The church has always been an important part of the city. Not only because of the religion it brought, but also because during the Reformation, the University of Franeker attracted many students who were trained as Protestant pastors.

    Walk into the city in an easterly direction, with the former orphanage on your right. This is an impressive building with shutters and wooden beams, that now houses a bakery with lunchroom. Past this building turn right, towards the Eise Eisinga Planetarium. In this small museum you will find the world’s oldest working planetarium. But look to the left first, to the beautiful façade of the town hall in Frisian Renaissance style. A work of art in itself!

    Next to the Eise Eisinga Planetarium, you will find brasserie De Stadstuin. The façade is quite remarkable, with its striking wooden elements. But the garden behind this brasserie is why you should really go inside. Not in the mood yet for something tasty? Then we’ll continue our walk and follow the canal on the right-hand side. This takes you to the tiny Korendragershuisje. A mini museum you can visit for free.

    At the end of the Zilverstraat, which runs parallel to the canal, cross over to the Leeuwarderend, which will take you to the Franeker bulwark. The world around you turns green for a while. Don’t walk up the bulwark yet, but choose the little path right next to the water, so that you will pass the Geuzengat. This recently restored, centuries-old tunnel was once an escape route to get in and out of the city.

    Return to the elevated path on the bulwark, which will take you past the old tea house Theekoepeltje. This charming ‘arbour’ with its beautiful wallpaper serves as a studio for artists in the summer. Feel welcome to peek inside and have a chat with a local artist.

    The route continues in the direction of the Sjûkelân (pronounced: sjoe-ke-lawn), where annual ‘kaats’ matches have been held since the nineteenth century. Kaatsen is an old Frisian ball game that bears some resemblance to handball, and the Franeker people master it like no other. The Keats Museum is located here too, for anyone interested in learning more about this cultural-historical sport.

    The street straight across from the field is the Franeker shopping street, where halfway you will come across Museum Martena. The museum is housed in an impressive medieval ‘stins’, a former fortified small city castle. Hop through the fence on the right to visit the garden behind the stins. After you have admired the stins and its garden, you can continue the route by following the shopping street, which will take you to the church Martinikerk. There, you will find a cosy café terrace surrounded by beautiful façades - an excellent way to end your walk. All restaurants and cafés of Franeker can be found here.

    9

    11Fountains Franeker

    Breedeplaats 1
    8801 LZ Franeker
    11Fountains Franeker
    97
    98
    78
    99
    65

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