Reach For The Skies!

At

Sonnenbough Observatory

Get Starstruck With A Universe Of Discoveries

Beyond the Skyline: oooooooooo A Celestial Adventure Awaits

Located within the formidable ruins of a 16th-century fortress, the Sonnenborgh Museum and Observatory beckons starstruck souls to explore the cosmos and unravel the mysteries of the universe in a historic setting. Guests can wander through rooms adorned with vintage instruments, meteorological charts, and celestial maps. Trace the footsteps of renowned scientists like Marcel Minnaert and Kees de Jager on their path to uncovering the Dutch skies and the heavens beyond.

Under the Domes

There are three concave domes visible which house both solar and celestial telescopes. Ascend the spiral staircase to the observatory tower and see where astronomers still chart the heavens. Both modern and antique telescopes await starry-eyed visitors where, on clear nights, one can witness planets, nebulae, and distant galaxies. In winter, Friday and Saturday evenings are Star Viewing Nights – all in Dutch except the last Friday of the month – check the website. However, most Sunday afternoons kids can observe solar activity through the Lunt Telescope on-site.

The Legacy of a Scientific Beacon

The story of Sonnenborgh unfolds against the backdrop of Utrecht’s Golden Age. Completed by 1560 under Emperor Charles V’s orders, the original structure was a fortress that stood along the Stadsbuitengracht – the city moat. After the fort fell into ruins around 1640, medicinal botanical gardens were planted, with a related chemistry lab added in the 1700s.  By the 1850s, it was decided to construct the first Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute here, along with an astronomical observatory that still serves Utrecht University.  Today it’s mainly used for serious scientific research about solar weather and sunspots.

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SCENES AND EXHIBITS IN SONNENBORGH
Sonnenborgh telescope
THE LUNT SOLAR TELESCOPE IN THE SUN ROOM
THEN & NOW - THE HISTORIC GALA REFRACTION TELESCOPE
THE 1863 LARGE MERZ REFRACTING TELESCOPE

Ticket Prices – PIN Only

  • Adult General Admission : €10.00.
  • Children aged 0 to 4 years : Free.
  • Children : aged 4 – 17 years: €6.50.
  • Students w/ID : €8.00
  • Museumkaart: Free

Open Tuesday thru Friday 11 am to 5 pm Also: Sundays 1:00pm to 5:00pm

Getting To Sonnenborgh

By Foot or Bike : The museum is a 20-minute walk from Utrecht Centraal or a 10-minute bicycle ride. It is also possible to take the train to Utrecht Vaartsche Rijn station and from there it is about an 8-minute walk.

By Public Transport : Take bus #2 from Utrecht Centraal station to the “University Museum} stop, then a 4-minute walk. You can also take the train to Utrecht Vaartsche Rijn station, where it’s a 10-minute walk to the museum.

By Car : Follow the parking route (P) to the Springweg parking garage. From this facility it’s about a 10-minute walk to the museum. You can also park at Utrecht Vaartsche Rijn Train Station, also a 10-minute walk.

Address : Zonnenburg 2 Utrecht, Netherlands 3512NL oooo Phone : 030 820 1420 Web : www.sonnenborgh.nl/english

Essentials for Enjoying the Museum

Tickets for museum visits cannot be ordered in advance, so purchase your ticket at the counter when you visit. However, for Stargazing Evenings between October and March, it’s important to buy your tickets ahead of time online.

Put aside about an hour to look around the collection but be aware there is no museum cafe on-site – there’s plenty of nice places to picnic nearby however, so enjoy.

THE MAIN OBSERVATORY TOWER WITH THE MERZ TELESCOPE

Videos about Sonnenborgh Observatory & Museum

Use English subtitles [CC] to enjoy this Sonnenborgh overview

The Time Meridian explained by the Dutch museum director