Publicatiedatum: 2 februari 2015
Reporter: Albert Hendriks - Friesland Holland Nieuwsdienst - www.friesnieuws.nl
The home town of the world-famous planetarium
Franeker, famous for its Planetarium and for being the home town of the singer Nienke, is a town with broad streets and deep gardens. The terp village of Franeker acquired a charter in 1290.
In the period between 1492 and 1506, the town became the place of residence of the Stadholder Albrecht van Saksen and his son. They were also responsible for the construction of the town’s moat and its bulwarks and gates. The Martenahuis was also built in around the same time (1498). This building is the best preserved ‘stins’ (fortified home for the gentry) in Franeker. The Cammingahuis, which now houses the Friesland Bank, is also a ‘stins’ dating from the 14th century.
The gothic Martini church (which dates from around 1421) with its choir stalls and wall paintings is further evidence that Franeker used to be a wealthy town.
A centre of learning
The university, which was founded in Franeker in 1585, was originally a monastery dating from 1468. It was the second university in the Netherlands, after Leiden, which was founded ten years earlier.
From the end of the 16th century onwards, the university in Franeker started attracting a great many distinguished academics. This is clear to see In the Voorstraat, where the houses have huge gardens.
Details of the university’s history can be found in the Martena Museum, as well as information on the only woman to have attended, namely Anna Maria van Schurman.
In 1811, Napoleon downgraded Franeker university to a grammar school and this led to the university closing its doors in 1843.
Museum Martena: Anna Maria van Schurman (1607-1678).
The Bogt Fen Guné, next to the old fives field, is the oldest student café in Friesland. It dates from the 16th century and is now a traditional pub.
Fives, or ‘kaatsen’, is a Frisian ball game and once a year a tournament is held in Franeker, next to the Bogt Fen Guné. This tournament is referred to as the PC. The competitors battle it out for the title of ‘fives king’. The games take place on the famous Frisian hallowed turf of It Sjûkelân. You can find out all about this Frisian sport in the 14th century Cammingahuis, which is now the fives museum.
The attractive town hall, with its stepped gables and octagonal bell tower, is one of the town’s showpieces. It was designed and built by local master craftsmen. The interior of the town hall is also well worth a visit.
The famous Eise Eisinga planetarium is also a must for any visitors to Franeker.