Franeker Things to Do
St Martins Church (Martinikerk)
This interesting church dates from 1421 and is the only church in Friesland with a choir aisle. I do not normally include churches in my pages (other than large cathedrals ) but some of the churches I was taken to by friends in Holland where very impressive and this one was the first I saw on my 2009 holiday.
It really is a beautiful church and is bright and airy and welcoming. There is guide available in English and volunteers on hand.
The pulpit (pictured) is particularly impressive - it dates from 1622 and was made by a local coffin maker called Syert Hieronymus.
The beautiful chandeliers are recent and were donated in 1987 by public subscription by the townspeople.
The church is undergoing restoration as long horned beetles have infested the roof beams and timbers.Related to:
- Historical Travel
Frankeker resident Else Eisinga built an accurate scale model of the solar system in his living room when townsfolk warned him they were worried that a forthcoming planetary conjunction would mean the end of the world. Eisinga wanted to prove to the towns citizens that the end of the world was not on them and between 1774 and 1781 built this amazing planetarium to show how the solar system actually worked.
The mechanism is made of wooden hoops and discs and more than 10000 nails serve as gear teeth.
The museum is possible to wander around without a guide and if you are agile enough you can climb some steep stairs to see the workings of the planetarium. The planetarium room is only admissible with a guide and the talk the guide gives can be in Dutch, English or German. The room is also furnished as it would have been in Eisingas day.
Highly recommended.Related to:
- Museum Visits
- Historical Travel
The Town Hall
The Town Hall of Franeker was built in renaissance style between 1591 and 1594. The building was extended in 1760 and the exterior was restored from 1887 to 1890. Another restoration, of the interior, took place around 1955.
This is a beautiful building and part of the ground floor is open to the public. Entering in the Hall you see where justice was once administered here. On the left is the Mayors Room where occasionally civic functions are carried out and at the end of the corridor the Wedding Room which has an unusual leather wallpaper on its walls.The room is also very symmetrical and the portrait above the fireplace is that of Eise Eisinga who founded the nearby Planetarium. The Secretary's Room are full of paintings mainly by Rosenburg and the room itself is heavily panelled.
An enthusiastic English speaking guide is on hand to assist visitors and the building is disabled friendly.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
Planetarium Cafe: Next to the Planetarium
A small elegant cafe full of charm in a building that dates from 1745. There is a bakers shop at the front and then two rooms for cafe customers. The first is traditional Dutch with brown stained wood and the back room is a lighter room - the website has photos.
There is a varied menu of salads, sandwiches , light snacks and cakes. The coffee is good and there is a range of teas.
The rest rooms are clean but cramped. Disabled access would be difficult .
Car parking in Franeker
Parking in the town centre is difficult but there is a large free car park close to the town centre.
Off the A31 follow the signs in to Franeker along Hertog van Saxenlaan and then at the roundabout turn left in to Burg. J. Dijkstraweg - just past the swimming pool on the right is the free car park.
Gettiing to Franeker
The station was opened on 27th October 1863 and is located on the Arriva operated Leeuwarden - Deinum - Dronrijp - Franeker - Harlingen - Harlingen Haven line. There are two trains per hour . The station is quite a way from the town centre - I would estimate a 10 minute walk. However the 33, 36 and 75 bus services stop at the station before moving on to the town centre. Buses are operated by Connextion.
Arriva established a joint venture with NS Rail in 1999.In 2005 it secured a contract to operate trains from Groningen to Leeuwarden, Delfzijl, Roodeschool and Nieuweschans. It also secured a contract to operate trains from Leeuwarden to Harlingen Haven and to Stavoren. The trains are relatively new and all national travel passes are valid.Related to:
2 Hotels in Franeker
Franeker Sports & Outdoors
The major Frisian handball tournament, called the P.C. (short for Permanent Committee), is the oldest regulated sports tournament in the world. The P.C. is yearly held in the city of Franeker since 1854.
Frisian handball is played on a rectangular lawn of 61 m by 32 m by two teams of 3 players. In the center of one short side of the field is a receiving zone of 5 m by 19 m defended by 2 players, the other team member remaining field player. One of the opponents serves the hard leather ball with his bare hand from a serving box at about 30 meters from the receiving zone. If he does not succeed in reaching the receiving zone, the receiving team gets a direct score. When the receiving team, of which the players are allowed to wear a single hardened leather glove, returns the ball over the short line behind the serving box (called the upper line, in Frisian boppe) they also get a direct score. Of course, the serving team is allowed to prevent this happening by hitting or holding the ball before the upper line. The place where the ball remains after such a rally is marked with a small woodblock called a kaats, which is best defined as an undecided score. When two such undecided points occur (or one, if one of the teams is on game point) the teams change places. In the next rally, the team that then has the receiving position, tries to hit the ball past the first kaats and, if any, in the next rally past the second kaats, so deciding the undecided points. Then they start all over again.