Eise Eisinga built his scale model of the known universe in the 18th century, though today what he built would be considered a model of the solar system. Either way, the contraption was an incredible feat of physical understanding and technical know-how.
His planetarium inspired many to build their own table models. However, people were unable to build actual copies of the model, since it was so large and its construction was so difficult.
In 2009, a functional near-replica was built in nearby Utrecht. The Zuylenburg Planetarium cannot technically be called a true replica, as it functions differently and has fewer planets. Where the Eisinga model goes up to Saturn, the Zuylenburg model “only” has the planets until Mars. This allowed the builders to blow up this part of the solar system on a larger scale than Eisinga’s version.
The planetarium is fully mechanical. All the planets are pushed forward by one driving clock, whose axis gets split off for driving the planets, the date, the year, and the lunar phases. The planetarium is housed inside an old 18th-century manor that was completely renovated in 2009.
Know Before You Go
The building is a residential house. Tours are generally only possible when booked well in advance, and are generally only for people with an affinity for astronomy.