Naar hoofdinhoud
A visitor at the exhibition about Buys Ballot at Sonnenborgh
A visitor at the exhibition about Buys Ballot at Sonnenborgh
Discover the universe Discover the universe
Discover the universe Discover the universe

See & Do

Climb the stairs up to the 19th century telescope domes and gaze at the stars. Find out more about meteorology at the place where Dutch weather forecasts were first introduced. Discover what the Sun is made of and experience the history of a Utrecht 16th century bastion.

Measuring time
The solar telescope at Sonnenborgh


Sonnenborgh is an authentic 19th century observatory with three telescope domes, built on top of a 16th century bastion. The beautiful historic building is an exhibition in and of itself. Inside, you can learn about all of the subjects related to Sonnenborgh: the weather, the Sun, astronomical observations with telescopes, measuring time using the Meridian etc.


Bringing far away closer by

At what speed do we race across the galaxy? What's the stuff that the sun is made of? And how about us? Does extraterrestrial life exist? How do you measure time? Find the answers to all of these questions, and more, at museum Sonnenborgh. Visit and point a telescope at the sky. Disappear in a black hole. Build your own satellite. But above all, explore! A tablet will be your guide, ask you questions and challenge you along the way. 



Meteorological research began at Sonnenborgh in the 19th Century. In 1854 the famous meteorologist Buys Ballot erected the KNMI and the observatory on top of the fortifications. Buys Ballot oversaw the taking of measurements and introduced the weather forecast. How the weather was observed can be seen firsthand by the visitor through the historic instruments displayed.

Archaeological finds at bastion Sonnenborgh

The bastion

The bastion Sonnenborgh was built in 1552 commissioned by emperor Charles V to defend Utrecht against a new weapon: the cannon. Following the construction of the Zocher gardens in around 1840, a large portion of the bastion was buried underground. From 1998 to 2003 these fortifications were intensively studied and restored. The entry gate was the first structure to be brought to light. The archaeologists then made further significant finds, such as a chemistry laboratory dating back to around 1700 AD. Of all the bastions in Utrecht, Sonnenborgh has remained the best preserved. Even in comparison with other North European examples, it is in exceptionally good condition. Take a stroll past the unique spots of this 16th Century bastion and become acquainted with its long hidden secrets.

Star viewing through the big telescope at Sonnenborgh

Star viewing

Would you like to see the surface of the sun up close with your own eyes? Visit the observatory for Sun on Sunday: every week, year round, visitors have the opportunity to look through the one of the largest solar telescopes in the Netherlands. 

Take a look at the nighttime sky? During autumn and winter you can peer through the telescopes every weekend in the evening*. The programm always consists of a lecture, a demonstration of the telescope and a short tour around the museum. 
-> Note that the Star Viewing Nights are given in Dutch!
*All our Star Viewing Nights are fully booked until December. 

A guided tour at Sonnenborgh

Guided tours

It is possible to book a private English spoken guided tour. Please contact us at tel. 030-8201420 (Tuesday to Friday from 11:00 to 17:00) or send an e-mail to, at least three weeks in advance.