The fountain is an ode to the world-famous astronomer Jan Hendrik Oort, born in Franeker. His assumption that a ‘cloud’ of billions of comet-like objects moves around our solar system marked a breakthrough in astronomy. The fountain’s design consists of a series of waterfalls flowing from a bowl into a basin along a vertical chain of pearls in colours of the night. One of the pearls is silver-coloured, like the colour of the moon, another is gilded, the colour of the sun. The ‘Oort Cloud’ itself is a haze of fine droplets falling into the bowl from a gold-coloured wire mesh structure.

Beads of stainless steel with black, golden and silver coating, wire mesh
3.5 m high; scale 1.5 m diameter; basin 3.8 m diameter

Source of inspiration: the discovery by astronomer Jan Hendrik Oort
Location: near the church Martinikerk on the Breedeplaats, in a small park created for this purpose by the renowned landscape architect Piet Oudolf.
Address: 8801 KA Franeker

The Oort Cloud

Jean-Michel Othoniel


A glimpse of The Oort Cloud

The Parisian Studio Othoniel has its workshop in Saint Die, near the Swiss border. Project manager Thomas Patrix comes by ...

Meer informatie

Fontein geplaatst op locatiec EN

Op maandag 21 maart is het Kletterdei, de dag dat alle elf fonteinen van het internationale kunstproject 11fountains.

Meer informatie

Jean-Michel OthonielFR

Jean-Michel Othoniel (1964) gained great fame with his experimental use of glass from Murano (Italy). He designs multicoloured sculptures in the form of large ‘beads’. His numerous works in the public space illuminate unexpected aspects of the history of a specific location or city and create a magnificent atmosphere of colour and light. For the Palace of Versailles, he designed a fountain based on the dance steps of Louis XIV.


Franeker is a small academic city, with hidden gardens and characteristic façades. Ideal for a short walk that will make a big impression. From the sumptuous façades of the canalside houses, to the bulwarks and hidden gardens in the city centre. Anyone with an eye for detail will be delighted. And this extends to the sky: Franeker, once a university town, is also the city of stargazers.

It’s the birthplace of the brilliant astronomer Jan Hendrik Oort and home to the world’s oldest working planetarium, built by amateur astronomer Eise Eisinga. During this 40-minute walk, you will discover the story behind the fountain and see the hidden gems of this city.

Plan je bezoek

Discover the eleven cities of Friesland

Where on earth are cities smaller than villages? Only in Friesland. Our cities thank their title not to their size, ...

Discover the eleven cities