6 dazzling planetariums in Germany to visit

6 dazzling planetariums in Germany to visit

Looking to initiate a healthy existential crisis and rediscover comfort in your comparative insignificance by gazing at the starry, starry night? From Bochum Planetarium to the Zeiss Major Planetarium Berlin, dive into the depths of our universe or fill a Feiertag with the children at these planetariums in Germany.

Germany: The birthplace of the modern planetarium

Across the globe, planetarium projections act as little lookouts into the unknown abyss of our universe, but their modern history is to be found right here in Germany.

Archimedes of Syracruse, an ancient Greek mathematician, is said to have created the first form of a planetarium. But it wasn’t until 1925 that German engineer and museum director Oskar von Miller flicked off the lights and summoned the stars at the world’s first public planetarium projection, on a spring night in Jena, Thuringia.

Von Miller first had the idea for a “rotating star sphere” in 1913, and approached Zeiss, Germany’s leading company for optical systems and optoelectronics, for help with the project. Work began in March 1919, with regular test demonstrations undertaken in Jena and Munich until 1925, when the first Zeiss projector illuminated the dome of Munich’s Deutsches Museum with 4.500 stars. The model would go on to attract millions of visitors.

With actual space still an unchartered territory, Zeiss set its eyes on dominating the planetarium business here on Earth. Today, Zeiss projectors are used at around two-thirds of Germany’s planetariums.

Planetariums in Germany

If you’re hungry to feast your eyes on the wonders made possible by von Miller and Zeiss over 100 years ago, here are the top planetariums to visit in Germany: 

Zeiss Planetarium Bochum

Planetarium Bochum is among the most visited planetariums in Europe. The first large planetarium in Germany, the museum was built in the 1960s and uses Zeiss’s Universarium Projector IX to project the wonders of space onto its 20-metre-wide dome.

As well as the standard projection shows, head here for astronomy shows on space history from the Big Bang to the birth of humanity, or take a trip with die Olchis, the extraterrestrial family and brainchildren of author Erhard Dietl at special family-orientated screenings.

Zeiss Planetarium Berlin

Berliners are lucky enough to have access to two renowned planetariums right on their doorstep, the Zeiss Major Planetarium Berlin and the Insulaner Planetarium.

The Zeiss Major Planetarium (Zeiss Grossplanetarium) was one of the last major buildings funded by the GDR. Built in 1987 to celebrate the 750th anniversary of the city of Berlin, its dome can be seen from far and wide. Since it was modernised between 2014 and 2016, the Grossplanetarium also hosts projections unrelated to space and astronomy, with music, cultural and theatrical screenings making up a diverse programme.

Located at the foot of one of Berlin’s very few hills, the Insulaner Planetarium hosts magnificent twinkling displays and, like the Grossplanetarium, live astronomical lectures, radio plays, readings, music shows and children's programmes. Starry-eyed visitors eager to learn more about the universe can also drop by the on-site library to find an astronomical collection of tomes with contents stretching time and space.

Olbers Planetarium Bremen

Olbers Planetarium in Bremen pulls the stars in close so we can take a better look. Attracting around 30.000 visitors each year this spot claims to be “the most visited small planetarium in Germany”. 

With just 35 seats available to gaze up into the planetarium’s six-metre dome, a trip to the Olbers is a more modest planetarium experience.

Stuttgart Planetarium 

The Carl Zeiss Planetarium in Stuttgart sits in a 1970s building designed by German architect Wilfried Beck-Erlang, which from afar could easily mistaken for the first alien spaceship landing.

Outside, a pyramid, inside, a domed hall, today’s Stuttgart planetarium sits up to 270 visitors for an all-star performance. But this is the building's second incarnation after it first opened in 1928 in the Hindenburgbau building in central Stuttgart. Closed in 1943 and then bombed in 1944, the original projector of the Hindenburgbau location now sits in the museum of the planetarium building constructed in the 1970s.

Among starry projections, talks and musical events, the Stuttgart Planetarium also hosts games nights, using its dome to project games that visitors can take part in on their mobile phones.

Deutsches Museum Planetarium Munich

Back to where it all began in 1925, the Deutsches Museum Planetarium in Munich is still open to visitors, 100 years after the first public planetarium showing in the world.

Today, visitors can see the stars as they were aligned at the moment of the birth of Christ and travel 13,7 billion light years to the edge of the observable universe all for five euros - an out-of-this-world bargain.

If you like to think local, not universal and are ready for a dose of absurdism, head to one of the planetarium’s Munich screenings. Leave the big sky behind and take shelter under the Deutsches Museum dome to see what Munich's night skies would look like if they weren’t obscured by air and light pollution.

Time to visit Germany’s planetariums!

Spreading the evening out across the sky, which of Germany’s planetariums is most worth a visit? Let us know in the comments!

Thumb image credit: Devteev /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



Leave a comment