Telling Time

11/11/11 at the Utrecht Meridian
Today’s confluence of ones in time and date is mildly interesting, but I knew there were some photo groups that would be posting photos from around the world, all on this one day. It’s a topic I generally find interesting, having participated in a past One Moment in Time project that the New York Times did a while back. Since I’m still taking at least one photo a day, I figured I’d try to come up with something vaguely interesting for this particular theme.

After a bit of thought, I decided to head over to the Sonnenborgh this morning. The Sonnenborgh is an observatory and museum that stands atop one of the city’s old bastion walls that used to ring the entire city center. After all, don’t forget that Utrecht, as a town, was already massively important one thousand years ago in 1111, and was granted city rights by Henry V a few years later in 1122.

However, the main reason I chose to photograph the observatory at the Sonnenborgh is because the museum is also the home of the Utrecht Meridian.

For centuries many cities had their own observatory in order to ascertain the time. The stylish Meridian Room at the Sonnenborgh was also constructed for this purpose. Up until the start of the 20th Century, the stars were mapped to measure the passing of time, with the aid of a special telescope positioned on the Utrecht meridian. Come and check what the actual time is at longitude 5° 07′ 46.67″!
Source: Sonnenborgh

Thus, it seemed appropriate, on a day when everyone was focused on the time and date, to choose a location in the city that had served as an official time keeper. I think that’s one of the many joys of living in a city with so much history. You can find a connection, no matter what the theme!

Sonnenborgh Observatory and Museum

Sonnenborgh

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5 thoughts on “Telling Time

  1. So it’s like the observatory and Meridian in Greenwich? I don’t know why but I never thought of Holland having its own Meridian line. Makes seance though since it goes around the whole world.

  2. The Netherlands had several meridian lines. Amsterdam had a different time from Utrecht and again from other cities to the east. Differing up to 20 minutes. We only got one central time in 1909 when Amsterdam time was chosen as standard Dutch time. Necessary for the upcoming train travel for which it was too complicated to have several times in such a tiny country. That standard Dutch time was by the way one hour and 40 minutes different from next door Germany! That was harmonized in 1941 when the Netherlands finally joined Central European time.

    • How fascinating! I had no idea the times were so different! I can certainly see how that would present problems with the increased train travel. Thanks so much for letting me know. I’m curious to read much more about it all now.

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