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The Gottorf Globe

The Gottorf Globe was known as an astronomic marvel some 350 years ago. The first planetarium in history is a synonym for Friedrich III’s cosmopolitanism, under whose sovereignty Gottorf became one of North Europe’s most significant royal courts and a cultural centre. The virtually authentic replication, now located close to the Museum Island, still doesn’t cease to impress visitors.

Casually expressed, Friedrich III wanted to understand the connection between the earth and the sky. Thus, the science-loving Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorf (1587-1659) commissioned his court mathematician Adam Olearius (1599-1671) to construct a to-date unparalleled monster globe which connected the depiction of the earth and the sky in a unique manner. With a diameter exceeding three metres, the walk-in sphere provides space for up to twelve people in its interior. Here, they could see - figuratively decorated - a full night sky from the 17th century, showing the course of the celestial bodies over the firmament. The world as it was known back then is reproduced on the outer surface of the globe.

The original is now in Russia 

After the Gottorf inhabitants lost the Great Northern War against the Danish crown, Tsar Peter the Great – a Danish ally – requested the globe as a present and had it brought to St. Petersburg. The globe is still there today. It has been severely damaged due to its far transport, fire and the chaos of war, however repeatedly restored anew. Hardly any of its original ornamental painting has remained intact. Only its constructional frame and the door have still remained true to the original.

Three years’ work for reconstruction true to the original at the castle island 

In almost three years’ work a reproduction of the Gottorf Globe has been completed - in accordance with the construction principles surviving in St. Petersburg. Whereas it was intended to drive the old globe using hydropower - a plan which probably never functioned, also a reason why a manual drive existed inside the globe - the new Gottorf Globe will be moved by an own developed drive which meets with today’s safety requirements.

The top priority for the reconstruction is to manufacture all the visible components as authentically as possible. On the other hand, all the hidden parts will be checked for compatibility with modern-day requirements, carefully modernised or replaced with state-of-the-art technology.

Schleswig-Holstein State Museums
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