FRANEKER, a town in the province of Friesland, Holland, 5 m. E. of Harlingen on the railway and canal to Leeuwarden. Pop. (1900) 7187. It was at one time a favourite residence of the Frisian nobility, many of whom had their castles here, and it possessed a celebrated university, founded by the Frisian estates in 1585. This was suppressed by Napoleon I. in 1811, and the endowments were diverted four years later to the support of an athenaeum, and afterwards of a gymnasium, with which a physiological cabinet and a botanical garden are connected. Franeker also possesses a town hall (1591), which contains a planetarium, made by one Eise Eisinga in 1774-1881. The fine observatory was founded about 1780. The church of St Martin (1420) contains several fine tombs of the 15th-17th centuries. The industries of the town include silk-weaving, woollen-spinning, shipbuilding and pottery-making. It is also a considerable market for agricultural produce.
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