The fact that the City Council is getting rid of several municipal buildings is making the Eindhoven Observatory very anxious.
The striking Dr A.F. Philips Observatory in the Stadswandelpark might be for sale. The celestial watchtower is not yet on the municipal real estate page, but the city council is trying to sell several municipal buildings to save money. Should the building be sold to a property manager, it remains to be seen whether the foundation responsible for the observatory can go on with its activities.
“We want clarity”, Wout Nordt, President of the Foundation, says. In the dark months (from October to April) the Observatory is open to the public every first and third Tuesday of the month. For a small fee, people can take a look at the universe. In addition, sun-watching days are organised on set dates.
“We have about 1.500 visitors a year. And they all leave with a smile on their face after their visit. So what do you mean if you say that we have no social function?”, Nordt reacted to the city council’s suggestion that the Foundation does not fulfil a social function. The observatory is also the only place in the region where ‘ordinary people’ can see the universe. “Not to mention the knowledge we have in the Foundation”.
The Foundation is not so afraid that the observatory will fall into disrepair if sold to a property manager. “This is about prestige. If you can tell a potential customer that you have purchased an astronomical observatory, then it makes an impression.” However, it will be interesting to see what happens to the interior of the watchtower. That is, in fact, the property of the Foundation. “And I do not have room for a telescope of three and a half metres in my attic”, Nordt quips.