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Zpannend Zernike: Backstage in the wondrous world of science and technology

With special guest, astronaut André Kuipers
27 September 2018

On Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 October, the city of Groningen is once again home to Zpannend Zernike: Groningen’s contribution to the National Science Weekend. Prepare to be amazed by the world, humankind and nature. Curiosity and wonder, crafts and creativity, sensory perception and physical effort, questions and reflection: these are the ingredients that make Zpannend Zernike such a resounding success year after year, for young and old.

The Zpannend Zernike activities will take place in Groningen city centre on Saturday, and at Zernike Campus on Sunday. Throughout the weekend, the University of Groningen, research institutes, Hanze University of Applied Sciences and the Young Researchers will open their doors to the public. Visitors are invited to attend demonstrations, workshops and lectures on science and technology, and to engage in science themselves. Admission is free and all visitors will receive an exciting Zpannend Zernike gift!

André Kuipers at the Academy Building

Astronaut André Kuipers is the ambassador of this year’s National Science Weekend. On Saturday 6 October, he will fly across the Netherlands by helicopter, on a journey of discovery through the wondrous world of science and technology. On Saturday afternoon, between 4 pm and 5 pm, he will visit the University of Groningen Academy Building to attend the Science Festival organized by Young Academy Groningen and act as launching master for the children’s water rockets.

What activities will there be at Zpannend Zernike?

On Saturday, activities are organized at six locations throughout the city centre: the Academy Building, the University Museum, ERIBA, the Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences, Young Academy Groningen, and DOT. On Sunday, the Zernike Campus will be in the spotlight. On Saturday, our activities include a Science Festival, pub quiz and workshop on how to build water rockets (don’t forget to bring along a 1.5 litre Coca-Cola or Pepsi bottle!) at the Academy Building. At the University Museum, children can excavate bones like real archaeologists. In the Heymans building, try out a driving simulator and experience what happens when you use your phone while driving, or learn about bacteria and extract DNA from bananas at ERIBA. Children can roll up their sleeves with the Young Researchers, and DOT presents a spectacular planetarium show in the 3D dome theatre. On Sunday, visitors are invited to Zernike Campus to explore the wonders of technology, energy, sustainability, innovation, and space. Children can test their self-created contraptions on a vibrating table, build a Lego robot and lead it through a course, or experience how drones can be used to investigate greenhouse gases and air pollution. Not to mention the return of the mobile planetarium!


The following organizations take part in Zpannend Zernike: The University of Groningen Academy Building, the University Museum, the Faculty of Behaviour and Social Sciences, Young Researchers, ERIBA-UMCG, DOT, the KVI Center for Advanced Radiation Technology, SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research, Kapteyn Institute of Astronomy, Hanze University of Applied Sciences, the Faculty of Science and Engineering (Bernoulliborg/Science LinX), EnTranCe, BuildinG, TNO, ZAP Groningen, ESRIG en Tomorrow’s Energy Truck. At every Zpannend Zernike location, you can get a stamp on your stamp card. Once you have at least two stamps, you can exchange your card for a Zpannend Zernike gift.

Saturday 6 October in Groningen city centre
Sunday 7 October at the Groningen Zernike campus
Activities take place on both days from 12 noon until 5 p.m.
Admission is free. All visitors will receive a Zpannend Zernike gift, and all children who show a bicycle key will receive the one and only Zpannend Zernike bicycle flag.
For more information, see

More information

  • For more information about Saturday 6 October, please contact Martin Althof of Cato van der Vlugt.
  • For information about Sunday 7 October, please contact Theo Jurriens of Harry Kiewiet.
  • For information on the contribution of Hanze University of Applied Sciences, EnTranCe and BuildinG, contact pers or 050-5955656.
Last modified:07 September 2020 4.36 p.m.
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