Obscura Day 2015: The Zimmer Clock Tower & Museum - Atlas Obscura
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Lier, Belgium

Obscura Day 2015: The Zimmer Clock Tower & Museum

Various cycles of time and the movement of the solar system are charted in Louis Zimmer's beautiful, fascinating masterpiece clock tower.

Residents of Lier, Belgium have merely to look towards the Zimmer Tower if they desire to learn the difference in minutes between the apparent solar time and the mean solar time. The equation of time is just one of thirteen fascinating dials displayed on the Centenary (Jubilee) clock affixed to the former keep. Other dials demonstrate the metonic cycle, solar cycle, lunar cycle, and zodiac.

The clockmaker Louis Zimmer presented the timepiece to his native town in 1930, in honor of the 100th anniversary of Belgium’s independence. The clock displays its varied time-related information through elaborate drawings, steady hands, and mechanical globes. Every quarter hour, three statues on the tower’s wing, representing three phases of human life (child, adolescent, and adult) strike the bells with a fourth figurine (old man) joining on the hour. At noon, a celebratory parade consisting of past kings, mayors, and burgomasters takes the onlooker through Belgium’s first 100 years of independence.

The first floor of the tower houses Zimmer’s extraordinary Astronomical Studio. Built concurrently with the Centenary clock over a period of five years, the studio is comprised of a planetarium with a revolving disk on the ceiling replicating the Northern hemisphere. The tower’s gear mechanism takes up the entire second floor. All thirteen faces are controlled by a single master clock that adjusts the 75 dials every 6 seconds.

In 1960, the town dedicated a tower pavilion adjacent to the tower to accommodate Zimmer’s Astronomical Clock. The clockmaker’s tour de force is 16 feet high and weighs over 4,500 Ibs. It contains 93 dials, one of which, recording the period of precession of the Earth’s axis, holds the world record for slowest clock pointer. It will take 25,800 years to complete a full revolution.

Join us at the Zimmer Clock Tower & Museum this Obscura Day to receive €1 off regular admission!

Saturday, May 30; 10:00am - 12:00pm & 1:00 - 5:00pm
Admission Cost: Special Obscura Day cost of €3 instead of €4 with RSVP!
Zimmer Clock Tower & Museum
18 Zimmerplein, Lier, 2500, Belgium