ASTRON's main headquarters are located in Lhee, near Dwingeloo, the Netherlands.
The Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope is located in Westerbork. Outreach activities about astronomy can be found on the Milky Way path near the Westerbork telescope. More information about the route to ASTRON in Dwingeloo and Westerbork is given below.
It is possible for the public to visit the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescopes (WSRT) of ASTRON. You can use the Milky Way path ('Melkwegpad') to walk to the telescopes. On this path you can find a scale model of the solar system with information about the different planets. The scale is 1 to 3.700.000.000, each step you take is 2.5 million kilometres.
The start of the Milky Way path is located near the Herinneringscentrum Kamp Westerbork, address: Oosthalen 8 9414 TG Hooghalen.The path is about 2.5 km long.
Information on this page:
Addresses can be found on the Contact Information page.
If you arrive by train, you can use the time table of the Dutch trains. On this website, there is a link to the English version. The nearest station to ASTRON is Hoogeveen (or Beilen if you come from the north).
Starting 9 December 2012, a new timetable took take effect at the Dutch railways. For visitors to ASTRON, this means that there is no longer a direct train from/to ‘Hoogeveen’ railway station.
Also, the route of the train is different: the train will no longer run via ‘Amersfoort’ but via ‘Almere’ and ‘Lelystad’; this is the so-called ‘Hanzelijn’.
The duration of the train trip is still a bit less than two hours (~1 hour 50 minutes).
You can plan your trip via the timetable of the Dutch trains: http://www.ns.nl/
For the English version of this trip planner, click ‘English’.
From ‘Schiphol’ – to ‘Hoogeveen’ of from ‘Hoogeveen’ to ‘Schiphol’.
1) Recommended: from/to Schiphol/Hoogeveen by switching trains in ‘Zwolle’. Note that the arrival and departure platforms in Zwolle are not close to each other; however there is sufficient time for the transfer.
Important: make sure you take the ‘Sprinter' train from Zwolle to Groningen; this one makes a stop in Hoogeveen. The Intercity train does not stop in Hoogeveen and then you need to get out in Assen, which is much further away from ASTRON (and get back to Hoogeveen).
2) From/to Schiphol/Hoogeveen by switching trains in ‘Meppel’. You can leave the train in Meppel and usually at the same platform wait for the next train to arrive (either direction Zwolle for Schiphol or direction Groningen for Hoogeveen).
Buying train tickets
At Amsterdam Schiphol airport or any other railway station you should buy a train ticket with a chip from the machine. At Schiphol airport, the train ticket machines accept creditcards. At most of the other railway stations, the train ticket machines do not accept creditcards. Machines accept most debit cards with a Maestro logo.
IMPORTANT: when you go in and out of a train you must check in and out at the machines at the entrance of the train. For more info: http://www.ns.nl/en/travellers/arrange-and-buy/tickets-and-passes/ticket.
In case you want to buy a train ticket in advance, you may want to use https://www.b-europe.com/
This site allows anyone to buy train tickets (on a specific date) for the Dutch railway system using any standard credit card and print out the ticket. Train times match the timetable of the Dutch railways (NS). Print the ticket and bring it with you together with your passport. The Dutch railway company only allows buying e-tickets with a Dutch bankcard - that is why the above website is recommended. With this print ticket it is not necessary (yet) to check in and out.
Taxi from Hoogeveen railway station to ASTRON
From the station, you will either need a "friend" to pick you up or a taxi to take you to the institute. A taxi can be booked by ASTRON (strongly recommended). The price of the taxi ride is € 29,50 from Hoogeveen and from Beilen. If you need a taxi, the secretariat or your host who is dealing with your visit will arrange a taxi for you. The institute reception (phone 0521-595100 during office hours) can also arrange a taxi for you.
The taxi will be waiting for you outside the station: "Taxi Ellerie" is advertised on the taxi. The taxi driver will know the name of the expected guest and have a sign "ASTRON/JIVE" on view in the taxi.
Arriving at the guesthouse
If you arrive at the guesthouse outside office hours, you will get the phone number of the taxi company so you can contact them in case of a change in your arrival time. Upon arrival at the guesthouse, the taxi driver will accompany you to make sure that you can enter the guesthouse and have access to your room. Then he/she will leave. You will receive instructions on how to enter the guesthouse outside office hours from the secretariat taking care of your visit. More information about the guesthouse and its facilities can be found here or by clicking the ‘accommodation' link.
Exit highway A28 using exit 29 for Spier, Dwingeloo and Wijster. Take direction Dwingeloo. After about 5 kilometers, turn left at the sign 'Lhee 1'. After entering "Lhee" take the second way to the left. Follow this way. The institute is located in the woods, at about a kilometer distance from your last turn. The ASTRON institute is surrounded by a restricted access zone. Visitors are advised to park their cars outside the zone (and walk to our buildings), or to announce their arrival in advance (call the institute reception at 0521-595 100 during office hours) because we'll need to know your car's license number. Failure to follow these procedures may result in a fine.
If you arrive by train and want to use a bike to go to the Dwingeloo or Westerbork location, you can use the "Fietsrouteplanner provincie Drenthe" page from the Dutch Cyclists' Union. From the nearest station you can make your own route.
From Beilen station, it is a 12 kilometre bike ride to either Westerbork or Dwingeloo. The trip from the Hoogeveen station to Dwingeloo is about 11km. Both stations of Beilen and Hoogeveen have bike rentals and "ov-fietsen".
The Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope (WSRT) is situated close to the village of Hooghalen in the area of the "Voormalig Kamp Westerbork''. From this camp, during the Second World War, people were sent to the concentration camps. From Hooghalen you can follow the signs "Voormalig Kamp Westerbork".
You can park the car at the parking place of the Herinnerings Centrum Kamp Westerbork. From there, you can carry on by foot. Please turn off your mobile phone. There are two possible routes. The first follows the asphalt road straight to the telescopes(in the summer it is mostly used by a shuttle bus service). The second is an educational route through the forest, along the so called "Melkwegpad'' (Milky Way path). The Milky Way path is a down-scale model of the solar system. You can find a short explanation for every planet. The Milky Way path ends at the first dish of the WSRT. From there, you have a nice view of 12 of the dishes.
The Westerbork telescope is located some 30 km from Dwingeloo (near Hooghalen, between Beilen and Assen). If you get there by train the nearest station is Beilen. You must call us ahead of time to arrange transport to Westerbork, a driver from the Observatory will normally meet you at the station. Contact the reception by telephone at 0521-595 100 during office hours.
There is no guest house at the Westerbork facilities. Please contact ASTRON or JIVE to make the proper arrangements.
How to reach ASTRON Westerbork (address: Schattenberg 1, 9433 TA Zwiggelte): see pdf.
To minimize the possibility of interference in ongoing observations with the radio telescope array, the ASTRON facilities are surrounded by a restricted access zone. Visitors who are not hosted by ASTRON will have to park their cars outside the zone and either walk to the telescope or take the transportation organized by the Herinneringscentrum Kamp Westerbork. If your visit is hosted by ASTRON or you have prior permission from ASTRON, you will receive further information. Please turn off your mobile phone completely as this will cause interference for the radio telescope array.