Berlin's Wilhelm Foerster Observatory with its attached planetarium offers a complete, multiple-approach program in astronomy. As a rule, every planetarium show is followed by a tour of the observatory. This combination of a large-dome planetarium with a large-scale observatory makes the facility unique, at least in Europe.
The Wilhelm Foerster Observatory is outstanding for its wide variety of shows and events, which address diverse sections of the public: Popular astronomy shows, teaching programs for pupils and students of all age levels, family shows, special shows, science lectures, live or playback music of varied genres under the starry sky, radio plays, exhibitions and multimedia entertainment shows. Every Wednesday night – a tradition dating back more than 40 years – experts from academic and research institutions and observatories report about their work and recent discoveries.
The planetarium understands itself as the successor to the Zeiss planetarium inaugurated near the Berlin Zoo in 1926, which fell victim to World War II and its aftermath.
On 15 October 2010, the planetarium reopened with a powerdome®VELVET full-dome digital projection system from Carl Zeiss. The VELVET system complements the optical-mechanical Model V star projector.