Cities & Culture

Royal Cabinet of Mathematical and Physical Instruments in Zwinger Palace Dresden

One of the oldest historical scientific collections is on display at the Royal Cabinet of Mathematical and Physical Instruments, showcasing the tools used to take measurements centuries ago.

The permanent exhibition in the Zwinger Palace focuses on exhibits that show how people started to understand the world. One of the main topics, for example, is the evolution of timepieces from the early modern period all the way to production in factories. Visitors can also set eyes on a celestial globe dating back to the end of the 13th century – quite incredible when you consider that this is one of only five globes known to have survived from this period. Then there's the chance to try out a 3D model of French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal's calculator and watch animations that delve inside many of the objects.

The history of the Royal Cabinet of Mathematical and Physical Instruments itself is covered too. Visitors can find out how the idea to create a cabinet of physical instruments on the site came about in the middle of the 18th century and learn about its role as an observatory. On this site, the local time for Dresden was once calculated and the first meteorological recordings were taken. Opening times: Every day: 10 am–6 pm

Explore the surroundings