Einstein Telescope

28 April 2022

It was announced on 14 April that the Rijksoverheid is setting aside 32 million euros for the construction of the Einstein Telescope. The Einstein Telescope is to be an underground observatory for measuring gravitational waves, and one of the few geographically suitable places on Earth that it could be built in is located deep under the Heuvelland region, an area located in the south-west of the Maastricht Region.

The Kabinet is already using 42 million euros from the Nationaal Groeifonds. That money will be used for research into the construction of the science project. The Kabinet is also reserving 870 million euros in case the telescope actually comes to Limburg. In 2025, the decision will be made whether the installation will be built in the Heuvelland region or under the Italian island of Sardinia. The entire project is expected to cost 1.9 billion euros.

The Einstein Telescope consists of 3 underground tunnels, each 10 kilometres long, which together form a triangle. Laser beams are shone into the tunnels, which can detect gravity waves from the universe. These waves are curves in the space-time and are created, for instance, when a heavy star explodes. These waves were predicted by Albert Einstein in 1916, when he demonstrated that time and space together formed a single whole. In 2015, the first gravitational wave was detected.

At the moment, the telescope is still being researched. A small laboratory for research into gravitational waves is already being built in Maastricht and research has been carried out into the soil. A substantial lobby campaign has also been launched to bring the telescope to Limburg. Apart from the suitable subsoil, the large number of universities in the region (Maastricht, Liège and Aachen) is one of its strong points.