Delft

Delft, a city in the south of the Netherlands, is a community known for two things—its blue-and-white pottery and master painter Vermeer, painter of The Girl with the Pearl Earring. The city celebrations these connections with gusto and so much more. It’s just 15 minutes from Rotterdam or The Hauge, so you don’t have to extend a lot of effort to see this quintessentially Dutch city with its canals and history connected to the House of Orange-Nassau, the Dutch royal family.

History

History
History

The charter for Delft was granted in 1246, and the city began to grow from there. Three centuries later, William of Orange moved into town. In 1572, he was yet to be king—at the time, he was leading the resistance to the Spanish crown. The walled cities of Delft made it the ideal place to launch the resistance. When the Netherlands gained its independence, the city became the working capital of the Netherlands before Amsterdam became the official capital and the seat of government moved to The Hague. When William met an untimely end in 1584, he was buried in the Nieuwe Kerk (the New Church). Many other members of the royal family have been laid to rest there, making the church an important landmark of Dutch history. From there, Delft became the home port for the Dutch India Company. The treasures returned from Asia provided inspiration for the pottery that became symbolic of the Netherlands. The Delft University of Technology opened in 1842 and has grown into of the country’s leading school of technology—another contribution Delft has made to the Netherlands. Its science center museum is a popular destination for families.

Attractions

Attractions
Attractions

Whether you’re making a quick trip from one of the bigger cities or you’re spending an extended time in the city, you’ll have a long list of things to do—canal tours, authentic markets, and pubs join museums and churches open to tour. At the Vermeer Center the iconic painter is celebrated for his singular talents, especially when it comes to his rendering of light. Museum Het Prinsenhof honors Delft’s other famous resident and preserves the onetime convent where William of Orange spearheaded his fight against the Spanish and met his end by a bullet. With a trip to Market Square, you can pay your respects to William at the Nieuwe Kerk, the new church. An exhibit here details William’s story and the history of Delft. From there, visitors can climb to the top of the church tower to see the views, as far as Rotterdam and The Hague on a clear day. Tickets also include admission to the town’s old church, impossible to miss in the heart of town. Many visitors get their picture taken with the Gothic tower in the background, a Delft tradition.

Delft Pottery

Delft Pottery
Delft Pottery

When talking about Delft traditions, you simply can’t ignore the city’s rich tradition of pottery. Delftware, the blue and white pottery, has been created in Delft since the 1700s. Ever since the beginning, the earthenware has been carefully hand crafted. Just one of the 18th-century factories remains: Royal Delft/De Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles. This family-owned Royal Delft Experience factory is open to tours, but it’s so much more than a factory tour. It’s a chance to dive into the history of the city, its famous residents, and precious pottery. Its museum has one of the most extensive collections of Delftware ever assembled.

Delft Hotels & Lodging

Delft Hotels & Lodging
Delft Hotels & Lodging

As is the case for many communities outside of the big cities, Delft hotels offer a lot without the high price tag. The properties throughout Delft often charge much less than similar properties in Amsterdam of The Hague; all are close to the top attractions and restaurants in Delft, making it easy to explore on foot or bicycle. There’s a mix of options available for overnight stays, including apartment rentals, modern hotels, and historic properties now serving as inns of distinction.

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