The lively and bustling Delft is located in the province of South Holland. The Technical University (TU Delft) makes Delft a real university city. This ensures quite a lot of young people in the city center and a lively catering industry where there is always something going on. With the Botanical Garden and the Science Center, the Technical University provides two fascinating sights within the city. Furthermore, Delft is a city that has played a major role in Dutch history. For example, it is the city where William of Orange was murdered and where many members of the royal family are buried. It is not for nothing that Delft bears the nickname of Prinsenstad.
According to EXTRAREFERENCE, Delft is, among other things, known for the Delft Blue. This porcelain has conquered the world and is a popular souvenir to take with you from Delft. The center of Delft is often visited for the historical sights, the excellent range of shops and the lively nightlife. The many canals provide a typical Dutch atmosphere. Partly because of these waterways and the beautiful canal houses, Delft is seen as one of the most beautiful historic cities in the Netherlands.
During the summer months, the canals are ideal for a trip through the center. During a cruise you will come across sights such as the Oostpoort, the Oude Kerk and of course old canal houses. In the meantime, the skipper will tell you all kinds of fun and informative details. In the Zuiderpoort area you can attend cultural events or enjoy a performance in the theatre.
Top 10 things to do in Delft
#1. new church
Right in the center is the Nieuwe Kerk of Delft. You can clearly see from the over one hundred and eight meters that different stones have been used over the years. This shows that this tower has taken several forms and has grown ever higher. The church tower of the Nieuwe Kerk is currently the second highest church tower in the Netherlands. Only the Utrecht Dom tower is taller. The church tower can be climbed. A separate ticket is required for this. The climb to the top is via rather narrow stairs. Anyone who takes this effort will be treated to a beautiful view of Delft. The weather gods have to cooperate a bit, because in strong wind or thunderstorms, the tower is closed to the public.
The oldest parts of the church date from the fourteenth century. Finally, the spire was replaced around the nineteenth century. The Nieuwe Kerk in Delft is also the final resting place of William of Orange, who was murdered in 1584. He was given a mausoleum made in 1623, which is quite prominent in the church. Most of the graves are located in the burial vault. This is where mainly members of the royal family and a number of prominent Dutchmen lie. Current and future members of the House of Orange-Nassau will also receive a place in the burial vault of the Nieuwe Kerk in the future.
To visit the Nieuwe Kerk and the Oude Kerk, you have to buy entrance tickets. You can do that via the official site.
#2. Museum Prinsenhof
The former Sint-Agatha Monastery of Delft is now furnished as Museum Prinsenhof. At one time, Museum Prinsenhof events took place here, which can now be read back in the history books. Think, for example, of the murder of William of Orange in 1584. The bullet holes of this historic murder are now framed. The fifteenth-century monastery served for a long time as a nunnery. And later as living and working residence of William of Orange. He received all kinds of influential people there. Subsequently, the building was used as a cloth hall, warehouse, school and as a military barracks. Ultimately, it received the function of museum. Museum Prinsenhof in Delft has an extensive collection of paintings, textiles, ceramics and objects that mostly come from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In the Prinsenhof you can see a number of beautiful examples of the famous Delft Blue.
#3. Delft City Hall
Right opposite the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft is the old town hall, built in Renaissance style. These two historic sights give the Market its own character. The town hall of Delft was already built in the seventeenth century. The design came from the Amsterdam architect Hendrick de Keyser. However, the tower is older, it was built around thirteen hundred. The tower, also known as ‘het Steen’, has long served as a prison. Enthusiasts can admire the torture instruments with their own eyes. The town hall, where Johannes Vermeer also said yes, is still used as a wedding location today.
#4. east gate
The historic East Gate of Delft can be admired on the quay of the Zuidergracht. This only remaining city gate of Delft dates from the year 1400. The towers were added two centuries later. At the time, the Oostpoort was part of the city walls that were connected to gates such as the Haagse Poort, the Wateringse Poort, the Waterslootsepoort and the Schoolpoort. The Oostpoort has a drawbridge that at the time formed a connection between the defenses and the mainland.
#5. Vermeer Center Delft
The famous painter Johannes Vermeer, who was born in Delft, can be found in various places here. Not in person, of course, because he died in 1675. Johannes Vermeer was known as a composition painter who almost always used soft colours. One of his most famous works is the Girl with a Pearl Earring. The Vermeer Center Delftis located on the Voldersgracht in the center of Delft. Here you can admire all of Vermeer’s paintings in one location. These are all replicas, since his work from the ‘golden age’ is spread in all kinds of leading museums all over the world. Would you like to see a real Vermeer? Then you can visit the Mauritshuis in The Hague or the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
#6. Old church
The Delft ‘Old Jan’ is officially called the Oude Kerk. Since the Oude Kerk was built in the thirteenth century, it is also the oldest church in Delft. From the quays on Oude Delft or Voorstraat, you can clearly see that the tower is slightly skewed. It is suspected that this is because the tower was built on a piece of filled-in moat. We were able to admire the fairly austere interior of the Oude Kerk during the wedding ceremony between Prince Friso and Princess Mabel in 2004. Prince Friso, who died in 2013, had to abdicate the throne prior to this marriage, because in the past Princess Mabel was an alleged had a relationship with a drug offender.
#7. Statue of William of Orange
William of Orange spent his last years in Delft. As Prince of Orange, also known as William the Silent, he led many battles and was leader of the Dutch Revolt during the Eighty Years’ War. Unfortunately, he had to pay for that with his death. Around 1584 he was murdered by Balthasar Gerards on the steps of the Prinsenhof. His statue has been in the Prinsentuin since 2001. That is the garden of Museum Prinsenhof. The statue was made by the sculptor Auke Hettema.
#8. Delfts blue
The blue painted porcelain from Delft has gained worldwide fame. This Delft Blue originated in the sixteenth century. It quickly became a popular item, causing pottery factories to spring up like mushrooms. Ceramic painters made the most beautiful creations and managed to influence sales well. About eighteen hundred the market thundered and the English Staffordshire took over the market. Bakery De Proceleyne Fles, however, continued to produce and is still active in making Delft Blue. The pottery factory is now better known as ‘ Royal Delft’. In the factory you can visit the museum in which all kinds of Delft Blue pottery is exhibited.
#9. animal market
The Delftse Beestenmarkt is a square in the center of the city. There is now a large square where the Minderbroederklooster stood until 1595. The Franciscans were bullied and rejected by the Protestants in the sixteenth century and slowly but surely all monasteries and churches were expropriated. After the monastery was razed to the ground, a square was created on this spot where cattle were traded. And so the name Beestenmarkt was born. Today the Beestenmarkt is mainly a lively place where many cafes, restaurants and other entertainment venues can be found.
#10. Mill De Roos
The city walls of Delft once had fifteen windmills. Not only the city walls, but also the mills disappeared. Except for one: The Rose. This scaffolding mill is a flour mill that dates from the year 1679. Grain is still milled on a voluntary basis. The Delft windmill is quite unique because of the way a house has been built around it. In combination with the free location on the wide Phoenixstraat, this creates a beautiful picture. The mill can be visited regularly. This is done in combination with a guided tour by enthusiastic volunteers.