also: Delft, Cape Town, Delft Island
Delft ( ) is a city and
municipality in the province of
Holland (Zuid-Holland), the Netherlands. It is located in between Rotterdam and The
Hague.Delft is primarily known for its typically
Dutch town centre (with canals); also for the
painter Vermeer, Delft
Blue pottery (Delftware), the Delft University
of Technology, and its association with the Dutch royal family,
the House of
Delft in 1652 (Blaeu)
The city dates from the 13th century. It received its charter
For its development from a rural village in the early Middle Ages
to a city in the 13th century see the article "Gracht
", section "Delft as an example".
The association of the House of
with Delft began when William of Orange
(Willem van Oranje),
nicknamed William the Silent
(Willem de Zwijger), took up residence in 1572. William was the
leader at the time in the struggle against the Spanish, the
Eighty Years' War
one of the leading cities of Holland and was
equipped with the necessary city walls to
serve as a headquarters. When William was shot to death in 1584 by
Balthazar Gerards in the hall of
the Prinsenhof, the family's traditional burial place in Breda was in the hands of the Spanish.
he was buried in the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), starting a tradition for the House of
Orange that has continued to the present day.
The Delft Explosion
Egbert van der Poel
A View of Delft after the Explosion of 1654
, also known in history as the
Delft Thunderclap, occurred on 12 October 1654 when a gunpowder
store exploded, destroying much of the
city. Over a hundred people were killed and thousands
About 30 tonnes
of gunpowder were stored in
in a magazine
in a former Clarissen convent
in the Doelenkwartier district. Cornelis
Soetens, the keeper of the magazine, opened the store to check a
sample of the powder and a huge explosion followed. Luckily, many citizens
were away, visiting a market in Schiedam or a fair in The Hague.
was wounded in the explosion and died of his
injuries. Afterward, Egbert van der
painted several pictures of Delft showing the
Typical view of Delft (Vrouw
Crest to the City Hall
Delft canal (Molslaan).
The city center retains many old and historical buildings, and many
streets have canals
in the center, inhabited
by fish and plants making this beautiful small city a tourist
destination.Historical buildings include:
- Oude Kerk (Old Church). Buried here: Piet Hein, Johannes Vermeer, Anthony van Leeuwenhoek.
- Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), constructed between 1381 and
1496. It contains the Dutch royal family's burial vault, which between funerals is
sealed with a 5000 kg cover stone.
Prinsenhof (Princes' Court), now a museum.
- City Hall.
Oostpoort (Eastern gate), built around 1400. This is
the only remaining gate of the old city walls.
- The Gemeenlandshuis or Huyterhuis, built in 1505, which houses
the regional water authority Delfland since 1645.
well known for the Delft pottery ceramic products which were styled on the imported
Chinese porcelain of the 17th
The city had an early start in this area since it
was a home port of the Dutch
East India Company
The painter Johannes Vermeer
(1632-1675) was born in Delft. Vermeer used Delft streets and home
interiors as the subject or background of his paintings.
Several other famous painters lived and worked in Delft at that
time, such as Pieter de Hoogh
, Nicolaes Maes
, Gerard Houckgeest and Hendrick
Cornelisz. van Vliet. They all were members of the Delft School
. The Delft School is
known for its images of domestic life, views of households, church
interiors, courtyards, squares and the streets of Delft. The
painters also produced pictures showing historic events, flower
paintings, portraits for patrons and the court, and decorative
pieces of art.
University of Technology (TU Delft) is one of three universities of
technology in the Netherlands.
It was founded as an academy
for civil engineering in 1842 by King William II
. Today well
over 16,000 students are enrolled.
UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, providing
postgraduate education for people from developing countries, draws
on the strong tradition in water
management and hydraulic
engineering of the Delft university.
East of Delft is the Delftse Hout
recreation area, with a lake (suitable for swimming and
windsurfing), narrow beaches, a small nudist area (not fenced off),
restaurant, community gardens, campground and other recreational
and sports facilities.
Delft was the birthplace of several internationally well known
Twin towns — Sister cities
Delft is twinned
Delft municipality guide 2005)
Delft Grote Markt with the old City
Hall and Nieuwe Kerk.
- Vermeer: A View of Delft, Anthony Bailey, Henry Holt &
Company, 2001, ISBN 0-8050-6718-3