Delft is a gorgeous Dutch town located between The Hague and Rotterdam. Despite its small size, Delft (map) is an important historic and cultural centre and there are many things to see and do for the casual visitor. The best way to explore Delft is to walk – the town centre is very compact and most of the important sights are located here. Follow me on a little photo tour around Delft.
Things to see in Delft
A leisurely stroll will take you past beautiful lily-filled canals, quaint squares, and magnificent churches, manors and other historic monuments.
Delft’s main square, Markt (‘Market’), houses two of the town’s most important buildings, the Nieuwe Kerk (‘New Church’) and the Stadhuis (‘Town Hall’).
The Nieuwe Kerk has an important place in the history of the Dutch monarchy as this is where the royal family’s burial vault is located. The entrance to the vault is covered by a 5,000 kg rock slab!
The Golden Age: Delft Blue and Vermeer
Delft is famous the world over for its blue ceramics aptly called Delft Blue. This particular style was inspired by the arrival of Chinese porcelain, which was imported to Europe by the Dutch East India Company in the 17th century. Delft Blue ceramics in the form of plates, jugs, salt and pepper shakers, fridge magnets, clogs, miniature windmills and vases are some of the most popular souvenirs for visitors to the Netherlands.
In addition to the many shops selling Delft Blue items, there are also various museums which house private collections of antique Delft Blue and Chinese porcelain, such as the Paul Tetar van Elven Museum.
Delft is also famous as the birthplace of Johannes Vermeer, a Dutch painter who lived during the country’s Golden Age in the 17th century. Vermeer used Delft as the backdrop in many of his paintings. A visit to Delft wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Vermeer Centre!
A short walk from the Vermeer Museum is the Oude Kerk (Old Church) where many prominent citizens of Delft were buried, including Vermeer.
There are numerous antique markets in Delft, especially in the summer months. The biggest Antique Market is held every Saturday between mid-April and late-September. On these Saturdays, hundreds of stalls line the canals and offer a colorful and varied collection, ranging from ancient porcelain pieces to slightly more contemporary record collections!
Another market that is worth a visit is the Book and Art Market that is held every Thursday in the Hippolytusbuurt (in the town centre) between early-April and late-October.
Getting to Delft
Delft is easily accessible by train from the major cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. Delft is also an option for visitors on a long layover at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol as it is about 30 minutes by train from the airport. If you’re driving, Delft is just off the main A13 highway between The Hague and Rotterdam. Its accessibility makes it a perfect day-trip from any of these cities.
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