Nestled in the heart of the Netherlands, the picturesque city of Delft is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Known for its iconic Delftware pottery, vibrant cultural scene, and rich history, this charming city is a must-visit destination for any traveler. It’s also the birthplace of the renowned Dutch painter Vermeer and a final resting place for members of the royal Dutch family. From stunning architecture to bustling markets and museums, there’s no shortage of things to see and do in Delft. Join me as I show you what this enchanting city has to offer.
What is Delft best known for?
When it comes to cultural treasures, Delft’s claim to fame is its iconic Delftware pottery, also known as Delft Blue (Delft Blauw in Dutch) This distinctive style of ceramics features intricate blue and white designs that are instantly recognizable. Delftware has a rich history dating back to the 17th century, and it continues to be produced by skilled artisans to this day.
Start the day at the Royal Delft Museum
Our first stop on the Delft adventure is the Royal Delft Museum, where visitors can discover the fascinating history and artistry of Delftware pottery. The museum showcases signature blue and white ceramics that are deeply rooted in Dutch culture and have been beloved for over 400 years. Originally created as a more affordable alternative to Chinese porcelain, Delftware quickly became popular among all classes of society.
Admission to the Royal Delft Museum includes a self-guided tour of the museum and factory. Visitors can observe skilled artists hand-painting Delftware pieces and learn about the various stages of the ceramic process. It’s fascinating to discover that it takes 8-10 years of practice to master this craft. This gives visitors a greater appreciation for the art form and an understanding of why authentic Delftware is so valuable.
The museum’s collection features an impressive array of pottery and works, not limited to blue and white. Visitors can admire Delftware pieces in various colors, including green, red, and orange. A must-see is the tile version of Rembrandt’s Night Watch, which is the exact same size as the original and comprises 480 tiles.
The Royal Delft factory dates back to the 17th century and is one of the few remaining original Delft pottery factories. Visitors can watch artists at work, see the various stages of the ceramic process, and gain insight into the production of this iconic pottery.
To conclude the visit, visitors can enjoy coffee in the charming Royal Delft gardens while sipping from porcelain cups made by the very factory they just explored. The Royal Delft Museum is a must-see attraction for anyone interested in Dutch culture and history.
Climb the Nieuwe Kerk (if you have no fear of heights)
One of Delft’s most iconic landmarks is the Nieuwe Kerk, or the New Church, which is actually not new at all, with construction beginning in the 1400s. Located in the heart of Delft, the church is renowned for housing the tombs of members of the royal family, including William of Orange, as well as impressive memorials.
One of the highlights of a visit to the Nieuwe Kerk is the bell tower climb, which consists of nearly 400 stone and wooden steps. While not for the faint of heart, the winding ascent leads visitors to a breathtaking panoramic view of the city. Here you can see as far as The Hague and Rotterdam.
As you make your way back down, take a moment to admire the church bell, which rings at set intervals throughout the day, and appreciate the craftsmanship that went into creating such a magnificent instrument. A trip to the Nieuwe Kerk is a must for anyone interested in history, architecture, or simply seeking a bird’s eye view of this charming Dutch city.
Discover the Renaissance Beauty of Stadhuis Delft Netherlands
Located on the same central square as the Nieuwe Kerk is the Stadhuis Delft or the City Hall of Delft. This magnificent building, constructed in the Renaissance style, is a testament to the city’s rich history and culture. Although the original structure dates back to the 13th century, the building was destroyed in a fire during the 17th century.
Despite its tumultuous history, the Stadhuis Delft still stands as a stunning example of Renaissance architecture. Visitors can’t help but be in awe of the ornate façade and intricate details that adorn the building’s exterior. The interior is just as impressive, with grand halls and beautiful artwork on display.
Experience the Medieval Charm of Oostpoort
To cap off our day in Delft, we visited the Oostpoort, home to one of the city’s last remaining gates. Dating back to the 15th century, this historic structure stands proudly alongside the canal, offering visitors a glimpse into the city’s medieval past. The picturesque scenery of the Oosterpark is a perfect way to end a day of exploring the city’s many historic landmarks.
We hope you enjoyed your tour of Delft as much as we did. If you’d like to see more of this historic city, check out my YouTube video featuring live footage of my visit.