Delft Pottery is one of the signature souvenirs you see in shops throughout the Netherlands. Little do people know, there is a long and proud history of where this pottery originates. If you want to see master pottery makers, and where one of the greatest painters of the 16th century lived – take a day trip to Delft.
A Delft day trip from Amsterdam is about an hour by train or car. If you are visiting Den Hauge, then it is only a 15-20 min car or train ride away. Here is a little guide on what to see while your there.
Royal Delft Pottery Museum
This was recommended to me by a local there. The reason why is because not only do you get to see the factory where the Delft Pottery is made – it also has a museum of Pottery. The Pottery within this museum is part and partial collection of the Royal Family.
Each birth, marriage, and major event Located 1 mile outside town, but they have a little golf cart that picks people up and takes them to the factory. Be sure to pay for a return ticket if you don’t want to explore via walking on the way back.
History of Delft
Delft was founded in 1075, severely damaged by fire in 1536 as well as an explosion of gun powder stores in 1654. Delft itself was a major trade center for the famous tin-glazed pottery.
It was home to William of Orange and contains many graves of the House of Orange in the New Church. It was also home to Vermeer and attracted main painters for inspiration due to the quaint nature of the city.
Delft had strong fortifications because of the amount of trade that happened in this area. City walls were erected, and medieval gates were placed to protect the inhabitants during the Dutch revolt against Spanish Control.
Oude Kerk, The Old Church
This truly is one of the oldest structures in the city, established in the 1050s, but rebuilt later by St Bartholomew. Walk inside the old church, and visit one of the greatest artists of the 16th century, John Vermeer. Marvel at the 18th-century organ, which often hosts concerts as there are 3 different organs built inside this one church. The stained glass windows are quite remarkable in this particular church.
Take a hike up the church steeple, and see the 9-ton bell adorning this church that rang out in mourning for the Royal family, or warned citizens in cases of disaster. The vibrations of the bell are so strong, that it is now very rarely rung.
If you walk down one of the neighboring canals and turn around, you will see that the tower is actually leaning to one side by nearly 6.5 feet (2 meters). This is due to the canal running so close to the church, making the foundation of the church unstable.
Best City View of Delft, New Church Tower
Want to work off some of the dutch chocolate and cheese? How about wear out your kids so they sleep well? Then take a hike up the 367 stairs in the New Church Tower. Towering over 360 feet (110m) in the air, it has been the most recognizable landmark in Delft for centuries.
If you reach the top of the tower, you may just be able to make out The Hague and Rotterdam in the distance.
There is quite a lot of history tied to this particular church, including William of Orange. It was in Delft that he fought the Spanish occupation, and was murdered in Prinsenhof in 1584. If you go inside, you can visit his grave, and the graves of all other Royal Family Members of the Netherlands as this is the designated last resting place.
The church itself was established in 1381 as Ursula’s Church, after the reformation it was converted into a Protestant church which changed the name to ‘Nieuwe Kerk’ or ‘New Church’.
Be sure to take a guided tour to get all the historical tidbits that surround this Royal Resting place.
Originally used as a cattle market area (note the bull sculpture in the middle) during the late 1st to 6th century until 1972. The area was then converted into a carpark, and then in the mid-1990s became a public square.
The area is lined with cute cafes, restaurants, bars with plenty of outdoor seating. If going for a Day Trip to Delft, I would recommend visiting in the late evening when many of the restaurants and cafes are actually open. The area is lit by romantic lighting, and in the spring and fall there are warming cells, and blankets to snuggle under.
It is a great place to visit at all times of the year, with 24 trees providing ample shade in the warmer months, and in the winter is transformed into an ice skating rink.
Museum Prinsenhof Delft, or the Princes Court, is a former home & convent where one of the most important men in Dutch history – King William Orange fought the Spanish in the 15th century and was eventually assassinated.
A revolution between the Calvinist Dutch and the Catholic Spanish broke out because of William Orange’s ideals of freedom, tolerance, and religion living hand in hand. There was no room for this type of forward-thinking with the devout Catholic Spanish.
On July 10, 1584, William of Orange was assassinated for his beliefs by Balthasar Gerards on the staircase at Het Prinsenhof. You can still see the bullet holes near the staircase where he was gunned down. His sons eventually led the Dutch to Victory, realizing William Orange
You can also discover the history of Delft (and the rest of the Netherlands).
Johannes Vermeer was born in Oct 1632 in Delft, where he lived his entire life. Only about 36 of his revered paintings survive and are some of the rarest and treasured of the finest art galleries in the world. His layered approach and capturing reflections and realism in the daily lives of the citizens of Holland will take your breath away.
What is the most fascinating part of Vermeer’s life, is that he comes from a family of fine satin makers and art purveyors. There is no mention of his training as a painter, only that the works he produced were incredible.
Be sure to check out the life and career of this famous Delft Native at the Vermeer Centrum in Delft.
Eat at Kobus Kuch
This cozy little cafe is in the center of town, right beneath the New Church. No matter what time of year you come, this place will never disappoint with their Famous Appletart and hot cocoa. They sell over 60,000 slices of pie per year, along with the typical bar food, and plenty of adult beverages to please any palate.
Wrapping Up Your Day Trip to Delft
You could easily spend two days in this quaint and historic town. If you only have a few hours though, I would stop by the Royal Delft Museum, The Princes Court Museum, and then grab a slice of Kobus Kuch Appletart to eat on the way back to your home base.
Getting To Delft
Delft is the ideal base for trips to the beach, Rotterdam, The Hague, Leiden, and Amsterdam. The Hague and Rotterdam and it takes about 15 minutes to get to either city. And in only 45 minutes you can get to Amsterdam (airport) from Delft via train.
There are times in your life when you see things that shock you. Other times that take your breath away at their beauty. Prague has both of these elements in spades. These qualities are exhibited not by a singular artistic piece. Take a journey with me through Europe’s Hollywood, and explore the unique art in Prague.
Starting off with Lennon:
A famously touristic spot, that on this rainy morning, only hosted four people there. You will find the rain always makes the colors around you stand out even more. The sunlight is filtered through rain clouds which softens the shadows and gives a perfect light. I consider this unique art in Prague because not only is it covered in graffiti, and dedicated to a member of the Beatles.
The Lennon Wall started in 1980 after John Lennon’s murder. The People of Prague used his murder as a symbol of freedom from the repression of Communism. Why use John Lennon as this symbol of freedom? Western images were banned during Communism, as they did not want their citizens to know the freedoms available to others.
Secret police repeatedly tried to thwart the artistic rebellion. This was a place where they continued to fail in repressing the citizens of Prague. Liberation and freedom came on January 1, 1993. The Czech Republic and Slovakia were created and declared their freedom from Communism. The wall was painted over in white as a symbol for the country starting anew.
As is customary with Europeans (who love their graffiti), the wall was quickly repainted. The Lennon Wall continues to be an iconic spot and celebration of that freedom.
How to get to the Lennon Wall: GPS coordinates 50°5’10.423″N, 14°24’24.842″E – There are some stairs at the West end of Charles Bridge. Head down the stairs, follow the line of trees and turn right around the corner. You will run into a building and want to make another quick right. Follow the sidewalk until you see a small bridge on the left. Take the bridge and follow it through to the courtyard called Velkopřevorské Square. The wall will be on the right-hand side.
No matter what time of day it is, Charles Bridge is an art piece from beginning to end. The Bridge holds a history of the Christian vs Protestant and Ottoman Turks’ history through the statues that dot the sides. It also happens to be the oldest surviving bridge in Prague built in 1158–1172 and repaired after a terrible flood in 1342.
It holds the history not just in the architecture, but also in the stone figures along its sides, and what they represent.
The Statues of Saints John of Matha, Felix of Valois, and Ivan:
The statue that moved me the most was Saints John of Matha, Felix of Valois, and Ivan. It shows Christians being imprisoned by Ottoman Turks. These types of statues are typically shown within the confines of a Chapel.
These are the saints that were responsible for the Order of the Most Holy Trinity that ransomed the freedom of the Christian. They seem to be in the position that is typically reserved for Christ. The artistic line leads you to the nonchalant Ottoman Turk that is keeping guard over the Christians imprisoned within. The prisoner’s faces are wretched, and appear to be crying in pain over their mortal chains, with a dog outside their dark prison who almost appears to be mocking their conditions.
During the busy Spring and Summer months, you will also be inundated with the artistic pleasures of local artisans exhibiting, showing, and trying to sell their work.
Statue of Saint John of Nepomuk:
Saint John Of Nepomuk Statue, who was the Saint of Bohemia. The Queen would frequently confess to him. The Emporer orderd his assasination by being thrown from Charles Bridge into the depths of the Vltava.
Due to his commitment to not divulge confessions (called the Seal of the Confessional), he refused to tell the Queen’s confessions to the Emporer and was killed for it. There is a memorial Plaque along the bridge of where he was thrown from the bridge.
How to get there: Basically all roads lead to Charles Bridge, if you miss it, you must not be in Prague 😉 If you do have trouble finding it, just ask a local which way to the Vltava and follow the river towards St. Vitus Cathedral and you will see it on the horizon.
Valdštejnská Zahrada or The Wallenstein Gardens:
Once the home of the former general Albrecht of Valdštejn, serving under leader Ferdinand II, created this expansive space with 25 houses, 7 gardens, a brick-kiln and other land plots. Lavish parties would be held here for the entire court. You can see how he wanted to impress those who attended and he even built an artificial grotto complete with his own collection of exotic animals.
If you look closely at the Grotto exterior, you will find hidden animals. Look for the frog, snake and a goblin face hidden within the rocks themselves. If you make your way to the lounging area across from the grotto, you will find a mural depicting Jason and the Argonauts.
There is also a Baroque style garden complete with perfect bodies twisting and telling mythological tales to all those who visit the Sella Terrana. Many of the statues are copies of Adrien de Vries, a leading sculptor in Bohemia in the 17th century.
A bronze statue of Venus and Cupid is located just a short walk from the Grotto. This statue is in the center of a large fountain that was used for boat rides!
As I mentioned before, the people in Prague have always found an outlet in artistic ‘soapboxes’. They utilize art as a form of expression for discontent, or rebellion against communist repression. David Cerny is no exception to expressing his political and personal opinions through his, more often than not, shock and awe art pieces.
A good place to start viewing a number of his art pieces is in Kampa Park. Here you will find the infamous crawling babies, with bars that replace their faces.
Although David Cerny does not publicly comment on the meaning behind these pieces, there are many theories behind their meaning. One such theory is that the faceless infants are supposed to represent the rising generation. They are no longer humans, but bodies indulging so much in technology, that it has now replaced their faces.
These babies are the same ones that adorn the Zizkov TV tower, which was a so-called transmitter TV tower that many believed was a tool for the communist regime. Location:U Sovovych Mlynu, Prague, Czech Republic — just in front of the Museum Kampa entrance.
“Piss” or Proudy Prague
Another statue that when I entered the plaza, had me stop in my tracks and exclaim, “Oh!” then start laughing and pull out my camera.
Many believe these statues to be symbols of the European Nations pissing on the Czech Republic. The statues further drive their point home, by the rotating hips of the males while pissing. Once you realize what the people of the Czech Republic believe it represents, it really drove a point home in my heart — of how much the people here have truly suffered at the hands of dictators.
The statues also have a text message electronic device located within. You can send messages to and the men will write the message with their penises in the water. To have a little fun with this, you will find the number to send a text message near the statue. Happy hunting. Location: Mala Strana (Small Plaza at Cihelna 2b near the Kafka Museum)
King Wenceslaus on his Dead-Upside Down Horse
The Nouveau Lucerna Palace holds this odd statue. Standing on its steps it appears as if you are standing inside of a Latern (Lucern means Light). Here, you walk down the stairs and suddenly see a man on an upside down horse. I felt like I was staring at something you would see in Monte Python.
After the initial shock of what you are looking at, you realize it is not just an upside down horse, but a DEAD upside down horse — complete with a tongue hanging out. It pokes fun at the Saint Wenceslaus riding his horse in Wenceslaus Square.
Location: Nouveau Lucerna Palace. Lucerna Palace 36 Vodičkova Prague Czechia Other Art pieces by David Cerny: Animated giant head sculpture of Kafka, In Utero, The Hanging Man.
The Penguins at Kampa Park
The first time I saw the penguins I thought they were lanterns. While cruising on a dinner boat on the Vltava you see them in the distance. It appears, at first, that they are lanterns leading the way to St Vitus Cathedral, creating a nice ambiance near the water’s edge. These definitely qualify, in my book anyway, for listing this as unique art in Prague.
The next day, I was taking a walk in Kampa Park and there were the odd ‘lanterns’ which were actually Penguins. The Penguins are standing in a line, facing the water, evenly spaced on a metal beam that leads to a giant iron chair. The Cracking Art Group is responsible for this modern oddity. Their name suggests that while creating this artwork, they may have actually been on crack. I can’t for the life of me know the meaning of this art piece other than to make the viewer smile.
Location: On the Vltava near Charles Bridge on the West side of the waters. They are bright yellow and you can’t miss them. The iron chair is a little harder to visualize, but just keep following the line of penguins and you will see it.
Holy Trinity Column, Olomouc – a UNESCO Heritage Art
Built between 1716-1754 by local artist Václav Render, in the iconic Olomouc Baroque style. Located in Olomouc, you see this commemoration of the devotion of local church members to their faith and their religion. If you look closely, you can actually see a real chapel within the monument.
A Copper sculpture of the Holy Trinity tops the monument. Underneath, you will find 18 stone statues of Saints, many of whom are specifically Saints to the people of the Czech Republic. If you peer into the chapel itself, you will find reliefs of stories from the Bible including Cain and Abel, Noah, Abraham and Isaac, and the death of the Savior.
Location: This is located about 2 hours from Wenceslaus Square. Check out the Bus Route to Olomouc to see this monument of faith.
Prague is the most artistic city I have visited to date. It isn’t just artsy, the unique art of Prague will stir the imagination and start important conversations. There are many cities that celebrate and cherish the masters of the past, but Prague holds the artistic masters of the future. From their markets to their tallest towers, they cultivate that which enlightens the soul and expands the mind. So take a little from your savings and go explore the Art of Prague.
I did not have time to visit all of the art pieces in Prague. Listed below are several other art pieces that are noteworthy in this wonderful city.
Other Unique Art Pieces to visit:
Franz Kafka Statue — by Jaroslav Rona The Broken Men — by Olbram Zoubek Giant Metronome along the Vltava II Commendator Statue The Devil’s Head – Forests of Zelizy Art Museums: National Museum, Museum of Decorative Arts, National Gallery