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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.