Delft the most beautiful city in South Holland

Delft the most beautiful city in South Holland

15 February 2020 0 By beheerder

Delft is often regarded as the most beautiful city in the country, but the opinions about this are still divergent. That is not entirely without reason because beautiful old architecture is interspersed with new, especially on the outskirts of Delft. And that is not said to everyone’s pleasure. Delft is a city with a very rich history and the city is also known worldwide for its Delft Blue pottery.

Delft around 1650
Delft around 1650

Delfts blue

Delft blue has emerged as an affordable alternative to Chinese porceline. Delftware became very popular in a very short time. From 1650 to 1750 it was one of the most important sources of income for many Delft residents. During this period there were more than a hundred different factories that produced plenty of Delft Blue. Around 1800, however, Delft Blue was wiped off the market by the arrival of pottery from England and in particular from Staffordshire. Today there is one more factory that actually produces Delft Blue.

Delfts blue plate
Delfts blue plate

Important market center

The Markt in Delft
The Markt in Delft

The city of Delft originated from a dug out canal called the Delf which owes its name to the word delve. Presumably a grave farmhouse was built in the elevated place in the 11th century where the Delf and a silted up river Ganel crossed each other. This made Delft important as a trading place and market center. That can still be seen today in the size of the central market square.

Connection with seaport

Delft was granted its city rights on April 15, 1246 by Count Willem II. The city soon emerged as a center of trade and industry. In 1389 a connection was dug between the city and the river Maas. This connection was named the Delfshavensche shie and would later become the connection between the Meuse and the seaport called Delfshaven. Until the 17th century, Delft was one of the largest cities in what is now South Holland. During a city fire in 1536, a large part of Delft was destroyed.

Delft schie

Prinsenhof

Delft museum on the Prinsenhof
Delft museum on the Prinsenhof

Prince William of Orange resided briefly in Delft, in the former Sint-Agatha monastery, which has since been called Prinsenhof. He was assassinated there on July 10, 1584 by Balthasar Gerards. The city of Delft occupied a prominent place in the field of printing.

Delft and the VOC

Various Italian plateau bakers settled in the city and introduced a whole new style. In addition, the carpet industry also flourished thanks to Frenchman Fran├žois Spierincx. The V.O.C. has been of great importance for Delft. Delft came back to life in the 17th century thanks to the presence of a Chamber of the VOC. This in combination with the manufacture of Delft Blue provided the city with a new heyday.

VOC room - Oude Delft - East Indian House
VOC room – Oude Delft – East Indian House

Delft thunderclap

Delft thunderclap
Delft thunderclap

During an explosion in a gunpowder storage facility, a large part of Delft was destroyed, which would later be called the Delft thunderbolt. The storage could no longer be saved and it was later converted into a horse market. A new gunpowder was built literally at the distance of a cannonball.

Great painters

In addition to its fame for Delft Blue, Delft is also known worldwide for the painters who were active here. Think of artists like Leonard Bramer, Carel Fabritius, Pieter de Hoogh, Gerard Houckgeest, Emanuel de Witte, Jan Steen, and Johannes Vermeer. But the city also gained international fame in the scientific field. Reinier de Graaf and Antonie van Leeuwenhoek received international attention for their scientific research.

Johannes Vermeer - The Milkmaid
Johannes Vermeer – The Milkmaid

Disaster year

Delft Blue Egg
Delft Blue Egg

However, the city has also had a disaster year in which the economy of the city completely collapsed. In 1672 the city was flooded by the two city councils of both The Hague and Rotterdam. The production of Delfst Blauw in particular suffered below. There were more than thirty active factories in 1670, almost 120 years later there were only ten. During the 19th century, only 1 factory remained active. The reason that only this factory could continue to function was because the factory started producing bricks in addition to Delft Blue.

Delft has grown considerably over the years. In the early years after the war, for example, a lot of work was done on the area between the Schie, the canal and “Grote weg from The Hague to Rotterdam” that we now know as the A13 motorway. In the 1960s, Delft was expanded considerably in a southerly direction. the high-rise neighborhoods Poptahof and Voorhof were erected during that period. Later from the 80s, even further south, the Tanthof district was added to the city.

Highway A13 from The Hague to Rotterdam
Highway A13 from The Hague to Rotterdam

Delft as a university city

Former TU Delft main building
Former TU Delft main building

Delft is also known as a university city. The founding of the Royal Academy in 1842 was the impetus for what is now the Technical University of Delft. In addition, TNO was established in 1932. TNO is an abbreviation for the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research. TNO was founded with the aim of making knowledge applicable to companies and governments. TNO is engaged in independent technical research and advises government institutions and ministries such as the Ministry of Defense.

A large part of the higher education in the city takes place around the campus of the Technical University. Here, for example, are branches of the Haagse Hogeschool and Hoge school in Holland adjacent to the TU campus. When the Technopolis zoning plan was approved, the construction of the TU Delft Science Park was started in 2005. Knowledge institutes, international companies and start-ups settled here.

TU Delft - Faculty of Civil Engineering
TU Delft – Faculty of Civil Engineering

Historical city center

Nieuwe Delft
Nieuwe Delft

As mentioned, Delft has a historic city center. For example, in the south-north direction two canals run parallel to each other through the city, namely the Oude Delft and the Nieuwe Delft. The latter is also known as successively Lange Geer, Koornmarkt, Wijnhaven, Hippolytusbuurt and Voorstraat. Between those two canals is probably the oldest built-up location of the city. We are then talking about the Oude Kerk with its characteristic tower. The tower is popularly called the ‘Old Jan’. Near the ‘Oude Jan’ you will find the Gemeenlandshuis from Delfland, a beautiful building with a gothic facade and you will also find the Prinsenhof here.

On the Markt, a very spacious square, east of the Oude and Nieuwe Delft where the city was greatly expanded over the centuries, stands the Nieuwe Kerk with the tomb of Willem van Oranje and the royal tomb. The tower of the church is the second highest church tower in the Netherlands. In addition, on the Markt, opposite the church, you will find the Delft city hall, which was built by Hendrick de Keyser in 1618-1620 around the oldest building that Delft still has today: a tower called the Old Stone. On the Market is a statue of Hugo de Groot, the lawyer who was born in Delft in 1583.

Town hall on the Markt
Town hall on the Markt

Going out in Delft

Westerpop
Westerpop

You can go out in Delft on the De Beestenmarkt, this is mainly the entertainment center of Delft in the summer, but you will also find plenty of restaurants in other places around the Markt. The most followed route Burgwal, Brabantse Turfmarkt, Kromstraat, Markt, Nieuwstraat are rich in catering facilities. But Delft is also no stranger to events. The city has a number of events that have become a certain tradition within the city.

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