Sunday, July 21, 2013

Darling Delft

Oh Delft! The darling of the Netherlands! Delft is a small city between Rotterdam and The Hague and a big reminiscent of Amsterdam. With a compact city centre surrounded and crossed by canals and many cafés and terraces scattered all over the city, Delft makes a lovely day trip. However, I got the impression that everything is a bit still during the summer months as the student population is probably enjoying their holidays somewhere else. Or maybe it was only because it was Friday and I'm used to the weekend crowds.


Delft is a living history lesson itself. The city was born around 1100 and much of its city centre remains unchanged since the 17th century. Most buildings have been amazingly well preserved, the canals stand still the way they have for centuries, a few pottery artisans still make a living from the renowned Delftware china and the tower of the Old Church still leans as much as it did when it was built. Walking along any given alley may bring you back to the times when Delft's most notable resident, Jan Vermeer, was busy painting some of his masterworks - and I guess this is even more true during a freezing winter!


I was in Delft last Friday and I really enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and the lovely weather. It took me an embarrassingly long time to find my way out of the station but once out I was on my way to explore the city. A couple of Netherlands' most stereotyped images can be found in Delft, namely a windmill, canals everywhere and Delft fine blue and white china. Many of the stylized buildings along the canals date from some centuries ago and their façades are unmistekably Dutch. Once in the city centre I took a look at some of Delft most celebrated buildings. The Gemeenlandhuis was my first stop, just to take a look at its baroque façade. Then I headed to the old and new churches, which are not far from each other. The Old Church (Oude Kerk) is famous for its extreme leaning tower and it has a beautiful interior. Among the many tombs spread across the floor a very humble stone marks the place where Vermeer is buried. Recently, the local government has incorporated a more grandiose tomb to honour it's beloved master. The New Church (Nieuwe Kerk) hosts a mausoleum for the king William I, Father of the Fatherland, and below the church lies the private crypt of the the Netherlands' royal family. The Grote Markt square is right at the feet of the new church and the beautifully ornated town hall stands opposite to it. The Grote Markt is a lively square with many terraces and souvenirs shops selling both fake and authentic delftware. A bit further from it is the Oostpoort, which is the only surviving gate of the former walls of the city.






Just around the corner of the Grote Markt there is a popular fish stall that has been selling fresh and curated fish since 1342! The Visbanken, as it is called, also catters all sort of fish snacks and I got my kibbeling fix there, probably for the last time before moving to Switzerland.


That was my day in Delft, a real darling of a city. However, I have to admit that it didn't fully live to my expectations. I had heard to many good things about Delft and while it was really charming and pretty, I found it a bit dull. Too many canals all looking the same and not so much going on. But as I said, it might be as well, that a hot summer Friday is not the best time to visit.

8 comments:

  1. How I wish Amsterdam was enjoying a clear weather the last time I was there!

    There's so much beauty in Delft it's like walking on an open-air museum. Most locals must be away thus you found it sadly a bit dull, no?

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    1. Indeed, the city was totally empty and it looked a bit dull. But still, so pretty!

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  2. I love that windmill! We have canals here, but these are beautiful. You haven't seen boring until you see ours. These look like masterpieces. HAHAHAHA Great post! Very pretty!
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

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    1. hehehe I'm curious about those canals now, right in New Orleans? I'll have to google it now ;)
      I'm quite fascinated by windmills!

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  3. Stunning photos, Irene. Delft is such a charming town. I would trade places anytime, haha..missing the greenery right now while we take in the smoldering heat in the desert.

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    1. hehehe it is quite hot here as well. Since a couple of weeks the sun is shining all day and rain is just a memory. The authorities are about to officially declare a heatwave alert, the first since 1996!

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  4. Amazing pics! So beautiful:)

    bloglovin.com/blog/3880191

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