—  Municipality  —


Coat of arms
Coordinates: 52°0′54″N 4°21′24″E / 52.015°N 4.35667°E / 52.015; 4.35667Coordinates: 52°0′54″N 4°21′24″E / 52.015°N 4.35667°E / 52.015; 4.35667
Country Netherlands
Province South Holland
 – Total 24.08 km2 (9.3 sq mi)
 – Land 23.21 km2 (9 sq mi)
 – Water 0.87 km2 (0.3 sq mi)
Population (1 January 2008)
 – Total 96,168
 – Density 4,180/km2 (10,826.2/sq mi)
  Source: CBS, Statline.
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 – Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)

Delft (About this sound pronunciation ) is a city and municipality in the province of South Holland (Zuid-Holland), the Netherlands. It is located between Rotterdam and The Hague. Delft is primarily known for its typically Dutch town centre (with canals); also for the painter Vermeer, Delft Blue pottery (Delftware), the Delft University of Technology, and its association with the Dutch royal family, the House of Orange-Nassau.



Delft in 1652 (Blaeu)

From a rural village in the early Middle Ages Delft developed to a city, that in the 13th century (1246) received its charter.
(For some more information about the early developement, see the article "Gracht", section "Delft as an example").

The town's association with the House of Orange started when William of Orange (Willem van Oranje), nicknamed William the Silent (Willem de Zwijger), took up residence in 1572 At the time he was the leader of growing national Dutch resistance against Spanish occupation of the country, which struggle is known as the Eighty Years' War. By then Delft was one of the leading cities of Holland and it was equipped with the necessary city walls to serve as a headquarters.

After the Act of Abjuration was proclaimed in 1581 Delft became the de facto capital of the newly independent Netherlands, as the seat of the Prince of Orange.

When William was shot dead in 1584, by Balthazar Gerards in the hall of the Prinsenhof, the family's traditional burial place in Breda was still in the hands of the Spanish. Therefore, he was buried in the Delft Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), starting a tradition for the House of Orange that has continued to the present day.

Delft Explosion

The Delft Explosion, also known in history as the Delft Thunderclap, occurred on 12 October 1654 when a gunpowder store exploded, destroying much of the city. Over a hundred people were killed and thousands wounded.

About 30 tonnes of gunpowder were stored in barrels in a magazine in a former Clarissen convent in the Doelenkwartier district. Cornelis Soetens, the keeper of the magazine, opened the store to check a sample of the powder and a huge explosion followed. Luckily, many citizens were away, visiting a market in Schiedam or a fair in The Hague. Artist Carel Fabritius was wounded in the explosion and died of his injuries. Later on, Egbert van der Poel painted several pictures of Delft showing the devastation. The Delft Explosion is the principal reason why Delft University of Technology maintains explosion science as a key topic within its research portfolio and graduate skill-set.


Typical view of Delft (Vrouw Juttenland)
Nieuwe Kerk
The Eastern Gate [Oostport] of Delft, built ca 1400. Superstructure and spires added in 1514.
Delft canal (Molslaan).

The city center retains a large number of monumental buildings, whereas in many streets there are canals of which the borders are connected by typical bridges,[1] altogether making this city a notable tourist destination.

Historical buildings include:

  • Oude Kerk (Old Church). Buried here: Piet Hein, Johannes Vermeer, Anthony van Leeuwenhoek.
  • Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), constructed between 1381 and 1496. It contains the Dutch royal family's burial vault, which between funerals is sealed with a 5000 kg cover stone.
  • The Prinsenhof (Princes' Court), now a museum.
  • City Hall on the Markt.
  • The Oostpoort (Eastern gate), built around 1400. This is the only remaining gate of the old city walls.
  • The Gemeenlandshuis Delfland, or Huyterhuis, built in 1505, which houses the regional water authority Delfland since 1645.
  • Waag (Delft)


Delft is well known for the Delft pottery ceramic products which were styled on the imported Chinese porcelain of the 17th century. The city had an early start in this area since it was a home port of the Dutch East India Company.

The painter Johannes Vermeer (1632–1675) was born in Delft. Vermeer used Delft streets and home interiors as the subject or background of his paintings.

Several other famous painters lived and worked in Delft at that time, such as Pieter de Hoogh, Carel Fabritius, Nicolaes Maes, Gerard Houckgeest and Hendrick Cornelisz. van Vliet. They all were members of the Delft School. The Delft School is known for its images of domestic life, views of households, church interiors, courtyards, squares and the streets of Delft. The painters also produced pictures showing historic events, flower paintings, portraits for patrons and the court, and decorative pieces of art.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) is one of three universities of technology in the Netherlands. It was founded as an academy for civil engineering in 1842 by King William II. Today well over 16,000 students are enrolled.

The UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, providing postgraduate education for people from developing countries, draws on the strong tradition in water management and hydraulic engineering of the Delft university.

Nature and recreation

East of Delft is the Delftse Hout ("Delft Wood"), a recreation area, with apart from a forest, through which bike-, horseride- and footpaths are leading, also a lake (suitable for swimming and windsurfing), narrow beaches, restaurant, community gardens, campground and other recreational and sports facilities. A small lakeside part is a nudist area, separated from other recreational grounds by a series of demarcation pegs on each side only. There is a possibility to rent bikes at the station.

Springtime in Delft
The Delftse Hout lake in February
Site at the "Nootdorpse Plassen", also (partly) a Delft nature area
"Plantagegeer", one of Delft several smaller city parks


In the local economic field essential elements are:

Notable people


Delft was the birthplace of these people:

Otherwise related

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Delft is twinned with:[2]


See also


External links

Further reading

  • Vermeer: A View of Delft, Anthony Bailey, Henry Holt & Company, 2001, ISBN 0-8050-6718-3

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Delft — Héraldique …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Delft — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Delft Bandera …   Wikipedia Español

  • delft — /delft/, n. 1. earthenware having an opaque white glaze with an overglaze decoration, usually in blue. 2. any pottery resembling this. Also, delf /delf/. Also called delft ware. [1705 15; after DELFT] * * * City (pop., 2001 est.: 96,180),… …   Universalium

  • Delft — /delft/, n. a city in W Netherlands. 84,129. * * * City (pop., 2001 est.: 96,180), southwestern Netherlands. Founded in 1075 and chartered in 1246, it was a trade centre in the 16th–17th centuries and was famous for its delftware pottery. It was… …   Universalium

  • delft — blue (characteristic of a popular china developed in the Dutch city of Delft); delft china; delftware …   Eponyms, nicknames, and geographical games

  • delft — (d[e^]lft), n. Same as {Delftware}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Delft — es una ciudad en Holanda Meridional, Países Bajos, a mitad de camino entre Rotterdam y La Haya. La ciudad cuenta con 94.098 habitantes (2005). * * * ► C. del O de los Países Bajos, en la prov. de Holanda Meridional, entre Rotterdam y La Haya; 88… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • delft — ► NOUN ▪ glazed earthenware, typically decorated in blue on a white background. ORIGIN named after the town of Delft in the Netherlands, where it originated …   English terms dictionary

  • Delft — [delft] city in W Netherlands: pop. 92,000 …   English World dictionary

  • Delft — Delft, 1) Stadt im Bezirk Haag des niederländischen Gouvernements Südholland, an der Schie; Prinzenhof (Palast, worin 1584 Wilhelm I. von Oranien ermordet wurde, jetzt Kaserne), 1838 neu hergestelltes Rathhaus, neue Kirche (mit hohem Thurm u.… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Delft — Delft, Stadt in der niederländ. Provinz Südholland, Bezirk Haag, südöstlich vom Haag, am Schie und an der Eisenbahn Rotterdam Amsterdam, ist von vielen Kanälen durchschnitten und durch einen derselben mit Haag verbunden, ziemlich regelmäßig und… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

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