Delft is a picturesque Dutch city that seems to have been frozen in time since the days of the great Dutch Masters like Vermeer. The city’s main appeal lies in its charming canals, bridges, and narrow streets. The architecture in Delft reflects the style and wealth of the Golden Age, making it a must-see destination for any traveler visiting the Netherlands.

Gemeenlandshuis Water Board

One of the most eye-catching buildings in Delft is the Gemeenlandshuis, located at 167 Oude Delft. This building, also known as the ‘Huyterhuis’, was constructed around 1505 and features a colorful façade that demands attention. In the 16th century, it was the residence of Jan de Huyter, the city’s wealthiest resident who served as bailiff, sheriff, and mayor of Delft. The building also briefly served as the residence of William of Orange’s daughters, Maria “Maaike” van Buren and Emilia van Nassau. Since 1645, the Gemeenlandshuis has been home to the Delfland Water Board. As it is a working office, visitors can only view the exterior of the building.

Nieuwe Kerk (New Church)

The Nieuwe Kerk, or New Church, is located in the Market Square across from the Delft City Hall. Originally named for St Ursula, the church was built between 1396 and 1496. Since the death and burial of William of Orange in 1584, the Nieuwe Kerk has been the location of royal burials in the Netherlands. Recent royal burials include:

  • Prince Claus van Amsberg (husband of Queen Beatrix) in 2002
  • Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard (parents of Queen Beatrix) in 2004

The bell tower of the New Church stands at over 350 feet tall, making it the second tallest church tower in the Netherlands, after the Domtoren in Utrecht.

Oude Kerk (Old Church)

The Oude Kerk, or Old Church, is located across the Oude Delft Canal from the Prinsenhof. Formerly known as the Church of St Bartholomew, the Oude Kerk was built in 1246 on the site of a previous church dating back to 1050. The bell tower of the Old Church is known as Delft’s own ‘leaning tower’. It is said that the tower was built where the canal once flowed, making the soil unstable. As a result, the bell tower began to subside from the beginning of construction, resulting in a noticeable tilt of about 6 ½ feet. The Old Church contains the tombs of artist Johannes Vermeer and scientist Antony van Leeuwenhoek.

Stadhuis van Delft (City Hall of Delft)

The Stadhuis van Delft, or City Hall of Delft, is located in the Market Square. Originally constructed in 1200, the building was damaged by fire in 1618 and renovated in 1620. The Stadhuis van Delft reflects the Dutch Renaissance style. The oldest part of the building to survive the fire is the tower and former prison, referred to as ‘Het Nieuwe Steen’ or ‘The New Stone’, which dates back to 1275.

De Oostpoort (East Gate)

The 15th-century Oostpoort is located at the eastern corner of Delft and offers a scenic view of the neighborhood. Known previously as St Catherine’s Gate, it is the only surviving gate of the original eight that were part of the city’s medieval walls.

Molen de Roos (The Rose Mill)

Molen de Roos is the last of 15 windmills that were once part of Delft’s city wall. This working flour mill was moved in 1679 from its previous location at the Oostenrijkse Tower to its present location to replace a previous mill destroyed in a storm. Molen de Roos is located at Phoenixstraat 112, a 10-minute walk from the Markt.

In the past, there were more than 10,000 windmills in the Netherlands. Today, there may be as many as 1,000. Visiting Molen de Roos is an opportunity to see an original Dutch windmill. However, the mill is currently closed due to work on a train tunnel below it. Hopefully, it will soon reopen to the public for tours.

When exploring Delft, take the time to wander through the narrow streets and along the canals. The city’s architecture and atmosphere will transport you back to the days of the Dutch Golden Age. With its stunning buildings, historic churches, and picturesque windmill, Delft is a treasure trove of cultural and historical experiences waiting to be discovered.

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