Delft is more than 750 years old. Its name is derived from 'delven' which means digging. Delfts oldest canal is called The Old Delft (de Oude Delft). In 1246 Delft got city rights, granted by Holland's Duke William II. Delft grew prosperous and new neighbourhoods were added to the city. In 1355 it reached the size it would remain at until the 1900s.
In 1536 a big fire destroyed 2300 houses. Most likely lightning struck the tower of The New Church. About 100 years later, in 1654, an explosion destroyed large parts of town; a warehouse with 80,000 pounds of gunpowder blew up. A new warehouse (Kruithuis) was later built, outside the city perimeter.
Delft has long been a centre of art and science. With the foundation of the VOC (Dutch East India Company) in 1602, Delft also became a trading center. The VOC was at one time the largest trading company in the world, with a huge fleet and offices all over Asia. One of the Dutch offices was in Delft.
In 1842 the Royal Academy for Civil Engineering (Koninklijke Acedemie voor Burgerlijke Ingenieurs) is founded. Nowadays know as Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) it is Delfts biggest employer. About 13.000 students study in Delft.
Delft has two railway stations: Delft (near the city center and best connection towards the universtity) and Delft Zuid (Delft southern parts). (Direct) train connections run from:
- Den Haag Central Station or Hollands Spoor(10 mins, €2)
- Schiphol Airport (45 mins, €8) (the train from Schiphol does not stop in Delft, one needs to change train in Leiden or Den Haag HS).
- Amsterdam (1 hour, €11)
- Rotterdam (15 mins, €3)
Delft is easily reached by car. Coming from Amsterdam or Schiphol, it is at the end of the A4 motorway; coming from Rotterdam, Delft has several exits off the A13 motorway. The old city center has been made largely car-free, but there are two large parking houses at the edge of the center (Zuidpoortgarage and Phoenixgarage).
Buses from Den Haag and Rotterdam terminate at the Delft bus terminal, which is located in front of Delft railway station. Tram line 1 from Den Haag runs to Delft and has stops near the city center and railway station.
New: for a limited period (2007) all public transport in Delft on Saturdays is free from 11.00 am to 6.00 pm. If you travel with public transport (excluding trains) from Delft to other areas you only have to stamp you strippenkaart (public transport card) for the zones outside Delft. You stamp the card the moment you cross into a non-Delft zone (other zone than 5426 that is).
Walk - the centre is small enough to walk across in ten minutes. If you want to go further, hire a bike near the railway station or take a bus or tram.
- Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), Markt 80, +31 15 2123025, . Closed on sundays. Located on the Markt square, this church was built in 1496. The royal burial chamber is located in this church. Prince William of Orange was the first to be buried here, after being shot in 1584. It is possible to climb the 108,75 meter tower to get a impressive view of Delft and surroundings. €3 (€2,50 extra to climb the tower).
- Oude Kerk (Old Church), Heilige Geestkerkhof 25, +31 15 2123015, . Closed on sundays. This is Delfts oldest Church, being built in 1246. The interior of this church is excellent. Famous Dutchmen are buried in this church, including: Piet Hein, Maerten Tromp and Johannes Vermeer. €3.
- Het Prinsenhof, Sint Agathaplein 1, +31 15 2602358, . Open M-F 10AM-5PM, Sa,Su 1PM-5PM. In medieval Delft Sint Agathaklooster was the biggest cloister in Delft. After 1650 it was split in two parts. Part of the chapel remained for religious service (Waalse Kerk). Prince William of Orange held court in the rest of the complex. He was killed here in 1584. Nowadays the complex houses some musea, including the city museum. €7,50.
- Synagoge, Koornmarkt 12, +31 15 2563371. Open Jun-Oct only on sat 14-17. This former synagogue was built in 1862 as temple, to a design of Ir. Leon Winkel. The building houses a permanent exposition to the remembrance of the Jewish victims in WWII.
- Hofje van Gratie, Van der Mastenstraat 26-38. This was a hofje for single women, founded in 1575 by Pieter Sasbout. Originally situated on Korte Geer, but with expansion of the Armamentarium it was relocated to its current location.
- Hofje van Pauw, Paardenmarkt 54-62. This hofje was built in 1707 as stated in the will of Elizabeth Pauw.
- Klaeuwshofje, Oranje Plantage 58-77. This hofje was meant for unmarried or widowed catholic women. It was founded in 1605 by Dirck and Elizabeth Uyttenhage.
- Porceleyne Fles (Royal Delft factory), Rotterdamseweg 196, +31 15 2512030, . Open 9-17. Around 1750 32 porcelain factories were located in Delft. Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles is the only factory remaining from that era. It is possible to visit the factory or to participate in a workshop. Guided tour €4.
- De Candelaer, Kerkstraat 13, +31 15 2131848, . De Candelaer is a little porcelain factory in the inner city. It is possible to visit De Candelear.
- Stadhuis (Town Hall), Markt 78. After a fire in 1618 after which only the tower remained, Hendrick de Keyser rebuilt the town hall. He reused the tower and some remaining walls. In 1620 construction was finished. The building has been renovated in the 19th century.
- Vleeshal (Meat Hall), Voldersgracht 1. Built in 1650. It is one of the only Hollands Classical buildings in Delft. Originally a meat market, later it was converted for wheat. Nowadays it is a youth society. It is possible to eat here for a modest price (around €4).
- Visbanken (Fish Trade), Camaretten. Fish market, on of the oldest shops in the world.
- VOC Huis (Dutch East India Company House), Oude Delft 39. The VOC consisted of 6 chambers. One of them was located in Delft. Part of the sea harbour of Rotterdam belonged to Delft at that time.
- Molen de Roos (windmill), Phoenixstraat 112, +31 71 5012672. It is possible to visit the mill if the blue flag is flying. For a group visit, call ahead.
- Artilleriemagazijn( Artillery Depot), Paardenmarkt 1. As a result of the reformation, around 1572, many cloisters were abandoned. This happened to the Clarissenklooster as well. It became a warehouse for sulphur, saltpeter and canons. In 1637 a small tower for firepowder was built. In 1654 this tower exploded, destroying a large part of the city. After this it was rebuilt.
- Oostpoort (East Gate), Oostpoort 1. Eastern gate to the city, built around 1400. Small building. It looks kind of cute. It is not on the famous painting by Vermeer, as many tourists wrongly think.
- Universiteitsbibliotheek (University Library), Prometheusplein 1, +31 15 2785678 . Between the Mekelweg and the Schoemakerstraat sits one of the largest technical libraries of Europe. It is housed in a glass building, with a sloping grass roof penetrated by a concrete cone.
- Armamentarium, Korte Geer 1, +31 15 2150500 . Open 10-17. Its location made Delft a good place for a central weapons warehouse. In 1601 a large warehouse was built. It is a very beautiful building. Nowadays it houses the army museum. €6.
- Serpo, Stationsplein 8, +31 15 2122184, . Open M-Sa 10AM-6PM, Su 1PM-6PM. This is a small reptile zoo. €6,60.
- Botanische Tuin (Botanical Garden), Julianalaan 67, +31 15 2782356, . Open mon-fri 8:30AM-5PM, Sa 10AM-4PM, Su (only May-Sep) 12PM-4PM. The botanical garden of Delft University houses a large collection of 'utility' plants, both in greenhouses and a nicely laid out park. Good place to spend a few quiet hours on a sunny afternoon. €2.
- Techniekmuseum (Technology Museum), Ezelsveldlaan 62, +31 15 2785200 . Open Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM, sun 12PM-5PM. This museum, run by Delft University, is housed in a beautiful building. It displays a wide range of historical engines, as well as the history of the calculator. Activities aimed at children are organized regularly. €2,30.
- Stroll through town
- Climb New Churches tower
- Visit De Porceleyne Fles, or take a workshop
- Experience a different view on Delft from a canal boat
- Tour the sights of Delft in a horse drawn tram
- Rent a bike and visit De Delftse Hout, a park/leisure area to the east of Delft. Cycle through the woods, sail on the lake, have a picnick, walk through the arboretum
- Theatres and cinemas:
- there is a large theatre named Theater de Veste
- there is a small theatre named Micro theater
- there is a small theatre named MAX
- in cinema Apollo you can smoke and order drinks during the movie
- cinema Filmhuis Lumen shows mostly cultural and foreign movies
- cinema MustSee is a new cinema near the Theater de Veste in the Zuidpoort (big screen, large seats)
Traditional Delft pottery. Avoid anything that says "Holland" on it, or depicts windmills. Check out the antique stores if you want something really traditional.
Avoid the restaurants at the main market place (counts for nearly all cities in the Netherlands)
- Pizzeria Dennis, Nieuwstraat 8, +31 15 2158677 . Excellent pizza's and middle eastern dishes (shoarma/kebab). Prices very reasonable. 7 days a week 4.00 - 10.00 p.m. Service fast and friendly, delivery service. Large portions. No reservation needed. Pizza €5-7.50, Meals €10-14.50, Drinks €1.50. Has a nice website especially the registered users section. http://www.pizzadennis.nl/
- Ladera, Oosteinde 123, +31 15 2125950. For a simple and traditional Dutch menu. Have your own table, join the locals for a chat at the main table, or eat in the garden (out the back, not indicated). Weekdays 4:30PM-8:00PM. Service fast and friendly (slower and shared tables in peak hour). No reservation needed. Dinner €5-9, coffee €1.
- Vlaanderen, Beestenmarkt 16, +31 15 2133311 . Excellent place for lunch or dinner. Great food, probably the best food in Delft, sometimes activities take place, such as an open stage. Check out the patio at the back. When making reservations ask for the patio. Lunch €10, dinner about €30, 3 course menue about€35.
- Café de V, Voorstraat 9, +31 15 2140916 . Excellent food, probably the best price/quality ratio in Delft, where food and hotels are generally overpriced. Daily menue at unbeatable prices (except maybe "De Ruif"), about €7.50. Dinner about €10-20.
- Eetcafé de Ruif, Kerkstraat 22-24, +31 15 2142206 . Excellent food at acceptable prices, the best place in Delft for a sunny summer day, food served in the garden and on a barge with sunshine till late in the evening. Daily menue at low prices is usually out at about 20:00h, dinner about €15-20.
- Stadscafé De Waag, Markt 11, +31 15 2130393 . Simple restaurant, prices are ok.
- LEF Restaurant, Doelenplein 2, +31 15 2120617 . Very nice Paris bistro style restaurant/bar. Sit outside under the trees in the summer. Great food, low prices. €12-18.
- Olympia, Hippolytusbuurt 43, +31 15 2136579 . Greek restaurant. Lots of seats, but cozy atmosphere. Outside terrace with a view of the Oude Kerk. Large portions of good quality food (try the specials!) at reasonable prices. Very fast service. Main courses €15-25.
- Malee, Voldersgracht 29, +31 15 2120781 . Authentic Thai food in a small restaurant. Every day, "auntie Malee" cooks a 3 course dinner for her guests. Not as spicy as you'll get in Thailand, but still a treat for your tastebuds. Reservation advisable for larger groups. 3 course meal €15.
If you are on a really tight budget, many student societies provide food, for a modest price (around €4). To check what is on offer look here.
- Al fresco at one of the many bars around the market square, or on a floating terrace (apparently unique to Delft) on a canal.
- "de Beestenmarkt"; around this square are many pubs and bars. In the summer it is filled with people drinking a beer between the trees.
- Many students get a drink at their fraternity (extremly cheap). Mostly you need to be a member or be introduced.
There are a few places to go out and dance:
- The Kornbeurs (alternative student fraternity and youth society, no membership needed) has a disco on friday and a metal undergound scene on saturday
- Speakers. Here you can dance during the weekend.
- The Lorre. This is a student disco that belongs to a fraternity (DSC). It is not always open to the public.
- Cine Dans Cafe (still under construction, not open yet). This one is just new and located near the theater (theater de Veste)
- Hotel Coen Delft, Coenderstraat 47, +31 15 2145914 . Comfortable, clean, reasonably priced and right next to the railway station. Also offering a free WiFi service and a lobby computer. 40 rooms, double room €105, breakfast €12.
- Hotel de Emauspoort Delft, Vrouwenregt 9-11, +31 15 2190219 . Right behind the New Church. 23 rooms, double room €100, breakfast included.
- Hotel Grand Canal, Breestraat 1, +31 15 2157133 . Housed in a historic building (former city prison and VOC building) overlooking the canals, 2 minutes from the railway station. Clean and well-furnished, not very wheelchair-friendly. WiFi internet. Double room €95/150, breakfast €16.
There are three campgrounds in Delft.
- Camping Delfse Hout is located near een small artificial lake, suited for swimming. A camping spot for two persons, including a car costs between EURO 19,50 and EURO 24,00. Cabins (for three/four persons) are also available for EURO 36,00. Cottages can be rented for EURO 265,00 per week. Services include a restaurant, recreation room, supermarket, launderette, playground, tabletennis, bike rent, swimmingpool. This is not a quiet place. Korftlaan 5, tel: 015 2130040.
- If you look for a smaller setting, try Uylenburg. Sites cost EURO 10,50 for a tent/caravan/camper or EURO 7,50 for a two persontent. Additionally you have to pay EURO 2,50 per person. There is also a very pleasant guesthouse. Rooms are EURO 45/50/75 for 1/2/4 persons. Breakfast is EURO 6 per person. Tel.: 015-2143732, e-mail: [email protected], url: www.uylenburg.nl
- Even smaller is De Grutto. This is definitely only for the real nature lover. You have to be a member of NIVON to camp here. There are only 25 spots. For more information call Mrs. W. Klunder tel. 079 - 341 83 25 (18.00 - 20.00). Directions, take bus 64 from Delft Station. Ask the driver to let you out at Rietzangerstraat, it is a 30 minute walk from there.
Take tramline 1 to Scheveningen. It terminates right on the beach. It takes about 1 hour to get there. Also, rent a bike and go exploring, go west.
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