—  Municipality  —


Coat of arms
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 () is a city and municipality in the province of South Holland (Zuid-Holland), the Netherlands. It is located in 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)

The city dates from the 13th century. It received its charter in 1246.
For its development from a rural village in the early Middle Ages to a city in the 13th century see the article "Gracht", section "Delft as an example".

The association of the House of Orange with Delft began when William of Orange (Willem van Oranje), nicknamed William the Silent (Willem de Zwijger), took up residence in 1572. William was the leader at the time in the struggle against the Spanish, the Eighty Years' War.

Delft was one of the leading cities of Holland and was equipped with the necessary city walls to serve as a headquarters. When William was shot to death in 1584 by Balthazar Gerards in the hall of the Prinsenhof, the family's traditional burial place in Breda was in the hands of the Spanish. Therefore, he was buried in the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), starting a tradition for the House of Orange that has continued to the present day.

Delft Explosion

Egbert van der Poel
A View of Delft after the Explosion of 1654

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. Afterward, Egbert van der Poel painted several pictures of Delft showing the devastation.


Typical view of Delft (Vrouw Juttenland)
Coat of arms of William the Silent on the City Hall
Nieuwe Kerk (New Church)
View of Delft by Johannes Vermeer, 1660-1661
Delft canal (Molslaan).

The city center retains many old and historical buildings, and many streets have canals in the center, inhabited by fish and plants making this beautiful small city a tourist destination. Historical buildings include:


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.

INHolland university of applied sciences is also one of the higher institution in Delft and offers Aeronautical Engineering studies as one of its course


East of Delft is the Delftse Hout ("Delft Wood") recreation area, with a lake (suitable for swimming and windsurfing), narrow beaches, a small nudist area (not fenced off), restaurant, community gardens, campground and other recreational and sports facilities. There is a possibility to rent bikes at the station.

Well-known persons


Delft was the birthplace of several internationally well known persons:

Otherwise related

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Delft is twinned with:[1]


See also



External links

Further reading