Visit Delft in The Netherlands a city of canals

Delft is a beautiful middle size city in The Netherlands, with about 100,000 inhabitants. It has one of the oldest technical universities of The Netherlands, and due to its many students, there are many young people in Delft. The old centre is beautiful with its canals, churches and squares.

Where does the name come from?

The name Delft comes from the canals. When the canals were digged out in the 12th century, they were called ‘delf’. The city was in the end named after its canals; ‘Delf’. Later a ‘t’ was attached and that’s how the name stayed.
The oldest canal is the ‘Oude Delft’ or ‘Old Delft’. Just next to this canal you will find the ‘Old Church’ with its leaning tower. It is partly built on an old canal and already started pending during construction.

The ‘Oude Delft’ with the ‘Oude Kerk’ in the background

Royal touch

The Dutch royal family is burried in the Nieuwe Kerk since Willem van Oranje was shot in the Prinsenhof hiding from the Spanish that occupied The Netherlands at the time. If you want a view over the city, you can climb the tower of the Nieuwe Kerk (365 steps). From here you see the city right from the centre.

Delft is also famous for the ceramics it makes. In Dutch we call it ‘Delfts Blauw’ or Blue from Delft. The white ceramics painted with blue where a cheaper solution than importing ceramics from China at the time. Over the centuries Delfts Blauw became much more than a copy of Chinese ceramics. The ceramics are still all hand painted and definitely not cheap.

Tile in Delfts Blue style

Walking around in the centre shows this was a wealthy city when the VOC, the Dutch East India Company, brought spices and many other products from Asia in the 17th century. This is also the city of Vermeer, a true master of light. There is a Vermeer Centrum that does not exhibit any original Vermeers, but shows a lot about how he worked and what he painted. You will notice not much is known about him, but the paintings he left will live for ever. To see some of his paintings you will need to go to the Maurits Huis in The Hague or the Rijks Museum in Amsterdam.

Taking photos

Photographing the old houses on the canals is a lot of fun. The water can provide beautiful reflections and leading lines. If you don’t want people on your photos, then you have two option: come at sunrise, when most people still sleep. Or use a neutral density filter, so with the long exposures people will dissapear (as long as they move…)

Reflection of gable house in a canal in Delft

Our photo tour in spring also stops in Delft. It is not as crowded as Amsterdam, but just as beautiful. I hope the photos shown here give you some inspiration and make you want to visit this beautiful city. If you want to be taken around, you can join our tour here.

Detail of a a house in the centre of Delft

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