Delft City – Netherlands
Now a brief walk around the city. Delft is a very historic city situated between Rotterdam and The Hague in the Province of South Holland the Netherlands. It received its charter in 1246 for its development from a rural village in the early Middle Ages to a city in 13th century. In the city centre stands the handsome old Staadthuis or city hall built in the 15th century in Renaissance style, decorated with pilasters and sculptures, centuries of history attached to it.
Loved the thatched roof houses in Holland they are so quaint; noticed quite a few built in different designs on our trip across the Netherlands, quite different to the Gassho-zukuri thatched roof houses I saw on my trip through Japan.
Nieuwe Kerk – Delft
A visit to any city in Europe would not be complete without a visit to the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church – a Protestant church), and Delft is no different. The Nieuwe Kerk sits on the Delft market square opposite the Staadhuis. The New Church is in the center of town and has the highest tower in the city. The Nieuwe Kerk is not on a lean, just my photo, however the Ould Kerk does have a leaning tower, see if you can pick it. This, the Nieuwe Kerk completed in 1496, in comparison to the Oude Kerk in Delft founded in 1246, only a few centuries between them.
William I, Prince of Orange (24 April 1533 – 10 July 1584), and family members are interred in the Nieuwe Kerk at Delft in a special mausoleum. The mausoleum is impressive, adorned with bronze and marble statues, as well as a marble statue of the Prince lying in bed with his beloved dog at his feet. The latest of the royals to be laid to rest in the mausoleum is Queen Juliana and her Husband Prince Bernhard in 2004. The royal burial vaults are behind and below the mausoleum and sealed with a large stone cover with four brass rings in front of the chancel.
The aged Memorial Stones found in so many of these old churches are intriguing, this one from 1608 especially beautiful with the ancient scroll decoration, inscriptions time-worn and blending into the soft mellowed tones of the ancient bronze cover. It’s hard to resist the urge to run ones fingertips gently over the surface of the stone. You can’t help but wonder about the life and history of the person?
Nieuwe Kerk in Delft has magnificent stained glass windows, however not the original works of art. The original medieval stained glass windows destroyed twice when a fire raged through the city in 1536, and then again when an explosion happened at the Delft gunpowder factory 1654.
It took three centuries for the windows to be replaced. Most of them made by master glazier, Willem van Konijnenburg between 1927 and 1936, they are truly beautiful. There is also a new window installed in a modern design “The rising of Jaarius”, quite striking and very different by comparison to the stained glass windows of yesteryear.
Vleeshall or Meat Market
Moving on, the old Vleeshall or Meat Market, originally a timber building with a meat cellar underneath. The timber building replaced by the old stone building you now see, the head of cattle above the doorways a reminder of its early history as a meat market. It became a corn exchange in 1870, today the building functions as a youth center.
Delfland Water Council House
A very striking building is the Delfland Water Council house or Gemeenlandshuis (Dike Office) just reeks of history. Originally a private house built in 1505, it then housed among others the Court of Holland during the rise of Holland. It was the home of Filip,Count of Hohenlohe who married the eldest daughter of William of Orange. The stone facade is decorated with many handsome coat of arms from this period. It has housed the regional water authority of Delfland since 1645. In the early 16th century the house became the residence of Jan de Sluyter, Dike-Master of Delfland and Burgomaster of Delft.
Oude Kerk in Delft
Then of course a look through the Oulde Kerk, a Gothic Protestant church with a 75-meter high brick tower. The tower has a central spire and four corner turrets added between 1325-50. The tower has a lean of about two meters from the vertical, even though over the centuries builders have made attempts to compensate for the lean.
Inside the Oude Kerk of particular interest, the Memorial Stone of the famous Dutch Painter Johannes Vermeer. We were lucky to see two of Vermeer’s most famous paintings during our visit to the Rajk Museum “Woman holding a balance” on loan from the National Art Gallery in Washington and the “Kitchen maid”. Vermeer died at the age of 43 years and only 34 of his paintings survived. He left a wife and 11 children when he died. Vermeer is one of Hollands most famous Dutch masters, hence a special place in the Oude Kerk for him and his family.
The Oude Kerk in Delft also has three interesting pipe organs of varying sizes, dating from the years 1857, 1873 and 1770. The church has an enormous bell, cast in 1570 and weighing nearly nine tonnes. However, because of the weight and size of the bell and possibility of the vibrations causing damage to the structure, the bell is only rung on special occasions such as the burial of a Dutch royal family member, or during disasters when the air raid sirens are sounded.
If you are physically fit there are 376 steps to climb the tower to a height of 85 metres for a great view over Delft.
The Oude Kerk in Delft like the Nieuwe Kerk lost its original stained-glass window at the time of the fire and gunpowder incidents, likewise windows not replaced until the mid 20th century.
The new stained glass windows crafted by a master glazier, Joep Nicolas, are also very beautiful, each window tells a story. One window in particular is spectacular, it commemorates the Liberation in 1945 (sunlight pouring through from the outside made this pic difficult). Worth a visit just to see this window.
Next a visit to The Hague…..
- Bad Noord the beach at egmond Holland
- Heiloo Tulip Fields Holland Netherlands
- Keukenhof Flower Garden Lisse Holland
- Zaanse Schans – Color Windmill|Clog Factory Holland
- Canals – Amsterdam Canal Cruise | Holland Netherlan
- Ceramics at Delft|Holland Netherlands