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Coordinates: 52°0′42″N 4°21′33″E / 52.01167°N 4.35917°E / 52.01167; 4.35917
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A view of Delft with the Oude Kerk in the centre
A view of Delft with the Oude Kerk in the centre
Flag of Delft
Coat of arms of Delft
Prinsenstad (Prince City)
Highlighted position of Delft in a municipal map of South Holland
Location in South Holland
Delft is located in Netherlands
Location within the Netherlands
Delft is located in Europe
Location within Europe
Coordinates: 52°0′42″N 4°21′33″E / 52.01167°N 4.35917°E / 52.01167; 4.35917
ProvinceSouth Holland
City HallDelft City Hall
 • BodyMunicipal council
 • MayorMarja van Bijsterveldt (CDA)
 • Total24.06 km2 (9.29 sq mi)
 • Land22.65 km2 (8.75 sq mi)
 • Water1.41 km2 (0.54 sq mi)
Elevation0 m (0 ft)
 (January 2021)[4]
 • Total103,581
 • Density4,573/km2 (11,840/sq mi)
  • Delftenaar
  • Delvenaar
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Area code015
A 2018 map of the Delft municipality with the epicenter of the 1654 explosion superimposed on the Paardenmarkt, the site's present occupant.

Delft (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈdɛl(ə)ft] ) is a city and municipality in the province of South Holland, Netherlands. It is located between Rotterdam, to the southeast, and The Hague, to the northwest. Together with them, it is a part of both the Rotterdam–The Hague metropolitan area and the Randstad.

Delft is a popular tourist destination in the Netherlands, famous for its historical connections with the reigning House of Orange-Nassau, for its blue pottery, for being home to the painter Jan Vermeer, and for hosting Delft University of Technology (TU Delft). Historically, Delft played a highly influential role in the Dutch Golden Age.[5][6][7][8] In terms of science and technology, thanks to the pioneering contributions of Antonie van Leeuwenhoek[9][10] and Martinus Beijerinck,[11] Delft can be considered to be the birthplace of microbiology.


Early history[edit]

The Gemeenlandshuis and the Old Church, Delft, Summer by Cornelis Springer, 1877
A map of Delft in 1649, by Joan Blaeu

The city of Delft came into being beside a canal, the 'Delf', which comes from the word delven, meaning to delve or dig, and this led to the name Delft. At the elevated place where this 'Delf' crossed the creek wall of the silted up river Gantel, a Count established his manor, probably around 1075. Partly because of this, Delft became an important market town, the evidence for which can be seen in the size of its central market square.

Having been a rural village in the early Middle Ages, Delft developed into a city, and on 15 April 1246, Count Willem II granted Delft its city charter. Trade and industry flourished. In 1389 the Delfshavensche Schie canal was dug through to the river Maas, where the port of Delfshaven was built, connecting Delft to the sea.

Until the 17th century, Delft was one of the major cities of the then county (and later province) of Holland. In 1400, for example, the city had 6,500 inhabitants, making it the third largest city after Dordrecht (8,000) and Haarlem (7,000). In 1560, Amsterdam, with 28,000 inhabitants, had become the largest city, followed by Delft, Leiden and Haarlem, which each had around 14,000 inhabitants.

In 1536, a large part of the city was destroyed by the great fire of Delft.

The town's association with the House of Orange started when William of Orange (Willem van Oranje), nicknamed William the Silent (Willem de Zwijger), took up residence in 1572 in the former Saint-Agatha convent (subsequently called the Prinsenhof). At the time he was the leader of growing national Dutch resistance against Spanish occupation, known as the Eighty Years' War. By then Delft was one of the leading cities of Holland and was equipped with the necessary city walls to serve as a headquarters. In October 1573, an attack by Spanish forces was repelled in the Battle of Delft.

After the Act of Abjuration was proclaimed in 1581, Delft became the de facto capital of the newly independent Netherlands, as the seat of the Prince of Orange.

When William was shot dead on 10 July 1584 by Balthazar Gerards in the hall of the Prinsenhof (now the Prinsenhof Museum), the family's traditional burial place in Breda was still in the hands of the Spanish. Therefore, he was buried in the Delft Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), starting a tradition for the House of Orange that has continued to the present day.

Around this time, Delft also occupied a prominent position in the field of printing.

A number of Italian glazed earthenware makers settled in the city and introduced a new style. The tapestry industry also flourished when famous manufacturer François Spierincx moved to the city. In the 17th century, Delft experienced a new heyday, thanks to the presence of an office of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) (opened in 1602) and the manufacture of Delft Blue china.

A number of notable artists based themselves in the city, including Leonard Bramer, Carel Fabritius, Pieter de Hoogh, Gerard Houckgeest, Emanuel de Witte, Jan Steen, and Johannes Vermeer. Reinier de Graaf and Antonie van Leeuwenhoek received international attention for their scientific research.


Egbert van der Poel: A View of Delft after the Explosion of 1654
The "new" gunpowder store "Kruithuis", built in 1660 on the water of the Delftse Schie for public safety, today in use as a clubhouse

The Delft Explosion, also known in history as the Delft Thunderclap, occurred on 12 October 1654[12] when a gunpowder store exploded, destroying much of the city. Over a hundred people were killed and thousands were injured.[13]

About 30 t (29.5 long tons; 33.1 short tons) of gunpowder were stored in barrels in a magazine in a former Clarist convent in the Doelenkwartier district, where the Paardenmarkt is now located. 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.

Today, the explosion is primarily remembered for killing Rembrandt's most promising pupil, Carel Fabritius, and destroying almost all of his works.

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

The gunpowder store (Dutch: Kruithuis) was subsequently re-housed, a 'cannonball's distance away', outside the city, in a new building designed by architect Pieter Post.[14]


View of Delft by Johannes Vermeer, 1660–1661
View of the horse market in Delft by Pieter Wouwerman, 1665

The city centre retains a large number of monumental buildings, while in many streets there are canals of which the banks are connected by typical bridges, altogether making this city a notable tourist destination.[15]

Historical buildings and other sights of interest include:


Delft blue is most famous but there are other kinds of Delftware, like this plate faience in rose

Delft is well known for the Delft pottery ceramic products[15] 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. It can still be seen at the pottery factories De Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles (or Royal Delft) and De Delftse Pauw, while new ceramics and ceramic art can be found at the Gallery Terra Delft.[21]

The painter Johannes Vermeer (1632–1675) was born in Delft. Vermeer used Delft streets and home interiors as the subject or background in his paintings.[15] 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 were all members of the Delft School. The Delft School is known for its images of domestic life and views of households, church interiors, courtyards, squares and the streets of Delft. The painters also produced pictures showing historic events, flowers, portraits for patrons and the court as well as decorative pieces of art.

Delft supports creative arts' companies. From 2001 the Bacinol [nl], a building that had been disused since 1951, began to house small companies in the creative arts sector.[22] Its demolition started in December 2009, making way for the new railway tunnel in Delft. The occupants of the building, as well as the name 'Bacinol', moved to another building in the city. The name Bacinol relates to Dutch penicillin research during WWII.


TU Delft buildings

Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) is one of four universities of technology in the Netherlands.[23] It was founded as an academy for civil engineering in 1842 by King William II. As of 2022, well over 27,000 students are enrolled.[24]

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.

The Hague University of Applied Sciences has a building on the Delft University of Technology campus. It opened in 2009[25] and offers several bachelor degrees for the Faculty of Technology, Innovation & Society.

Inholland University of Applied Sciences also has a building on the Delft University of Technology campus. Several bachelor degrees for the Agri, Food & Life Sciences faculty and the Engineering, Design and Computing faculty are being taught at the Delft campus.


In the local economic field, essential elements are:

Nature and recreation[edit]

The Plantagegeer, one of Delft's several smaller city parks

East of Delft lies a relatively large nature and recreation area called the "Delftse Hout" ("Delft Wood").[26] Through the forest lie bike, horse-riding and footpaths. It also includes a vast lake (suitable for swimming and windsurfing), narrow beaches, a restaurant, and community gardens, plus camping ground and other recreational and sports facilities. (There is also a facility for renting bikes from the station.)

Inside the city, apart from a central park, there are several smaller town parks, including "Nieuwe Plantage", "Agnetapark", "Kalverbos". There is also the Botanical Garden of the TU and an arboretum in Delftse Hout.

Notable people[edit]

Self portrait of Jacob Willemsz Delff and his family, ca. 1590
Jan Vermeer van Delft, 1656
portrait of Hugo Grotius, 1631
Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange, ca. 1635
Anthonie van Leeuwenhoek, ca. 1680
Martinus Beijerinck, 1931
Betsy Perk
Stien Kaiser, 1968
Ria Stalman, 1982

Delft is the birthplace of:

Dutch Golden Age[edit]

Public thinking and service[edit]

Science and business[edit]




One of the 8 different Nuna cars
  • Nuna is a series of crewed solar-powered vehicles, built by students at the Delft University of Technology, that won the World solar challenge in Australia seven times in the last nine competitions (in 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2013, 2015 and 2017).[37]
  • The so-called "Superbus" project aims to develop high-speed coaches capable of speeds of up to 250 km/h (155 mph) together with the supporting infrastructure including special highway lanes constructed separately next to the nation's highways; this project was led by Dutch astronaut professor Wubbo Ockels of the Delft University of Technology.
  • Members of both Delft Student Rowing Clubs Proteus-Eretes and Laga have won many international trophies, including Olympic medals, in the past.
  • Formula Student Team Delft is a student racing team that has won the Formula Student competition format in Germany three times in a row, their workplace is located along the shie.[38]
  • The Human Power Team Delft & Amsterdam, a team consisting mainly of students from the Delft University of Technology, has won The World Human Powered Speed Challenge (WHPSC) four times. This is an international contest for recumbents in the US state of Nevada, the aim of which is to break speed records.[39] They set the world record of 133.78 kilometres an hour (83.13 mph) in 2013.

International relations[edit]

Twin towns[edit]

Delft is twinned with:[40]


Trains stopping at these stations connect Delft with, among others, the nearby cities of Rotterdam and The Hague, as often as every five minutes, for most of the day.

There are several bus routes from Delft to similar destinations. Trams frequently travel between Delft and The Hague via special double tracks crossing the city.

The whole city center and adjacent areas are a paid on-street parking area. In 2018, with the day parking fee of 29.5 Euro, it was the most expensive on-street parking area in the Netherlands, with the city centers of Deventer and Dordrecht being second and third, respectively.[43]

See also[edit]


Delft city view
Nieuwe Kerk (New Church)
Legermuseum (Army museum)
Central Market Square
City sight ("Vrouw Juttenland")
Former station building
New station building
Main canal "Delftse Schie" at sundown
Sculpture near the church
Streetview (het Oosteinde)
Streetview (Dertienhuizen)
Lutherse Kerk


  1. ^ "Maak kennis met" [Meet.]. Burgermeester Verkerk (in Dutch). Gemeente Delft. Archived from the original on 18 July 2013. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  2. ^ "Kerncijfers wijken en buurten 2020" [Key figures for neighbourhoods 2020]. StatLine (in Dutch). CBS. 24 July 2020. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
  3. ^ "Postcodetool for 2611GX". Actueel Hoogtebestand Nederland (in Dutch). Het Waterschapshuis. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  4. ^ "Bevolkingsontwikkeling; regio per maand" [Population growth; regions per month]. CBS Statline (in Dutch). CBS. 1 January 2021. Retrieved 2 January 2022.
  5. ^ Huerta, Robert D.: Giants of Delft: Johannes Vermeer and the Natural Philosophers: The Parallel Search for Knowledge during the Age of Discovery. (Pennsylvania: Bucknell University Press, 2003)
  6. ^ Brook, Timothy: Vermeer's Hat: The Seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global World. (Bloomsbury Press, 2009, ISBN 978-1596915992)
  7. ^ Liedtke, Walter; Plomp, Michiel C.; Ruger, Axel; Baarsen, Reinier J.: Vermeer and the Delft School. (NYC: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2013, ISBN 978-0300200294)
  8. ^ Snyder, Laura J.: Eye of the Beholder: Johannes Vermeer, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, and the Reinvention of Seeing. (W. W. Norton & Company, 2015, ISBN 978-0393352887)
  9. ^ Ruestow, Edward G.: The Microscope in the Dutch Republic: The Shaping of Discovery. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996)
  10. ^ Fournier, Marian: The Fabric of Life: The Rise and Decline of Seventeenth-Century Microscopy. (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996, ISBN 978-0801851384)
  11. ^ Artenstein, Andrew W.: The discovery of viruses: advancing science and medicine by challenging dogma. (International Journal of Infectious Diseases, Volume 16, Issue 7, July 2012, pages: e470-e473). doi:10.1016/j.ijid.2012.03.005. Andrew W. Artenstein: "By 1895 Beijerinck had returned to academia after leaving the Agricultural School for a 10-year stint in industrial microbiology in Delft, the South Holland birthplace of van Leeuwenhoek, one of the founding fathers of microbiology. During his first years at the Technical University of Delft, Beijerinck resumed the research on tobacco mosaic disease that he had started while working with Mayer. Even then, he had appreciated that the affliction was microbial in nature, although he felt that the actual agents had yet to be discovered. Beijerinck's investigations at Delft proved fruitful; he not only confirmed the infectivity of the contagium vivum fluidum—soluble living germ—despite filtration, but he importantly demonstrated that unlike bacteria, the culprit of tobacco disease of plants was incapable of independent growth, requiring the presence of living, dividing host cells in order to replicate."
  12. ^ "The Day the World Came to an End: the Great Delft Thunderclap of 1654". Radio Netherlands. 14 October 2004.
  13. ^ Cumming, Laura (2023). Thunderclap: A Memoir of Art and Life and Sudden Death. New York: Scribner. ISBN 978-1-9821-8174-1.
  14. ^ "Historie: Het Kruithuis" (in Dutch). Scoutcentrum Delft.
  15. ^ a b c d Martin Dunford (2010). The Rough Guide to The Netherlands. Penguin. p. 169. ISBN 978-1-84836-882-8. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
  16. ^ "Delft, Zuid-Holland" (in Dutch). Molendatabase. Retrieved 22 October 2014.
  17. ^ "Royal Delft. Ontdek de wereld van koninklijk Delfts Blauw". www.royaldelft.com. Retrieved 2019-12-30.
  18. ^ "Welcome to delfthuis.com". delfthuis.com.
  19. ^ "Science Centre Delft". TU Delft (in Dutch). Retrieved 2020-01-02.
  20. ^ "Museumkids". Museumkids.nl (in Dutch). Retrieved 2020-01-02.
  21. ^ Kitty Kilian, "10 jaar galerie Terra; Keramisch gezicht op Delft." NRC Handelsblad, 23 May 1996.
  22. ^ "Art on the streets of Delft". Kunstwandeling Delft. Retrieved 2023-02-05.
  23. ^ "4TU.Federation". 4tu.nl.
  24. ^ "Studentenaantallen TU Delft stabiel". Delft University of Technology. Archived from the original on December 4, 2023.
  25. ^ "Vestiging Delft - De Haagse Hogeschool". www.dehaagsehogeschool.nl. Retrieved 2022-07-03.
  26. ^ "Category:Delftse Hout". Retrieved 6 May 2015.
  27. ^ "Christian Kruik van Adrichem" . Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 01. 1907.
  28. ^ "Marum, Martin van" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 17 (11th ed.). 1911.
  29. ^ "Ton Lutz". IMDb. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  30. ^ "Mariska Hulscher". IMDb. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  31. ^ "Depth of Field | Scherptediepte". depthoffield.universiteitleiden.nl. Retrieved 2023-01-18.
  32. ^ "Wessel van Diepen". IMDb. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  33. ^ "Rob Das". IMDb.
  34. ^ "Jan-Willem van Ewijk". IMDb. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  35. ^ "Ricky Koole". IMDb. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  36. ^ "Marly van der Velden". IMDb. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  37. ^ "World Solar Challenge 2017". worldsolarchallenge.org. Archived from the original on 2017-10-16. Retrieved 2017-10-16.
  38. ^ "HOME". DUT23.
  39. ^ "The Recumbent Bicycle and Human Powered Vehicle Information Center". recumbents.com.
  40. ^ (source: Delft municipality guide 2005)
  41. ^ "List of Twin Towns in the Ruhr District" (PDF). © 2009 www.twins2010.com. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2021-02-25. Retrieved 2009-10-28.
  42. ^ "Category:Spoorzone-project". Retrieved 6 May 2015.
  43. ^ "Parkeer Puzzel". Kampioen (in Dutch) (4). Royal Dutch Touring Club: 18–21. April 2018.


  • Lourens, Piet; Lucassen, Jan (1997). Inwonertallen van Nederlandse steden ca. 1300–1800. Amsterdam: NEHA. ISBN 9057420082.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]