Delft Things to Do Tips by Pavlik_NL Top 5 Page for this destination
Delft Things to Do: 252 reviews and 440 photos
The old Bagijnetower still stand at Delfts borders
In medieval times the town Delft (then one of the larger and most important within the Netherlands, had a citywall surrounding the town and defending it. Three of the gates have been surviving the centuries of which the watergate (Oostpoort) is the most well known. Another one stands in the Northern corner of where once the citywalls were. Now the walls have been torn down, when in late 18th and 19th century they became obselete, due to new weapons and warfare and the expansion of the town beyond the medieval defensive system. Close to the railroad on the Westflanks of town another silent reminder of these works, the hidden "Bagijne"-tower near windmill "De Roos". It was built here around 1500 and restored in 1967.
Directions: Little further along the street of the windmill stand this old tower
The Watertower provided pressure for the water
The watertower of Delft is a significant building just oustide the old city centre. These towers were built in the 19th century to create the first water pipe system within Delft. Realisation that clean water was the primary health care business for the future, many places in the Netherlands ran to a new system that concisted of piping throughout the town that provided water in several places and for everyone. To deliver the water the pipes had to be put under pressure and the local storage and pressure became a typical watertower, that is not only a monument now in Delft. Machines later took over the task and the tower is now under review for a possible new function. Talks are that it could be a climbing tower, but this has not been approved yet.
Address: Outside the old towns perimeter (Kalverbos)
Directions: Visible from the windmill's trans.
A simple chapel with a graceful little tower
Meanwhile we should not forget the other side of the canal, where also interesting historical buildings are situated. In the first years of the 15th century this little church was built as house of prayer for the nearby convent of the holy Spirit. This charity institute did not belong to any then known religious group, though was related to Roman Catholicism and was ment to be a refigee for women, to find peace and spiritual blessing. After the reformation the church became part of the girl's orphinage and after that even a while the weapon's storage for the local regiment. In the 20st century it became again a Catholic church and known as the Saint Hippolytus chapel.
Address: Oude Delft
Directions: While walking along the Oude Delft it is almost too hard to chooseon which side of the canal we walk.
Once the allmighty VOC sailed the seven seas
Prosparity to the Netherlands came in an explosive growth after the V.O.C (Verenigde Oost-Indische Company) was founded. This first company in the world consisted of six main towns that formed a trading treaty in 1602, which was based on shares (stocks). The stockholders were (in the first century) the towns themselves, bringing ggreat wealth to them. Delft was one of these towns. Now-a-days one might say, but Delft doesn't have a seaport, which is comepletely right. But in Rotterdam the old harbour is called "Delfhaven" and used to be the harbour of Delft, after which canals connecting to this place took care that all the goods were stored within the city itself. Only in 1886 this harbour became part of Rotterdam. Here also the administration of the V.O.C. was seated in the "Oost Indische" (East Inidian) House. In 1631 the houses were purchased and turned into the Delft administration, decorating the outside with significant signs appointing to the mighty company that since then was based here.
Address: Oude Delft 39
Directions: Almost at the end of the Oude Delft canal, across the Armamentarium (army museum).
The old arsenal still holds weapons from all times
History of this huge block started in 1601, when war against Spanish rule was tearing the Lowlands apart. The provinces of Holland needed arsenals and weapons storage buildings and the important town of Delft should certainly get one. It even got the central position within the storage of weapons throughout the new and still rebelious Republic. After the independance was won, the building was expanding with guards houses and a smith's workshop. In these days the function is different, yet holds some similarities. The weapons are still there, though now shown to the visitors of the "Legermuseum" (Army Museum). It has a exposition of ancient weapons and military costumes as well as roulating expositions of various actual items.
Address: Korte Geer 1, Delft
Directions: The other side of the Oude Delft, when this canal is running on it's end into "De Kolk" at the Zuidwal.
The rich facade of the Delft city hall
Besides the high Nieuwe Kerk-tower, the most remarkable building here on the Markt (market square) is the town hall. Already in the 13th century when this place was property of the Count of Holland, a central court stood here. In 1435 the place (including the market square, cam in the hands of the city of Delft and a town hall was created within the excisting complex. Due to constant expensions the town hall became a block around the significant old tower, that used to be the prison. During the cityfire of 1536 the town hall burnt down. It was restored, but modernized and larger. Further construction in the 16th century lead to the magnificent building that we see today. In 1618 the town hall again burnt down to the ground, leaving only the central tower somewhat damaged. Several architects made designs for a new town hall and eventually Hendrick de Keyser was choosen. His plans used the old tower again and surrounded it with the vast building that is beautifully decorated and has many windows. It was finished in 1620.
Address: Markt 87
Directions: Head for the New church tower from the Old Church and you will know when you're there
Delft and Zuid-Holland, connected for ever ...
The tower, beautifully decorated with the siogns of Holland and Delft (coat of arms)was nicknamed "Het Steen" (The Stone), because beside the Old Church, it was the first stone (brick) building in medieval Delft. Halfway the tower a little platform was made from where news was brought (cried out) to the people. In later times the clockwork and carillon were added and the interior of the buildings surrounding the tower became furnished. Especially the city council room is still today a wonderful sight to see. Inside the tower there is still a small museum about the prison function of the tower and it's history.
Address: Markt 87
Colourful lukes on a similar building
This remarkable 15th century building along the canal has had it's share of functions throughtout the time. The original place was, as one can clearly see in the many lukes and the lifting bench on top of the building, a storehouse for goods. Later it became known as "Vondelingenhuis" ("foundling" or abandonded children house) as well as the "Heilige Geest-huis" (house of the holy spirit). Now-a-days it actually still takes care of "foundlings", as the "Stadsherberg" is using the building for sheltering the homeless people of Delft.
Address: Molslaan 104
Directions: Cross the street in front of the church and go right to turn into the first alley left. At the other canal you find the "Vondelingenhuis" along the canal going to the left again.
One of the Maria van Jesse churchtowers
Roman Catholic relgion is - after the natural (pagant) religions throughout Europe, the first widely spread believe. However, during the reformation the church became discriminated, even in the new Republic that started out as being a place where freedom of religion stood high on the list. Churches were abandoned or simply "reformed" into one of the many protestant christian religious groups. However, centuries later, some churches fell back into Catholic hands or, when this was not volunteraly offered, the Roman Catholics descided to built a complete new church. thus was the case in Delft, where the Saint Hoppolytus chapel was not large enough to house the two RC-parishes that appeared after the reformation times. The Saint Jozef parish, hiding out in a little church inside a canalhouse in the same named street, started the construction of a large basilica in 1733. The church became enormous and realised a bounding between the two Catholic parishes of Delft, re united the people again. Dispute however was the name, as one group always was in favour of the original Saint Hippolytus patriot saint, and the others stuck to Saint Jozef. Eventually the new church was named "Maria van Jesse" and it's two towers rise up in the sky, forming a graceful silouet over the tops of the Markt houses.
Address: Burgwal 20
Directions: Leaving the Markt at the righthandside of the New Church and keep to the right immediately again. Slip into the little alley next to the backside of the Maria van Jesse church.
Gracefully showing it's wonderful view: Oostpoort
As said, Delft was one of the VOC towns and regionally of utmost importance. As centre in South Holland in medeival and rennaissance times, Delft florished after getting city rights and priviliges between 1246 and 1355. these rights were not only market and monopoly rights, but also the allowance to built a defensive city wall. Provishinary walls excisted, but in the 14th century one made a start with a stone wall, with gates that connected to the roads that lead into town. Albrecht van Beieren allowed it and a moat was dug around Delft. In 1448 the project was in full swing, containing 24 towers, 8 gates and of course a long long wall surrounding the whole city. One of the gates was the "Oostpoort" (Eastern gate) and ... the most special one of all as it was not only giving way to the road from arriving from the East, it also let in ships in that arrived from the Delftse Vliet. Novilty were the hidden doors in a tranch at the canal bed. An enormous shutter could be raised to close of the entrance to town. As far as gracefulness in Delft is concerned, the "Oostpoort" wins in all ways possible. It's truely worth the walk to the far end of the old Delft centre.
Address: Oostpoort 1
Directions: Follow the Oosteind canal until the end.
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