Last updated
Delft Blick von der Nieuwe Kerk auf die Oude Kerk 1.jpg
A view of Delft with the Oude Kerk in the centre
Flag of Delft.svg
Coat of arms of Delft.svg
Coat of arms
Map - NL - Municipality code 0503 (2009).svg
Location in South Holland
Coordinates: 52°0′42.25″N4°21′33.15″E / 52.0117361°N 4.3592083°E / 52.0117361; 4.3592083 Coordinates: 52°0′42.25″N4°21′33.15″E / 52.0117361°N 4.3592083°E / 52.0117361; 4.3592083
Country Netherlands
Province Flag Zuid-Holland.svg  South Holland
City Hall Delft City Hall
  Body Municipal council
   Mayor Marja van Bijsterveldt (CDA)
  Total24.06 km2 (9.29 sq mi)
  Land22.82 km2 (8.81 sq mi)
  Water1.24 km2 (0.48 sq mi)
0 m (0 ft)
 (August 2017) [4]
  Density4,443/km2 (11,510/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Delftenaar
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+2 (CEST)
Area code 015

Delft ( [dɛlft] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen )) 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 part of both Rotterdam–The Hague metropolitan area and the Randstad.

Provinces of the Netherlands first-level administrative division in the Netherlands

There are currently twelve provinces of the Netherlands, representing the administrative layer between the national government and the local municipalities, with responsibility for matters of subnational or regional importance.

South Holland Province of the Netherlands

South Holland is a province of the Netherlands with a population of just over 3.6 million as of 2015 and a population density of about 1,300/km2 (3,400/sq mi), making it the country's most populous province and one of the world's most densely populated areas. Situated on the North Sea in the west of the Netherlands, South Holland covers an area of 3,403 km2 (1,314 sq mi), of which 585 km2 (226 sq mi) is water. It borders North Holland to the north, Utrecht and Gelderland to the east, and North Brabant and Zeeland to the south. The provincial capital is The Hague, while its largest city is Rotterdam.

Netherlands Constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Europe

The Netherlands, sometimes informally called Holland, is a country located in Northwestern Europe with some overseas territories in the Caribbean. In Europe, it consists of 12 provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with those countries and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba—it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian. In the northern parts of the country, Low German is also spoken.


Delft is a popular tourist destination in the country of The Netherlands. It is home to Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), regarded as center of technological research and development in the Netherlands, Delft Blue pottery and the currently reigning House of Orange-Nassau. Historically, Delft played a highly influential role in the Dutch Golden Age. [5] [6] [7] [8] Delft has a special place in the history of microbiology. 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 true birthplace of microbiology, with its several sub-disciplines such as bacteriology, protozoology, and virology.

Delft University of Technology university

Delft University of Technology also known as TU Delft, is the largest and oldest Dutch public technological university, located in Delft, Netherlands. As of 2019, it is ranked in the top 20 of best universities for engineering and technology worldwide and is the highest ranked university in the Netherlands. Generally, the TU Delft has been placed in the top 200 universities in the world by five major ranking tables.

Delftware Type of glazed pottery, originating from the Low Countries

Delftware or Delft pottery, also known as Delft Blue, is a general term now used for Dutch tin-glazed earthenware, a form of faience. Most of it is blue and white pottery, and the city of Delft in the Netherlands was the major centre of production, but the term covers wares with other colours, and made elsewhere. It is also used for similar pottery that it influenced made in England, but this should be called English delftware to avoid confusion.

House of Orange-Nassau branch of the European House of Nassau

The House of Orange-Nassau, a branch of the European House of Nassau, has played a central role in the politics and government of the Netherlands and Europe especially since William the Silent organized the Dutch revolt against Spanish rule, which after the Eighty Years' War (1568–1648) led to an independent Dutch state.


Early history

The Gemeenlandshuis and the Old Church in (1877) by Cornelis Springer Cornelis Springer, The Gemeenlandshuis and the Old Church, Delft, Summer (1877).jpg
The Gemeenlandshuis and the Old Church in (1877) by Cornelis Springer
Delft in 1649 (Blaeu) Antique map of Delft, Netherlands by Blaeu J. 1649.jpg
Delft in 1649 (Blaeu)

The city of Delft came into being beside a canal, the 'Delf', which comes from the word delven, meaning delving or digging, and led to the name Delft. It presumably started around the 11th century as a landlord court.

From a rural village in the early Middle Ages, Delft developed into a city, that in the 13th century (1246) received its charter. (For some more information about the early development, see Gracht).

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. 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 it was equipped with the necessary city walls to serve as a headquarters. An attack by Spanish forces in October of that year was repelled.

William the Silent founder of the Dutch Republic, stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland and Utrecht, leader of the Dutch Revolt

William I, Prince of Orange, also known as William the Silent or William the Taciturn, or more commonly known as William of Orange, was the main leader of the Dutch Revolt against the Spanish Habsburgs that set off the Eighty Years' War (1568–1648) and resulted in the formal independence of the United Provinces in 1581. He was born in the House of Nassau as Count of Nassau-Dillenburg. He became Prince of Orange in 1544 and is thereby the founder of the branch House of Orange-Nassau and the ancestor of the monarchy of the Netherlands. Within the Netherlands, he is also known as Father of the Fatherland.

Eighty Years War 16th and 17th-century Dutch revolt against the Habsburgs

The Eighty Years' War or Dutch War of Independence (1568–1648) was a revolt of the Seventeen Provinces of what are today the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg against Philip II of Spain, the sovereign of the Habsburg Netherlands. After the initial stages, Philip II deployed his armies and regained control over most of the rebelling provinces. Under the leadership of the exiled William the Silent, the northern provinces continued their resistance. They eventually were able to oust the Habsburg armies, and in 1581 they established the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands. The war continued in other areas, although the heartland of the republic was no longer threatened. This included the origins of the Dutch colonial empire, which began with Dutch attacks on Portugal's overseas territories, which at the time was conceived as carrying overseas the war with Spain due to Portugal being in a dynastic union with Spain. The Dutch Republic was recognized by Spain and the major European powers in 1609 at the start of the Twelve Years' Truce. Hostilities broke out again around 1619, as part of the broader Thirty Years' War. An end was reached in 1648 with the Peace of Münster, when the Dutch Republic was definitively recognised as an independent country no longer part of the Holy Roman Empire. The Peace of Münster is sometimes considered the beginning of the Dutch Golden Age.

County of Holland former State of the Holy Roman Empire and part of the Habsburg Netherlands

The County of Holland was a State of the Holy Roman Empire and from 1432 part of the Burgundian Netherlands, from 1482 part of the Habsburg Netherlands and from 1581 onward the leading province of the Dutch Republic, of which it remained a part until the Batavian Revolution in 1795. The territory of the County of Holland corresponds roughly with the current provinces of North Holland and South Holland in the Netherlands.

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.

Act of Abjuration declaration of independence by many of the provinces of the Netherlands from the allegiance to Philip II of Spain, during the Dutch Revolt

The Act of Abjuration is the declaration of independence by many of the provinces of the Netherlands from the allegiance to Philip II of Spain, during the Dutch Revolt.

In law and government, de facto describes practices that exist in reality, even though they are not officially recognized by laws. It is commonly used to refer to what happens in practice, in contrast with de jure, which refers to things that happen according to law.

Capital city Primary governing city of a top-level (country) or first-level subdivision (country, state, province, etc) political entity

A capital city is the municipality exercising primary status in a country, state, province, or other administrative region, usually as its seat of government. A capital is typically a city that physically encompasses the government's offices and meeting places; the status as capital is often designated by its law or constitution. In some jurisdictions, including several countries, the different branches of government are located in different settlements. In some cases, a distinction is made between the official (constitutional) capital and the seat of government, which is in another place.

When William was shot dead in 1584 by Balthazar Gerards in the hall of the Prinsenhof, 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.

Delft Explosion

Egbert van der Poel: A View of Delft after the Explosion of 1654 Delftsedonderslag.jpg
Egbert van der Poel: A View of Delft after the Explosion of 1654

The Delft Explosion, also known in history as the Delft Thunderclap  [ nl ], 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 wounded.

About 30 tonne s (29.5 long ton s; 33.1 short ton s) 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.

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.


View of Delft by Johannes Vermeer View of Delft, by Johannes Vermeer.jpg
View of Delft by Johannes Vermeer

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, [13] altogether making this city a notable tourist destination. [14]

Historical buildings and other sights of interest include:

Delft City Hall Delft stadhuis.jpg
Delft City Hall
Eastern Gate (Oostpoort) Delft poorte.jpg
Eastern Gate (Oostpoort)
The Old Church tower Delft Oude Kerk 002.jpg
The Old Church tower
Oude Langendijk Oude Langendijk Delft.jpg
Oude Langendijk


Delft blue is most famous but there are other kinds of Delftware, like this plate faience in rose Delft plate faience Famille Rose 1760 1780.jpg
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 [14] 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. [16]

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. [14] 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, 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.[ citation needed ] However, demolition of the building started in December 2009, making way for the construction of 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 TU Delft buildings.jpg
TU Delft buildings

Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) is one of four universities of technology in the Netherlands. [17] It was founded as an academy for civil engineering in 1842 by King William II. Today well over 21,000 students are enrolled. [18]

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.


In the local economic field essential elements are:

Nature and recreation

The Plantagegeer, one of Delft's several smaller city parks Delft Plantagegeer.JPG
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"). [19] Through the forest lie bike, horse-riding and footpaths. It also includes a vast lake (suitable for swimming and windsurfing), narrow beaches, a restaurant, 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 also several smaller town parks, like "Nieuwe Plantage", "Agnetapark", "Kalverbos" and others. Furthermore, there is the Botanical Garden of the TU and an arboretum in Delftse Hout.

Notable people

Hugo Grotius, a founding father of modern international law. Hugo Grotius Delft.JPG
Hugo Grotius, a founding father of modern international law.
Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, the first acknowledged microscopist and microbiologist. He is commonly known as the father of microbiology. Anthonie van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723). Natuurkundige te Delft Rijksmuseum SK-A-957.jpeg
Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, the first acknowledged microscopist and microbiologist. He is commonly known as the father of microbiology.
Martinus Beijerinck, the founding father of the Delft School of Microbiology. He is often considered as one of the founders of virology, environmental microbiology, and industrial microbiology. Mwb in lab.JPG
Martinus Beijerinck, the founding father of the Delft School of Microbiology. He is often considered as one of the founders of virology, environmental microbiology, and industrial microbiology.

Delft was the birthplace of:

Before 1900

After 1900

Otherwise related


One of the 8 different Nuna cars Nuna3atZandvoort1.JPG
One of the 8 different Nuna cars

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Delft is twinned with: [23]

Delft's longstanding connection with Rishon LeZion ended in 2016 after the supporting organizations shut down in both countries. [25]


Topographic map of Delft city (in Dutch), September 2014. Click to enlarge. Delft-plaats-OpenTopo.jpg
Topographic map of Delft city (in Dutch), September 2014. Click to enlarge.

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. One of those two lines (19) is still under construction inside Delft and is meant to connect The Hague with a science park, which is being developed on the southern (Rotterdam) side of Delft and is a joint project by the Delft and Rotterdam municipalities. [27]

See also

Delft city view Delft - Visbrug.jpg
Delft city view
"Gemeenlandshuis" Delft - building.jpg
Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) Nieuwe-Kerk-vanuit-het-westen.JPG
Nieuwe Kerk (New Church)
Legermuseum (Army museum) Legermuseum delft.jpg
Legermuseum (Army museum)
Central Market Square Delft Central Market Square.jpg
Central Market Square
City sight ("Vrouw Juttenland") Delft centre.JPG
City sight ("Vrouw Juttenland")
Huybrechtstower Huybrechtstoren delft 2.JPG
"Koornbeurs" Koornbeurs delft.jpg
Observatory Delft observatory.jpg
Former station building Delft Station.jpg
Former station building
New station building 20170720 Delft station 01.jpg
New station building
Main canal "Delftse Schie" at sundown Delftse Schie at sundown.JPG
Main canal "Delftse Schie" at sundown
Sculpture near the church Delft, het Blauwe Hart van plexiglas en staal bij de Nieuwe Kerk foto7 niet-ontwikkelt 2016-03-13.jpg
Sculpture near the church
Streetview (het Oosteinde) Delft, straatzicht Oosteinde vanaf de Molslaan foto7 2016-03-13 10.54.jpg
Streetview (het Oosteinde)
Streetview (Dertienhuizen) Delft, straatzicht Dertienhuizen-Verwersdijk foto4 2016-03-13 11.29.jpg
Streetview (Dertienhuizen)
Lutherse Kerk Delft, de Lutherse kerk in straatzicht RM11951 foto6 2016-03-13 11.55.jpg
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" [Key figures for neighbourhoods]. CBS Statline (in Dutch). CBS. 2 July 2013. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  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. 27 October 2017. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  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 Archives, October 14, 2004
  13. Bridges in Delft
  14. 1 2 3 4 Martin Dunford (2010). The Rough Guide to The Netherlands. Penguin. p. 169. ISBN   978-1-84836-882-8 . Retrieved 24 November 2011.
  15. "Delft, Zuid-Holland" (in Dutch). Molendatabase. Retrieved 22 October 2014.
  16. Kitty Kilian, "10 jaar galerie Terra; Keramisch gezicht op Delft." NRC Handelsblad, 23 May 1996.
  17. "4TU.Federation".
  18. "Studentenpopulatie". TU Delft.
  19. "Category:Delftse Hout" . Retrieved 6 May 2015.
  20. "World Solar Challenge 2017". Archived from the original on 2017-10-16. Retrieved 2017-10-16.
  21. List of trophies won by Proteus-Eretes members
  22. "The Recumbent Bicycle and Human Powered Vehicle Information Center".
  23. (source: Delft municipality guide 2005)
  24. "List of Twin Towns in the Ruhr District" (PDF). © 2009 Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-11-28. Retrieved 2009-10-28.
  25. "Onthulling gedenksteen Rishon LeZion". Heerenveense Courant.
  26. "Category:Spoorzone-project" . Retrieved 6 May 2015.
  27. "Nieuwe tram -en buslijnen" [New tram and bus lines]. Traffic and Transit (in Dutch). Haaglanden Urban Regio. Archived from the original on 22 May 2013. Retrieved 16 March 2013.

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Further reading