Founded around 1100, Delft grew rich from weaving and trade in the 13th and
14th centuries. In the 15th century a canal was dug to the Maas river, and the
small port there, Delfshaven, was eventually absorbed by Rotterdam. Delft
is synonymous with its famous Delftware, the distinctive blue-and-white pottery
originally duplicated from Chinese porcelain by 17th-century artisans.
Delft is known for its historic town center with canals, the Delft
University of Technology, and painter Johannes Vermeer.
- Royal Delft
famous Delftware has a rich and long history which goes back to the early
1600s. The V.O.C. (Dutch East India Company) ships not only brought back
spices from the Far East but also large quantities of Chinese porcelain.
This porcelain became very popular among affluent families such as the
European Royals. When the import of Chinese porcelain declined as a result
of civil wars in China, the Dutch potteries seized the opportunity and
developed their own version of this blue and white porcelain. This was the
start of the Dutch Delftware industry which is now known internationally as
a typically Dutch product. From the approximately 32 potteries that were
founded in the 17th Century, Royal Delft is the only remaining Delftware
factory left in Delft today.
- Delft Stadhuis & Markt
The city center retains a large number of
monumental buildings, whereas in many streets there are canals of which the
borders are connected by typical bridges, altogether making this city a
notable tourist destination.
- New Church (Nieuwe Kerk)
The New Church is located on Delft Market
Square (Markt), opposite to the City Hall. The construction of
the New Church began in 1381, after an unusual vision. It is the 'new’ one,
because another church already stood on the Oude (old) Delft.
The tower of the New Church has been a recognizable landmark in Delft for
centuries. Following a number of renovations, the tower reached its current
height: 108.75 meters, making it the second tallest church tower in the
Although the tickets include both Old and New
Churches, we only had time to visit the New Church (and its tower) and had
to skip Old Church (its tower was not open anyway...).
The Hague is the seat of the Dutch government, parliament, the Supreme Court,
and the Council of State, but the city is not the capital of the Netherlands,
which constitutionally is Amsterdam. Most foreign embassies in the Netherlands
and 150 international organizations are located in the city, including
the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court, which
makes The Hague one of the major cities hosting the United Nations.
The Binnenhof houses the meeting
place of both houses of the States General of the Netherlands, as well as
the Ministry of General Affairs and the office of the Prime Minister of the
Netherlands. Built primarily in the 13th century, the Gothic castle
originally functioned as residence of the counts of Holland and became the
political center of the Dutch Republic in 1584. The Binnenhof is the oldest
House of Parliament in the world still in use.
I booked a
(in English) at 2PM. However, we made a few detours when we drove to
our hotel, and then I missed the information about the tour starting place
(written in Dutch on the ticket), so we were about 5 minutes late when we
finally found the right place. The staff was nice enough to escort us
to catch up the rest of the group. Unfortunately it started to rain
again after we visited the splendid
Hall of Knights, and we had
to skip a few outdoor locations in the tour.
Mauritshuis is home to the Best of Dutch painting from the Golden Age. The
compact, yet world-renowned collection, is situated in the heart of The
Hague, right next to the government center, Binnenhof. More than
two hundred top works from Dutch and Flemish masters are on display in the
historic yet intimate interior, with its silken wall covering, sparkling
chandeliers and monumental painted ceilings. The painting "Girl
with a Pearl Earring" by Johannes Vermeer is one of the most famous
masterpiece, and is often called the "Mona Lisa of the North". The App (for
both iOS and Android) provided by the museum was very useful to guide us
through this fantastic museum.
- Great St. James Church (Grote of Sint-Jacobskerk)
St. James Church
was built during the 14th century. The original structure was built out of
wood and named St. Jacob Church. By the mid-15th century, the church was
rebuilt using brick and its height was extended. In 1539, lightning
struck the tower during a violent storm. Most of the church went up in
flames and the tower was all but destroyed. However, it was rebuilt in 1542.
While the look of the tower was similar, the new construction was designed
in the Renaissance style rather than the original Gothic style.
dinner around a plaza near Binnenhof, we walked to Grote of Sint-Jacobskerk
to attend another SHS concerts (Symphony Orchestra and Choir). The
acoustic in the church was again so good for choir (but too much
reverberation for orchestra...).
- Early morning at The Hague
Before we left The Hague and headed to Amsterdam, we
passed by the Peace Palace, which houses the International Court of
Justice (which is the principal judicial body of the United Nations),
the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), The Hague Academy of International Law
and the Peace Palace Library.
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