Delft is one of my favorite cities in the Netherlands. It is a great day trip from Amsterdam and if you have time, it merits an overnight and a day or two. So if you are looking for what to do in Delft, here are seven things to do in Delft.
1. New Church
The New Church, formerly the church of St. Ursula (14th century), is the burial place of the princes of Orange. The latest are Queen Juliana and her husband Prince Bernhard in 2004. The private royal family crypt is not open to the public. The building is located on Delft Market Square (Markt), opposite to the City Hall. The New Church’s tower offers a perfect view across Delft and its surroundings. In good weather, you can easily see Rotterdam and The Hague from the top of the 85 meter tower. The tower has 376 steps so you should be in pretty good shape to climb.
2. Market Square
The main square in Delft Netherlands is called the Markt. Most public squares in The Netherlands are not very large, but this one is huge. There are 55 nationally recognized and protected cultural heritage buildings on the Market including the New Church at the northeast end and the historic City Hall in the southwest. If you are there on Thursday, that is the day when the market stalls open. There are many shops and boutiques along the market and this is a good place to buy hand painted Delftware just be careful you are buying real Delftware and not something that was made in China.
The Old Church was built in 1240. It is most noticeable because it has a leaning tower. The tower was built on a filled in canal that was not a firm foundation. They tried to correct the lean when building it but was not successful. Many people used to fear that the leaning tower would collapse but it has been leaning for hundreds of years. Johannes Vermeer is buried here as well as many other notable citizens of Delft. The inside is very striking with a white Protestant stark interior and beautiful stained glass windows. The most interesting piece in the old church is the pulpit. The Iconoclasm of 1566 and 1572 destroyed virtually everything considered Roman Catholic in the church, but the pulpit was spared and it is a beautifully carved piece.
4. City Hall
The City Hall in Delft is a Renaissance style building on the Market across from the New Church. In 1618, the old town hall burned down and it was rebuilt in 1620. All that remained from the old building is the tower and some walls. It is a beautiful building on the Market square that is a must see. I recommend if possible to not see the building during the market day because it can be crowded.
5. Royal Delft
There was a time that there was 32 earthenware porcelain factories in Delft, the famous blue painted porcelain. Now there is only one, the Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles. Everywhere you go in the city of Delft you will find the blue porcelain for sale, although most is now made in China you can tour the last factory still hand paints it in Delft. The Royal Delft Experience is worth a visit, you can have the opportunity to learn the history of the Delft China, see many different pieces and tour the factory. There is also a store where you can buy very expensive hand painted Delft porcelain or other collectibles.
6. The Prince’s Court and Prinsenhof Museum
In 1572, William of Orange chose the Sint Agathaklooster Monastery as his home where he led the Dutch in a revolt against the Spanish rulers. It was in this very house that he was murdered and you can still see the bullet holes in the walls on the staircase. While that might be enough to merit a visit to the Prinsenhof Museum, the museum has a really good exhibit on William of Orange, the history and people Delft and the Delftware porcelain china.
7. Walk around Delft
One of the best things to do in Delft is to wander around. It has some of the most beautiful canals in all of The Netherlands. Make sure that you leave enough time to truly enjoy this city on foot. Some of my favorite Dutch buildings and canals are in the town. There are many cafes and places you can get really good desserts. Het Gulden ABC (Markt 34) has the most amazing Dutch pancakes, Bill and Hillary Clinton got pancakes there when they visited Delft in 1997 and I tried it and it was amazing. Another good thing to do is enjoy a floating cafe which is an outside cafe on a barge on a canal.
Hope you enjoy Delft, there are lots of things to do and it is a great place to visit.