The town hall of Delft is one of the most beautiful monuments on the Market Square Delft. The old prison in the tower of the town hall can sometimes be visited. In this prison, the most famous Dutch murderer Balthazar Gerards was held captive. After the attack on William of Orange, he was publicly tortured and executed on the market. Opposite the town hall is the statue of Hugo de Groot. The young De Groot turns out to be an intellectual all-rounder. At the age of eleven he studies law at Leiden University. He writes Latin verses and texts about classical antiquity. The French king called him ‘the miracle of Holland’. De Waag, behind the town hall, is currently in use as a theatre. The Vleeshal dates from the middle of the 17th century, but it had various functions over the years. In 1939, the building was confiscated by the Germans as their air defense command center. De Visbanken has been located on the corner of the Grote Markt since 1342. Fresh herring, eel, plaice and cod are supplied from Scheveningen every day.
The Oude Kerk at Oude Delft canal dates from the 14th century. Remarkable about the Old Church Delft is the imposing tower that leans almost two meters. In the tower is a bell that weighs more than 9,000 kilos, which is only rung on special occasions. There are tombs of scientists and merchants from the golden age. The captains Piet Hein and Maarten Tromp, the painter Johannes Vermeer, the scientist Anthoni van Leeuwenhoek. The church has three organs and a pulpit from 1548, with the four evangelists Luke (symbolised with a bull), John (symbolised with an eagle), Mark (symbolised with a lion) and Matthew (symbolised with an angel.
Not much is known about Johannes Vermeer’s (1632-1675) life. His most important works are ‘the Girl with a Pearl Earring’ and ‘A View of Delft’. He lived his entire life, fairly anonymously, in Delft and also painted his entire oeuvre here. After his death in 1675, his paintings were spread across many top museums around the world. Not a single painting has remained in Delft. The Vermeer Center Delft shows the life, work and city of the 17th-century master of light. Full-size copies of all 37 works by Johannes Vermeer are exposed. The techniques used by him are explained by means of the camera obscura. The Vermeer Center Delft used to be home to the former Sint Lucasguild, where Vermeer was a leading figure. His grave can be seen in the Oude Kerk (also called Oude Jan).
The Municipal House of Delfland from the 16th century has one of the most beautiful and oldest facades in Delft. It is a city palace, natural stone decorated with colourful coats of arms and since 1645 it has been the seat of the Delfland Water Board, one of the oldest water boards in the country. Water boards were the first forms of democratic governance in the Netherlands. Other old beautiful Delft facades can also be seen along various canals, such as Voldersgracht, Koornmarkt, Oude Delft, the Wijnhaven, the Voorstraat and on the Markt.
Delft Blue is world famous. Delft was once teeming with potteries, today there is only one left: De Porceleyne Fles. The studios and factory are open to the public. When you walk through the city, the famous Delft’s Blue pops up everywhere in the streets. In the souvenir shops, but also in galleries and studios. Or just literally on the street. There are ceramic paving stones in some places and there are also some blue coloured lampposts in the city. Even the street art is blue! Genuine Delft Blue can be recognized by the mark under each object. A pharmacy bottle with the initials JT, Joost Thooft, one of the earliest owners of the company. The word Delft with a curly capital D. The painter’s initials on the left, the year code on the right and the article number at the bottom.
Museum Het Prinsenhof Delft, along the Oude Delft canal, has a collection of paintings, Delft pottery, gobelins and silver. The complex that houses the museum was founded as the St. Agatha Monastery and was later the residence of William of Orange. He was murdered here on the 10th of July 1584; the bullet holes in the wall still bear witness to this. The murderer was publicly executed on the Market. Three icons of five centuries of Dutch history can be seen in the museum: William of Orange, Delft Masters and Delft Blue.
The Nieuwe Kerk on the Markt is a late Gothic cruciform basilica. The New Church Delft is not new at all, it was built between 1383 and 1510. One can climb the tower of the Nieuwe Kerk. With 376 narrow steps you reach a height of 85 meters. A tough climb, but then you have a breathtaking view on Delft. With a height of 108.75 meters, the tower itself is the second highest church tower in the Netherlands. Only the Dom Tower in Utrecht is taller. According to royal protocol, all members of the House of Orange are tombed in the burial chambers of the Nieuwe Kerk. Of the 43 Oranges, recent burials were of Queen Juliana, Prince Bernhard, Prince Claus and his son Prince Friso. Delft has therefore always been associated with our royal family for centuries. The most famous former resident of Delft was William of Orange and his mausoleum has a prominent place in the church. Gold, bronze, black marble, Italian and white marble were used for the construction of the tomb. The tomb is on the UNESCO list of Dutch monuments. The tomb has a number of symbolic references. Four female statues symbolize freedom, justice, religion, strength and courage. An image of the Spaniel dog at the feet symbolises fidelity and loyalty.