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Delft

Delft () is a city and a municipality in the Netherlands. It is located in the province of South Holland, where it is situated north of Rotterdam and south of the The Hague.

Delft is known for its historic town centre with canals, Delft Blue pottery, the Delft University of Technology, painter Johannes Vermeer and scientist Antony van Leeuwenhoek, and its association with the royal House of Orange-Nassau.

Contents

  • History 1
    • Early history 1.1
    • Delft Explosion 1.2
  • Sights 2
  • Culture 3
  • Education 4
  • Economy 5
  • Nature and recreation 6
  • Miscellaneous 7
  • International relations 8
    • Twin towns — Sister cities 8.1
  • Transport 9
  • See also 10
  • Notes 11
  • Further reading 12
  • External links 13

History

Early history

The city of Delft came into being aside 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 to 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 of the country, which struggle is 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.

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.

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

The Delft Explosion, also known in history as the Delft Thunderclap, occurred on 12 October 1654 when a gunpowder store exploded, destroying much of the city. Over a hundred people were killed and thousands wounded.

About 30 tonnes (29.5 long tons; 33.1 short tons) 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. Artist Carel Fabritius was wounded in the explosion and died of his injuries. Later on, Egbert van der Poel painted several pictures of Delft showing the devastation.

Sights

The city centre retains a large number of monumental buildings, whereas in many streets there are canals of which the borders are connected by typical bridges,[1] altogether making this city a notable tourist destination.[2]

Historical buildings and other sights of interest include:

City sight ("Vrouw Juttenland")
Nieuwe Kerk (New Church)
Delft City Hall
The Eastern Gate ("Oostpoort")
Arsenal ("Armamentarium")
"Gemeenlandshuis"
Oude Kerk ("Old church")
"Koornbeurs"

Culture

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[2] 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.

The painter Johannes Vermeer (1632–1675) was born in Delft. Vermeer used Delft streets and home interiors as the subject or background of his paintings.[2] 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 all were 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, flower paintings, portraits for patrons and the court, and decorative pieces of art.

Education

TU Delft buildings
Site at business park "Delftechpark"

Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) is one of three universities of technology in the Netherlands. It was founded as an academy for civil engineering in 1842 by King William II. Today well over 16,000 students are enrolled.

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.

Economy

In the local economic field essential elements are:

  • education; (a.o. TU Delft Delft University of Technology) (As of 2007 14.299 students, 2.712 scientists and 1.859 researchers),
  • scientific research; (a.o. "TNO" ( UNESCO-IHE Institute for water education.
  • tourism; (about one million registered visitors a year),
  • industry; (DSM Gist Services BV, (Delftware) earthenware production by De Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles, Exact Software Nederland BV, Topdesk, Ampelmann)
  • retail; (Ikea ( Inter IKEA Systems B.V., owner and worldwide franchisor of the IKEA Concept, is based in Delft), Makro, Eneco Energy NV).

Nature and recreation

East of Delft a relatively vast nature and recreation area called the "Delftse Hout" ("Delft Wood")[4] is situated. Apart from a forest, through which bike-, horseride- and footpaths are leading, it also comprises a vast lake (suitable for swimming and windsurfing), narrow beaches, a restaurant, community gardens, plus campground and other recreational and sports facilities. (There is a possibility to rent bikes at 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's a Botanical Garden of the TU and an arboretum in Delftse Hout.

Springtime in Delft
The Delftse Hout lake
Site at Delft City park
"Nootdorpse Plassen", (partly) a Delft nature area
"Plantagegeer", one of Delft several smaller city parks

Delft was the birthplace of:

Before 1900

Michaëlla Krajicek

After 1900

Otherwise related

Miscellaneous

One of the 6 different Nuna cars
  • Nuna is a series of manned solar powered vehicles, built by students at the Delft University of Technology, that won the World solar challenge in Australia five times, of which four in a row, (in 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007) and one in 2013.
  • The so-called "Superbus" project aims to develop high speed coaches capable of speeds of up to 250 kilometres per hour (155 mph) together with the supporting infrastructure including special highway lanes constructed separately next to the nation's highways; this project was led by Dutch astronaut professor Wubbo Ockels of the Delft University of Technology.
  • Members of both Delft Student Rowingclubs Proteus-Eretes and Laga have won many international trophies, among which Olympic medals, in the past.[8]

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Delft is twinned with:[9]

Transport

Delft, two churches in town center (de Nieuwe Kerk and de Oude Kerk)
Dutch Topographic map of Delft (city), Sept. 2014. Click to enlarge.

Trains stopping at these stations connect Delft with, among others, nearby cities of Rotterdam and The Hague, up to 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 being developed on the southern (Rotterdam) side of Delft and is a joint project by the Delft and Rotterdam municipalities.[12]

See also

Notes

  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ List of trophies won by Proteus-Eretes members
  9. ^ (source: Delft municipality guide 2005)
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^

Further reading

Published in the 19th century
Published in the 20th century
Published in the 21st century
  • Vermeer: A View of Delft, Anthony Bailey, Henry Holt & Company, 2001, ISBN 0-8050-6718-3

External links

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