Delft

Travel Guide Europe Netherlands South Holland Delft

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Introduction

Delft is a mid-sized city in the west of the Netherlands. It's a beautiful, unspoiled town with traditional architecture, canals and bikes. It's also home to the world famous blue and white ceramics. Delft makes a great destination for a day-trip or can serve as a base to explore the region. And if the bustling crowds of Amsterdam are not really your thing, Delft is a lovely alternative, offering an equally interesting insight into the cultural wealth of old "Holland", on a far more intimate scale.

Delft is more than 750 years old. Its name is derived from the Dutch word 'delven' which means delve or digging. Delft's oldest canal is called The Old Delft (de Oude Delft). Delft expanded around it; later on many other city-canals were dug as life lines through the city. These grachten are still the pride of Delft.

In 1246 Delft received city rights, granted by Holland's Count William II. Delft grew prosperous and new neighbourhoods were added to the city. In 1355 it reached the size it would remain at until the 1900s.

In 1536 a great fire destroyed 2300 houses. The most likely cause was lightning striking the tower of The New Church. About 100 years later, in 1654, an explosion destroyed large parts of town; a warehouse with 36 000 kg of gunpowder blew up. A new warehouse (Kruithuis) was later built, outside the city perimeter.

Delft has long been a centre of art and science. With the foundation of the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie (East India Company) in 1602, Delft also became a trading center. The VOC was at one time the largest trading company in the world, with a huge fleet and offices all over Asia. One of the Dutch offices was in Delft.

In 1842, the Royal Academy for Civil Engineering (Koninklijke Academie ter opleiding van Burgerlijke Ingenieurs) was founded. Now known as Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), it is Delft's biggest employer. About 13,000 students study in Delft.

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Sights and Activities

  • Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), Markt 80, ☎ +31 15 212-3025. Closed on Sundays. Located at Markt, this church was built in 1496. The royal burial chamber is in this church but is not accessible. Prince William of Orange was the first to be buried here, after being shot in 1584. €5. It is possible to climb the 108,75 m tower to get a impressive view of Delft and surroundings. It's the second highest church tower, after the Dom church of Utrecht. You can see both Rotterdam and The Hague. On clear days is it possible to see Leiden and even Amsterdam. It's well worth the effort. (€4 extra to climb the tower; combi ticket (church + tower) is €9). A combi ticket gives free entrance to the Old Church. €5.
  • Stadhuis (Town Hall), Markt 78. After a fire in 1618 after which only the tower remained, Hendrick de Keyser rebuilt the town hall. He reused the tower and some remaining walls. In 1620 construction was finished. The building was renovated in the 19th century.
  • Hugo de Groot (Hugo Grotius), Markt. On the market you will find the statue of Hugo Grotius (10 April 1583 – 28 August 1645). Grotius is the Latin version of the Dutch name Hugo de Groot. Grotius was a jurist in the Dutch Republic. He laid the foundations for international law and law of the sea. In 1618 Grotius was sentenced to life imprisonment to the Loevestein Castle, about 75 km south east of Delft. Grotius managed to escape in a book chest. Both the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the museum Het Prinsenhof in Delft claim to have the original book chest in their collection.
  • Drogisterij De Salamander (Apotheek De Salamander), Markt 47. It's an old fashioned pharmacy. The gable is adorned by a traditional Gaper. The pharmacist -in white lab coat- provides proper care and attention far beyond current standards.
  • De Waag (Waaggebouw), Markt 111. A former weighting house. It currently hosts a café and a restaurant.
  • Vleeshal (Meat Hall), Voldersgracht 1. Built in 1650. It is one of the only Hollands Classical buildings in Delft. Originally a meat market, later it was converted for wheat. Nowadays it is a youth society and restaurant.
  • Visbanken, Cameretten 2. Adjacent to the Vleeshal is the old city's fish market. Try traditional Dutch herring. The taste holds between raw tuna and "gravad lax" (cured salmon). The antique shop opposite the Visbank is the most photographed building in Delft. Note the fence. It is a depiction of the solar system.
  • Beestenmarkt (2 min from the main square). This is a tree covered square with restaurants, cafés and bars all with outside seating. Very busy all year round. Many pubs have patio heaters to provide comfort after sunset. One of the pubs even provides a sand pit for the children. The name of the square refers to cattle (beest is animal) market which used to be held here. During December / January an ice rink is built on the square.
  • Vrouwenregt. This is a tiny street at the back of the New Church. Note the little warped house on the corner closest to the church. It featured in the Girl with the pearl earring, a film about the painter Vermeer and every tourist takes it picture.
  • Oude Kerk towering over the city9 Oude Kerk (Old Church), Heilige Geestkerkhof 25, ☎ +31 15 212-3015. Closed on Sundays. This is Delft's oldest Church, being built in 1246. The interior of this church is excellent. Famous Dutchmen are buried in this church, including: Piet Hein, Maerten Tromp and Johannes Vermeer. €3, with free entrance to the New Church. Note that the Old Church leans out considerably over the Oude Delft canal. When the tower was built the canal had to be moved away from the church as the tower would have been half in the water. During the building works it became apparent that canal-half of the base soil was not firm enough to support the tower. To compensate for the tilt the upper part of the tower was build with a compensating counter curve.

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Events and Festivals

Koningsdag (King's Day)

In 2013, the Dutch throne was passed on to King Willem-Alexander and what used to be Koninginnedag (Queen's Day) will from 2014 become Koningsdag (King's Day). The date will be changed to the 27th of April, which is the king's birthday. In 2014 however it will be on the 26th of April because the 27th falls on a Sunday. On this day the streets of almost every sizable town in the country come alive with activity.

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Getting There

By Plane

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is 45 min away by direct connection train. If you prearrange a taxi to pick you up at Schiphol, expect to pay at least €60 to Delft.

Rotterdam The Hague Airport is only a few kilometres away but has poor public transport connections. RET city bus 33 runs frequently to Rotterdam Centraal Station and takes you there in about 20 min. From there it's a 15-minute train ride.

When taking an airport taxi from Rotterdam The Hague Airport, expect to pay about €35 for the trip. Other, cheaper, options are prearranged taxis from Delft.

By Train

The station is near the city center and also the best for the university. Among the popular direct train connections run are: Den Haag Centraal (~15-20 min) or Den Haag HS (Hollands Spoor, ~10 min), Rotterdam Centraal (~15 min), Schiphol Airport (~35 min), Amsterdam Centraal (~1 h). The current building of the station was opened in 2015. Construction works in the area are still ongoing (December 2016), but you should be able to cross into the city centre unhindered.

Delft is a short tram ride from The Hague by tram. Tramline 1 runs from Scheveningen, through the middle of The Hague and Den Haag HS to Delft. Travelling time is approximately 30 min from The Hague (Centrum) to Delft. From Scheveningen to Delft takes about 45 min. Tell the driver your travel plans so that he can sell you the best value ticket. On the trams you now must use the OV-Chipcard or day-pass. Buy these from the central station or ask at an information desk.

By Car

Delft, between the A4 and A13 motorways, is easily reached by car. Both highways are easily accessible both from Amsterdam/Schiphol and from Rotterdam. Delft has three exits off the A13 motorway. The city centre is best reached via the IKEA exit (exit 9). During the weekend this exit can be busy with IKEA shoppers. Then take the North exit (exit 8), or the South exit (exit 10) to reach the University. From the A4 motorway, take exit 14.

By Bus

Buses from The Hague and Rotterdam terminate at the Delft bus terminal, which is at the back Delft railway station because of building works at the front. Tram line 1 from Den Haag (HS) runs to Delft and has stops near the city center and railway station.

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Getting Around

By Car

The old city has been made largely car-free, but there are three large car parks at the edge of the center (Parkeergarage Zuidpoort, Markt and Phoenix). These car parks are expensive, but parking on the few public parking spaces on the streets in or near the city center can be even more expensive. The parking policy differs per area and is not always clear. Beware of the signs "alleen vergunninghouders" (permit holders only) in some streets in the vicinity of the city center, especially in residential areas. Sometimes only a floor tile with a "P" is visible. This means Permit parking. Many tourist assume "P" means parking and end up with a parking fine. Parking is energetically policed. Unauthorized parking will cost you about €70. A 10 minute walk from the centre parking for free can be found at the Nijverheidsplein. The University area will have space in the weekends.

Traffic rules on priority consider the vulnerability of the mode of transport. This means a car has to give way to a bike to avoid a collision. Even a bike travelling the wrong way up a one-way street, without lights, driven by someone clearly over the limit colliding with a car will put that car driver at fault. Because of the risk to the cyclist, the car should have done everything to avoid the collision, or he is at fault.

Be sure to check the mirrors before you make a right turn. There is a good chance a cyclist is between you and the pavement.

By Public Transport

Local public transport in the town is a part of the public transport system of the Hague. As said, the historical centre of Delft is small enough to be explored on foot, but local public transport could be used to reach the Hague and come back. HTM travel cards are also valid here.

By Foot

Walking - the centre is small enough to walk across in ten minutes. Most streets in the city centre are pedestrianized. But do take care: taxi's are allowed to use these streets. Especially at night they drive at inappropriate speeds. When walking through town make sure you leave room for traffic on bikes. The locals are zooming around going about on their daily business.The locals are usually aware of tourists looking up at the gables and are ready for unsuspended side steps, but do try to keep an eye on the traffic. A collision with a bike can ruin your whole day. Walking around without a top is considered uncouth.

By Bike

The Netherlands is a perfect country for cycling. The land is flat, the views broad and cycle paths are everywhere. For the Dutch cycling is not only useful for the daily commute but also considered an excellent leisure activity. Inexperienced cyclists are few and far between. Cyclist are expected to ride their bikes in an assertive way. If you have a wobbly and uncertain trajectory, cars tend to overtake. This would make the cycling experience a harrowing experience. But realize that even if you have right of way, a car is still a lot harder then you.

Inside the Delft canal streets, most locals will mount the pavement shortly to let cars past on the canals where possible. This is just courteous because the next time when you are driving the car you hope to be let through as well.

At the train station in Delft you can rent bicycles. To rent a bike you will need a valid ID and a deposit (€50 for a simple bike or €145 for a tandem). The rental fee for a normal bike with a back-pedal brake will be €7,50 per day. (including insurance cover for theft). Often it is possible to rent a bike with gears or one with electric assistance. Especially if you are with a group it is best to reserve the bikes per telephone (015-2143033) beforehand. (Please) Make sure you understand the traffic rules before you set off.

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Eat

  • Kobus Kuch, Beestenmarkt 1. The café Kobus Kuch has a nice choice of lunch breads, but is probably best known for its home made pies, and particularly its appeltaart with whipped cream. If the personnel is not to busy to bake one for you, you can even order an entire pie to take home.
  • Lunchroom Leonidas, Choorstraat. Named after the Belgian chocolates (which they sell too), has nice lunch breads and a wide variety of tea. During summer time you can take your lunch out in the patio at the back. Bonus here: no background music!
  • Kleyweg's Stads-koffyhuis, Oude Delft 133. Kleyweg's Stads-koffyhuis is a favorite lunch place of many locals and undoubtedly sports the best sandwiches in town. It can be a bit crowded around lunch time however, so be on time. Otherwise stop there for coffee, Dutch coffee is consistently excellent, and goes well with the ubiquitous (and delicious) Dutch apple cake. It has a terrace boat in summer time which provides a lovely view of the oude delft canal.
  • Michel Boulanger, Oude Kerkstraat 3, 2611 HT Delft, Nederland, ☎ +31 6 24 34 94 15. 8am-5pm Mo-Fr, 8.30am-5pm Sat, 9am-3pm Sun. Great little bakeries that does breads, sandwiches and cakes. €5-10.
  • Jans Delft (Jans), Brabantse Turfmarkt 87, ☎ +31-15 - 8200970, e-mail: info@jansDelft.nl. 10:00-17:30. Jans is a patisserie and lunch place located right in the centre of town. They serve their own baked goods, pies and have ice cream. Open for breakfast (on some days) and lunch. 5-10€.
  • Spijshuis de Dis, Beestenmarkt 36, ☎ +31 15 213-1782. Tu–Sa 17:00–close. Authentic Dutch fare, based on recipes of the Dutch Golden Age. €17–24.
  • Eetcafé de Ruif, Kerkstraat 22-24, ☎ +31 15 2142206. Excellent food at acceptable prices, the best place in Delft for a sunny summer day, food served in the garden and on a barge with sunshine till late in the evening. Daily menu at low prices is usually out at about 20:00. Dinner €15-20.
  • Japanese Restaurant FuSha, Choorstraat 36, ☎ +31 15 212-6026. Japanese sushi restaurant. Nice, serene atmosphere. A set sushi meal takes a whole evening. Limited choice of wine. Not too expensive. Take away possible. Sushi making workshops available.
  • Café de V, Voorstraat 9, ☎ +31 15 2140916. food served 18:00–22:00. Excellent food, probably the best price/quality ratio in Delft, where food and hotels are generally overpriced. Daily menu at unbeatable prices (except maybe "De Ruif"). €7.50. Dinner about €10-20.
  • LEF Restaurant, Doelenplein 2, ☎ +31 15 2120617. Very nice Paris bistro style restaurant/bar. Sit outside under the trees in the summer. Great place for sundowners. Sandpit for the kids available. Great food, low prices. €12-18.
  • Stadscafé De Waag, Markt 11, ☎ +31 15 2130393. Not so simple restaurant, caters often for groups. Prices are OK.
  • Malee, Voldersgracht 29, ☎ +31 15 2120781. Tu–Su 17:00–22:00. Authentic Thai food in a small restaurant. Every day, "auntie Malee" cooks a 3 course dinner for her guests. Not as spicy as you'll get in Thailand, but still a treat for your taste buds. Reservation advisable for larger groups. 3-course meal €18.
  • De Beren, Beestenmarkt, ☎ +31 15 212-6390. Very busy restaurant. It works according to the more than you can eat principle. The portions are large. The meat servings are big. Every thing is served with plenty of carbs like chips, potato or rice. A token amount of salad is added. Very good place to go with a group. Very good value and quick service. Not the best place for a diner for two. Delivery also possible. 12–24.
  • Cafe Einstein (Einstein), Spoorsingel 24, ☎ +31 15 2127014, e-mail: info@einsteindelft.nl. wo-zo from 16:00. Einstein offers great Italian meals for a reasonable price served by a very friendly staff. The real attraction for a visitor is the beautifull historic interior and the large selection of home made liquers. It is advised to reserve in advance. 16,00-20,00€ for a main course.

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Drink

The city centre of Delft is full of small bars, finding seating is sometimes a challenge. In summer the grote markt, Beestenmarkt and Brabantse turfmarkt are filled with terraces, other bars have terrace barges out front. The great beer history is alive and well again in Delft. Many bars feature an extensive beer menu, and one can try a beer from the local brewery (De Koperen Kat) or the historic brew 'Delftse Mueselare Bier'.

  • Jazzcafé Bebop, Kromstraat, a good café where the music is not so loud that you can't hear each other speaking, where the bartender is friendly and the visitors are on average around 25-30 (outside the weekends maybe somewhat older). It has a wide variety of beers and during summer the patio at the back is open.
  • Knus, Zavelpad 3, 015-2122990. In the forest next to Delft lies a pleasant establishment for coffee and snacks. Most people arrive by bike after a tour around the woods. There is a sandpit with water for the children and a few other play things. It has water bikes for rent. Popular with children.
  • Café du Midi, Noordeindseweg 70, Delfgauw, 015 2157469. In the fields next to the Delft forest (behind Ikea) lies a relaxed café. It takes great pride is serving high quality local products. Petting zoo on the premises. Walkabout chickens everywhere. Tree shaded sitting area. usually busy. Also pleasantly priced. Most visitors are cyclist. Certainly worth a visit if you have a bike.
  • Bierhuis de Klomp (de Klomp), Buitenwatersloot 5. Sun-Wed 16:00-1:00, Thur-Sat: 15:00-2:00. De Klomp (the wooden shoe) is the oldest bar in Delft. It is staffed by a very professional team that gladly will tell you about the history of the place. Since 2010 the bar has been featured in the Dutch 'Café top 100'. The bar serves a large selection of craft beers. What is really special is the large Jenever selection. This dutch drink is sometimes called the Dutch gin, the staff will be happy to tell you about it and serve you a tasting of three different Jenevers.
  • Cafe het Klooster (Klooster), Vlamingstraat 2. Klooster has a large selection of craftbeer on draft (20 beers) and in their firdge. The staff give great recommendations. A recent change of ownership brought a large increase in seating area, which means you probably can get a table.

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Sleep

  • Hotel Coen Delft, Coenderstraat 47, ☎ +31 15 214-5914. Comfortable, clean, reasonably priced and right next to the railway station, the only hotel in Delft offering a free sauna for its guests. Also offering a free Wi-Fi service and a lobby computer. 40 rooms. Double room €110, breakfast €12.
  • Hotel de Emauspoort Delft, Vrouwenregt 9-11, ☎ +31 15 219-0219. Right behind the New Church. 23 rooms. Double room €100, breakfast included. edit
  • Hotel Grand Canal, Breestraat 1, ☎ +31 15 215-7133. Housed in a historic building (former city prison and VOC building) overlooking the canals, 2 minutes from the railway station. Clean and well-furnished, not very wheelchair-friendly. Wi-Fi available. Double room €95-150, breakfast €16.
  • Hotel de Plataan, Doelenplein 10, ☎ +31 15 212-6046. Unique and stylish hotel. Themed rooms are available. Look at their website for details. Great location, reasonable prices. Free Wi-Fi. Single/double room €99/114. breakfast €15.
  • Westcord, Olof Palmestraat 2 (Exit Delft centrum), ☎ +31 15 888-9010. WestCord Hotel Delft is a showcase for Ikea. Everything is Ikea. The chairs, the bed, the cutlery, everything.
  • Hostel Delft, Voldersgracht 17, ☎ +31 6 16496621.
  • Hampshire Hotel Delft Centre, Koepoortplaats 3, ☎ +31 15 212-2125, e-mail: reserveringen@hoteldelftcentre.nl. Hotel parking at kKepoortparking.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafés are not as widespread as you would expect, but you can easily find one in the popular cities. Most hostels, hotels and camp sites have several computers, so you can keep connected with folk at home. Here is a list of internet cafés that could come in handy for travellers. Otherwise, most libraries have lots of computers and prices are around the €2-3 per hour range, although sometimes it can be even more expensive.

Wireless internet access using wifi is becoming more popular and is usually available at most hotels and increasingly at train stations. Also in trains (at least in most first class wagons, but also more and more in second class) and some buses you can use wifi. Finally, places like McDonald's and Starbucks have free wifi, and smaller individual business like cafés and restaurants are on the rise too offering these services. More often than not, these service tend to be free of charge, though there might be a limited time you can use the internet.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The country code for the Netherlands is 31. The outbound international prefix is 00. The general emergency number is 112, like many other countries.
0800 numbers are toll-free and for 09xx numbers are charged at premium rates. Mobile phones have numbers in the 06 range, and calls to cell phones are also priced at higher rates.

From internet cafés, it is also usually possible to make long distance international calls. Like in other countries, telephone booths have almost disappeared, though some are still found around public transport stations, where you can use a few coins to make calls. It is only recommended for local calls.

The cellular phone network in the Netherlands is GSM 900/1800. The main providers of cell phone networks are KPN (Dutch only), T-mobile and Vodafone, who cover the whole country. Other operators, like Hollandsnieuwe, Simyo or Tele2, use one of these 3 networks basically.

It is best to buy a SIM card when in the Netherlands for use in your cellphone, as this usually works out cheaper than using the one from home. If you are planning to study or work in the country and stay for several months, buying a cellphone is the best option. A simple one, sometimes with €10 worth on it, can be bought from around €25. The simplest smartphones are around €75.

Post

The rate for sending a postcard or letter up to 20 grams within the Netherlands is €0.64 (2014). Since 2010 there are stamps available for domestic post which no longer include the value in €. Instead, there are stamps available with either a '1' or a '2' as a substitute for value. The '1' can be used for letters and postcards up to 20 grams, while 20-50 grams require you to use the '2'-valued stamps (or two '1'-valued stamps of course).

Sending items to other EU countries and the rest of the world (there is one price since 2014) will cost €1.05. Stamps are sold at post offices, supermarkets and smaller shops/kiosks; often the place where you buy your postcards can also supply you with stamps.

Sending parcels abroad is more costly. A standard-sized parcel between up to 2 kilograms will cost you €9 for destinations within the EU and €18 (both without Track & Trace) to the rest of the world. Prices with Track & Trace start at €13 and €24.30 respectively. Parcel service is available from major post offices only; standard-size boxes are on sale there as well. For sending parcels, it might be just as competitive and fast to use a company like TNT, UPS or DHL.

If you need to receive mail while moving around, you can have it sent poste restante (to be called for) to a post office of your choice, where it will be kept for a month. If you come to claim it, bring a valid ID, and make sure to have told the sender that the name on the envelope must be an exact match with that in your passport. For addresses of post offices, as well as more information, consult the TNT website.

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Accommodation in Delft

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This is version 11. Last edited at 8:20 on Apr 29, 19 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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