5 things you have to do when in Delft
You may have heard of Delfts Blauw, the famous, typical Dutch pottery, which plenty of souvenirs have taken inspiration from. If you have, it is only rational then, that you will have heard of the city in which it is manufactured, right?
1. Visit the Delft Blue porcelain factory
Speaking of famous Dutch pottery, your trip to Delft would be amiss if you don't take a trip to the factory where Delft Blue pottery is made. De Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles, or Royal Delft in English, is located about 5 minutes by bike from Delft Station, or about 15 minutes by foot.
During your visit to the last remaining 17th-century earthenware factory, you will be able to learn all about the history and process of making the beautiful Royal Delftware, as well as meet a Royal Delft painter and craftsmen from the factory. The pottery is still hand-painted according to centuries-old tradition!
Royal Delft is open from 9am to 5pm daily and entrance for adults, without any kind of discount, is 13,50 euros. An audio tour is included in the entrance fee. Book your tickets online in advance for a 1 euro discount. You could also opt for a combi-ticket. There are a few on offer, and one includes a trip to Royal Delft and a cruise through the canals of Delft for only 17 euros!
2. Roam around the TU Botanical garden
Now you’re all pottered out, why not take a trip to the Botanical Garden of Delft University of technology. It will take you about 10 minutes by foot from Royal Delft, or just three minutes by bike.
The garden was made almost a hundred years ago and it is the largest single green area adjoining the Delft inner city. The space is around 2,5 hectares. Upon entering, you will find yourself in the Tree Garden. You can also ditch your shoes in this area, as there is a barefoot path...Why not?
In the Tree Garden, there is also a rock garden, aviary and a children’s playhouse. As you journey further, you will reach the Middle Garden, a space flanked by high gables. It is in this area that garden volunteers grow edible crops, lost vegetable species and flowers that bees love.
Greenhouses can be found in the centre of the Garden, filled with tropical and subtropical plants. You can also find the Technical plants section and a Tree Pavilion with a visitor’s platform at four metres above the ground.
The Botanical Garden is open from 10am until 5pm from Monday to Saturday during the year and on Sundays from 12pm to 5pm from the months April to October. Entry costs four euros for adults without a discount. If you have a Museum Year Card, you are in luck, as it then costs zilch for you.
3. See the bullet holes at Museum Prinsenhof
Once you’ve chilled out in the Botanical Garden, head on over to the Museum Prinsenhof Delft. Walking will take you a little over 20 minutes and cycling will be around seven.
Here you will find some more Delftware, but also learn about the citizens of Delft who played a leading role in the history of the Netherlands, such as famous painters like Johannes Vermeer, scientists like Anthonie van Leeuwenhoek and philosophers like Hugo de Groot.
And the cherry on top of it all? You’ll learn about William of Orange and his assassination and get to visit the scene of the crime. The bullet holes can still be seen in the walls today. Visiting hours are from 11am until 5pm all week, and admission for adults, without discount, is 12 euros.
It’s not just history you will be able to admire at this museum; you will also be able to gaze at age-old paintings, earthenware and utensils. Not to mention that there are also temporary exhibitions. The one on show at the moment covers Art Nouveau, as Delft became one of the most important centres of applied arts between 1880 and 1940.
4. Visit the resting places of Vermeer and William of Orange
Venture onwards from Museum Prinsenhof to the Old Church of Delft. It’s literally a one-minute walk away. The Church has a Gothic architectural style to it and features a leaning tower, which was established during 1325 to 1350. Of course, it didn’t lean to begin with.
The inside of the Old Church features not one, but three pipe organs, which adds to the overall grandeur. You can also expect your jaw to drop as you marvel at the massive bell, which weighs almost nine tons and was made in 1570. The bell is only rung for certain occasions, such as the memorial of a member of the Dutch Royal Family or during a disaster, such as an air-raid.
In addition to these marvel-worthy features, the Old Church is also the burial place of many a famous Dutch person. For example, the Old Church is home to the grave of Johannes Vermeer and Anthonie van Leeuwenhoek. To get to the resting place of William of Orange, you will have to exit the Old Church and find your way to the New Church. Luckily, it’s close by. The New Church is home to the Dutch Royal Family crypt. Unfortunately, it is not open to the public.
Whilst you’re at the New Church though, you may as well climb the tower. It is the second tallest church tower in the Netherlands after all. It has been set alight by lightning strikes twice and it was even used by scientists to test the theory of gravity. The tower is 108,75 metres tall and to get to the top, well, 85 metres is as high as you can get, you will have to climb 376 steps. So, make sure you have enough energy before embarking on this quest.
To enter the churches and climb the New Church tower, you will need to buy an entry ticket and token for the tower. For adults, a ticket for both churches will cost five euros and a ticket for the tower is four euros. If you want to do both, buy a combi-ticket for just eight euros!
5. Fill up at Café Einstein
After a long day of sightseeing and activities, you are probably a little peckish, or maybe you could even eat a horse by this point. Well, just a ten-minute walk or four-minute cycle away, you’ll find Café Einstein, a cozy restaurant with classic Italian dishes.
The menu at Café Einstein changes daily so that guests have more variety and seasonal produce can be incorporated. This leads to creative courses for both the chef and diner.
A three-course meal at this warm and welcoming restaurant costs only 30,50 euros per person, how is that for a bargain?! If you don’t fancy getting dinner, you can also opt for a high wine. This includes three rounds of bites, both hot and cold, and two glasses of wine.
If high wine sounds like your kind of thing, then make sure you reserve at least 24 hours in advance, and keep in mind that you have to get there between 4pm and 5pm. The restaurant is open Wednesday to Sunday from 4pm.