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Day trip to Delft

Delft is a one-hour train ride from Amsterdam. From the hotel, go to Central Station or Amsterdam Sloterdijk stations, where trains depart regularly. Some routes to Delft Centrum station are direct, while some require one change in between. The city is a tranquillity oasis, full of charming canal streets, medieval churches, cultural traditions like Delftware, and the works of Johannes Vermeer. Delft is absolutely dense with Netherlands history and there is so much to explore. Don’t go too fast though – leisurely canal side wanderings past Delft’s stunning historic architecture are a requirement!

1. Royal Delft Museum
Start your day early at the Royal Delft Museum, which is one of the few sights in Delft that open at 9am. Late risers can also save this museum for later in the day, as it doesn’t close until 5:30pm. A visit to Royal Delft is your chance to step into a 17th century factory that produces the blue and white dishes, tiles, and vases known as “Delftware”. This trend began during the late 16th century, when Dutch sailors brought back Chinese porcelain with blue and white designs. The Dutch subsequently created their own clay imitations of this beloved luxury item.
2. Nieuwe Kerk
Next, visit one of Delft’s two main churches, Nieuwe Kerk. The church sits at the far northeast side of Delft Market, where you will first pass a statue of Dutch lawyer and philosopher, Hugo Grotius. The most notable sight in the church is the tomb of William of Orange, the country’s leader against Spanish oppression who was eventually assassinated in Delft.
3. Vermeer Center
Although there is not a single Vermeer painting at the Vermeer Center, this small museum is still totally worth your time. Through watching videos and seeing life size copies of Johannes Vermeer’s complete works, you journey through his short life and legendary career in Delft.
4. Oude Kerk
Next, pay a visit to Delft’s Oude Kerk, which dates back to 1246. This is also the burial site of Johannes Vermeer, who initially had only a modest grave after facing financial difficulties in his later years. A larger monument was later added to the church in his honor. Be sure to look at the church from the outside as you make your approach – you will see that the tower is tilting. That is because the tower has settled considerably in the soft ground underneath since it’s construction in 1350. Reinforcements have been added to bolster the structurally integrity, so it will not fall down.
5. Museum Prinsenhof Delft
A 1-minute walk from Prinsenhof, view the ornate exterior of Het Gemeenlandshuis from the street. Originally a private home, the building has been the site of the Delfland water district board since 1645. Museum Prinsenhof is most famous for being the location where William of Orange was assassinated in 1584. A strong proponent of religious freedom, William increasingly clashed with the Spanish King, who eventually ordered his death. William then sought refuge within Delft’s city walls, staying at the current Prinsenhof site, which was a former monastery.
6. Canal Cruise
It would be wrong to leave Delft without taking a canal cruise. After all, the city’s name comes from the Dutch word delf, which means canal. After walking all day, it’s time to rest your legs and enjoy the view, as your guide discusses Dutch history. From Prinsenhof, simply stroll five minutes to the meeting spot at Koornmarkt 113. Cruises leave every hour on the hour from 11:00am to 5:00pm and last about forty-five minutes.