City of Delft

Delft Introduced

Delft is a city and municipality in the province of South Holland (Zuid-Holland), the Netherlands. It is located in between Rotterdam and The Hague. The city dates from the 13th century. It received its charter in 1246. The association of the House of Orange with Delft began when William of Orange took up residence in 1572.

Innovation plays a major role in today’s world. To Delft, it’s nothing new, though. The historic town has seen the creative forces of innovation at work for centuries. Delft potters were already successfully manufacturing the ever popular Chinese porcelain 400 years ago. The unique Delft blue earthenware has been the city’s most important export since the 16th century. Delft’s own Johannes Vermeer was the first painter to use the camera obscura and Anthoni van Leeuwenhoek invented the microscope in Delft. Clearly, the spirit of innovation has been alive in Delft since that time.



In spite of its rich heritage, Delft has its sights firmly set on the future. Making history the Delft way means pushing the envelope, technologically and culturally. The city boasts leading knowledge institutions like TNO and the Delft University of Technology, well-known museums and interesting galleries. There are also the much-loved back streets and the intimate, tree-lined squares with their lively terraces bursting with atmosphere, making Delft’s historic city centre a favourite haunt of visitors and the city’s highly-educated, internationally-oriented inhabitants alike.

Delft’s versatility makes it unique, excelling at research, knowledge and innovation, all while honouring its great historical heritage. Delft is at the forefront of several important sectors of technology; it is leading in the world of information technology, white biotechnology as well as water and delta technology. The many world class educational programmes produce the finest new generation of professionals and scientists. Because of the close cooperation between research institutes and commercial parties, many innovation-oriented businesses opt for Delft as their unique location. Delft is old, yet at the cutting edge of future developments. That makes it the perfect place for attaining the highest of achievements.

Touristic Attractions

Delft is a historic town with a world renowned technical university. The beautiful city centre with its canals, markets, famous monuments and museums make it one of Holland’s most attractive cities. Entrepreneurs, scientists, students and tourists all meet in the city’s many restaurants and cafes today, as they have done for centuries. That is why Delft is a breeding ground for creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. William of Orange, Hugo de Groot, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, Johannes Vermeer and Reinier de Graaf are all icons whose work established Delft’s excellent international reputation.

Delft Blue: Delft is synonymous with Delft Blue earthenware. Some four centuries ago, the potters of Delft first saw Chinese porcelain, brought back by the East India Company traders. At Royal Delft, or Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles, founded in 1653, you can still see the historic art of hand painting of earthenware in action. In addition to the traditional styles, there is also modern work to be seen, and exhibitions, workshops and guided tours to enjoy.

Orange: Delft and the Royal family of Orange have been connected for centuries. The city has many examples of their shared history to show you. The Nieuwe Kerk, or New Church, dates back to 1496. Here, you will find the royal burial vaults and visit the impressive mausoleum of William of Orange. The Prinsenhof Museum is housed in the former Saint Agatha Monastery. In 1572, William of Orange used it as one of his residences. It was from this place that he led the uprising against the Spanish occupation of The Netherlands. On July 10th 1584, he was assassinated on the steps of the Prinsenhof by a collaborator, Balthazar Gerards. Two bullet holes in the wall still bear witness today to this historic event.

Vermeer: Delft is the home town of the world famous Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer. He was born in Delft in 1632, where he lived and worked all his life. The Vermeer Centre Delft offers a voyage of discovery through the life and work of this 17th century master of light, as well as the beautiful town that inspired his timeless art. Visitors enter Delft as it was, see actual size images of the master’s entire body of work, learn about his technique in the studio, the stories behind the pictures and the magic of his work that still fascinates millions today.

Technology, innovation and creativity: Delft is world renowned for playing a leading role in such diverse sectors as information technology, industrial biotechnology as well as water and delta technology. In its Science Centre, the Delft University of Technology presents solutions and challenges related to many issues facing the world today and in the future. Visitors gain a better understanding of the influence and complexity of these issues.