One of the best preserved interiors in the Netherlands can be found in Museum Paul Tétar van Elven at the Koornmarkt in Delft. It was the residence of the Dutch artist and collector Paul Tétar van Elven, who lived here from 1864 until 1894. The museum boasts a large collection of Delftware, oriental porcelain, antiquities, paintings, portraits and copies of old masters. He bequeathed his work, collection and house by will to the city of Delft. The museum opened in 1926, after the death of his second wife.
Terracotta knight on the wall next to the Gemeenlandshuis. This replica was made by the Delft artist Jan Kistemaker and ceramist Ankie Bonnet and was put into place in 2008. The original statue was found during archeological research in 1991, on the construction site of a parking garage near the Delfland office. It was manufactured in Delft in the 13th century, by a producer of roof tiles, probably commissioned by a rich merchant. The knight served as an ornament and status symbol.
The Prinsenhof (“Court of the Prince”) in Delft was built in the Middle Ages as a monastery, called Sint-Agathaklooster. Later it became the residence of William of Orange, who was assassinated by the catholic Frenchman Balthasar Gérard in 1584. The bullet holes in the wall at the main stairs are still there. Today it is a museum, displaying a collection of Dutch paintings from the 17th Century.
“Poortkamer” in the “Kruithuis”, in the centre a chimney with the coat of arms of the Dutch Republic. The lion in the centre holds a bundle of seven arrows, depicting the alliance of the seven Provinces of the Republic. The banner below shows the battle cry of the Republic: “Concordia res parvae crescunt” or, in Dutch, “Eendracht maakt macht” (“Together we stand strong”). The Kruithuis (powder-magazine) was built in 1659-1662 outside the city walls after the Delft Explosion, also known as Delft Thunderclap. The explosion occurred on 12 October 1654 in a gunpowder storage, destroying much of the city.
The Girl with a Pearl Earring is one of Delft painter Johannes Vermeer's masterworks and, as the name implies, uses a pearl earring for a focal point. I tried to do the same photographing this girl. Today the painting is kept in the Mauritshuis gallery in The Hague. It is sometimes referred to as “the Mona Lisa of the North” or “the Dutch Mona Lisa”. The Vermeer Centrum in Delft has no paintings of the master, only reproductions.
Hugo Grotius (Hugo de Groot) was a solicitor and founder of international law, born in Delft during the Dutch Revolt. He was also a philosopher, theologian, Christian apologist, playwright, historiographer and poet. Due to a conflict between civil and religious authorities Hugo was sentenced to life imprisonment in Loevestein castle, but managed to escape in a book chest and fled to Paris. Nowadays in the Netherlands he is mainly famous for this daring escape. Both the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the museum Het Prinsenhof in Delft claim to have the original book chest.
Heraldic shields of the Delft Water Board members in 1645, the year the Water Board bought this house, on the façade of the Gemeenlandshuis in Delft. Water Boards are regional government bodies charged with the maintenance of dikes and dams, water level and water quality control. In short: they keep our feet dry. The Delfland region is located far below sea level. The Delft Water Board was originally founded in the 13th century.
Getrude van Oosten (Gertrude of Delft) was probably born in Voorburcht and died at Delft, January 6th, 1358. She was considered a saint during her lifetime. She was a very religious Dutch beguine, who received on her body the sacred Stigmata. At the same time she was favoured with the gift of prophecy. She was buried outside the Old Church, at the cemetery for the poor, which is now called the Heilige Geestkerkhof. A modest but beautifully crafted statue right next to the church reminds us of her.
Mausoleum of William of Orange, nicknamed William the Silent. He was the leader of the Dutch revolt against the Spanish in the 16th century, also known as the Eighty Years’ War or Dutch War of Independence. He took up residence in Delft in 1572. By then Delft was one of the leading cities of Holland and it was equipped with strong enough city walls to allow it serve as headquarters. William was assassinated in his home by the Catholic Frenchman Balthasar Gérard on July 10th, 1584 and buried in the New Church. The war ended with the Peace of Münster in 1648, when the Dutch Republic was recognised as an independent country.