Delft

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.

Oude Delft with terrace-boats

Understand

History

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.

Nieuwe Kerk

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.

Get in

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 20 min 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

Delft has two railway stations: Delft (near the city center and best for the university) and Delft Zuid (Delft's southern residential area). (Direct) train connections run from:

From 2010 till 2013, there will be building works in progress as a new train tunnel is being built through Delft. This is a large project, severely affecting the flow of traffic and parking. Because of this the bus station and taxis are now at the back of the train station.

By tram

Delft is a short tram ride from Den Haag by tram. Tramline 1 runs from Scheveningen, through the middle of Den Haag and Den Haag HS to Delft. Travelling time is approximately 20 min from Den Haag 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 is easily reached by car. Coming from Amsterdam or Schiphol, it is at the end of the A4 motorway; coming from Rotterdam, Delft has three exits off the A13 motorway. The city centre is best reached via the IKEA exit. During the weekend this exit can be busy with IKEA shoppers. Then take the North exit.

By bus

Buses from Den Haag 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.

Get around

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 push 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 push bikes. 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.

By taxi

Call-taxi telephone: 015 2625425

A Taxi Delft telephone: 015 2612121

Deltax telephone: 015 2191919

Gonet Taxibedrijf telephone: 06 44236252

Lextax VOF telephone: 015 2621211

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.

See

The municipality of Delft has made a free app available for iPhone and Android. Most things here are listed in the app.

Inside visits

the City Hall
the Old Church

Museums

Subjects for a city walk

Do

Activities for children

Lectures

Theatres and cinemas

City tours

Annual events

Especially during summer there are several annual events to visit, most of them are in the open air and free to visit. For a list of upcoming events, you can check out the Event calendar: . An incomplete list of annual events:

Buy

Traditional Delft pottery. Avoid anything that says "Holland" on it, or depicts windmills. Check out the antique stores if you want something really traditional.

The shopping area in the city spreads roughly from the "Zuidwal" on the south to the "Choorstraat" on the north. The national and international stores like C&A, H&M and McDonald's concentrate on the southern part of the city, while the more alternative small stores and gift shops can be found more to the north. Apart from some supermarkets, shops are usually closed on Sundays and on Monday mornings.

Eat

Bulding bordering the market place

Note that restaurants on the central marketplace can be more expensive than those in back-streets.

Pie and lunch

Markets

On Thursday and Saturday a market is held in Delft centre. Fresh produce, fish and flowers and non-food at bargan prices. Services like watch repair and mobile phone unlocking are also available. Try the sweet smelling freshly made "Stroopwafels" (syrup waffles). Try a herring or "Kibbeling" deepfried battered fish.

Restaurants

If you are on a really tight budget, many student societies provide food, for a modest price (around €4). To check what is on offer look here.

Drink

view from canal cafe

Try the local Delftse Mueselare Bier.

Specific cafés

Nightlife

There are a few places to go out and dance:

Cannabis

Use of cannabis, weed or hashish is legal in small amounts (5 grams or less) in the Netherlands. Dutch law enforcement tolerates its use in so-called coffeeshops. There are 5 coffeeshops in Delft. The Future in the Peperstraat 8, de Vlouw on the Vlouw 27, The Game on the Breestraat 30, 't Keldertje on the Kromstraat 22a and De Boeddha on the Achterom 19a. The Game and The Future are both exceptional places for Lattes and herbs.

Sleep

Hotels

Bed and breakfast

There are several bed and breakfasts in Delft .

Holiday rental houses

There are several international websites offering canal houses for rent. Mostly these rentals need to be organised some time in advance. Because they are only slightly more expensive then a hotel room, they can work out to be cheaper for families with children who want their own room. Add the privacy and the facilities and they can be a very good alternative to a hotel or B&B. The three mayor websites competing are: , and

Long Term rentals

Most estate agents in the Netherlands are a working together. This means real estate for sale and rent are pooled on a website covering nearly everything on the market. The advantage is that one website has most properties. The disadvantages of a near monopoly are also obvious. Long term stay houses for expatiates and Phd students can be found here:

Camping

There are three campgrounds in Delft.

Stay healthy

The European telephone number for emergencies is 112. Fire, ambulance or police can be called out on this number. Mobile phones without caller credit can still call this number.

General practitioner

Family doctors (GPs) outside working hours (8:00 till 17:00) and for non-registered patients can be found at the "huisartsenpost", Reinier de Graafweg 3a, 2625 AD. (the white portacabin, next to the ambulance entrance), telephone (015) 251 19 30. Call before you visit. Visit: € 65,14, consultation at home: € 97,40. Paid parking on hospital grounds.

For prescription medication outside working hours, got to Apothecary "Buitenhof Apotheek" on the Rossinistraat 1, 2625 AP Delft. Telephone: (015) 245 42 00.

Cope

Religious Services

There are several church services available also in English. Some of them offer partly English spoken services, others offer translations by a headset or written on paper (both handed over at the entrance). The list below is not complete, but gives an impression of the possibilities.

Go next

Take tramline 1 to Scheveningen. It terminates right on the beach. It takes about 1 h to get there (the same trip by train is faster, you have to change in Den Haag). Also, rent a bike and go exploring, go west to go to The Hague. Schipluiden is a very small town and a popular watering hole for cyclist. Cycling to Hoek van Holland is nice when you want to see the big seagoing ships. The whole route from Rotterdam to the Hoek of Holland has an excellent cycle path. Great views. If you only want to cycle one way there is a train station at Hoek van Holland. You can take your bike on the train for about 7.50 euro.

You can cycle to The Hague in 30 min. Start at the Oostsingel and follow the canal. It is well-sign-posted. Also, The Hague is visible as soon as you leave Delft.

Routes through Delft

Amsterdam The Hague  N  S  END


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, March 29, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.