Delft is a city and municipality in South Holland in the Netherlands, located on the Schie, between The Hague and Rotterdam. On August 1, 2020, the municipality of Delft had 103,037 inhabitants. Delft is the capital of the Delfland water board. The municipality is part of the Rotterdam The Hague Metropolitan Area.

Delft has a historic city center, developed into an industrial city in the 19th century and nowadays presents itself with the presence of a Technical University and the research institutes TNO and Deltares, especially as Delft City of Knowledge with the slogan Creating History.

Delft is best known in the history of the Netherlands because William of Orange resided there from 1572 and was murdered there in 1584. Since then, the House of Orange has traditionally been interred in Delft. Delft's nickname is the Princes' City. The patron saint of the city is Hippolytus of Rome.



Delft originated from a dug watercourse, the 'Delf', and is also called after; to dig means to dig. On the elevated place where this 'Delf' crossed the creek wall of the silted up river Gantel, a count's vroonhof was established, probably since the 11th century. Partly because of this, Delft was an important market center, which can still be seen in the size of the central market square.

From 1246
Count Willem II granted Delft city rights on April 15, 1246. Trade and industry flourished there. In 1389 the Delfshavensche Schie towards the Maas was dug, at the mouth of which the seaport Delfshaven was built.

Until the 17th century, Delft was one of the major cities of the county (later province) of Holland. In 1400, for example, the city had 6,500 inhabitants, making it the third largest city, after Dordrecht (8,000) and Haarlem (7,000). In 1560, Amsterdam had grown into the largest city with 28,000 inhabitants, followed by Delft, Leiden and Haarlem, each of which had about 14,000 inhabitants.

In 1536, a large part of Delft was reduced to ashes by the great city fire of Delft.

Prince William of Orange resided for a short time in Delft, in the former Saint Agatha Monastery, which has since been called Prinsenhof. He was murdered there on July 10, 1584 by Balthasar Gerards. The city occupied a prominent position in the field of printing.

Various Italian potteries established themselves in the city and introduced a new style. The carpet industry also flourished with François Spierincx. In the 17th century, Delft experienced a new heyday due to the presence of a Chamber of the VOC and the manufacture of Delftware.

In 1654, much of the city was destroyed by the Delft Thunderclap - the explosion of a gunpowder store on the site of the Paardenmarkt ever since. At the 'distance of a cannonball' a new Powder House was built by architect Pieter Post.

Several painters were active in the city, such as Leonard Bramer, Carel Fabritius, Pieter de Hoogh, Gerard Houckgeest, Emanuel de Witte, Jan Steen, and Johannes Vermeer. Reinier de Graaf and Antonie van Leeuwenhoek received international attention for their scientific research.

From 1672
From the Dutch disaster year 1672, the Delft economy declined. The city was overshadowed by the two neighboring cities of The Hague (as an administrative center) and Rotterdam (as a port city). Around 1670 there were some thirty factories in Delft, which operated the pottery industry for a shorter or longer period of time. In 1794 ten were still active. In the 19th century there was only one pottery left: De Porceleyne Fles; this company was the only one that could continue to exist because it also started producing bricks in addition to pottery.

In 1850, the then municipality of Delft, with an area of ​​5.3 km², had 18,642 inhabitants.

With the erosion of the city walls in the 19th century and the arrival of the train in 1847, Delft once again became an attractive place for new industries such as the Gist and Spiritus factory (later Gist-Brocades, now part of DSM), Calvé and Delft Instruments. The founding of the Royal Academy (now: Delft University of Technology) in 1842 and the TNO research institute in 1932 ensured that Delft also became a center of technology and science.

On January 1, 1921, the neighboring municipalities of Vrijenban and Hof van Delft were dissolved and a large part added to Delft. This considerably expanded the territory of Delft.

After the second World War
The first part after the Second World War in which Delft was built is the area between the canal, the Schie through Delft and the main road from The Hague to Rotterdam.

In the 1960s, Delft was expanded considerably, especially in a southerly direction. There, the high-rise neighborhoods Poptahof and Voorhof and the slightly less ambitiously set up Buitenhof rose successively. From the 1980s, the Tanthof district was developed even further south. Tanthof-East has an unclear street plan. Tanthof-West still has the same design as Tanthof-East, but there are more large single-family homes. Tram line 1 to Tanthof was extended to improve public transport.

Due to the development of Voorhof and Tanthof, the residential function of Delft shifted more from the historic city center on one side of the railway to the other side of this railway. The In de Hoven shopping center located there is an important factor in this.


Higher education is increasingly concentrated around the TU campus, for example, branches of Hogeschool InHolland and Haagse Hogeschool have been built next to the TU campus. On May 13, 2008, the entire high-rise building of the Faculty of Architecture (education) of the Delft University of Technology burned down within 12 hours. Elsewhere on campus, housing was later found for this faculty.

With the adoption of the Technopolis zoning plan, a start was made in 2005 in the south-east of Delft on the development of the TU Delft Science Park, where knowledge institutes, start-ups and international companies are located.

Construction of the Harnaschpolder began in 2009 after part of the polder was transferred to Delft by the municipality of Midden-Delfland in 2004. A total of approximately 1,300 homes will be built in Harnaschpolder.

Around 2009 the construction of the railway tunnel through Delft started. This serves to replace the railway viaduct that ran just west of the city center. The two-track viaduct was considered a bottleneck for rail traffic, caused noise nuisance and separated the inner city and the residential area to the west of it. The railway tunnel was provided with an underground station and bicycle shed. An office building with a retail function was built above ground that partly serves as a municipal office. The new railway tunnel with the underground station was put into use on February 28, 2015, after which the railway viaduct was demolished. In 2017, the municipal office was officially opened. The total investment costs for the city office were € 82.3 million.

Partly due to area development projects of the municipality, large financial deficits arose in the municipal budget in 2014. Delft asked for financial help from the province of South Holland and the government. The realization of the project resulted in a loss of tens of millions of euros for the municipality of Delft. In response to the large losses, the city council has implemented cutbacks and further increased local taxes. In 2016, Delft was the municipality with the highest housing costs in the Netherlands among the larger municipalities. In 2016, the financial problems came to an end and the municipality announced that it would reduce the costs again.

Plans from 2018
For the future, further redevelopment of the railway zone on the western border of the city center is in the pipeline. The entire station area must be completed by 2023. This area will continue to exist under the name Nieuw Delft.

Between the beginning of 2018 and the end of 2019, the Sint Sebastian Bridge, weakened by damage to the foundation, will be replaced by one suitable for heavy traffic and trams.

Coat of arms and flag of Delft
The coat of arms of Delft consists of a silver shield containing a vertical black bar, often depicted with waves in it. This bar represents a canal ('delft'). This ancient coat of arms was officially established in 1816 by the Supreme Council of the Nobility.

The municipal flag consists of 3 horizontal bands, of which the inner one is black and the outer one white. The flag was only officially adopted by the city council in 1996 but was used centuries ago, for example on the Delft ships of the VOC.



The proportion of men aged between 20 and 30 stands out in the Delft population structure. In 2002 this share was approximately 100% higher than the Dutch average. The proportion of men between 20 and 24 is even almost 3 times the national average (2014). The proportion of women in the same age group was about 25% higher than the national average. The cause of these differences is undoubtedly the presence of Delft University of Technology, which mainly offers studies that are traditionally popular among men.

Administrative division
Delft is divided into 13 districts:
District 11 - Inner city
District 12 - Vrijenban
District 13 - Hof van Delft
District 14 - Voordijkshoorn
District 16 - Delftse Hout
District 22 - Tanthof West
District 23 - Tanthof East
District 24 - Voorhof
District 25 - Buitenhof
District 26 - Abtswoude
District 27 - Schieweg
District 28 - Wippolder
District 29 - Ruiven

The Poptahof part (neighborhoods Poptahof-North and South), sometimes seen as a separate district, is part of the Voorhof district (Delft).
The Harnaschpolder neighborhood is not a neighborhood, but part of the Voordijkshoorn neighborhood.
The part of Delft where the railway viaduct has been replaced by an underground tunnel was named Nieuw Delft.



Delft has a historic city center. The canals Oude Delft and Nieuwe Delft run parallel and roughly in a north-south direction. The latter is better known as Lange Geer, Koornmarkt, Wijnhaven, Hippolytusbuurt and Voorstraat successively.

Between these two canals, on what is probably the oldest built-up location in the city, is the Oude Kerk with its characteristic tower. That tower is called the 'Oude Jan'. Near the Oude Jan are the Gemeenlandshuis van Delfland with a Gothic facade and the Prinsenhof.


To the east of the two canals, the city expanded over the centuries. On the Markt, a very spacious square, is the Nieuwe Kerk with the mausoleum of William of Orange and the royal burial vault. The tower of the church is the second highest church tower in the Netherlands. Also on the Markt, opposite the church is the Delft town hall, which was built by Hendrick de Keyser in 1618-1620 around the oldest building that Delft still has today: a tower called the Oude Steen. On the Markt is a statue of Hugo de Groot, the legal scholar who was born in Delft in 1583.

The Beestenmarkt is the entertainment center of Delft, especially in summer, but there are also plenty of catering establishments in other places near the Markt - especially on the route Burgwal, Brabantse Turfmarkt, Kromstraat, Markt, Nieuwstraat.

Beer history
The history of Delft shows that beer has been very decisive for the (economic) growth of the city.

In many medieval cities, the use of water required a choice of two main sources of income: the brewing branch or the cloth industry. Those were two conflicting interests; beer needed a lot of clean water, while the cloth makers and tanners polluted the water to a great extent. In Delft, people largely opted for brewing beer, because beer was considered the best drink for the common people. The wealthy mostly drank wine; this was an affordable drink for them. Milk was hardly consumed at the time, as many were lactose intolerant and the milk spoiled quickly.

When brewing beer, good quality water benefits. Water was abundant in the canals of Delft. To meet the purity requirements of the water, this water, which was slightly acidic, was obtained from the peatland north of the city. These peat soils turned out to be suitable not only for the extraction of peat as fuel, but also for the cultivation of the grains required for the beer and the gruit still used at that time. In order to prevent pollution of the canal water, it was decided that discharge into the canals was no longer allowed, but that the latrines would from now on be emptied into cesspools. However, in the eastern part of the city there was also an old leather and textile industry. The two kinds of waters were separated by means of all kinds of closures.

The brewers were united in a guild, which also determined the beer quota to give the small brewers a chance to survive. The maximum production was 155 liters per week. However, large brewers bought the unused quota from the smaller brewers, sometimes even buying out small brewers. Later in the 16th century, the quotations were relaxed, so that more small breweries died. Still, beer production rose to around 155,000 barrels in 1514, while by 1554 it had already risen to over 500,000 barrels, 80% of which was for export.

The many breweries in the city not only produced for the local population, but beer was also exported to Zeeland and Flanders. Around 1550, Delft was the largest beer producer in Holland.

Beer brewing spawned many ancillary activities, such as the coopers making beer barrels, the need for porters for the supply of raw materials and transport of the barrels through the city, transporters with boats for the beer to be exported, beer merchants and innkeepers.

Large brewers earned so much around 1500 that they could afford to provide their houses with natural stone façades, such as Jan de Huyter. Many of these houses can still be recognized by the details, both in the interior and the exterior. These buildings are located on the two main canals of Delft: Oude Delft and Nieuwe Delft running parallel to it.

The Eighty Years' War caused the sales markets in the Catholic Southern Netherlands to decline and due to competition from the beer producing Rotterdam and Haarlem, the number of breweries fell sharply from over 80 in 1600 to 17 in 1670, while in 1740 only ten were active. Drinking habits had also changed, because people started to use tea, coffee and cocoa and wine became affordable for many Delft residents.

Names from the heyday of Delft beer were: Pharao, Israel, Moselair and Delftsche kuyte.

Platter bakeries were established in many old breweries, because a lot of equipment could still be reused and the space for this was functional, and the historical names were often maintained, such as the Griex A and De Dissel. The last operating brewery in Delft was the Gekroonde 'P' (previously the Gekroonde 'B' and before that Het Vliegend Hert), which was in operation until 1922.


Since 2011, Delft has had its 'own' City Brewery again, listening to the name "Koperen Kat", named after the traditional copper stills in which beer was brewed, combined with part of the surname of the founder Rolf Katte. This brewery, located on the Schieweg, brews more than 12 types of beer, mainly served by local catering establishments. Due to its expanding success, partly because it is also for sale in the supermarkets of the Delft region and its popularity among Delft students, the brewery is growing in production from once 1000 liters per six weeks to 9000 liters per month.



Monumental buildings
Delft town hall
Waag (Delft)
East gate, city gate from around 1400
Municipal House
Girls house
Saint Barbara Monastery
The Coat of arms of Savoy
Koornbeurs, former meat hall
Powder house
Molslaan 104
Windmill De Roos
Water tower Delft
Rietveld Tower

Churches and other religious buildings
Genestet Church
Maria van Jessekerk
New Church with the mausoleum of William of Orange and the Sepulcher of Orange-Nassau
Old Catholic church at the Bagijnhof
Old church
Sultan Ahmed Mosque
St. Hippolytus Chapel
Church of Peace or Sacrament Church

Four courtyards remain in Delft of the seven that the city once had. These are the Hofje van Gratie, the Hofje van Pauw, the Klaeuwshofje, the Hofje van Almonde. In addition, there are also modern courtyards such as the Huigh de Groothof.

Other sights
Botanical Garden TU Delft
East gate