The city of Delft, with its tree-lined canals, grand mansions and churches, is still as beautiful as it was when Johannes Vermeer painted View of Delft and The Little Street. As well as being home to the 17th-century painter, it is also the birthplace of the exquisite hand painted porcelain Royal Delft. One of the city’s less-celebrated claims to fame is that this is where the national hero Prince William of Orange was assassinated.
Follow the information cubes that have been placed at various locations around the city that were significant in Vermeer’s life. Start outside the Tourist Information Point and visit the home where the artist lived out his married life. Tour the Oude Kerk, the 13th-century church where he is buried.
The final stop of the walk is the Vermeer Center where you will visit a studio to learn more about his technique and the hidden love messages in his paintings. To see some Vermeer originals, stop by the art museum in the Mauritshuis in The Hague.
At about the same time as Vermeer was starting out on his career, Royal Delft set up business. Go to the last surviving 17th-century Delftware Factory, now a museum that focuses on the past, present and future of the famous pottery range. You can even design your own plates. Watch Royal Delft products being created at the Candelaer pottery workshop on Kerkstraat.
Pick up more insights into the city’s history when you explore the Prinsenhof, where William of Orange once held court. The Prince of Orange led the rebellion against the Spanish Habsburgs in the 16th century, and is still considered a national hero. See the spot where the nobleman was assassinated. In the wall, you can clearly make out the holes left by the bullets that killed him. This museum also has a collection of historic costumes, 17th-century Delftware and paintings by Vermeer’s contemporaries.
The beautiful city that inspired Vermeer is at its prettiest when viewed from the water. Take a boat tour of the canals and enjoy the scene as you sweep by monuments, monasteries, churches and mansions.