Delft and The Hague: Heading 'Zuid'

Trip Start Aug 18, 2011
Trip End Jul 02, 2012

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Flag of Netherlands  , South Holland,
Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wednesday Aunt Kay and I set off south by train for Delft and the Hague. We didn't have good luck with the weather - rain and strong winds - but we still got to see and do some fun things.

Delft is a beautiful, quaint city, with more of a small village feel than Amsterdam, even though Delft is by no means small, with a population of approximately 100,000 people.

While there we toured the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), the Markt (the main square), the Oude Kerk (Old Church), and the De Candelaer delftware factor. 

The Nieuwe Kerk is especially important to the Dutch, because members of the House of Orange-Nassau, the royal family, are buried there. This burial tradition has occurred since William of Orange, the leader of the Dutch Revolt, was buried in the Church in 1584. It also houses the tomb of Hugo Grotius, one of the forefathers of international law. The church was completed in 1496, which might seem a bit odd considering the 'New' name, but it was given this name because it was new when it was built and the name stuck.

The church is on the main square, the Markt, and sits opposite the Delft Town Hall, which is neat building designed by Hendrick de Keyser, a Dutch Golden Age architect who designed many important buildings in the Netherlands. I really liked the Markt square because it still had it's 'old' feeling, unlike Dam Square in Amsterdam.

The Oude Kerk was founded in 1246, and the church tower leans about 2 meters to the side. You can see it leaning in one of the picture I posted. The church's main claim to fame is that it houses Vermeer's tomb. Vermeer was a famous Dutch Golden Age painter that lived in Delft. The inside of the church as interesting too, because it wasn't symmetrical like most churches and you could tell they added on to it many times. 

After that we ate some lunch in a restaurant devoted to the royal family. Delft is nearby the Hague, where the Queen resides. By the time we finished eating the rain and wind really picked up and we battled to keep our umbrellas from collapsing. Needless to say, I didn't get very many pictures because of the weather.

Once we had eaten a good lunch, we took a look inside a small delftware factory. We got to see the artists painting the pottery and they had many pieces you could buy. There were also lots of different delftware shops around the city that we peaked into. They made me wish I was rich and able to afford some. Delftware, for those who don't know, is pottery painted with oxides that turn blue when they're fired in the oven. Delft has been famous for it since they started copying the Asian versions in the 17th century. 

Next up, we took a short train ride over to the Hague, the seat of government of the Netherlands, but not the capital. Amsterdam is given the title of capital in the Constitution, but the Queen and government reside in the Hague. 

We didn't spend much time in the Hague, because we were ready to get home and out of the rain, but we did see the Dutch Parliament building and went into the Mauritshuis museum to see famous works by Vermeer, Rembrandt, Jan Steen and Franz Hals. My two favorites were the View of Delft and Girl with the Pearl Earring by Vermeer. I thought the museum was done rather well, and I liked that they didn't have ropes or bars keeping you back from the paintings. It made it feel much more relaxed like I was just looking at a rich friend's private art collection. 

Overall, I really enjoyed both cities and I'm looking forward to going back to Delft with my mom and brother when the visit at the end of April. Hopefully the weather will be a bit nicer then.
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Mom on

Oh I can't wait to visit Delft. You were right the factory is small but what beautiful pottery they produce.

Less than 3 weeks. Love ya, Mom

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