A Little Background
The city of Delft is close to Den Hague and Rotterdam and is about a 45-minute drive from Amsterdam. It’s not as hectic as those three cities and has a smaller feel to it, which I like. Delft is known for its 17th century Delft Blue (Delft’s Blauw), the world known painter Johannes Vermeer and it has ties with the Dutch Royal Family for hundreds of years.
Right in the center of Delft on the market square you will find the New Church (which is actually also very old) and the iconic town hall that was built in the 17th century.
I read that it was here where Johannes Vermeer arranged his pre-marriage requirements with his wife to be. Just a short walk from the New Church is the Old Church and both churches have famous Dutch people from history buried within.
You can definitely visit Delft with your children and have a great experience.
Here are 5 tips that you can do while visiting Delft with your kids:
1. Climb to the top of the New Church
The New Church was built in 1381 and was named “new” because the Sint Hippolytus Church (nowadays called the Old Church) was already there. The tower is 108,75 meters high and is the second highest tower of Holland.
Some fun facts:
It was struck by lightening twice and set on fire, and it is here where scientist Simon Stevin and Jan Cornets de Groot did their famous tests of gravity. (They would throw two balls of lead; one ten times as heavy as the other, and demonstrated that objects of the same size and shape land at the same speed.)
The tower has 376 stairs and once at the top you have a fabulous view over the city of Delft.
Climbing the stairs is pretty narrow and you do have to have a good condition. If you are claustrophobic then I wouldn’t recommend going as it is pretty narrow and at times you have to let other people that are climbing down pass by. If you go very early in the morning you won’t have to deal with (a lot of) people coming down. We climbed the tower with our 13, 11, 9 and 6 year old and we had a great time. The view at the top was totally worth it.
2. Do a boat tour through the Delft canals
Walk over to Rondvaart Delft and hop on one of their canal tours.
The tour takes about 50 minutes and you pass through the canals while hearing about the history of Delft, famous people that lived there, curious or funny facts of buildings you are passing, etc. You could also let your kids take photos of the things they like most, that is always a bit hit with our kids.
3. Check out the Vermeer Centrum Delft
Delft is the city of Johannes Vermeer and if you came all the way here you should definitely visit the Vermeer Centrum.
There are no original paintings here but the copies are high quality reproductions on scale and the whole place is centered on Johannes’ work, his background, city, studio, restoration process etc. For children there is a treasure hunt where you look for different pieces in different paintings.
If you want to see his original paintings you can go to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam (there are 4 paintings) or the Mauritshuis in Den Hague (3 paintings).
4. City Walk around Delft
You can also book a 1-hour city walk for 55 euros and combine that with a visit to the Vermeer Centrum. We haven’t done that yet but I would love to do that as I think you learn so much more with a guide and you get to walk through the wonderful city of Delft. I will update once we do get to try that out. You can of course also do a free city walk.
5. Visit the Royal Delft Museum
In the 17th century there rose up many pottery factories (around 32 in Delft) as there grew a great interest in porcelain. Especially Rotterdam and Delft managed to mix it with native clay successfully (although it is not very clear why especially here). Only one of those potteries has survived until today. The Royal Porceleyne Fles was established in 1653 and is now a museum. Here you can learn about the history of this pottery, the production and the craft itself. They also have lots of fun painting workshops where you can experience it yourself. They have workshops for kids (17,50 per child) that take about 1,5 hour starting from 6 years. They also have workshops for adults (painting a plate 45 euros or a tile 27,50). This sounds so great, and I think if you are visiting Delft you should definitely try to do this as Delfts Blue is so characteristic of Delft.