delving into Delft

Story and photos by Brandi Maly
Kaiserslautern American

The city of Delft is more than 750 years old and according to many
sources, its name is derived from the word “delving” as in digging the
oldest canal, Oude Delft, where water still flows today.

When one thinks of Delft, the famous blue and white pottery comes to
mind.Thanks to the Dutch East India Company, one of the largest trading
companies in the world, trade with faraway countries became possible.
It was the influence of the expensive and finely detailed Chinese
porcelain imports that greatly influenced Dutch potters and encouraged
them to imitate the designs after the death of the Emperor Wan-Li in
1619, when the supply to Europe was interrupted. Although there are
many pottery factories, Royal Delft is reportedly the only one that has
remained operational since the 17th century.  

In 1654, there was a gunpowder explosion in Delft and the fire
destroyed much of town and many of the breweries. This led to a decline
in the brewing industry and many pottery makers acquired the larger
sites and retained the old brewery names like The Double Tankard and
the The Three Bells. Today, Delfts Blauw (Delft Blue) is the brand name
hand painted on the bottom of ceramic pieces identifying them as
authentic and collectible.

Delft is a university town which means, “Hellooo” shopping, great
restaurants, outdoor recreation, educational museums and a happenin’
nightlife. There is a flea market every Saturday along the canals and
streets adjacent to the town square. For an authentic Dutch meal head
to Spishuis de dis, the location is pinpointed on all tourist city maps.***image3***