Saturday, Sep. 29, 2007 - NETHERLANDS (HOLLAND) - Drive to Delft

  Another rainy fall day greets us as we prepare to drive north from Brussels into south Holland (the Netherlands) to the town of Delft.  Karen and Patrick wanted to show us one of the relatively near Dutch towns that they had visited previously.  This is a destination that would not have been easy for us to reach by public transportation, so we were grateful that they took this day out of their weekend to chauffer and guide us.


It was obviously still raining as we drove into the southern edge of Holland.

Nearing the coastal city of Rotterdam we have to wait with many other weekend drivers while the bridge over the Rhine raises to let a group of pleasure sailboats pass.

We are reminded where we are as we begin to see more of Holland's traditional symbol - the old type windmill.

However, we see even more of these modern windmills in this windy coastal region.

We enjoy the ride in towards the town of Delft with the many scenes of life along canals in the country.

The rain lets up as we park at the edge of town & walk some distance in to where many outside vendors are setting up.

Peg always enjoys the colorful flower markets.

The many Dutch cheeses are quite enticing, but shopping here will have to wait until later.

One of the features that attract many visitors to Delft is the typical canals running through this smaller (as compared to Amsterdam) town.

Mother & son pause on this quiet street/canal area so that dad can take this picture. We had purchased a sample of the blue-white Delftware on a previous visit to Amsterdam, so shopping for ceramics would not be on our agenda this day. 

Arriving at the square (or Markt) in the center of town where local scouts were setting up displays, we get this interesting view of the Stadhuis (Town Hall). Built in 1620 around a 13th century tower, it replaced an earlier version that burned.

Prominent on the opposing side of the Markt is the Nieuwe Kerk or New Church with its tall tower (built probably in the 1400's & is the 2nd highest in the Netherlands). The church, built between 1383 & 1510, was originally a Roman Catholic church, but became "Reformed" after 1572.

The New Church contains the burial vaults of the Dutch Royal family, with William of Orange being the 1st buried here. This photo shows William's ornate mausoleum inside the Church.

We were rather entranced by the canals even if the only activity on this one was a solitary swan.

Parking is tight on this market day everywhere we went, but it made for practically pedestrianized city streets.  Does that "old" church tower look like it's leaning?

Yes, this is Oude Kerk or Old Church & its tower has been less than plumb since its early days. This is indeed a very old religious site with this church dating from 1246, but on the location where a wooden church stood as early as 1050.

The original stained glass windows in this church were blown out in 1654 when a huge amount of gun powder exploded nearby. The windows were replaced in the 20th century by a noted glazier. While most depicted biblical scenes this is 1 of 2 that honored the "glory of the House of Orange." 

The Old Church has 3 organs, this one is called the "Main Organ" & dates from 1857. It was built by Christian Gottlieb Wriedrich Witte & has 2,580 pipes. 2 more "modern" organs date from 1770 & 1873. We understand that organ concerts are held regularly here. We'd love to attend!

The attractive statue near the Old Church entrance depicts the saint Geertruyt van Oosten (1320-1358), a beguine who lived in the Bagijnhof and who received bleeding stigmata, the wounds of Christ in 1340.  

Keith & Peg rest on this attractive art bench in the garden of The Prinsenhof ("The Court of the Prince"). Built in the Middle Ages as a monastery, later it would be the home of William of Orange. It is now a museum, but as crowds of tour groups arrived, we decided to leave.

Just down the canal from the Old Church, Patrick spots this interesting collections of coats of arms over the doorway to #167, the Gemeenlandshuis. In earlier times this was the counsel house for the board (polder authority) that managed the important dike & water control system for these fragile lowlands.

Later on this Saturday the streets in the center of town become much more crowded than when we first arrived. This is obviously a popular place to spend the weekend.

We decide to leave Delft for our return drive to Brussels, but not before Peg & Keith shop for some of those great Dutch cheeses.  We bought a basic Gouda for our upcoming train trip to Luxembourg & Germany.

As we head out, Keith is fascinated by this cargo-bike. Maybe we should have cycled in to Delft, as we were greeted at the parking area with a $60 parking ticket. When we left the car earlier, we could find no indication that this was a restricted or fee area. We had searched around for any such indications. Grump! Thanks, but no thanks, City of Delft! 

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