Just as the best Swiss chalets are found in western Austria, the best Amsterdam canals are in
Delft. Old Deft is Old Amsterdam on a more intimate scale. The canals aren’t as wide, the
houses aren’t as tall, the streets are narrower, and it all works better in Delft than in Amsterdam.
We loved Delft, but were more than a little disappointed in Amsterdam.
At one time in history, both Amsterdam and Delft were the capital of The Netherlands. Delft was
the first capital, and the place and home of William or Orange, the liberator of Holland, is just a
couple blocks off Deft’s town square.
The scenic and historic center of town is on and near the town square whose two major buildings
are the New Church and the town hall, with a striking exterior. The New Church is interesting
for its Gothic architecture, the Tomb of William of Orange (from 1614), and the old style
Protestant seating where the seats in the nave face the side of the church rather than the apse.
From the New Church, go one block behind and one block to the right of the town hall to the
Palace of Wm. Of Orange in an old (AD 1400) convent. The wall of the stairway still bears the
scar of the assassin’s bullet that killed the Prince in 1584.
The Palace is a museum devoted to the 80 year long war for independence from Spain. The
nearby Lambert van Meerten Meusem features, art, furniture, and Delftware. The Paul Tetar van
Elvin Museum recreates the artist’s studio on 18th Century burgers’ house, along with art and
Old Delft was a very attractive place to explore. Even with the canals, the streets form a decent
grid system, making it easy not to get lost. Delft’s small, compact old city center lends itself to
walking. In fact, Delft’s many pedestrian streets almost demand walking. You can tour the
whole place in half a day, or stop and shop or eat or drink for a longer stay.
There are many places in Europe we like better than The Netherlands, but as The Netherlands go,
Deft is the best.