Lose Yourself in Delft’s World Famous Pottery and Painting
One thing is for certain: there is nothing in the world quite like Dutch art and craftsmanship. It’s no wonder, then, that Delft, a 750-year-old town, is so famous for its painting and pottery, which is why it makes the perfect final stop on the tour aboard Panache when you’re barging in Holland.
When you lay your eyes on Delft’s historic streets and picturesque canals, you’ll understand why so many great painters and crafters were inspired to recreate them in their masterpieces. The town gave its name to the Delft School, which saw artists such as Pieter de Hoogh, Carel Fabritius and Nicolaes Maes pass through its doors. But perhaps the town’s most famous son was Johannes Vermeer, whose paintings can be found all over the world.
Vermeer’s paintings offer an extraordinary glimpse into what life was like for the people of Delft in the seventeenth century. While Vermeer’s greatest creation is widely considered to be the Girl with a Pearl Earring, it is also awe-inspiring to see the scenery that inspired his portrayals of everyday life firsthand.
Potter About Delft’s History
The Netherlands’ history is rich with arts and culture, and Delft’s is no different. The local pottery industry reaches back more than three centuries to the country’s prosperous trade relationship with China. The activities of the Dutch East India Trading Company brought valuable Chinese porcelain back to Dutch shores, which sparked a love affair with the craft.
However, trading fell off with the death of the Wanli Emperor in 1620. Dutch potters began to experiment with techniques that would imitate the highly desirable porcelain. They developed thin earthenware that they first covered with a white glaze, followed by a clear one. The beautiful blue surfaces that were produced looked similar to Chinese porcelain, and the brilliant colour came to be known as ‘Delft blue’.
A huge disaster in the town resulted in the decline of the brewing industry, but strengthened that of local pottery. In 1654, The Thunderclap, a gunpowder explosion that destroyed large parts of the town and killed and wounded many people, meant that potters were able to take advantage of the breweries that had been left empty to expand their factories and output.
Over the next 100 years, the Delft pottery grew and grew to the legacy it still holds today. On your visit, be sure to stop by the Royal Delft Pottery, which is the town’s last remaining earthenware factory. Here potters lovingly handcraft everything you see. Why not take home the perfect memento of your time barging in Holland?
For all of these reasons and many more, Delft is the ideal final destination on board Panache. There is arguably no better way to experience the local heritage and culture than by barging in Holland.
Paul Newman is the Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways, the UK’s most respected provider of luxury all-inclusive barge holidays. If you’re looking for a unique holiday experience, European Waterways can take you barging in Holland, France, Italy and other wonderful destinations in Europe. Part of a team of experienced barging aficionados, Paul is first in line to endorse the perks of a slow-paced barge cruise to anyone looking for a unique holiday experience.