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Introducing Delft

Ah, lovely Delft: compact, charming, relaxed. It's a very popular tourist destination – day trippers (and lovers of beauty and refinement) clamour to stroll Delft's narrow, canal-lined streets, gazing at the remarkable old buildings and meditating on the life and career of Golden Age painter Johannes Vermeer.

The artist was born in Delft and lived here – View of Delft, one of his best-loved works, is an enigmatic, idealised vision of the town. Delft is also famous for its 'delftware', the distinctive blue-and-white pottery originally duplicated from Chinese porcelain by 17th-century artisans.

Delft was founded around 1100 and grew rich from weaving and trade in the 13th and 14th centuries. In the 15th century a canal was dug to the Maas river, and the small port there, Delfshaven, was eventually absorbed by Rotterdam.