Through my eyes

living my life without regrets

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Delft, Holland, NL

Delft, NL
Best Personal Transport, All Over Holland 

We found an OK hotel for Delft. Right on a canal, like most places here in the old city. If not for modern vehicles, you could make believe you lived in the 17th Century. The houses look so Dutch, so typical of the old era. The houses are all tall and narrow, with a beam sticking out way on top so that heavy items could be lifted through the upper windows. The inside stairs are too narrow and way too steep to move a heavy piece of furniture. The Dutch are very practical people. All installations make real sense and Holland surely has their own style of living. Even today, Holland is a very liberal, livable country. The country is clean, organized and all the people I met are well fed and seem very happy. They are proud to be Dutch, or Netherlanders, or Hollanders. I am not sure what they prefer to be called, but it does not matter, you know what I mean.
Blue Delft Patterns Galore 

While we walked the old town a bit yesterday and visited the churches, looked at the unique houses and got a feeling for the old Holland, today we wanted to see the ‘famous’ Delft Porcelain factory. There used to be many like it in Delft but today, there are just a few, maybe even just one that still makes the famous blue colored tiles. The clay certainly is unique, it turns pure white after it is fired in a kiln and the blue tone of the paint, again, is something Delft is known for.

We also wanted to see the original spot where Vermeer painted, but I forgot about the great fire in 1654 (Delft Thunderclap) that almost totally burned Delft down. Vermeer’s studio was one of the many casualties. Most of his paintings were lost in this fire and he never recovered from the loss. His pictures today are so rare because of this fire but he did have a wonderful way of painting, especially domestic scenes. I learned that if there was a hand painted in a portrait, it would cost more; two hands even more again. At a time when there was no camera, no way to take a picture of a person, no way to leave a visual memory, portrait painting was a lucrative business. One had to be good artist to get referrals, clients and work. 

Bridges Just Tall Enough for Barges to Pass
Vermeer had a knack for bringing out the good features of the person he painted. He gave even a bit of mystery to the faces of his customers. His paintings were popular but he was a peculiar man too. He did not paint too much. His wife, after his death was left with debt. Read a book about him, he was one of the great artists the Dutch had; the book we read gave us a good insight into his personality. Oh I know it was fiction but then, every biography, even self-written is kind of a lie. To know about what I mean read Goethe’s ‘Die Leiden des Jungen Werther’. Yes, they did translate that into English. It is a good read and so true!
Canals (Grachten) Everywhere 

The Delft tile and porcelain factory has been in operation since 1653. Today, the product is called Royal Delft and the amount of art, decoration and items this smallish factory produces is amazing. The original archives go back centuries and this factory has not stood still. While the product today is equal if not better than the old items, the methods have constantly improved and production of the Royal Delft uses the latest technology where it can help. Still, the paint is applied by hand, by artists. In the final steps, the details are painstakingly checked and improved by hand. It is an artistic shop, full of good ideas, of merchandise that is shipped worldwide and as spelled out in the name, it has the blessing of the Royal Dutch Family, the House of Orange. Tourists today play a large part of the business plan, the factory set aside a section for tourists to explore and see how things are made. The visiting tour given has everything one can ask for including a café that serves great snacks and coffee with a fantastic view of the central courtyard.
Blue Delft Tiles Wherever You Look 

An Artist Adding The Patterns By Hand

Cafe (In The Background) Overlooks This Lovely Courtyard

Romantic Canals at Night 

The Dutch are smart business people. The Royal Delft is a good example of how to make money from history, from old ways, from the Dutch heritage. But then not only the factory, but all of Holland is set up and geared to serve their guests, serve their tourists. Delft is just one city of many that love visitors, loves to show off how it used to be. Delft is a great place to visit. Carol and I had a good time and we liked the way Delft preserved its old ways without losing the advantage of today’s latest technology. In front of the old Royal Delft factory is a charging station for electric cars. Talk about being with it!  Go Delft!!
Super Modern Factories
Charging Station for Electric Cars

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