Jan Schenkels, who is the patriarch of our family, comes from the city of Delft. Naturally, we are all very fond of this charming city and visit frequently when we make our yearly trips back to the Netherlands.
One of the most charming cities in the province of South Holland (Zuid-Holland) is beautiful and historic Delft. The city, with its charming canals and picturesque town center, has long associations with the Dutch Royal Family. The city was also the birthplace of the 17th century master Johannes Vermeer who used Delft as a setting for many of his renouned domestic scenes. Anyone familiar with Delftware will recognize the blue and white ceramic tiles, housewares and decorative items that come from this captivating city.
A Brief Historical Overview
Delft was chartered in 1246, but began life as a village at the beginning of the Middle Ages. The town continued to grow and found its prominence when Willaim of Ornage moved there is 1572. He used Delft, with it's well defended walls, as a headquarters in the Eighty Years War, Holland's famous war with the Spanish.
Delft gained further luster when it became the center of a school of art that became known as "The Delft School" which was principally led by Vermeer. The painters of this school, which included Carel Fabritus, Gerard Houckgeest, Vermeer, etc., used Delft as the primary setting for their paintings. This cemented an image of Holland's Golden Age that persists to this very day.
Delft was also the location of a famous explosion in 1654, The Delft Explosion or The Delft Thunderclap. This explosion was caused when a store of gunpowder exploded and destroyed a huge part of the city. This event was later depicted in paintings by Egbert van der Poel. Even now, Delft University of Technology is noted for teaching explosion science.
The city continued to flourish with the the establishment of the Delft University of Technology that was founded by King William II in 1842.
Delft was occupied by the Nazis in the Second World War and suffered the devastating "Hunger Winter" of 1944 – 45.
Visitors can spend a day in Delft visiting many beautiful and historic sites.
- The Oude Kerk or Old Church.
- The Nieuwe Kerk or New Church.
- The Prinsenhof or Prince's Court, which is a beautiful museum.
- The City Hall located in the Market.
- The Oostpoort or Eastern Gate which is the remaining wall from the old city.
- The Canals which meander through the center of the city.
- The Market Square with its charming shops and cafes.
Delft is also very famous for the distince blue and white pottery that has been made since the 16th century. Made from tin-glazed pottery, Delftware includes everything from simple household goods to beautiful works of art. These items can be found in homes and museums the world over.
Kaas and Co. sells a wide variety of Delftware including mugs, candleholders, tiles, salt and pepper shakers, vases, trays, candy dishes, teapots, and of course, windmills. These items are some of our biggest sellers and can be purchased either at the store or online.