Delft’s most famous girl is The Girl with a Pearl Earring from Delft master painter Johannes Vermeer (1632-1975). This seventeenth-century master of light spent his entire life living and working in Delft. Of the estimated 45 paintings he made during his lifetime, 37 can be seen in museums worldwide.
The Delft master Johannes Vermeer is world-famous. Only in Delft will you discover his city, the city which inspired him and where he lived and worked. From 10 February to 4 June 2023, discover Vermeer’s Delft and immerse yourself in this famous painter’s world.
EXPERIENCE THE CITY OF THE DUTCH MASTER
In Delft, you can easily walk into the setting of one of Johannes Vermeer’s paintings. The historical town centre, the Oude and the Nieuwe Kerk (Old and New churches), the canals, and the townhouses take you back to the seventeenth century and bring the past to life. As you walk through Delft, you will experience the city of the master painter himself.
Go back in time and discover the places linked to his life, such as his place of birth, the house where he painted his famous View of Delft, or the guild of Saint Luke, where artists in Delft at that time met.
DISCOVER THE 12 VERMEER LOCATIONS
1. Museum Prinsenhof Delft
Sint Agathaplein 1
Start your journey of discovery at Museum Prinsenhof Delft and earn about the life of Johannes Vermeer and his contemporaries at the Vermeer’s Delft exhibition. This is the first time that Johannes Vermeer’s life, his world and his connection to Delft form the central theme of an exhibition. Discover masterpieces from Delft contemporaries alongside Delft ceramics, Delft tapestries, archival objects and personal documents from Vermeer’s time. This exhibition will give you a comprehensive overview of the artistic, intellectual, and social climate in seventeenth-century Delft.
2. Vermeer Centrum Delft
During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Voldersgracht 21 was the home of the guild of Saint Luke, where Vermeer, following in his father’s footsteps, joined as a member in 1653. Fine arts painters, decorative painters, stained-glass artists, sculptors, engravers, potters, printers and art dealers could become guild members. Today, the Vermeer Centrum Delft is located here. This is the only place where you can admire Vermeer’s entire body of work in full-scale reproductions. Take yourself back to the seventeenth century; learn about his paintings, life, family, and techniques.
3. Oude Kerk (Old Church)
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In the second week of December 1675, Johannes Vermeer passed away after falling ill two days earlier. He still had eight children living at home at the time. His funeral was registered in Oude Kerk church records in Delft on 15 December 1675. His mother-in-law had her own crypt, in which several of Vermeer’s children who had passed away earlier also lay.
Vermeer was buried in the Oude Kerk family crypt for many years, but this was removed in the nineteenth century. When his work became more well-known in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, many visitors came to the church looking for his grave. A small gravestone was placed to mark Vermeer’s final resting place in 1975. In 2007, a tomb was placed in the Oude Kerk to commemorate the third centenary of his death.
In March and April, there will be a photo exhibition in the Oude Kerk by Carolien Sikkink, known for her portraits, featuring a modern-day Girl with a Pearl Earring.
4. View of Delft
Vermeer’s painting View of Delft is the most famous cityscape from seventeenth-century Holland. It shows the view of the harbour from the south side, painted from an upper-storey house on the Hooikade. The interplay of light and shade, the impressive cloudy sky and the subtle reflections in the water make this painting an absolute masterpiece!
It is a magnificent view that you can still admire in person today. You will find the exact location where Vermeer painted his View of Delft at the Hooikade in Delft. It is just a 10-minute walk from the city centre.
5. Oostpoort (Eastern Gate)
People worldwide are familiar with the Rotterdam Gate, even though it’s been gone for almost two centuries. The gate is prominently displayed in the painting titled View of Delft. Back then, this gate still stood in all its glory. With its two spires, the gate was very similar to the Oostpoort, the only Delft city gate remaining today. Walk past the majestic Oostpoort and briefly find yourself in Vermeer’s time.
6. The Little Street
There are several theories about the exact location of The Little Street. In November 2015, art historian Frans Grijzenhout suggested that the building on the Vlamingstraat in Delft must have been the correct location. The neighbourhood in which the Vlamingstraat was situated at the time was a middle-class neighbourhood where people with meagre salaries lived, such as butchers and carpenters. The house depicted in this famous painting was the home of one of Johannes Vermeer’s aunts.
Please bear in mind that the Vlamingstraat is in a residential area. Please do not block the pavement or the road, do not linger too long and respect the residents’ privacy.
In addition to these twelve locations, there are various Vermeer-related activities where you can discover more about this famous painter! Admire the Dutch master’s entire body of work in full-scale reproductions at the Vermeer Centrum Delft, join a guided city tour about Vermeer, or step into one of Vermeer’s paintings and have your photograph taken in seventeenth-century clothing. And during your voyage of discovery, a specially brewed ‘Girl with the Pearl Earring’ beer or a delicious ‘Vermeer roll’ are a must!
VERMEER COMBO TICKETS
There is so much to see and do during the Vermeer season! Are you planning to visit multiple activities? Order a Vermeer combo ticket and create your perfect visit. Visit all the sights on your wish list at a discount.
One day in Delft is not enough to experience everything the city offers. Get the most out of your visit to Delft with a multi-day city trip. Delft offers excellent accommodation: from luxury hotels and bed and breakfasts to campsites and hostels.
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