The Canals of Delft Netherlands
The canals of Delft Netherlands make an excellent day trip from Amsterdam. More than that, they provide an escape from the throngs of tourists that clog Holland’s magnum opus. Here on a sunny winter’s day I had the streets to myself, dogging the odd bicycle that is the preferred mode of transport for locals.
The old city center, a 10 minute walk from the train station, is handsome and compact. More than 700 years ago, Delft grew up around its main canal. From there, more canals were built, and today Delft is still respected for its water management. The city suffered two great fires in the 16th and 17th centuries, but rebuilt and remained wealthy due to its position as a headquarters for the Dutch East India Trading Company.
Delft is also known for the famous Delft blue painted ceramic pottery, if you’re into that sort of thing. More likely, the city will draw you in as the hometown of the painter Vermeer, and the associated Vermeer Center Museum.
Whatever you come for, a leisurely walk around Delft is the main highlight, imbibing the relaxed city atmosphere and history, without fighting your way through the crowds.