Top Historic Sights in Delft, Netherlands

Explore the historic highlights of Delft

Delft City Hall

The City Hall in Delft is a Renaissance style former seat of the city"s government, and still today the place where residents hold their civic wedding ceremonies. Originally designed by the Dutch architect Hendrick de Keyser, it was heavily changed over the centuries and was restored in the 20th century to its Renaissance appearance. The old city hall burned down n 1618, and since Hendrik de Keyser was working across ...
Founded: 1618 | Location: Delft, Netherlands

Nieuwe Kerk

The Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), formerly the church of St. Ursula (14th century), is the burial place of the princes of Orange. In 1584, William the Silent was entombed here in a mausoleum designed by Hendrick and Pieter de Keyser. Since then members of the House of Orange-Nassau have been entombed in the royal crypt. The latest are Queen Juliana and her husband Prince Bernhard in 2004. The private royal family crypt is not ...
Founded: 1396 | Location: Delft, Netherlands

Oude Kerk

The Oude Kerk (Old Church), nicknamed Oude Jan ('Old John'), is a Gothic Protestant church founded as St. Bartholomew"s Church in the year 1246, on the site of previous churches dating back up to two centuries earlier. The layout followed that of a traditional basilica, with a nave flanked by two smaller aisles. The most recognizable feature of the church is a 75-meter-high brick tower that leans about two ...
Founded: 1246 | Location: Delft, Netherlands

Museum Het Prinsenhof

Museum Het Prinsenhof, "the Princes" Court", is located in the former Sint Agathaklooster monastery. In 1572, William of Orange chose the monastery as one of his houses. From this building, the Prince led the uprising against the Spanish rule over the Netherlands. On the 10th of July 1584 he was murdered on the stairs of Het Prinsenhof by the Spanish sympathiser Balthazar Gerards. The wall of the stairs sho ...
Founded: 1403 | Location: Delft, Netherlands

Oostpoort

The eastern gate (Oostpoort) in Delft, Netherlands, is an example of Brick Gothic northern European architecture that was built around 1400. Around 1510, the towers were enhanced with an additional octagonal floor and high spires. This is the only city gate remaining in Delft; the others were demolished in the 19th century. It currently serves as an art gallery and private residence.
Founded: 1400 | Location: Delft, Netherlands

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Lednice Castle

The first historical record of Lednice locality dates from 1222. At that time there stood a Gothic fort with courtyard, which was lent by Czech King Václav I to Austrian nobleman Sigfried Sirotek in 1249.

At the end of the 13th century the Liechtensteins, originally from Styria, became holders of all of Lednice and of nearby Mikulov. They gradually acquired land on both sides of the Moravian-Austrian border. Members of the family most often found fame in military service, during the Renaissance they expanded their estates through economic activity. From the middle of the 15th century members of the family occupied the highest offices in the land. However, the family’s position in Moravia really changed under the brothers Karel, Maximilian, and Gundakar of Liechtenstein. Through marriage Karel and Maximilian acquired the great wealth of the old Moravian dynasty of the Černohorskýs of Boskovice. At that time the brothers, like their father and grandfather, were Lutheran, but they soon converted to Catholicism, thus preparing the ground for their rise in politics. Particularly Karel, who served at the court of Emperor Rudolf II, became hetman of Moravia in 1608, and was later raised to princely status by King Matyas II and awarded the Duchy of Opava.

During the revolt of the Czech nobility he stood on the side of the Habsburgs, and took part in the Battle of White Mountain. After the uprising was defeated in 1620 he systematically acquired property confiscated from some of the rebels, and the Liechtensteins became the wealthiest family in Moravia, rising in status above the Žerotíns. Their enormous land holdings brought them great profits, and eventually allowed them to carry out their grandious building projects here in Lednice.

In the 16th century it was probably Hartmann II of Liechtenstein who had the old medieval water castle torn down and replaced with a Renaissance chateau. At the end of the 17th century the chateau was torn down and a Baroque palace was built, with an extensive formal garden, and a massive riding hall designed by Johann Bernard Fischer von Erlach that still stands in almost unaltered form.

In the mid-18th century the chateau was again renovated, and in 1815 its front tracts that had been part of the Baroque chateau were removed.

The chateau as it looks today dates from 1846-1858, when Prince Alois II decided that Vienna was not suitable for entertaining in the summer, and had Lednice rebuilt into a summer palace in the spirit of English Gothic. The hall on the ground floor would serve to entertain the European aristocracy at sumptuous banquets, and was furnished with carved wood ceilings, wooden panelling, and select furniture, surpassing anything of its kind in Europe.