Delft lies south of Amsterdam and is renowned for its distinctive blue and white ceramics. Founded in 1246, the city prospered until a great fire destroyed it in 1536. It was to suffer another disaster in 1654, when a gunpowder warehouse exploded and laid waste to large sections of it.
Delft, Netherlands © Boserma
Delft was also home to the Dutch East India Company's offices, acting as a major trading centre in the Netherlands. Today, it's one of the prettiest towns in the country, where visitors can marvel at a number of beautiful buildings and a stunning network of canals. The city has a few good museums as well, and the Thursday Market is a great place to buy souvenirs and soak up some local culture.
Regarding the famous earthenware, tourists can purchase souvenirs at shops or at the The Royal Delftware Factory (Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles), which produces the most iconic pieces. It is the only remaining earthenware factory in Delft, and dates back to the 17th century. The white and blue pottery is its trademark, and was influenced by Chinese porcelain brought back by Dutch East India Company tradesman. Visitors can see painting demonstrations, attend painting workshops or visit the factory's museum and showroom.
Otherwise, the Delft University of Technology's students liven up the atmosphere, which visitors can enjoy in a number of bars, cafes, nightclubs and restaurants. The city's few marijuana coffeeshops may be open to tourists.
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