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Delft is a city in South Holland, Netherlands, dating from the 13th century, located halfway between Rotterdam and The Hague. The city received its charter in 1246.

Delft is also a municipality. It has about 96,000 inhabitants (2000). Due to the large number of university students at the Delft University of Technology, the population has a remarkable peak for males aged between 20 and 30.

Delft is well know for the Delft pottery ceramic products which were styled on the imported Chinese porcelain of the 17th century. The city had an early start in this area since it was a home port of the Dutch East India Company.

It is the birthplace of scientist Antoni van Leeuwenhoek. The painter Johannes Vermeer lived in Delft and used the city as the subject of some of his paintings.

The city centre retains many old buildings, and many streets have canals in the centre, inhabited by fish and plants. Historical buildings include:

  • Oude Kerk (old church)
  • Nieuwe Kerk (new church), constructed between 1381 and 1496. It contains the Dutch royal family's burial vault, which between funerals is sealed with a 5000kg cover stone.
  • The Prinsenhof (princes' court), now a museum
  • the city hall

The association of the House of Orange with Delft began when William the Silent, or Willem van Oranje as Dutch people usually call him, took up residence there in 1572. William was the leader at the time in the struggle against the Spanish, the Eighty Years' War. Delft was one of the leading cities of Holland and was equipped with the necessary city walls to serve as a headquarters. When William was shot to death in 1584 by Balthazar Gerards[?] in the hall of the Prinsenhof, the family's traditional burial place in Breda was in the hands of the Spanish.. He was buried in the Nieuwe Kerk, starting a tradition for the House of Orange that has continued to the present day.

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