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Delftware: the pride of Delft

A clog with a golden heel
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In the seventeenth century, people were intrigued by Chinese porcelain, which was imported by the Dutch East Indian Company: they never saw anything like that before! Local manufacturers started copying the porcelain and when they succeeded, the number of factories grew rapidly due to the popularity of the blue and white pottery.

Originally, Delftware was a cheap and highly sought after alternative for the more expensive Chinese porcelain. In the eighteenth century, the industry faced great competition from the English, who had developed better techniques and the number of porcelain factories went down dramatically.  

Today, there is only one factory left that makes original Delftware: De Porceleyne Fles in Delft. De Porceleyne Fles, founded in Delft in 1653, still exists thanks to one man: the engineer Joost Thooft. He applied the new British techniques and by doing so created a revival of Delftware.

These days, Delftware is very popular again and one of the trademarks of Delft and the Netherlands.  You can buy the porcelain in shops in the centre of Delft, but De Porceleyne Fles is also truly worth a visit. In a demonstration, a painter will show you how he paints the very fragile porcelain in all its details. Then you will get to see some of the very old Delftware that has been preserved and you will be shown how Delftware is produced. One of the latest innovations is black Delftware; it sounds dramatic and is very beautiful. If you would like to try to paint the porcelain yourself, you can join a workshop.

Four times a day, a “Delftware bus” departs from the centre of Delft to De Porceleyne Fles. Ask your hotel or the local Tourist Information for further details. Opening hours: daily from 9:00-17:00. From November 1 to March 26 De Porceleyne Fles is closed on Sundays. If you would like to join a tour, you need to book it in advance. Entrance fee: 8 euros for adults. More information: