Oude Delft and Kerk- Delft, Netherlands

Canal, bike, and bridge- That’s Holland
The house with red shutters!
Only about a five minute train journey from Schiedam, where we are staying, is the city of Delft. Rotterdam was destroyed in WWII, Delft was not. Walking down the street in this small city I could immediately tell the difference- the homes and roads were older, the atmosphere more like the Europe that I had previously experienced, but different because it is Dutch. There were canals running through the town, and I felt like such a tourist wanting to photograph every building on the street!  
Leaning tower of Oude Kerk
Oude Kerk main organ
Delft is where The Netherlands as a country was born. William of Orange headquartered here as he led a rebellion against Spanish rule. He was assassinated here, and buried in the Niewe Kerk, which we visited later on. There is a lot of history here! The Oude Kerk was built in 1346 on the canal. The canal was actually diverted to build the tower, so the tower actually started leaning during construction! The builders stabilized it, then built straight up so there is a kink in it! The progress of its lean is monitored carefully, and the bells only toll the hour instead of quarter hour to decrease the strain on it. The tower was completed in 1350, but a fire in the 1500s and an explosion at a gunpowder depot in 1654 damaged the church- especially the stained glass windows. Major restorations took place in the 20th century to bring it back up to full functionality for everyone to enjoy. I know I’m so American for writing this, but I totally geek out when I go inside a building that was built so long ago!

The stained glass was pretty, but relatively new.

The main church organ was built in the 1800s, and the stained glass from the 20th century. Along with the beautiful stained glass windows, the floor was full of grave stones and burial markers for people buried in the crypt. The more important ones have big memorials typically made out of marble that sit at different places within the church. We learned while we were there that the graves of the people are actually done below, in the crypt.

Choir organ- love the staircase!

Burial marker on the ground

It was a little difficult to avoid walking on all the burial markers as we made our way around the church. There was not much for Landon to destroy here, so I let him walk around and explore. He liked the naval heroes’ memorials with ships and such carved around them. He also liked looking at the stained glass and learning about the different Bible stories portrayed. I will note that I typically don’t take pictures inside of churches, but these churches have entrance fees to see inside, and don’t have any rules against taking pictures, so I feel better about documenting our “tourist site” vs. a religious site. 

Memorial for a rich woman- Elizabeth Morgan

Love the wooden ceiling!
Many of the churches we have visited so far have been Protestant churches. Back a very long time ago, many of these churches started out as Catholic churches. In the 1500s, the Iconoclasm happened, where Protestants, as part of the Reformation stormed churches and other buildings, removing, defacing or destroying religious paintings, sculptures, and symbols. Organs and whole insides of churches were destroyed in these raids.

While at another church admiring the wooden ceiling with Austin, I noted that the Italian and French churches that we saw did not have wooden ceilings. Austin said that was because the Dutch have more access to wood products, whereas Italy does not have as many trees so they used mostly stone. Any thoughts?
Back outside, this is the bottom part of the church

Adam and Eve stained glass
Right outside of the old church is the old part of Delft. This awesome house was just across the street from the church. It has a turret, coat of arms all over the place, and is ornately decorated on the outside. It had a placard distinguishing it as a historic building in Delft. I wish I knew more… This is part one of three posts on our day in this magical city!

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