Culture is a funny thing. We devour it and ask for more, but at what cost? Today, I’ll be telling you the story of De Delftse Pauw, one of the last remaining Delft Blauw factories in Delft where delftware is still handpainted and produced in Delft. I’ll also be going into the history of Delft Blauw (or Delft Blue) pottery and where to find beautiful delftware that’s not made in China. I’ll also be teaching you about the delftware that you shouldn’t be buying if you’re looking for an authentic Dutch souvenir.
[learn_more caption=”Inside this article about Delftware” state=”open”]
- The history of Delftware and Delft Blauw
- The history of De Delftse Pauw
- About visiting De Delftse Pauw
- Where to buy Delftware that is made in Delft
- Where to stay in Delft[/learn_more]
The history of Delftware and Delft Blauw
Pottery was produced in the Netherlands for many years, however it was not the iconic Delftware as we know it today. Only in the 16th century was the first pottery factory created in Delft after Dutch artists were inspired by the Chinese porcelain that they saw. Naturally, they decided to try to imitate the designs although they did not have access to porcelain. From here, the Delftware market exploded with 32 factories at its peak in Delft. Although Rotterdam was also a hub, Delft had more abandoned buildings that could be used for producing Delft Blauw.
The Delftware market flourished for some years, however competition from abroad forced many Delftware factories to go out of business as British porcelain had become popular. As a result, there’s only a few remaining factories that have survived that still hand paint their Delftware in Delft, rather than produce it commercially abroad.
The history of De Delftse Pauw
De Delftse Pauw is one of the last family-run businesses that produces Delftware. Unfortunately, they were just bought up by Heinen Delfts Blauw, however it’s clear that the original factory will remain open to the public and it will continue producing hand-painted Delftware.
The Delftse Pauw (it means Delft peacock!) started in the seventeenth century at a time where there were thirty two other factories producing delftware in Delft. In the 1800s, competition intensified and a lot of Delftware companies went out of business. They’ve simply kept doing what they know best: hand painting Delft blue pottery all these years. This Delftware factory is still in the original building.
About visiting De Delftse Pauw
De Delftse Pauw is located a bit outside of the Delft city center. It’s easiest to bike from the Delft city center to De Delftse Pauw, however it might be easier to take the tram (1 or 19) to Brasserskade and walk. (Be sure to bring cash for the tram.)
It’s free (for now) to visit. When you enter, you’ll have to wait around eight minutes for the next guided tour, which can be done in Dutch, English, Spanish, French, German, Italian and Swedish. The tour takes about fifteen minutes with a demonstration of the production of Delftware, a tour through the workshop, and a chance to observe one of the artists working. I’ve chosen not to go too into the process, so you can enjoy visiting for yourself.
Even as someone who know quite a bit about Delftware, I learned quite a bit during the tour about the process of producing Delftware–and how the molds work. It was absolutely fascinating to watch and I’d recommend visiting this Delft Blauw factory as it’s free. (One of the other popular factories costs 10 euros to enter.)
De Delftse Pauw has limited hours on the weekends during low season (November to March), however they’re generally open between 9am and 4:30pm. Check their hours before you go.
Where to buy Delftware that is made in Delft
If you’re looking into visiting Delft, you have seen the name Heinen Delfts Blauw in Delft or Amsterdam. They have a factory in China, so although it’s possible that you may be buying one from Delft, it’s not entirely clear. They are forward about it, but if you’re looking for the real thing, don’t buy it. I’ll be detailing a few producers that make the real thing. You can tell that it’s authentic if it has the handwritten trademark of the factory on the bottom.
Producers of Delftware that still produce pottery in Delft
- Delftse Pauw
- Royal Delft (the last Delftware factory from the 17th century)
- De Candelaer
- De Blauwe Tulip
Where to buy affordable Delft
If you’re on a budget, you don’t need to go to a Delftware shop for the real thing. I recommend shopping the antiques flea market in Delft or using Facebook marketplace once you’re in the Netherlands to buy it from someone local. A lot of locals own Delftware and you can get a good price secondhand. Also, consider looking up the flea markets (vlooienmarkt) near where you’ll be traveling in the Netherlands. I particularly love the IJhallen flea market in Amsterdam, but you’ll find many more around the country.
Information about visiting Delft
I live very close to Delft, so please click for my miniature one day in Delft guide, including some handpicked picks for great food with a free walking tour with my favorite streets as well as how to get to Delft. If you’re looking for a cozy experience away from the crowds of Amsterdam, consider staying overnight in Delft.