Last weekend was the European Open Monument Day, where many of the historical sites and museums across many European countries are open to the public for free or at the reduced cost. In fact, some of these places only opened to the public on this special occasion. That weekend, Hayley and I headed out to Delft, famous for the Delft blue potteries and tiles, to explore many of these historical sites.
Stadhuis (City Hall)
The city hall was originally built in the 1300s and has the style of Renaissance architecture. Located in the heart of Delft, the building is now served as the seat of the city government, and of course, the office of the mayor. On the day, it became the information point for all the tourists where we collected a free map and a couple of free tour tickets for the torture chamber in the tower of the building. (Yes, you read this correctly, there is a torture chamber in the Stadhuis, but it is no longer in use!) Also, the entire building was accessible to the public and it was a privilege to visit the mayor’s office and council chamber
We particularly enjoyed visiting the torture chamber in the tower. Unfortunately, we didn’t understand too much what the guide was saying as it was all in Dutch. That must be an incentive to pay more attention in the Dutch class. Nevertheless, it was there since the 13 century, when the Stadhuis was built.
Molen de Roos
Another highlight of our day was visiting the Molen de Roos. The windmill is located at the outskirt of the city centre near the tram line. On the open day, we were able to climb all the way to the top of the windmill to see many of the moving parts.
The inside of mill wasn’t overly large. We literally had to climb the ladder from one level of the deck to another. There were even a few people showing how these moving parts work and also how these grains were mills. We even bought a couple bags of bread flours from them and made our own fresh bread! I have to say they were really tasty!
Pakschuit ‘Nooit Gedacht‘ (Barge)
Another attraction in the city was a barge. This was a typical barge built in the early 1900s and we were told it was almost been scrapped like many of the old barge built in the similar period due to the increase of road or rail transportation. Fortunately, this particular barge was later been restored as a bit of moving history.
By the time we got there, we already missed the last tour on the canal. However, the boatman invited us to see the inside of the barge. How privilege it was because we were the only tourist and he spent the time to explain the history of the barge and the lives of the people working on the barge.
We were told this was not the original engine but came from another boat from the similar period. Typically, the engine was powered by petrol and later modified to a diesel engine to give it more power. Apparently, people need to heat up the auxiliary engine to start the main motor. Back in the day, if the boatman couldn’t start the auxiliary engine, he had to get some horses to pull the boat in order to move their goods to the nearby ports such as Rotterdam. We were also told if the boatman can’t afford to pay for the horses, he would get the wife to pull the barge! I think the man would get killed if he was to do it these days.
- Delft is easily accessible by train. Direct intercity train from Eindhoven takes 1.5 hours. Train from Amsterdam takes 1 hour and from Rotterdam takes 15 minutes.
- The city centre is only a short walk from the Delft Centraal station.
What did you do on the European Monument Day? What was your experience? Comment below and we are interested to hear your experience!