Delft is the Dutch City of Orange. The close relationship between the House of Orange-Nassau and the city of Delft goes back hundreds of years to the 16th century. During the Eighty Years’ War with Spain, Prince William of Orange (1533-1584), Count of Nassau, resided at the Saint Agatha Monastery with his family and retainers on a regular basis. The Prince of Orange led his troops from the North against the Spanish occupation in the South. He felt safe within the walled city of Delft.
- Delft has been associated with the Dutch royal family for centuries.
- Discover where Willem van Oranje spent his final days.
- Experience the city where the Dutch monarchy flourished.
On 10 July 1584 the founder of the Dutch monarchy is assassinated by Balthasar Gerards in the monastery. He is buried at the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft since Breda, where the family grave is located, is in Spanish hands. Since that time all members of the House of Orange are laid to rest in the underground burial chambers of the church.
Royal grave at the Nieuwe Kerk
The impressive grave of William of Orange is a prominent feature at the Nieuwe Kerk, a late Gothic cruciform basilica (1381-1510). The burial chambers of the Dutch Royal family are located beneath the mausoleum, which dates from 1614-1622 and was designed by Hendrick de Keyser. The burial chambers are not accessible to the general public. The church also has stained-glass windows, an exhibition and video presentations on royal burials, the church history, and sculpted memorials. You can climb the tower (the second highest in Holland at 108.75 m) and enjoy the spectacular view.
Prinsenhof: the Residence of Orange
The hallway in which William of Orange died used to resound with the hushed voices of nuns. The Saint Agatha monastery was founded c. 1400. The nuns occupied it until the Prince took up residence. After his assassination the monastery served many masters ranging from Latin teachers to the military. In 1962 it was converted into a museum named after its illustrious inhabitant, the Prinsenhof (‘Prince’s Court’). Naturally you will be viewing the bullet holes in the wall but you may also want explore the story of William’s battle against the Spanish and other main actors in the Eighty Years’ War. The museum displays a wonderful collection of pottery, silver, tapestries and paintings from the Golden Age, Delft’s days of glory.