The most famous Delft girl is, of course, the Girl with a Pearl Earring by the Delft Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675). The 17th-century master of light lived and worked in Delft for his entire life. Of the estimated 45 paintings he executed, 37 are exhibited in museums around the world.    

Vermeer may well be one of the most enigmatic painters of all time. His technique and the colours he used in paintings never cease to be a source of fascination and inspiration. In Delft, you can explore and experience the city he called home.   

Back in time

We go back to 1632 when Johannes Vermeer was born in Delft, a prosperous city in what was then the Republic of Seven United Netherlands. His father, Reynier Vermeer, was an art lover and art dealer and Johannes grew up among paintings, pigments, and brushes. His artistic talents were already evident at a young age and his father encouraged him to pursue his passion. 

Johannes married Catharina Bolnes at the age of 21 and the young couple settled down in their own house in Delft. This is where Vermeer started to create his own paintings, which were mostly portraits and scenes drawn from daily life. His work soon showed his meticulous attention to detail and demonstrated clearly how he had mastered the interplay between light and colour. 


Een stelletje duikt in de geschiedenis van Johannes Vermeer in het Vermeer Centrum

Delft itself, which still retains its picturesque canals and historic buildings, was an endless source of inspiration for Vermeer’s paintings. The city became a backdrop for many of his masterpieces, such as "View of Delft", in which he immortalised the city in all its glory. 

Walking through Delft is like walking straight into a Vermeer painting. The historic city centre, the Oude and Nieuwe Kerk, the canals and townhouses – they all transport you back in time and bring the 17th century back to life. A walk through Delft lets you experience the city of the master painter himself.