Open Monuments Weekend in Delft
Open Monuments Weekend is our new favorite weekend. I’ve already marked it on the calendar for next year! It is a wonderful way for our family to pop into attractions and not feel guilty doing “just the overview” tour. Our kids often will not tolerate more than that. We saw a little bit of a bunch of things in our new town. When the kids got tired or bored we changed venues. If they were having a great time we hung out.
Since we spent the Saturday of “Open Monuments Weekend” in Utrecht, we stayed close to home on Sunday. This was our chance to explore all Delft has to offer before guests start to arrive. We popped into several of the big-name attractions, giving us enough information to advise visitors on what they won’t want to miss.
The Delft windmill just down the street from the train station is an actual working mill. They have a storefront that is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday. They grind wheat from German farms on Thursdays and you can go watch the mill operate. The windmill’s tower was open for Open Monument Weekend. We climbed all the way to the top – 5 ladders! Our three-year-old even did the climb on his own.
The best part of the climb was the outdoor viewing deck that provided views over Delft Centrum.
The Prinsenhoof Museum is a middle age monastery, turned residence of William, Prince of Orange and now a museum. Prince William was murdered here and the bullet holes are still in the wall.
There is a lot of stuff in this museum and the kids tolerated little more than a quick walk-through. We did get to see a collection of Delftware and participate in a game that proves we do not know how to tell real Delftware from the fake stuff.
The Vermeer Museum is right in the center of town. They do not have any actual Vermeer paintings, instead they have pictures of each of his works. It may be worth it if you are very into his paintings. The audio tours seem to have the option to hear about each and every one. With the little ones in tow we checked out a few on our own (without the audio tour) and then popped out of the museum. You can do that when everything is free!
Across the plaza is the Delft Town Hall.
The kids had a chance to pretend they were part of a town meeting, and Henry sat in the mayor’s chair. The hall also has the best view of the new church from its second story window.
Outside on the square there were wooden shoes to try on as well as period costumes. You know we had to try that out!
We ventured over to what we thought was going to be a beer museum. Prior to a magazine full of gunpowder blowing up, the town was full of breweries (85 at its peak). Our Dutch is still pretty poor. When we showed up it was actually some sort of old tool museum. The three-year-old got to help bore a hole in some wood. There was an entire collection of toy trucks that the boys loved. They were selling bottled beer on the top floor of the museum, but no other beer information was found. We are not even sure we could find our way back there if we tried.
The big win of the day was our last stop at the botanical gardens on the TU Campus. They are small but have plenty of places to play with the kids. The tree fort was one of the favorites. There are several fun hidden paths to explore as well.
For Open Monuments Weekend there was a concert in the gardens with a big brass band. The kids loved listening to the music. We cleared out a little space in the back, got a beer and let the kids dance while we enjoyed the music. It was a perfect end to our Open Monuments Weekend in the Netherlands.