Delft’s New Church & Tower Climb
We’ve been living in Delft a full year and still had not set foot inside the New Church (Nieuwe Kerk).
The church tower is 109 meters tall and for €2 you can climb to the top. One clear Saturday in October, with me 40 weeks pregnant, a friend and I decided to climb the tower in an attempt to start labor! Kids under 6 are not permitted, so it was a mom’s day out.
The 376 steps are narrow. I barely fit sideways in a few places. The stairs are both for going up and down, so be prepared to pass people, which involves someone sort of hanging on to the center of the stairwell, while the others hug the outside with the railing. It’s evident that the tower wasn’t not purpose-built for tourism!
There are several landings to break up your climb. The first is an interior landing where you can peer out some windows to the streets below, you also change stairwells on this landing. The next stop takes you outside on the backside of the church, facing away from the market. Climb a bit more to a set of doors where you can walk all the way around the church for a view of Delft. Just a bit farther and you’ve reached the top. This walkway is the narrowest (again I barely fit!) but provides the most stunning views.
We could see all the way to Rotterdam, with views of the Rotterdam Airport and the Port of Rotterdam. Den Haag’s city scape was also visible.
After living in Delft for a year we were amazed at the change of perspective being up this high provides. We were able to see which houses had rooftop gardens and terraces, something completely missed from the street level. We loved seeing the colorful tents of Saturday’s antique market lining our favorite streets.
The walk back down is quicker, but for us was full of passing people. There are not many spaces to stop and wait so you’re best to just press on and hope for the best!
The church itself was completed in 1381 and is home to the royal burial chamber, the final resting place for members of the Royal Family. To visit the church interior you need a ticket (€4). You cannot go into the royal chamber itself, but there is a model so you can see what it looks like.
Contrary to what a lot of tourists think, Johannes Vermeer is not buried in the New Church – his tomb is in the Old Church (Oude Kerk), just a couple of blocks away. A ticket at one of the churches is good for both tickets with no expiration.
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