The Royal Delft Factory in the Netherlands
With the official name of De Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles, the Royal Delft factory located at Rotterdam Avenue in the city of Delft in South Holland, has been manufacturing the distinctive blue and white Delftware uninterrupted for more than 350 years. It is the only Delftware manufacturer remaining of the thirty-two factories established in the 17th century, to manufacture blue painted porcelain in the style of the porcelain brought to the Netherlands from China by the Dutch East India Company (VOC - Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie).
Today, the porcelain produced at the Royal Delft factory is still painted by hand as it was in the 17th century and visitors can watch master craftsmen at work. A visit to Royal Delft includes multimedia presentations relating to the history of the industry and the production of the porcelain; a visit to the Royal Treasury; a visit to the museum which displays a wealth of historical documents; and, as mentioned, a visit to the factory where the process of producing Delftware can be observed. There is also a showroom displaying an extensive selection of hand-painted Delftware, along with Dutch souvenirs and pottery which are for sale.
Visitors are invited to join in the regular painting workshops held at the factory where either decorative plates or tiles can be created. The workshop lasts for around two-and-a-half hours during which time participants will first enjoy coffee or tea with apple pie and instructions. All materials are provided and workshops must be booked in advance.
The Royal Delft factory was started in 1653 by David Anthonisz van der Pieth in his own home which he converted for the purpose. Soon competitors had set up shop around the town, and as van der Pieth's son was not interested in the family business, he eventually sold the factory. By 1840 all the factories had closed, with the exception of Royal Delft. English Wedgwood and European porcelain was cheaper than the Dutch product which was the primary reason for the decline in Delftware sales. In 1876, Joost Thooft bought Royal Delft, and working with designer Leo Senf managed to revive interest in Delftware. The company celebrated its 350th anniversary in 2003.
High tea at the Brasserie Royal Delft is the perfect way to round out the experience. Lunch is also served and visitors will have a choice of traditional Dutch delicacies, as well as other items, all freshly baked on the premises. Enjoy!