Delft (dĕlft) [key], city (1994 pop. 91,941), South Holland prov., W Netherlands. It has varied industries and is noted for its ceramics (china, tiles, and pottery) known as delftware. Founded in the 11th cent. and chartered in 1246, Delft was an important commercial center until superseded (17th cent.) by Rotterdam. The aspect of old Delft has changed little since Jan Vermeer, who was born and lived there (17th cent.), painted his famous View of Delft. The city's notable buildings include a 13th-century Gothic church (Oude Kerk); the Gothic Nieuwe Kerk (15th cent.), with the tombs of William the Silent, who was assassinated in Delft, and the humanist Hugo Grotius, who was born there; and the 17th-century town hall. Delft has a technical university.
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