Delftware: Tradition in blue and white
Delftware is found in many Dutch households and is enormously popular with tourists. But what exactly is Delftware pottery and where can you find it in Amsterdam? From blue and white milk jugs and kitchen tiles to the little girl and boy poised for a kiss, these porcelain pieces are iconic symbols of the Netherlands.
If you’ve ever wondered whether Delft pottery and Chinese Ming porcelain had anything to do with each other, then you're on the right track! Until the late 16th century ceramics were only available to the rich. But in the early 1600s, the Dutch became acquainted with porcelain from China. It became so popular that local potters had to do something to save their trade - so they imitated the porcelain and created Delftware. Asian scenes gave way to Dutch imagery, and a national icon was born. To this day, Delftware remains popular with collectors.
Of course, true Delftware comes only from the city of Delft. Between 1600 and 1800 Delft was one of the most important ceramic production centres in Europe. Delftware products have been an important export product from the Netherlands for 400 years and Delftware is still well known around the world. The 17th-century Royal Delft Factory (Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles) and De Delftse Pauw are the only original Delftware ceramic producers still in operation. The charming town of Delft and its pottery factories and shops make for an interesting day trip from Amsterdam.
Buying the wares
Delftware is made from a clay mixture that is covered with a tin glaze after it has come out of the kiln. Delftware painters paint the traditional decorations on the porcelain items entirely by hand – and it doesn’t only have to be in blue. Galleria d'arte Rinascimento in the Jordaan has a large assortment of antique and new Delft pottery from the Royal Factory on offer. Another fine place to source your wares is Jorrit Heinen Royal Gifts and Collectables, located in the Munt Tower. If you're watching your budget and less concerned about authenticity, the Christmas Palace near the Flower Market has a selection of charming and affordable blue and white ornaments.
Made by you
If you're looking for something truly unique, you can create your own custom souvenir! Let your hidden artistic talents shine at Made by Me in Amsterdam (Tweede Constantijn Huygensstraat 54) . Their workshops are a creative and original way to meet new people and learn a bit more about the city. Made by Me is located in a historic building with a terrace, just next to Leidseplein and the Vondelpark. Whether you take home a mug, a few hand-painted tiles or a lovely box to hold your tea, you're sure to have a good time. And you might be tempted to start your own Delftware collection!