Sometimes there is a place, the mention of which always conjures up and instant image. In Delft this image is for me that of the Stadhuis (City Hall).
It stands in the central square of Delft, the “old centre” the sort of which can often be found in old European cities.
The building used to be the main building of Delft’s city council (city hall) but these days most of the civic duties are held elsewhere and just the wedding ceremonies are held here.
Such is the popularity and beauty of the building that there can be a waiting list of up to a year to get married here, although that depends entirely on the day of the week, with Saturday’s being the most popular. In the Netherlands you are “legally” deemed married by the State after a ceremony that takes place in the Gemeente Stadhuis (City Hall) and a religious ceremony is an optional extra that has no legal standing.
My Sister in Law was lucky enough to be able to change her second choice venue to her first choice of the Delft Stadhuis only due to a late cancellation by another wedding party, and having attended the ceremony inside I can vouch for the beautiful historic interior.
Wikipedia tells me: “The City Hall in Delft is a Renaissance style building on the Markt across from the Nieuwe Kerk. It is the former seat of the city’s government, and still today the place where residents hold their civic wedding ceremonies. Originally designed by the Dutch architect Hendrick de Keyser, it was heavily changed over the centuries and was restored in the 20th century to its Renaissance appearance.
In the town hall from 1618 are some group portraits, and portraits of the counts of Orange and Nassau, including several by Michiel van Mierevelt (1567–1641), one of the earliest Dutch portrait painters, and with his son Pieter (1595–1623), a native of Delft. The oldest part of the complex is the tower covered in “Gobertanger” limestone from Wallonia, a building material used often in important renaissance buildings in the Netherlands up to 1600.The tower, called “De Steen” or “The Stone”, was originally built around 1300 and has decorative clockfaces from 1536 and the bells were made by Hendrick van Trier and Francois Hemony. The facade has a “Justitia” statue. Under the tower is an old city prison where the assassin of Willem the Silent, Balthasar Gérard, was kept before sentencing.”
It’s of course an imposing and beautiful building, but in this respect it’s not alone because facing it at the opposite end of the square is another especially imposing building that vies equally for the attention of the visitors and residents of Delft….