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Vermeer's Delft: Beestenmarkt Kees, Kaldenbach, "Vermeer Website." Accessed [insert date of access]. http://www.xs4all.nl/~kalden/dart/d-a-vermeer1.htm.

in collaboration with Adelheid Rech

Much of the information below was drawn from Kees Kaldenbach's excellent Vermeer website at:

Towards the end of the fifteenthc entury, Vermeer's grandfather, a tailor named Jan, lived with his wife and three children in a house called Nassau, abutting the Beestenmarkt, a large market square where cattle were sold once a week.

In those days, common people had no last names. Last names were not necessary in Vermeer's time. Jan was known accordingly as "the son of Reynier" (in Dutch, Reynyerszoon, abbreviated Reyersz)."John Michael Montias, Vermeer and His Milieu: A Web of Social History (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1989), 42.

"The Beestenmarkt, which today measures 60 by 50 meters, had been in part the location of a former monastery of the Minderbroeders (Minor Friars), belonging to the order of Saint Franciscus. In 1499 the Minor Friars got permission to settle in Delft. They built a monastery with a comparatively large chapel. The building comprised about one-third of the present place and was situated southeast of the Burgwal. In the course of the Reformation the monastery was demolished in 1595 and the place was used for the weekly cattle market, hence its Dutch name 'Beestenmarkt'. But the street name Broerhuisstraat (in former times Grote Broerhuissteg), leaving from one of the corners of Beestenmarkt, still refers to this former monastery."Archaeologie Delft

BeestenmarktBeestenmarkt, Delft

The animals kept in temporary pens, although at times they would escape. The alleyways surrounding the market were cordoned off during market days to keep those that escaped withing catching distance. Most of the people living around the Beestenmarkt were illiterate.

Especially in the summer, today Beestenmarkt is an important entertainment hub, and as of 2018, the square is surrounded by eleven catering businesses. There are twenty-four plane trees around sixty years old on the square, providing shade in sunny weather. From 2001 to 2014, the square was used annually (except for 2003) for an ice rink.In the center of the square stands The Bull, ceramic artwork by artist Rob Brandt.

The Museum Het Prinsenhof in Delft, established in 1911, offers a unique journey through the history of the Netherlands, the city of Delft, and the renowned Delftware. This museum is ensconced in a structure of monumental historical significance, a backdrop to some of the most pivotal events in Dutch history. Formerly the court of William of Orange, known as the Father of the Dutch Nation, the building's walls bear witness to the nation's storied past. Visitors can explore the significant role that Delft's citizens played in Dutch history and the evolution of Delftware into the globally recognized brand it is today. Originally erected as a monastery in the Middle Ages, the edifice later became the residence of William the Silent. His assassination at the Prinsenhof in 1584 is etched into history, with bullet holes from the tragic event still visible on the main staircase.

address: Sint Agathaplein 1, 2611 HR Delft

opening hours:
Tuesday to Sunday from 11 a.m.–5 p.m.

during school holidays:
Monday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
closed on Christmas Day (27 April), Christmas Day and New Year's Day

The Vermeer Centrum Delft, a volunteer-run organization, offers insights into the life and work of Johannes Vermeer, showcasing his painting techniques and displaying reproductions of his masterpieces. In addition to educational exhibits, the center features a shop with an array of Vermeer-inspired merchandise. More than eighty passionate volunteers operate the center, which stands on the historic site of the former Guild of Saint Luke, once presided over by Vermeer himself as the head painter.

Voldersgracht 21, Delft

openings times:
opened daily from 10 a.m. to 5 pm.
open on 24 and 31 December from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
open on 26 December and 1 January from 12 a.m. to 5 p.m.
closed on 25 December

Free guided tours on Friday and Sunday
Friday at 11:30 a.m. (Dutch)
Sunday at 10:30 a.m. (English)
Sunday 12 a.m. (Dutch)

The shop and Café Mechelen have the same opening times.

For information on opening time and tickets, click here.

Delft's main market, known locally as "de Markt," attracts visitors from afar as well as from neighboring cities such as The Hague and Rotterdam. Situated between City Hall and the magnificent Nieuwe Kerk, the market opens every Thursday. Here, a bustling array of over 150 stalls offer a variety of items including cheese, fish, vegetables, bread, nuts, and other foodstuffs, alongside clothing, bicycle accessories, and electronic gadgets. Encircling the market, a selection of pubs and open-air terraces provide idyllic spots to relax and enjoy a cup of coffee.

A short five-minute stroll from the general market is the Brabantse Turfmarkt, home to the flower market. This vibrant segment of Delft is adorned with numerous flower merchants presenting an array of thousands of flowers. On Saturdays, this venue also hosts a smaller iteration of the general market, featuring around 50 stalls.

Equally captivating is the weekly art and antiques market, a haven for tourists seeking to absorb the city's charm and scour for unique finds. This market is available on Thursdays and Saturdays from April to October. On Thursdays, you can find it alongside the canal in Hippolytusbuurt street. Come Saturday, the market expands to include a book market and extends along the Voldersgracht as well as the canals within Hippolytusbuurt and Wijnhaven, creating a delightful maze of vintage and antique treasures.

The Beestenmarkt played a significant role in the life of the parents of Johannes Vermeer. Reynier lived in Nassau from his birth in 1591 until the death of his father Jan in 1597. Neeltge Goris married in the same year the tailor and musician Claes Corstiaensz, a professional musician, and moved with her three children (Jan, Anthony and Maertge, uncle and aunt of Vermeer) to his house De Drie Hamers (The Three Hammers) (present Beestenmarkt 26). That means that Reynier lived in this house, together with the family of his stepfather, from 1597 until c. 1611, when he went for his apprenticeship in Amsterdam.

Beestenmarkt 26, DelftBeestenmarkt 26 (location of the former The Three Hammers),
corner Broerhuisstraat.
The Hotel De Koophandel
comprises the numbers
26 to 32. The ground floor of
No. 26 is leased to a pub.

Neeltge Goris lived on Voldersgracht nr. 3 in the house In de Bruynvisch. She was active as uijtdraegster or second-hand-goods dealer, liquidating estates of the deceased. Since paintings were often a part of these estates, Neeltge's dealing in works of art may have kindled the interest of her son Reynier in this commodity. This active woman also sold bedding and promoted lotteries. Her third husband was a ship's carpenter. Women from the lower classes were forced to remarry quickly since they had little or no social protection to speak of.

Beestenmarkt, Delft A detail of Dirck Van Bleyswyck's Kaart Figuratief of Delft showing the Beestenmarkt

Reynier, Vermeer's father, went to Amsterdam to learn the trade of a silk-linen weaver (caffawerker) and married Digna Baltens from Antwerp. The couple lived in "De Drie Hamers" (the Three Hammers) where their daughter Geertruy was born in 1620. Reynier used the name Vermeer for the first time in 1640. Last names were not necessary in Vermeer's time. We do not know why Reynier chose Vermeer as his name but his brother was already using it at the time.

Beestenmarkt 14, Delft Beestenmarkt 14 (former location of House Nassau) is one of the many cafés around the Beestenmarkt, perhaps the most liveliest place in Delft.

The public Vermeer information stand on Beestenmarkt indicating the birthplace of Reynier Jansz. Vos, no. 14, is erroneous. The house numbers 14 and 26 were interchanged.

the house of Neeltge Goris in Delft Voldersgracht nr. 3
(the narrow facade to the right)'
The larger building to the left is the "Vleeshal" (Meat market).
photo by Pieter Haringsma
Beestenmarkt, Delft One side of the Beestenmarkt in the winter.
(photo by Pieter Haringsma)
Delft, Holland
View of historic Delft with



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