Looking for a painting by Vermeer? Find it with QUICK SEARCH!

The Expansion of Delft

The foundation of Delft as a city was laid on April 15, 1246, when Count Willem II of HollandCount Willem II of Holland (1227–1256) was a pivotal medieval figure in the Netherlands, ascending to the roles of Count of Holland and Zeeland in 1234. His tenure is notable for endeavors to consolidate territorial control and engage in Holy Roman Empire politics. In 1247, Willem II achieved the title of King of the Romans (Rex Romanorum), positioning him as the Holy Roman Emperor's heir, although he never attained the emperorship. His election reflected the era's intricate political dynamics, including the papacy's and Holy Roman Empire's power struggle and the German princes' internal disputes. Willem II aimed to strengthen his Low Countries' influence, notably attempting to dominate the bishopric of Utrecht. His reign also focused on economic advancement, fostering trade and urban growth through city rights grants. However, his ambitions were abruptly halted by his death in 1256 during a campaign against the West Frisians, leading to regional instability. granted the settlement its city charter, initiating its transformation from a small community to a self-governed entity. This charter catalyzed Delft's expansion, both in population and in economic prowess, as trade and industry began to prosper. The city's development was centered around its three original canals: Oude Delft, Nieuwe Delft, and the areas around Braantse Turftmarkt, Burgwal, and Verwersdijk, which served as the main arteries feeding the city's growth.

Delft's expansion was further shaped by strategic decisions over the subsequent century. In 1268, Floris V Floris V, born in 1254, ascended to the titles of Count of Holland and Zeeland at the tender age of two after his father, King William II of Germany and Count of Holland, died. His early years under regency culminated in a reign that would significantly shape the medieval Netherlands. Known for his empathetic governance, Floris earned the moniker "the Guardian of the Hollanders" due to his various reforms that favored the peasantry, including land reclamation projects that converted swamps into fertile grounds, bolstering the county's prosperity. He also sought to centralize power, often clashing with the nobility by enhancing the legal system to provide greater protection for his subjects. Floris V's political astuteness was evident in his adept manipulation of alliances, often swinging between England and France to safeguard his county's interests amidst the tumultuous European power dynamics. However, his increasing authority and reforms that undermined the traditional privileges of the aristocracy led to his downfall. In 1296, a conspiracy by disgruntled nobles culminated in his capture and assassination, an event that sparked widespread outrage among the commons and solidified his legacy as a champion of the people. Floris's untimely death not only triggered political upheaval in the Low Countries but also left an indelible mark on Dutch history, immortalizing him as an iconic figure of benevolent and just rulership. allowed the city to grow westward, while in 1355, Willem VWillem V (1330–1389), also known as William V, Count of Holland, Zeeland, and Hainaut, was a notable figure in the complex political landscape of 14th-century Europe. The son of William III and heir to a vast collection of territories, Willem's reign was marred by mental health issues, which led to periods of incapacitation and erratic behavior, casting a shadow over his rule. This instability fueled internal strife, with his brother John of Bavaria attempting to claim power, leading to a civil war that fragmented the region. Despite the turmoil, Willem's tenure saw continued development and the maintenance of the territories' influential position within the Holy Roman Empire. His struggles with mental illness and the consequent political upheaval underscore the vulnerability of hereditary monarchies to the personal ailments of their rulers and foreshadowed the eventual transfer of power to his brother, laying the groundwork for future shifts in control of the Dutch principalities. authorized the construction of protective earth bulwarks, which were later reinforced with stone and brick. By 1374, under the guidance of Margaretha van Beieren,Margaretha van Beieren (1363–1423), also known as Margaret of Bavaria, was the wife of John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy, and the daughter of Albert I, Duke of Bavaria and Count of Holland, Hainaut, and Zeeland. As an influential consort in one of Europe's most powerful duchies, she became a key figure in the complex dynastic and political landscapes of the time. Upon her husband's assassination in 1419, Margaretha played a critical role as regent for her son, Philip the Good, guiding the Burgundian territories through a period of political unrest. Her regency is noted for its diplomatic acumen, particularly in maintaining stability within the Burgundian state and negotiating with the warring factions of France during the turbulent times of the Hundred Years' War. Margaretha's legacy is reflective of the active and often crucial roles that medieval noblewomen held in the governance and diplomatic affairs of their realms. Delft solidified its footprint, extending to key streets like Nordeinde and the Geer, and creating a well-defined urban core highlighted by the Markt Plein, flanked by significant structures like the Stadhuis and the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), embodying Delft's rich heritage and urban strategy.

The concept and information of this roll-over image map is entirely drawn from the website excellent LENS ON LEUUWENHOEK (https://lensonleeuwenhoek.net/)

1355 1246 1268 1347

EV 4.0 Newsletter ✉

Latest Article

If you discover a or anything else that isn't working as it should be, I'd love to hear it! Please write me at: jonathanjanson@essentialvermeer.com