Delft Blue: The story behind the Dutch glory

Delft Blue: who is, especially in The Netherlands, not familiar with this blue and white colour combination? It’s one of the few products that has been in this country for centuries. Even in some questionable ways... But, Delft Blue is way more than just the mill keychain or three euro fifty tile from a souvenir shop in Amsterdam. It’s almost an artistic piece of The Netherlands that is still being produced in the city of Delft. But, what is Delft Blue exactly?

Definition of Delft Blue

Delft Blue is originally a specific type of pottery, also called faience, that you can recognize by the typical blue decoration on a white surface. As the name implies, many -nowadays- products are still being produced in the city of Delft.

You might think the name will refer to the colour, but it’s actually the mix from which the products are made of. Why that is? I will tell you!

Original Delft Blue

We’re going back to the 15th century, to sunny Italy. In this century and in this country, pottery was made of tin glaze, also known as majolica. Flemish potters brought this material in the 16th century to the northern part of The Netherlands to replace the then used lead glaze.

In that time, the Portuguese and Dutch, two of the most influential seafaring nations, introduced the high-class Chinese porcelain, famous for the blue painted decoration on white porcelain. Because this was very exclusive, ‘everyone’ wanted it, but only the richest people could afford it.