The final day of our Netherlands 22 trip came around and we packed up the car, saying goodbye to our holiday home in Zaandam. As with previous trips, we weren’t due to board the ferry back to the UK until the early evening, so we looked for something to do with the day, before we headed to Rotterdam.
It had been a few years since we’d been to Delft, so after seeing the many tweets of the city from Melissa & Chris Bruntlett since they moved there, we really fancied going back.
I asked Melissa and Chris if there was any recent developments worth looking at and they suggested the newly-rebuilt Reinier de Graafweg, so we looked for somewhere nearby to park the car, where we could then get onto our bikes to explore further.
Fortunately, we found a conveniently located car park on Reinier de Graafweg at Sportpark Den Hoorn, not far from the A4 motorway and just a short 3.5 km to Delft. So we parked up the car, offloaded the bikes set off to Delft.
Riding to Delft
We set off from Sportpark Den Hoorn on Reinier de Graafweg, heading towards Delft. This involved crossing to the opposite side where the recently introduced wide and smooth two-way cycle path is.
Looking at Google Street View for this location, you can see how much Reinier de Graafweg has been transformed. Previously, the street featured a single one-way cycle path in one direction and just a painted lane in the other.
The street has been significantly reconfigured and widened from what it was. Previously, it was just two general traffic lanes, plus narrow cycling provision. Now, there’s wide cycle paths, in addition to the two traffic lanes, plus two additional bus lanes.
Continuing along Reinier de Graafweg, we reached the Westlandseweg junction. This is a large multi-lane junction, but as you’d expect, there’s high quality, safe cycle paths running through it, cycle traffic lights and dedicated crossing phases.
Going across the junction, we continued along Westlandseweg, where the two-way cycle path continued. The path was older than the ones on Reinier de Graafweg, but still very good and well maintained. This is quite a wide road, with multiple lanes, but it felt relatively pleasant to cycle along, with plenty of trees and a grass median separating the cycle paths from the general traffic lanes.
Westlandseweg continues in much the same the way for the next two junctions, then at Krakeelpolderweg, the asphalt changes back to red and it’s clear that it’s newer than the previous section. Looking back on Google Street View, this area was significantly changed around 2015, with the tram lines relocated from the side to the middle.
In addition, there used to be an underpass, going under the railway line heading to Delft station. This was all removed as part of the redevelopment of Delft station, where the railway lines were moved underground.
At the Nieuwe Gracht junction, we turned left and continued. The railway line used to run along here, before it was moved underground. There was also a bus station and lots of surface-level cycle parking, which has also been removed as well.
Removing the railway line has freed up a huge amount of space, enough to create a new street, lined with large number of apartment blocks, a canal and space for walking, cycling and driving. It’s impressive just how much this area has been transformed, with a completely new neighbourhood created.
Carrying on along Nieuwe Gracht, we reached the rear entrance to the cycle parking under Delft station, which we turned into to park the bikes. While not strictly necessary to park here, I wasn’t about to turn up the chance of using it again.
I’ve previously parked at the station back in 2019, when I came here for a short visit. It was good to return and have opportunity to look around at what it a pretty fantastic cycle parking facility, though it’s probably a little on the small side now, compared to new facilities in other cities, such as Utrecht and Amsterdam.
Wandering round Delft
After parking the bikes, we left the station and headed out into Delft. We didn’t really have any plan, we just wanted to have a wander on what was another lovely sunny day (we really lucked out on the weather in 2022).
Our walk focused on the old town, taking in the sights and canal-lined streets. This of course included the Markt square, with the glorious Stadhuis and Nieuwe Kerk, which were looking wonderful in the sunshine.
We also had a wander round the many market stalls scattered around nearby, such as on Voldersgracht, Burgwal and Brabantse Turfmarkt. This is always a pleasant way to pass the time in a really beautiful location.
While wandering, we stopped in Beestenmarkt for a drink and a sit down. This is such a beautiful square and a really pleasant place to spend time, with its tree cover and old buildings filled with bars and restaurants.
Like nearly all Dutch cities, Delft is incredibly walkable. This is helped significantly by very low levels of traffic in the centre. Many of the streets are either traffic-free or don’t allow through traffic, so while you see parked cars, you don’t actually see many moving.
It also helps that the streets in Delft are human scale, with gentle density and high quality paving and street furniture, which is well maintained. This creates an environment you actually want to spend time in.
After a lovely day spent in Delft, it was now time to go and collect our bikes from the station and ride back to our car. We have hoped to stay in Delft sometime, but suitable accommodation has been difficult to find.
We did have somewhere booked for 2020, but like everyone’s plans for that year, it was cancelled. Hopefully, one day we’ll return, to spend more than a day there.
Collecting our bikes from the underground parking at Delft station, we returned to the car, largely along the route we arrived on, with just a little difference from where we set off.
This look us back along Ireneboulevard, Westlandseweg and Reinier de Graafweg, giving us opportunity to experience again the high quality, well maintained cycling infrastructure that’s a pleasure to ride on.
It wasn’t long before until we were back on Reinier de Graafweg, then back at our car at Sportpark Den Hoorn. We loaded up the car and set off for Rotterdam, to catch the ferry back to the UK.
After a three year break, because of you know what, it was great to return to The Netherlands in 2022, see some familiar places and some new. While we’ve travelled to The Netherlands so many times now, that we know what to expect, there’s always some surprises. This year, that came with our stay in Zaandam, which gave us some genuinely new experiences.
There will be no Netherlands trip for us in 2023, as we have other plans. But I’m sure we’ll be back again some time soon.
More Netherlands 22 posts
- Around Wassenaar and Valkenburg
- The route to Vlietland
- The route to Wassenaarse Slag
- A multimodal trip to Rotterdam
- The route to Katwijk and Noordwijk
- The route to Leiden
- Around Zaandam
- The route to NDSM
- The route to Amsterdam
- The route to Zaanse Schans
- The route to Zwembad De Breek
- Riding around Hembrug
- Zaandam by boat
- A day out in Delft