Music in the Time of Vermeer: Music from the Golden Age

Delft Chamber of Music Festival 2019 23rd edition – Source: Fonds Podium, Foto: Ronald Knapp

Music in Delft

Music played a very important role in the daily lives of citizens in Delft. The most dominant portion of music playing, and organic concerts were held at the Oude Delft and Nieuwe Kerk.

Both had organs built by 1545. Delft, a quickly evolving city in the Seventeenth century for its breweries, porcelain “Delft Blue” and tapestry weaving, the music industry was playing an important role in this new lifestyle.

The Family van der Dussen, a known wealthy catholic family, ensured to show off this new social status of Delft by portraying paintings of their family with musical instruments in rich interior settings.

The intent was to portray the pleasure of music making and the harmony in the family of musicians.

Familie van der Dussen – Hendrick Cornelisz. van Vliet
1640 – Oil on canvas, 159 x 210 cm. Museum Het Prinsenhof, Delft

Portrait of Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck – Attributed to Gerrit Pietersz Sweelink (the musician’s brother) – 1606 – Oil on panel, 67 × 52 cm. Gemeente museum Den Haag, The Hague.

Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck

Born into a family of musicians in Deventer in May 1562, Jan grew up with both musical parents, Elske Sweeling and Peter Swybbertszoon. Jan’s parents were also organists at the Cathedral of Deventer which then lead to Jan filling in his father position shortly after his passing in 1573.

Jan was well known for his harpsichord and organ improvisations, apart from this, Jan used his talent further and became a gifted teacher throughout Northern Europe. Jan lived a harmonious life, his output amounted to 254 vocal works, including chansons, madrigals, motets, psalms and keyboard works in the form of fantasias, echo and other variations. Jan’s career demonstrates the basic seventeenth century elements of the musical life of The Netherlands.

 Jan died October 1621 and was buried at the Oude Kerk, leaving behind his wife and five children of whom Dirck Janszoon Sweelink followed his father’s footsteps, and also became a musician.

Dirck Jansz Scholl

Dirck was born in 1641 in Brielle near Rotterdam, a famous composer, organist and carillonneur. In 1661, Dirck was appointed the organist of Saint Eusebius in Arnhem where he also became a member of the local Collegium Museum. Dirck then moved to Delft and dedicated himself as an organist for the Nieuwe Kerk.

Besides his talent for organist compositional, Dirck also plated viola da gamba and composed various chamber music which was preformed years after by the Collegium Musicum in Delft. Dirck’s only surviving pieces are the simple French dances, lust-hoff (1678). In 1727 Dirck died and was buried in the Oude Kerk.

Portrait of Dirck Scholl at the age of 58 – Thomas van der Wilt. c. 1698/99
In the background the spire of the Nieuwe Kerk. Gemeentearchief Delft

Events coming up in Delft

November 09, 2020 – March 14, 2021

Delft’s Symphony Orchestra

To commemorate these musicians who made music history for Delft and throughout the Netherlands, Delft is hosting a “Delft’s Symphony Orchestra” which takes place on 16 November, 24 November and 14 March at the Lutherse Kerk (church) in Delft.


Delft Chamber of Music Festival 2019 23e edition.
Source: Fonds Podium Kunsten, Foto: Ronald Knapp

Source: Delftse Post – Via Crucis in Oude Kerk

November 09, 2020

Beyond the Golden ages

On Saturday November 09, 2019 located at Mekelweg 8-10 Delft, starting at 3.p.m, there will be an event held at the Technical University of Delft themed “Beyond the Golden ages”.

A yearly event which the Delft Chamber choir sings the top hits from the 17th century. Remembering and portraying hits of composers like Jan Sweelinck, Holst and Wikander.

The choir led by conductor Peter van der Leeuw which has been surprising the public for almost 30 years with special classical concerts of high quality.

Admission costs are €14 (including consumption) and can be purchased at


Your Royal Stay in Delft


Come to Delft to enjoy the Music of the Golden Age
and take advantage
of your Royal Stay at Luxury Apartments Delft.

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