Calling all internationals in Delft! A great deal of attention is always paid to the community and events in Amsterdam and the Hague, so it is understandable if it can sometimes feel like other cities are overlooked when it comes to functions for expats.
However, the opposite is true. You might just be surprised by the opportunities available. Take Delft, for example. Delft isn't just painted plates and… painted mugs. This bustling town is concealing plenty of 'hidden gems', all fun and interesting for the international community. The thriving and world-famous Delft University of Technology means there is always a steady influx of international students taking up resident there, as well as families and expats coming in from all over the world. Aside from that, it is of course a great place to visit for everyone, whether you be a student, looking for a family outing or just a day spent exploring. Below are just a few tips.
Of course, the TU Delft is one of the most common draws for internationals to the city. Students from outside of the Netherlands currently make up almost 20% of its total student population - more than triple the amount ten years ago and still growing. In accordance with these impressive figures, a great deal of the university's events are in both Dutch and English. Their annual summer festival, frequent workshops, lectures, social events and the most university societies and groups in the country mean that a Delft student need never be stuck for things to do.
Outside of the uni, students also receive a 66% discount on the 'Delftpas' - a card that gets the holder reduced fees on just about anything - museums, zoos, amusement parks, you name it. The Pas can also be used around Rotterdam and the Hague, so is a great deal for more than just the locals.
The city is also home to several festivals and functions that make good use of the student presence. The Westerpop festival is every August, while the two cinemas (Pathe and Lumen) all subscribe to the Delftpas discount, and especially Lumen shows a wide variety of films from all over the world.
From the above it may seem as though students get all the fun, but happily that is not the case.
To the Mums and Dads in the Delft area with book-hungry little ones: did you know the 'DOK' (Library Concept Centre) in Delft organises regular storytelling sessions - in English, Dutch, German, Spanish and French? Those perhaps looking to strengthen their child's second language, or reinforce their first can get their children involved in a new, stimulating and comfortable environment. A bit of icy fun usually doesn't go amiss with the slightly bigger kids either, and in December in Delft is a great place and time for skating, at the Skating Rink.
In addition to these activities, Delft is also currently in the middle of planning an international primary school in collaboration with Rijswijk due to the demand of the expats in the region. Once launched, the school will be the centre of family groups in the city, and a great way for expats to get to know each other.
For those without children to entertain and looking for a little browsing and history, the jumble and antique markets are on between April and October at the Hippolytusbuurt. Local museums on the Dutch royalty and 750 year history of Delft are ten a penny, with the Vermeer Centrum, Botanische Tuin and Museum Het Prinsenhof being just a few. The latter is still adorned with bullet holes from the murder of Willem of Orange in 1584 - how's that for history? Most museums and exhibitions also provide English information and tours.
Not a student? Don't have a couple of kids in tow? There is still plenty to do around the city, whether you're planning a solo trip, exploring with your partner or going for a sniff around with friends. It is also home to many cafes and restaurant, as well as playing host to some great English-style tea rooms and pubs, most located in and around its busy centre and squares.
Whiskey lovers may find their spiritual home at the Trappistenlokaal 't Klooster, where the whiskeys are matched to dishes, or those more wine-and-cocktail-inclined can delight in Breeze Cocktail Bar. Like a bit of jazz with your juice? Try Jazz Cafe Bebop.
The above is just a small fraction of all that is on offer for internationals in this diverse and interesting city. For more tips and pointers on things to do in Delft, take a look at the city council's English section on events.