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Museum Prinsenhof Delft brings Vermeer's 'The Little Street' back to Delft
The painting Little Street (Het Straatje) by Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) is on display at Prinsenhof museum in Delft, on March 22, 2016. The painting is seen in Delft for the fist time since 320 years. Bart Maat / ANP / AFP.

DELFT.- Museum Prinsenhof Delft is bringing Vermeer’s The Little Street back to Delft. For the first time in 320 years this famous masterpiece by Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) can be seen in the city where it was painted.

The reason for its temporary move is the recent study of The Little Street’s location by Professor Dr Frans Grijzenhout, Professor of Art History at the University of Amsterdam. This study demonstrated that it must have been Vlamingstraat at the site of the present-day numbers 40-42.

The exhibition enables you to track every step of the study. “It is not a Whodunit but a Where is it”, says Patrick van Mil, Director of Museum Prinsenhof Delft, “and we present theories of other historians too. People have been looking for this location ever since 1921, when The Little Street became part of the Rijksmuseum’s collection.”

Place oF Memories
An important argument in Professor Grijzenhout’s theory is the fact that Vermeer’s aunt used to live in the house on the right. This place is likely to have had a special, personal meaning to him, a memory of picturesque beauty.

Other paintings in the exhibition demonstrate how Vermeer’s contemporaries depicted the city of Delft. There are three works on show by Pieter de Hooch (1629-after 1684), who is suspected to have been an important source of inspiration for Vermeer. One of which is the seldom exhibited Woman and Child in a Courtyard (approx. 1658-1660) given on loan by the National Gallery of Art in Washington. Another is Woman and Child in a Bleaching Ground (approx. 1658) from an English private collection, which is one of the most beautiful works by De Hooch. It is the first time that The Little Street (approx. 1660) and the works of De Hooch are brought together in the city where they were painted.

Special Activities
The Little Street will be exhibited at a stone’s throw from the place where it was painted. That is why the exhibition is extended beyond the museum and includes the historic city centre of Delft. Visitors will be given an app for a smartphone or a tablet that takes them past some twenty locations that have a link with Vermeer’s life and The Little Street. Personal stories about the still mysterious master painter fuel our imagination and feed the curiosity surrounding ‘The sphinx of Delft’, as Vermeer is also known. The ‘Where is Vermeer?’ app can be downloaded free of charge after the opening.

There is also an escape box that was designed specifically for the exhibition. Visitors are challenged to escape from Vermeer’s studio in a short period of time by solving puzzles and riddles. The museum also has a rich offering of tours, workshops, lectures and performances. The current programme can be found at

Cooperation in the City
The news of The Little Street’s return to Delft has been received enthusiastically by other cultural institutions and businesses in the city. Together with Museum Prinsenhof Delft and Delft Council they have worked to provide a wide range of packages, special promotions and products for the people of Delft and tourists from the Netherlands and abroad. The programme for this Year of Vermeer is available at

Museum PrinsenhoF Delft
Museum Prinsenhof Delft tells the stories of the city of Delft and its inhabitants that put their stamp on the Netherlands then and now. Johannes Vermeer is perhaps the best example of such a citizen of Delft. “It is time that Delft had a Vermeer within its municipal boundaries. That has not happened for more than sixty years. Professor Grijzenhout’s study was the perfect reason. It is a unique opportunity to view The Little Street and walk straight into the beautiful city centre of Delft, where you can still almost see his footsteps”, comments Patrick van Mil, director of Museum Prinsenhof Delft.

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