DELFT - In an explosion this morning in a powder magazine in Delft are a hundred deaths. Possibly the number of victims rises to one thousand. Many dozens wounded have been taken in recent hours under the rubble. Yet there are still many missing.

The town is near the Verwersdijk fully with the leveled. In a radius of a few hundred meters collapsed virtually all homes severely damaged.

There is also further away talk of major damage. Hundreds houses are uninhabitable. Trees are snapped in the immediate area as matchsticks.

none of the powder magazine itself is more about. At the site of the storage is now a crater of five to six meters deep, completely filled with water.

Also all the stained-glass windows of his Old- and New lost church. Is also on the roof of the New Church a big hole, caused by the blow. The walls of the church are large cracks.

Blast Kruithuis in Delft, Henry Winter, 1758


The explosion was morning, around ten thirty. eyewitnesses say she just before the manager of the powder magazine, Cornelis Soetens, it area saw walking. He also had a lighted lantern with him. Possible Some sparks from the lantern on beaten to powder.

The explosion could be heard in dozens of kilometers. There are even stories that people have heard the explosion on Texel. Because of the loud bang explosion is now already the 'Delft Thunderclap’ called.

Delft after the explosion, drawing by Gerbrand van den Eeckhout


According to official sources, there was around 40.000 kilograms of gunpowder in the storage, but other sources say the real number more towards the 80- tot 90.000 kilos. The store was the powder magazine and Holland West-Friesland.

Quite a few people knew of the existence of the powder magazine down. Exactly one hundred years ago, when Delft joined the uprising William of Orange, The monastery was an artillery storage. Because so few people knew of the existence, The gunpowder was also called the 'secretion of Holland 'named.

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According to Reverend White is Clearly the accident this morning a 'punishment from God', because the Delft surrendered to secular entertainment and infighting. also occurred the city council is not hard enough against Catholics.

The disaster had a lot bigger can be. Many Delft were not in town, but in Schiedam for Varkensmarkt.

Hoe ging het verder?

Scientists from TNO (Delft) have investigated how big the blow was now finally really. they concluded, based on the damage caused by the blow, that probably located twice as much gunpowder in the building, as stated (around the 160.000 kilo).

The slap in Delft is often compared to the Enschede firework disaster (2000). Then there fell 23 doden. experts think that the explosion had about the same effect.

Among the victims was also the famous painter Carel Fabritius. The pupil of Rembrandt was looking after seven alive under the rubble removed from, but still died of his wounds.

From 53 victims is the name known. Many of the victims could not be identified. The death toll was never clear. It lies somewhere between the 100 en 1000 is expected.

In a large part of Holland was then collected money for the survivors and the victims. The States of Holland have Part of the damage compensation.

The new powder magazine of Delft was 1660 opened, far out of town.


Wikipedia – Delft Thunderclap

history – The Delft thunder, the gunpowder disaster 1654

Near – When in Delft: The Delft Thunderclap

AD – Delft thunderclap did shake the city to its foundations

Stadarchief Delft – The Delft Thunderclap

TVNZ – Day creaking Heaven

Author: Dave Datema

published: 12-10-2019

story number: 133

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