This building between the south end of Oude Delft and Geer stored armaments such as cannons and rifles. As Delft was a garrison town, no less than eight major buildings were being used by the military.
Four warehouses were owned and managed by the States of Holland (which is the province named Holland): 1) the Armamentarium, 2) the Clarisse convent gardens full of cannon, while saltpeter and sulphur, two main ingredients for gunpowder, were stored dry in the 3) Clarisse chapel. Finally there was the ill fated secret gun powder storage. Having learnt the hard way from the terrible explosion, gunpowder was stored well away at a costly new site a few miles south of town, on the Schie canal.
Four other warehouses were owned and managed by the 'Generaliteit' or States General which was the supreme power in the Republic. Large implements were stored in the Orphanage. Other armaments were stored in buildings such as the Heilige Geest kapel. Wooden warfare implements were stored in the large wooden lean-to shed just outside the Schiedam Gate visible as a dark shape on the left hand side of the central building with the bell tower on Vermeer's The View of Delft (see the detailed description in the essay on the View of Delft.
One garrison was stationed in town. This military presence in the "wapenkamer van Hollandt" was even increased in 1679 when cannon works were installed. All of this might resulted in the absence of any battle. See Van Bleyswijck's thoughts on war and peace.
The still image above is from a continuous movie which is presented on my site on Internet.
In 1811 Napoleon toured the town of Delft, and upon seeing two highly decorated cannon by the Armamentarium, he said with a little wava of his hands: "C'est à moi", - that's for me - and so they were immediately confiscated. One of the cannon ended up via Berlin to St Petersburg and the other in Vienna.
Note: H.L. Zwitser, 'Delft als militaire stad' in De Stad Delft, cultuur en maatschappij van 1572-1667, Vol I, p. 15-17. Exh.cat. Museum Prinsenhof Delft, 1981. G. Berends, 'Het Armamentarium tot 1667' in De Stad Delft, cultuur en maatschappij van 1572-1667, Vol I, p. 51-54. Exh.cat. Museum Prinsenhof Delft, 1981.
This page forms part of a large encyclopedic site on Delft. Research by Drs. Kees Kaldenbach (email). A full presentation is on view at johannesvermeer.info.
Launched 16 February 2005; Last update March 1, 2017. More info in the RKD site.