Gun powder Explosion of 1654


"'t Sekreet van Hollandt", a secret gun powder storage, and the site of the gun powder explosion of 12 October 1654, 10:30 hrs., the sonic boom of which reverberated to the island Texel in the far north of Holland.

The blast killed Carel Fabritius but (it is indeed an ill wind that blows no good) for other painters such as Daniel Vosmaer (see below) and Egbert van der Poel this extraordinary event also yielded a new market for many townscape views of the devastated areas. He and others earned a livelihood in a new branch of townscape views.

This gun powder storage bunker, which was hidden from view with bushes, was hard to reach by foot and it was therefore virtually unknown to the Delft population. It was built on the grounds of the former Clarisse convent, to the west of the Oude Doelen building. See Nieuwe Doelen building where the schutterij (civic guard trained).

It was the most devastating explosion ever. Hundreds of buildings were razed to the ground, including the Oude Doelen and Nieuwe Doelen. Large trees were sheared at the bottom.

Note: Details on the convent in H.C. Brouwer, 'Stedebouwkundige veranderingen...' in De Stad Delft, cultuur en maatschappij van 1572-1667, Vol I, p. 37-38. 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

Launched 16 February 2005; Last update March 1, 2017. More info in the RKD site.