In the cooking kitchen. Room D

Function of this room: This cooking kitchen, also called a "stove" in Dutch, was part of the lower section of the house ('onderhuis') which also consisted of the cellar (E) and wash kitchen (K). This small cooking kitchen was just used to re-heat a portion of the meal which had been prepared previously in the inner kitchen. Six chairs and three floor pillows indicate a sitting arrangement. There was also an alcove bed.

The ceiling was relatively low because of the inner kitchen directly above. Both of these two kitchens receive daylight through the lower set of windows in the forehouse (A). Food was normally eaten upstairs in the inner kitchen.

What does The Milkmaid cook ?

Inventory: "A pair of striped curtains with a valance, een paer gestreepte gardijnen met een vollitgen ; A food cupboard, een eetenskasie ; A wooden rack, een hout rackie ; Three blue sit-cushions with fringes, drye blaeuwe sitkussens met franie ; Four tin porringers, vier tinne eetkommitgens ; Two pewter dishes twee tinne schotelen ; Two pewter beer mugs [mugs], twee tinne bierkannen ; A fire iron, een yseren beugel; A tongue, een tang ; A shovel for ashes, een asschop ; A tin candlestick, een blikken blaker ; Twenty-one shell-shaped dishes, een en twintig schilpschalen.

A bed with a long head pillow, een bedde met een hooftpeuluwe ; Two ear cushions, twee oorkussens; Two blankets one green and one white, twee deeckens als een groen met een wit ; A bed cover, een bedde kleet ; A rug, een tapijte kleet; A small table painted red, een root geveruwt tafeltgen ; A coat rack, kapstock ; A potty chair, een kinderstoel ; A striped mantelpiece coverlet, een gestreept schoorsteenkleetje ; Six old chairs, ses oude stoelen ; An old beer jug [mug], een oude biercan."



See the original documents from the Delft Archives. Goods owned by Catharina Bolnes, page 1, page 2, page 3, page 4, page 5, page 6, page 7. Goods jointly owned by Catharina Bolnes and Maria Thins, page 1, page 2, page 3, page 4, page 5, page 6.


At the top a 17th century engraving by Geertruijd Roghman, showing a woman in an inner kitchen or cooking kitchen. Geertruyd Roghman was a female artists who made a series of prints on household affairs.

Yellow illustration: Cornelis Saftleven, woman sitting near a kitchen fire, Coll. C. Hofstede de Groot, now in Groninger museum, Groningen.

The ubiquitous midday meal was 'hotchpotch' or 'hodgepodge', consisting of onions, white carrots or another root vegetable and - if funds allowed - salted meat in winter and smoked meat in summertime. Salted herring was staple food as well. Undoubtedly sea fish or freshwater fish was eaten every Friday in this Roman Catholic family. Turnips and carrots were eaten but potatoes were not a staple food until much later.

During the last year a large amount of bread was consumed. An outstanding debt of 617 gulden and 6 stuivers was paid to the baker on 27 January 1676 by widow Catherina Bolnes with two paintings: 1) Person writing a letter, with a second person present. 2) a person playing the cittern.

See discussion of the water pump which may have been in this kitchen.

Note: Inventory written on February 29, 1676 by the assistant of Delft Notary public J. van Veen in the house on Oude Langendijk Delft, corner Molenpoort, of painter Johannes Vermeer who had died there a number of weeks before. The text version cited above is based upon the original document in the Municipal Archive of Delft as published by Van Peer, Oud Holland "Drie collecties...", 1957 p. 98-103. This English translation has been checked against that of the largest language dictionary in the world, the Woordenboek der Nederlandsche Taal (WNT), which was started in 1882 by De Vries and Te Winkel. Montias 1989, p. 338 doc. 361.

Lit.: M. Corbeau, 'Pronk en koken. Beeld en realiteit van keukens in het vroegmoderne Hollandse binnenhuis' in: R. Rooyakkers (red.) Mensen en dingen. Betekenissen van materiële cultuur, Volkskundig Bulletin 19.3 (Dec. 1993) p. 354-379.


This page forms part of a large encyclopedic site on Vermeer and Delft. Research by Drs. Kees Kaldenbach (email). A full presentation is on view at

Launched December, 2002; Last update March 1, 2017.

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