WINKELTJE KOUWENHOVEN

One of the hidden gems not to be missed …

A cute little incognito candy shop called Winkeltje Kouwenhoven located across Museum Prinsenhof at Sint Agatha square in Delft.

In 1867, J.H. Kouwenhoven started the Kouwenhoven shop selling coal and painting supplies on Verwersdijk 24-26. During the early 1930s, H.A. Herstel took over the business from the Kouwenhoven family and focused on making paint at the back of the shop to sell them. Besides stocking quantities of paint and lacquer for sale, customary drugstore and grocery items were included in the shop as well. Such items were chemicals, glass bottles, soaps, toothpaste, dental tablets, school supplies and a large assortment of sweets. It was a typical Dutch grocer shop, well known in Delft back in the days!

In 1985, Museum Prinsenhof took over Kouwenhoven classic inventory and relocate the shop to its present location, with most of its original interior dating from 1931. It is now a stand-alone ‘little shop’ (Dutch: winkeltje) operated by volunteers still visited by many locals.

The first time I was in Delft visiting Museum Prinsenhof, I overlooked Winkeltje Kouwenhoven. I remembered it was a plain and uninteresting building tucked in a corner of Sint Agatha square. I was disappointed when I found out later on what I had missed.

During the last school break, I took my kids back to Delft for a day trip. This time, visiting Winkeltje Kouwenhoven was at the top of my list.Winkeltje Kouwenhoven 01As soon as we entered the shop, my kids zoomed in on those jars of colorful traditional Dutch sweets resting on the counter table. Completely ignored the Dutch licorice variety!

“For €1.00 you can get 100 grams of whatever sweets you like from the jars.”

I watched my kids’ eye lit up the candy store. While they discussed which sweets to buy, I browsed around embracing the atmosphere of yesteryear. I felt like I was taking a step back in time! Articles were stored and displayed in an old fashioned grocery store style. There were original linseed oil, turpentine tanks, obsolete cleaning products in retro packaging, old photos, oil lamp parts, outdated posters, nostalgic toys, postcards, poetry pictures, vintage tin boxes and a gaper head. This is a cultural treasure!

In the end, my son decided on just kaneelkussentjes (translation: cinnamon cushions) and my daughter was determined to have only roomboterwafels (translation: buttered waffles). The lady over the counter weighed the individual sweets on old-fashioned scales and served them each in a paper cone. Like the good old days!

Address: Sint Agathaplein 3A. 2611HR DELFT.
Opening Hours: Tuesday-Sunday from 1300hrs – 1645hrs.

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