Wednesday 28th April 2010
Delftshaven is an extremely old part of Rotterdam. During the Second World War it miraculously escaped the bombing that destroyed most of the city. So in that respect, it is a reminder of what the rest of the Rotterdam waterfront must have once looked like.
Its history goes back to 1389 when the city of Delft, which was inland and could only be reached by canal, decided it was no longer going to pay the tolls of the Rotterdam harbour authorities for the shipping of its goods. The solution was to build a harbour that was part of the City of Delft, although physically disconnected from it, to be reached by canal. Delftshaven ceased being a part of Delft in 1811 and become an independent town. The situation changed again in 1886 when, by mutual consent, it was absorbed into Rotterdam as a new borough.
It was to be notable for one very important reason, especially in the context of the history of the USA and also England, as it was here that the Pilgrim fathers commenced their momentous journey to the new world. I'm not sure how well this is known, but the ship Speedwell took the first pilgrims from Delftshaven on their long journey. There were some from England who had fled because of persecution because of their puritan faith. They were joined by others from the community in Leiden. They stopped at Southampton and then the ship sprang a leak and had to put in to Dartmouth for repairs. Eventually they met up with the Mayflower in Plymouth and embarked some more passengers.
On leaving Plymouth the Speedwell sprung a leak again and all the pilgrims were crammed on to the Mayflower, and the Speedwell never made the journey. It was later suggested the crew engineered the leaks to get out of the long voyage.
Because of all these delays they were late arriving and could not make it to their intended destination of Virginia. They landed on Cape Cod, Massachusetts; at the beginning of winter and half of them perished although the remainder went on to found the town of Plymouth.
All of which explains the name of this brewpub which is just two doors along from the Pilgrim's Church, so named after their departure, yet it was where they last worshipped before they left. The pub's building is the former Guild Hall of the harbour. It opened and began producing beer in 1996 and is still the only brewery in the massive city of Rotterdam.
On entering, the brewing equipment is seen on the left and the main rooms are on the right and in front. There is a pleasant courtyard at the rear where I and fellow imbibers Linda and Richard settled for a beer a two. If the weather is good the best position is one of the few tables outside with its wonderful view of the ancient harbour.
There were three beers available and I had them all and I was impressed with the quality of them. I had Pelgrim 1580 (4.8%), Rauchbier (4.5%) and Tripel (7.3%). There are other beers brewed, most of them seasonal. The pub is noted for its cuisine and what I saw looked superb.
To summarise, it's a great pub, with superb beers, in a beautiful and historic location.
Stadsbrouwerij Pelgrim, Aelbrechtskolk 12, Rotterdam-Delftshaven 3024 RE
Open: Wednesday to Sunday 12.00-24.00 (possibly later at weekends).
Closed: Monday and Tuesday.
Delftshaven is about 3 kms (2 miles) from Rotterdam CS (Centraal Station).
It is served by tram 4 (Ruilstraat stop) or tram 8 (Spanjaardstraat stop).
Alternatively, Metro to Delftshaven, then five minutes walk.