Van der KROGT en Van der KROFT
Cottonwood County Citizen 5 april 2000
Delft plays host to a visitor from another Delft almost half a world away.
The community of Delft had a visitor Monday. While there's nothing unusual about that, consider this: the visitor was not specifically visiting someone in Delft, but Delft itself.
And this visitor had an iilternational flavor.
Dr. Peter van der Krogt of Delft, Holland - yes, in Europe - paid a visit to Minnesota's Delft Monday, finally fulfilling a 30-year curiosity. The 44-year-old Van der Krogt, a tall, bubbly, enthusiastic, bearded gentleman, teaches history of cartography at Utrecht University in the Netherlands.
When he was 14, he discovered two other cities named "Delft" while searching through a world atlas. One Delft was a small island off the coast of Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), which is located off the southeast tip ofIndia; the other, of course, is Delft, Minn.
When he made plans to visit the Minnesota community, he had no expectations.
"I'm not surprised and I'm not disappointed," Van der Krogt said of his visit to Delft, Minn. "I know how big villages are in the United States, so it is more like what I might have expected."
Indeed, this is not his first visit to the United States. He says when he was visiting in Chicago, he was tempted to make the drive to Minnesota to visit the community, but declined because of the distance. This time, he was attending a symposium at the University of Wisconsin in Madison and decided to fly to Minneapolis and make the drive to Delft
"It took me 17 hours to come from Delft to Delft," he said with a laugh. "There was no street sign named Delft, but I found an old railroad station with a sign named Delft I have several photographs of it."
Van der Krogt also visited the Cottonwood County Historical Museum to gather more information on the tiny village that currently has 26 houses and about 75 to 80 people. However, what he hadn't expected was to find more questions than answers.
He was curious as to why the community, which was settled by Russian Mennonite immigrants in 1892, was given a Dutch name by John Bartsch and Henry Wiebe. "They have very little or no Dutch in their names, they are German names," Van der Krogt said. "So, why name it Delft?"
He spent Monday afternoon visiting with Delft resident Jan Wassenaar, who took him on a tour of Delft, and also was able to partially answer some of his questions.
Wassenaar said that when Delft was settled, the village initially planned to give it the name "Wilhemine," who was Holland's queen in the 1890s. That was voted down, Wassenaar said, because the name was too, long.
"Bartsch" was an alternative, but Bartsch, who was one of the village's leaders, refused to have the town be named after him. Finally, Delft was agreed upon. Wassenaar knows that among the settlers at that time were some Dutch immigrants and he suspects that is how the town received its Dutch name.
Van der Krogt, who is the local historian of his native city, also shared a little bit about Delft, Holland, a city with a population of about 96,000 located 45 minutes from Amsterdam. "I toured Delft yesterday and it doesn't look like my Delft," he quipped.
He said it's a nice place to visit, but.. .
"I am a big-city person," Van der Krogt said. "I don't even want to live in Cottonwood County. It's too small for me."
Friends of his in Delft, Holland, also asked him to mail a postcard of Delft, Minn., from Delft to Delft. However, he was surprised to discover the post office closed almost 10 years ago.
He said he would do the next best thing.
"I'll send them a postcard of my Delft," he said with a laugh.
Van der Krogt plans to write a short article about his visit to Delft, Minn., for the Delft, Holland 2000 Yearbook.
Delftse geschiedenis in duizend namen
Kaartenvorsers uit liefhebberij