The evening of the 14th was Lichtjesavond here in Delft… the evening of lights, when the tree in the market square is lit. Other cities have Lichtjesavond, even on the same night—Gouda’s, apparently quite famous, was also the 14th.
I took a nasty fall on some ice that afternoon and was/am feeling quite stiff, so we did just a quick walk that evening after the tree had already been lit at 7 PM. I could not believe how crowded the streets were! The streets around the market were stampede-quality packed; I have never seen them so full, including the evenings of the World Cup. Vendors selling Santa hats, gluhwein, hot chocolate, and who knows what else had stalls all around. We had to fight our way through to get a view of the tree, but at least we got to hear some live music on the way.
There were music stages set up at various spots around Delft. Both the Oude and Nieuwe Kerken were open—we entered the Nieuwe Kerk through the main doors, usually closed so you’re forced to enter through the gift shop/cashier. In the cold interior (no heat in churches this old!) a wind ensemble was playing traditional carols… providing a welcome contrast to the karaoke stage we passed where someone was butchering a very un-Christmassy Madonna song.