Delft is well-known for its ties with the Dutch Royal family (tombs of William of Orange and members of the Royal family) and the famous painter Vermeer. Delft is also world renowned for its Delft Blue earthenware and its lovely canals. Delft has a pleasant, well-preserved, lively historical centre, with characteristic canals, ancient merchant houses, old churches and the splendid city hall. Delft is more than 750 years old. The city owes its name to word ‘delving’, digging the oldest canal, the Oude Delft. In1246, Delft received its city franchise from the Dutch Earl Willem II. Delft is nicknamed ‘de Prinsenstad’ (‘the Prince’s City), because William of Orange, the first in the Dutch royal line, held court in Delft in the 16th century. In 1842 the Royal Academy for Civil Engineering was founded. The Academy used the building vacated by the artillery school. The Academy of then is the TU Delft of today, which is also the largest employer in Delft.