Gouda Tourist Attractions
The old market town of Gouda lies in a fertile polder area between Utrecht, Rotterdam and The Hague, at the point where the Gouwe flows into the Hollandse IJssel. It is a very typical Dutch town with its picturesque canals and many historic buildings in the old part of the town.After receiving its municipal charter from Count Floris V of Holland in 1272 Gouda rapidly developed into an important trading town. The town was taken in 1572 by the Sea Beggars and thereafter played a prominent part in the States of Holland. In the 17th century, however, it declined. Later, after the traditional cloth-making industry had given place to the manufacture of pipes and the production of cheese, and particularly after the beginnings of industrialization, Gouda again developed into an important economic center. Gouda was the birthplace of Cornelis Houtman (1565-99), one of the first seamen to sail to the East Indies, who was murdered on Sumatra during his second voyage.
Gouda is famed for its cheese (Goudse kaas), which is made either in factories or on farms (boerenkaas, "farm cheese"). The large round cheeses weigh between 5 and 10kg (11 and 22lb). Gouda cheese is sold in different levels of fat content (volvet, full fat, with over 48% of fat, or mager, lean, with over 20% of fat) and different ages (young, "middle-aged" and old). Other local products are stoneware, candles, clay pipes and syrup waffles.
In the spacious triangular Markt is the imposing Town Hall (Stadhuis), a Late Gothic building (by Jan Keldermans, 1449-59) which was originally surrounded by a moat. The handsome external staircase in Renaissance style was added in 1603. After undergoing a series of alterations the Town Hall was returned to its original aspect during restoration work carried out between 1947 and 1952. On the east wall is a carillon which rings every half hour, with moving figures representing the granting of the town's charter by Count Floris V in 1272. Visitors can see the interior. In the Trouwzaal (Marriage Hall) is a 17th century tapestry by David Rufelaer made in Gouda.
Address: Markt, Netherlands
On the northeast side of the Markt is the handsome Weigh House (Waag), a typical example of Dutch Renaissance architecture (by Pieter Post, 1668). Over the entrance can be seen an interesting stone relief depicting the weighing of cheeses.
Gouda's Grote Kerk, built in the 15th and 16th C, is known for being the largest church in the Netherlands. A church has stood at this location since the 13th C.
Catharina Gasthuis Municipal Museum
Behind the Grote Kerk, at Oosthaven 10 and Achter de Kerk 14, stands the former Catharina Gasthuis (from the 14th century until 1910 the municipal hospital), which has been occupied since 1939 by the Municipal Museum. The building, much altered over the centuries and renovated in 1965, contains an old pharmacy, a hospital kitchen, a torture chamber and an 18th century school. The museum also has collections of pictures (including group portraits of the town guard and the regents of the hospital), coins, drawings, old toys and surgical instruments.
Farther south from the Catharina Gasthuis Municipal Museum, on the other side of the canal, is the De Moriaan Pipe Museum, in a 17th century merchant's house. In addition to tobacco the merchant dealt in pepper, tea and sugar refined on the premises. ("De Moriaan" means the "Moor" or "black man", the 18th century symbol of smoking). In the old tobacco and herb shop is displayed an interesting collection of Gouda clay pipes - in the early 17th century Gouda was the main center of the Dutch pipe-making industry - pottery and tiles of the 16th and 17th centuries.
To the east of the Grote Kerk, in Jeruzalemsstraat, is the Jeruzalemkapel / Jerusalem Chapel (15th C.).The building has been restored and is open to the public.
Two interesting buildings in Spieringstraat are the former Orphanage (Weeshuis) of 1642, now the Municipal Library, with a fine carved coat of arms over the entrance, and, at the south end of the street, a flour mill, 't Slot (1832), on the site of the old castle (Slot) which was demolished in 1577.
Goveka in Gouda is an annual country fair that includes a Potters Festival every Wednesday, a cattle and cheese market one Wednesday a month and traditional food and craft stalls in the Gouda Market Square.
Gouda Cheese Market
Gouda Cheese Market features an auction of art, antiques and traditional handicrafts.This annual market takes place every Thursday morning during the summer. Events include a cheese market, cheese-making demonstrations and street entertainment.
The Gouda Jazz Festival is an annual weekend festival taking place in early September and includes concerts, a street parade, street performances and special events in the pubs and cafes across the town.
Map of Gouda Attractions