This is yet another post about the Netherlands! What can I say? I like this little country with its windmills, its canals, and fairy-tale bridges. And let’s not forget the CHEESE, the tasty cheese.
If you love cheese as much as I do, going to Gouda is a must. There’s a cheese market every now and then but don’t worry if it’s not taking place on the day you want to visit the city. The Cheese Museum has also a store with wonderful fresh products that you can taste and buy.
How to get to Gouda?
Check your journey here. You can depart from Amsterdam Central and in 55 minutes you arrive in Gouda. The ticket is around €12. Gouda train station is within a short walk to the city centre.
Tip: don’t bring any luggage with you, because there is no place to store it while you wander around.
A recently opened shop piqued my interest at first: a blend of African and Dutch design. Every piece of clothing, object jewellery was made from recycled material. The earrings and bracelets were made from crushed glass painted and moulded by people in Ghana.
After this short detour, I continued my walk towards the city centre. Gouda has a very interesting architecture, with houses dating back from the 15-16th century. The bicycles are perfectly lined up along the canal among the colourful flowerpots and the water is stunning clean. The blue bench reminds me that I still have Delft left to visit, but maybe some other time!
The oldest buildings in Gouda can be found in the square market: the city hall, the cheese museum and St. Jans Kerk.
1. Gouda city hall
Built in the 15th century, the gothic building stands right in the centre of the Markt. In the past, it was the place where court cases were judged, where Queen Wilhelmina held numerous speeches from the balcony in front of the people. It had also a scaffold until 1860 when the death penalty was abolished in The Netherlands. Nowadays, its role is more peaceful: the town hall acts as a wedding hall. The
In 1960 the town hall received a very special clock. Every two minutes after the hour and half hour, the door opens and the puppets begin to move. The scene depicts Floris V, Count of Holland, granting Gouda city rights in 1272.
This is where I found out that “Gouda” is in fact pronounced “How-Da” and not “
Opening times: Tuesday – Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is €2.5.
2. Cheese museum
The building was actually called “De Waag” and it was used to weigh cheese. It was built in 1668 and nowadays represents the cheese museum. You can learn there how the cheese was made and you can taste several types of cheese from the shop museum. It is really the best I have ever tasted and I regretted bitterly to have bought so much touristy cheese from Amsterdam. Nevertheless, I still had room for some Gouda cheese. I recommend the one made from raw cow milk.
Opening times: Wednesday to Sunday from 10 am to 3 pm. The tickets are only €4.50.
3. St. Jans Kerk
The church is the longest church in the Netherlands, so long that I couldn’t really capture it in a photo. The houses are very close disposed around it, as if they were looking for protection.
The inside of the church is definitely worth seeing. 72 stained glass windows dating back to 1555. The windows survived the Reformation act and even the WW2.
If you take a stroll along the church outside, you can see a small sign saying Erasmus lived in Gouda. The great humanist is known as “the child of Gouda” because he spent his childhood in this city. His real name was Geert Geerts.
4. Gouda Museum
I had no plan when I wanted to visit Gouda. So, I wandered through the city to see where the streets might take me. And so they did lead me to discover a coquette little garden, which I later found out it belonged to the museums.
5. Our Lady Tower
The tower constitutes the remains of Our Lady Chapel. The complex was built between 1489 to 1494 and it used to be a school for girls, where they had free lessons on reading and religion.
The clock in the tower dates from 1590 and was made by the clockmaker Thomas Both. The inscription on the clock is “Si Deus pro
Turn back on the Hoge Gouwe street and walk along the river. The Dutch seem to be nonconformists and surely, they know how to make use of any space. Maybe that’s why they an ice rink in this beautiful gothic church. People of all ages were enjoying themselves and skating on a beautiful weekend rainy day.
6. Molen De Roode Leeuw
The Red Lion Windmill is one of the mills that are still functioning in the Netherlands. For only €1.5, you can visit the mill and find out how the grains are pressed and how the flour is made.
The windmill sits on one of the sides of the little Gouda’s port. Colourful and still busy on a Saturday afternoon.
On your way back to the city centre, don’t miss this beautiful graffiti:
Another thing that I liked about Gouda, was the fact that they have a summary of what the street has to offer. In a hurry, you could only read the signs and decide where is best to go: left or right.
Unfortunately, the famous stroopwafels place, Van den Berg, was closed by the time I realised how hungry I was. So, I settled in a nice hipster place called Curcuma. The lunch would have been amazing if I was a vegan. But all in all, it was a good place to catch my breath, recharge my phone and listen to some soft jazz.
Bye – bye Gouda! I’ll have to come back for those stroopwafels!