Gouda Travel Guide - A Fairytale City
Gouda has a lot to offer: A fairytale city hall, canals lined with geraniums, the aroma of treacle waffles, lots of bikes, convivial outdoor cafés, a mill by the water, surprising shops, cheese and characteristic old facades.
After sailing overnight on the Amsterdam ferry, Gouda is within easy reach by car.
Gouda is a city in the western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland. Gouda was granted city rights in 1272, is famous for its Gouda cheese, smoking pipes and its 15th century town hall. The Sint Janskerk has the most significant stained glass in Holland.
The town takes its name from the Van der Goude family, who built a fortified castle alongside the banks of the Gouwe River, from which the family took its name.
The area, originally marshland, developed over the course of two centuries. By 1225, a canal was linked to the Gouwe and its estuary was transformed into a harbour. It is of course best known for its namesake cheese, which is sold all over the world.
Things to do and see in Gouda, Holland
- Old City Hall, one of the oldest Gothic city halls in the Netherlands
- The Weigh house, built in 1667
- Saint John's Church and its stained glass windows
- Waaiersluis - a historic lock on the river IJ
- Harbour Museum
- Gouda History museum
- Museum of modern art
- National pharmaceutical museum
- Verzets (Dutch resistance during World War II) Museum
Shopping in Gouda
The main shopping areas of Gouda are Kleiweg and Lange Tiendeweg where you will find a range of high street stores and restaurants which are normally open for business Monday to Saturday, although the shops do open for 12 Sundays each year.
Additionally there are arts, crafts and food markets held outside the town hall on a Thursday and a Saturday, and in the summer months on a Thursday (June – August) there is the traditional cheese market, where traditional dutch dress is common, as the cheese is brought into the town square for a weighing ceremony.
As you might expect, there are a whole host of cheese shops available in Gouda, selling a whole host of local variations of the world famous Gouda cheese.