Gouda, more than a cheese factory

Do you remember “How I met your mother” TV-series? There are some typical scenes in which Marshall prepares a Gouda cheese plate for their parties. But behind the yellow wrapper, an entire city lays in the South-Holland province of The Netherlands. It is not a lie to say that Gouda attracts with beautiful architecture, splendid canals and a interesting history.

Canal in Gouda

Previously a swamp area, Gouda stands today as a modern city. But in the old city center, there’s still a reminiscence of the medieval times from Middle Ages. It is not hard to understand why the town hall it is used for marriages by people from all around the country. The building is impressive and the front resembles a castle from Disney.

Gouda's Town Hall

As Wikipedia relates, the city went through multiple fires, wars and plagues. But this is hard to see in the present days. Not far from the train station, a  canal will mark the entrance in the city center. The main street will be, as in other cities, a commercial one, with multiple stores. Deviating from it you will find old and beautiful houses, small pubs and friendly people to discuss with. As you reach the heart of the city, the market place, the smell of sweet caramel will invite you to try the waffels. Sugar lover or not, you need to try the best stroopwafel of The Netherlands!

In addition, many tourists visit the city for the world wide known Gouda cheese.  As a result, each Thursday, from April to August, a cheese market is held. Attending the event you will be impressed by how people trade the cheese. But if you expect to see a cheese factory in the city than you will be disappointed. The cheese is produced in the surrounding area, but it has its name from the trading of it in Gouda city. Another consideration is that the city imposes high quality controls, which ensures the standard of the cheese.

Canal in Gouda

Museum Gouda is a perfect place to discover new things, for the history enthusiasts. Erasmus, the world known theologian, is one of the mysteries of the country. Not sure if he was born in Gouda or in Rotterdam, both of the cities will present him to the world. You will find information about him in the museum, located right in the center, close to Saint Jan Church. The building itself is fascinating, with altars and resembling an old castle. Another part of the cities story is the history of the Jewish community. On the pathway, small metal cubes (stolperstein) mark the existence of Jews in the city. Here you can find a detailed history.

Stolperstein in Gouda

Furthermore on the city’s structure, the guarding canals of the center will offer incredible reflections on a clear sky day. Walking along the pavement streets, you will encounter locals and be attracted by the multiple birds on the water.

Red Lion Windmill

Canal reflection in Gouda

In conclusion, Gouda is a perfect city for a day trip. Get lost on the streets, drink a beer in a hidden pub, discover history and enjoy the waffles! For travel information around The Netherlands check this article, containing a summary of how to use public transport in the country. Wish you a pleasant visit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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