Tourist’s guide to Gouda – the birthplace of Gouda cheese

Gouda is a city located in South Holland between ancient Utrecht and Rotterdam. For many, its name evokes associations with cheese, but having got a little acquainted with the history of the town, it will become clear that it hides many fascinating stories. Gouda – the birthplace of the famous scientist – Erasmus of Rotterdam, who became a symbol of the Netherlands. Also, the landmarks of Gouda are clay products – pipes and utensils. Undoubtedly, it is worth visiting colorful festivals when a town in the Netherlands is lit by a thousand lights and resembles a large metropolis.

City of Gouda

general information

A city in the province of South Holland is located on the banks of the Hollands-IJssel and Gauve rivers. The population of Gouda is about 72 thousand people. Today the city is a popular tourist destination. Of interest are numerous churches, the beautiful Town Hall dating from the 15th century. For many tourists, the purpose of a trip to the city of Gauda in the Netherlands is to visit the city market, where you can buy the very famous cheese. According to centuries-old tradition, the market operates on Thursdays.

A small historical excursion

Gouda received the status of a city in the Netherlands in 1272. The settlement was founded by the Van der Gaude family. For the construction of the family castle, the territory on the banks of the Gauve River was chosen. For two centuries, marshy, covered with dense vegetation of the earth turned into a habitable area. Soon the river mouth turned into a harbor.

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Gouda city center in 1650

However, in the mid-14th and early 15th centuries, fires occurred in the city that destroyed Gauda. The situation was complicated by a rebel rebellion and an epidemic of plague, which resulted in even greater damage to the city. As a result, by the end of the 16th century, the castle fell into complete decline.

Modern Gouda is a city typical of Holland with a rich history. It is rightly called the most cycling because of the huge number of two-wheeled pedal cars. In addition, Gouda is called the center of high-tech laboratories. The latter are built in the city center. The unique color of the village is given by pharmacies of the 18-19th centuries, antique shops, art galleries.


In addition to the famous cheese, guests will find numerous historical and architectural sights of the city of Gouda.

City Hall

The Town Hall and the City Hall of Gauda are the oldest attraction in the Netherlands, the building is decorated in the Gothic style, looks like a temple. The decision to build was made in 1365, but the start of work was delayed due to lack of funds. Construction began only in 1448 and lasted 11 years. Until the 17th century, a moat surrounded the building, and the drawbridge was the only way to get inside.

City Hall

Over the long history, the Town Hall has been repeatedly reconstructed, completed, and statues of the rulers of the Netherlands are installed on the facade.

Interesting fact! In the middle of the last century, a clock was installed on the Town Hall, a puppet show takes place under them every hour.

Today, the hall of the city hall holds weddings, official events. The interior is decorated in the style of 17-18 centuries – there are many tapestries, sculptures, paintings and portraits. Unfortunately, for ordinary tourists, the doors of the Town Hall are often closed, but if you are lucky, you can get on an open day.

The Town Hall is located at: Markt, 1 or Market Square.

central square

The best way to explore the central square of Gouda in Holland and get acquainted with its sights is to take a walking tour or purchase a road map in the tourist information center with a detailed description of the sights of Gouda in the Netherlands. Experienced guides will tell you a lot of interesting facts about the city, they will show hidden courtyards where you can hardly get without a guide.

Central square of gouda

As in many cities, the central square of Gouda in Holland is a market square. The hallmark is the Town Hall. Be sure to visit the Weight Chamber, where once the producers and sellers of cheese weighed their product. After this, the amount of mandatory payment to the city treasury was established. The building of the Weight Chamber is considered one of the most beautiful in the Netherlands, built in 1668. The front part is decorated with marble and the arms of the local burgomaster.

Gouda Weight Chamber
Weight chamber

Another attraction in Holland that is of interest is St. John’s Church. The stained glass window of the cathedral is undoubtedly its decoration. Most of them were made between 1555 and 1572. The stained-glass windows are listed by UNESCO and are a World Heritage Site.

Next door is the hospital of St. Caterina. Previously, tramps came here in search of shelter and food. Since 1938, a museum has been located in the hospital building.

There are ceramic workshops on the territory of the Church of Our Lady.

Church of St. John the Baptist

The attraction is the longest temple in the Netherlands – 123 meters. The modern church appeared in the 15th century after a terrible fire that destroyed not only the chapel, but also most of the city. The temple was rebuilt in 1485, and this building became the longest to the country.

Church of St. John the Baptist, Gouda

The church is famous for its unique stained glass windows, which look quite unusual for a Protestant temple. Some were built in the 16th century. The bell tower of the church has 50 bells of different diameters.

Good to know! In the temple, services are still held on holidays and on Sundays. Locals come to listen to the organ.

Main Hall of the Church of St. John the Baptist

Practical information:

  • Address: Achter de Kerk, 16, Gouda, Holland (150 meters from Market Square);
  • work schedule: in the winter – from 10-00 to 16-00, in the summer – from 9-00 to 17-30;
  • ticket price: adult – 7 EUR, children (13 to 17 years old) and student – 3.50 EUR, admission is free for children under 13 years old.
Cheese market (fair)

A colorful, theatrical action that will take you to the distant Middle Ages. The fair is held every Thursday from 10-00 to 13-00 from April to August. Hundreds of farmers and merchants gather in Gouda. Cheese is sold directly from carts, and transactions are concluded in the old manner.

Cheese Market, Gouda

Good to know! The action takes place in front of the building of the Gouda Museum, therefore, choosing a refreshment to your taste, you can visit the attraction and learn how to prepare, weigh and sell cheese in the old days.

On the market, every kind of cheese can be tasted, get acquainted with the technology of preparation and even take part in this entertaining process.

City Museum
Ancient pharmacy

The exposition includes paintings painted during the period from the 17th to the 19th centuries, sculptures, religious objects, altars. You can visit the old pharmacy and look at the dental office. Basements cause mixed feelings – there are preserved torture rooms and wards, where patients with mental disorders were kept. In addition, guests will learn a lot of interesting things about creating clay pipes, cheese, beer and ceramics.

Gouda City Museum

Practical information:

  • Address: Achter de Kerk, 14, Gouda, Holland (next to the Church of St. John the Baptist);
  • work schedule: from Tuesday to Saturday – from 10-00 to 17-00, Sunday – from 11-00 to 17-00, Monday – day off;
  • ticket price: adult – 10 EUR, children (5 to 17 years old) – 4 EUR, for children under 5 years old admission is free.

The city has built four mills. The most interesting are De Mallemolen (renovated and hosting tourists since 2010) and De Roode Leeuw – known as the largest in Gouda.

It is De Roode Leeuw – the goal of travelers. The mill was built at the beginning of the 18th century and was used for its intended purpose until the first half of the 20th century. A local businessman wanted to buy the building, however, the city council, wishing to preserve the important historical landmark in the city, seized the initiative. By the forces of local authorities, the building was restored.

Mill De Roode Leeuw
De Roode Leeuw

Building address: Vest, 65, Gouda, Holland. You can visit the mill on Thursday and Saturday, but it is advisable to pre-arrange the visit using the official website. Tours are conducted only for a group of at least 25 people, the cost will cost 40 EUR. Nearby there is a gift shop selling flour, environmentally friendly mixes for various pastries.


Hotel room Logement de Keizerskroon
Logement de keizerskroon

The main influx of tourists is observed from the second half of April to the beginning of autumn. Hotel rooms must be booked in advance. The difficulty lies in the small area of ​​the town, the choice of places of residence is not as great as in large settlements. Most hotels are concentrated in the historical part of the city, among the attractions, or in the surrounding areas.

Good to know! If for some reason it was not possible to book a room at the Gouda hotel, you will have to find accommodation in neighboring towns. Given the regular train service, there will be no problems traveling to Gouda.

As for pricing, in summer for a double room in a three-star hotel and for accommodation in apartments you will have to pay from 65 euros. A similar room in a 4-star hotel costs from 120 euros.

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Gouda has cafes and restaurants with cuisine for every taste and budget. There are establishments specializing in Asian cuisine, the Italian menu, which offer set meals and delicious lunches. It is completely impossible to pass by sweets shops.

Sweets at Barista Cafe Gouda
Barista cafe gouda

It is important! When visiting Gouda, do not miss the opportunity to try the local Pocherches donuts with different fillings and, of course, pay special attention to cheese, it is sold in all grocery stores.

A meal in a budget cafe together will cost an average of 20 to 30 EUR. In a cafe and a mid-level restaurant, a check for two will be from 40 to 60 EUR. And what dishes are worth trying when you come to the Netherlands, read this article .

See also: Leiden – the city of canals and museums in Holland .

How to get to Gouda from Amsterdam

Gouda (Netherlands) is a small village, for this reason it does not have its own airport. The most convenient and fastest way to get here is to fly to Amsterdam.

Good to know! There are more complex, but at the same time romantic routes – by plane through Brussels, by train through Berlin, by bus through Riga. The most exciting journey awaits those who dare to drive half of Europe in a car.

Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam
Schiphol Airport

But back to the most comfortable route. International flights to Amsterdam are hosted by Schiphol Airport. Inside the country, there is a well-developed railway connection between all the settlements, so it will not be difficult to get from the terminal building to the town with a cheese name.

Flights to the capital of Holland from Ukraine and Russia are not uncommon, tickets are sold for direct flights, you can also make a more difficult route with a transfer.

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From the airport to Gouda
Train at Schiphol Airport

To be at the train stop, you do not need to go outside the terminal building. The platform is located underground.

There is no direct route to Gouda, first you need to get by train to Utrecht or the futuristic metropolis of Rotterdam . The journey takes about an hour, the ticket will cost 13 EUR. Sprinter trains run from Utrecht and Rotterdam to Gouda.

Interesting facts about the city

  1. At the beginning of the 19th century, Gouda was recognized as the poorest city in the Netherlands, and the word “Gaudet” was associated with the nickname – a beggar.
  2. There are 355 monuments in the city that are assigned the status of “national”. These are residential buildings, churches, enterprises dating from the 16-17th centuries.
  3. Every December, Markt Square hosts a spectacular light show – Gouda in the flickering of candles. During the holiday, electric lights are turned off, and the area is lit only by candles.
  4. The life-size Town Hall building is set in a theme park in Japan.
  5. Gouda Cheese
  6. Gouda cheese accounts for almost 60% of all cheese production in the Netherlands.
  7. The colorful city-on-water festival takes place in Gouda in late June at the weekend.

Gouda is a city where there are entertainment for children. Many museums conduct children’s excursions; cafes and restaurants offer a children’s menu. For active recreation, you can visit the numerous parks, the family golf club or the Monkey Town entertainment center.

Video: a walk around the city of Gouda.

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