Gouda is a city in the province South-Holland in The Netherlands. It is a typical Dutch city with lots of old buildings and pretty canals, and is a popular destination for a day trip. It is also a good base for exploring the rest of the Netherlands, thanks to its great rail- and highway connections. The city is famous for its cheese, its 15th century town hall and the amazing glass windows in St. Janskerk, but there is a lot more to see and do.
Gouda has a population of just over 70,000. Most of the city is below sea level. As well as its cheese, Gouda is also famous for its stroopwafels (syrup waffles), candles and its clay pipes.
Gouda is named after the Van der Goude family, who built a castle on the Gouwe River in the 11th century. The area was swampland. Over the next two hundred years peat was collected and the land was developed. In 1225, a canal was built connecting the Gouwe River with the Oude Rijn (part of the Rhine delta). This was used to help ship goods to France and further afield. Gouda became important because of this, and in 1272, was made a city. Lots of the canals were built around this time.
Over the years, there have been fires (1361, 1438), occupations (1572) and plagues (1574, 1625, 1636, 1673). In 1577, the castle was destroyed.
In 1667 a tax was introduced on the locally produced cheese. This raised a lot of money for the town. In 1668, the Waag (cheese weighing house) was built, to weigh the cheese and collect this tax.
There are two train stations in Gouda - Gouda (the main station, 5mins walk to the Markt) and Gouda Goverwelle (in suburbia). For the timetable check NS (in English).
Trains have been running between Gouda and Utrecht since 1855; in 1944 the old train station was damaged by Allied bombing.
- Utrecht CS - takes less than 20 minutes. Take a train in the direction of Rotterdam or Den Haag. Six trains an hour.
- Den Haag or Rotterdam - takes less than 20 minutes. Take a train towards Utrecht. Gouda is right in the middle of these train lines. Eight trains an hour.
- Amsterdam - takes 40-60 minutes. There is one slow direct train an hour. It is also possible to switch in Woerden or Utrecht to get to Gouda.
- Leiden take the train to Alphen aan den Rijn and from there you can take a train to Gouda. Before and after working hours, there are direct trains running from Leiden to Gouda.
When you arrive at the train station, exit at "Centrumzijde". From the Centrum side of the station, take a left and just go the way most people go and you will be in the city centre very soon.
Buses stop the at train station. Check the Connexxion website (in Dutch) for more detailed information.
There are buses to and from Gouda from the following places:
Buses are slower and more expensive than trains, so if you have the option, choose the train.
Gouda is directly located on the A12 and A20.
Parking is cheapest in one of the large parking lots just outside the city centre (about €1,40-1,60 an hour). These are well indicated. Parking on the streets is much more expensive.
The nearest airports are in Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
The centre of Gouda is small and very easy to walk around. All the main sites are here, inside the canal, which circles Gouda centre.
A lot of the street are pedestrianized. The main shopping street, Kleiweg, is pedestrianized and bike free. At the centre of Gouda and the end of Kleiweg is the Markt. The Stadhuis and De Waag are here, and this is where the cheese market takes place.
If you want to travel outside the centre of Gouda, biking is a good option. Most of the streets in the centre are bike friendly, the main exception being Kleiweg. You can walk along this street with your bike, just don't cycle. As you would expect in a Dutch city, there is lots of parking everywhere for your bike. Make sure you lock it. Bike theft is very common in the Netherlands.
Bikes can be rented from:
- NS Rijwielshop Gouda, Stationsplein 10 (on the north side of the train station), ☎ 0182-516 111. To rent a bike you need ID and to pay a deposit. Booking is essential. edit
Guided bike tours can be booked via
- Green Cow Bike Tours, (meeting point: Markt 35 (tourist information)), ☎ +31(0)638720789 (info AT green-cow-bike-tours.nl), . daily. Join an experienced guide from Green Cow Bike Tours on a tour through the Green Heart of Holland. From Gouda, they accompany you to the beautiful, off-the-beaten track parts of the Netherlands, enjoying Holland at its best: spot birds, explore windmills and visit a cheese farm! Their guided tours take anywhere between two hours and a full day. daytrips €20 - €50. edit
Gouda is a typical and beautiful Dutch town. It's a great place to wander, checking out the old buildings and the quiet canals.
- Stadhuis (Old Townhall), Markt 1 (Middle of Markt), ☎ 0182-588482. M-F 10AM-noon 2PM-4PM, Sa 11AM-4PM(3PM Oct-Mar). The Old Townhall on the market square is the oldest Gothic town hall in The Netherlands. Built out of natural materials between 1448 and 1450, it is now a museum. Every hour, on the side of the building, there is a little puppet show, showing the city rights being handed over to Gouda, as happened in the year 1272. €1.50. edit
- The Cheese Market and De Waag (Cheese Weighing House), . The cheese market is on every Thursday morning in the summer. The Waag is open 1 Apr-31 Oct, Tu-Su: 1PM-5PM, Th 10AM-5PM. Check out the cheese market, eat some cheese, see the old cheese weighing house, built by Pieter Post in 1668, now a museum to (you guessed it) cheese! Adult €3.50, child €3. edit
- St. Janskerk (St. John’s Church). This church is famous for its beautifull stained glass windows. It is the largest cross shaped church in the Netherlands. edit
- Museumgouda (Gouda Museum), Achter de Kerk 14, ☎ 0182-331000 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: 0182-331019), . W-F 10AM-5PM, Sa-Su noon-5PM. This museum traces the history of Gouda. There are displays of archaeology, old clay pipes, pottery and paintings. Information and guided tours are available in English. Over 18:€5, under 18:free. edit
- Museumhaven Gouda (Gouda Harbor Museum), . This museum tracks the history of Gouda harbour and shipbuilding. There are also some old ships and buildings to see. All the information is in Dutch. edit
- Verzetsmuseum Zuid-Holland (The Resistance Museum), Turfmarkt 30, . The history of the Dutch resistance in World War II. Article info and guided tours available in English. Adult: €3, child: free, concession: €2. edit
- The Vier Gekroonden, Naaierstraat 6. One of the oldest remaining brick houses in Gouda. Listed as one of the top 100 listed building in the Netherlands. edit
- Windmills. There are three windmills (two of them in city centre)remaining in Gouda. edit.
- Molen 't Slot, Punt 17, ☎ +31 (0)182 524655. edit
- Molen de Roode Leeuw, Vest 65, ☎ +31 (0)182 522041. Possible to visit by appointment only. edit
- Kinderboerderij De Goudse Hofsteden ((petting zoo)), Bloemendaalseweg 34a, ☎ 0182514219, . 10-16.30h. Alongside various animals, the petting zoo has a playground, vegetable garden, beehives and a simple restaurant, situated in a 19th century farmhouse that is typical for the region. free. edit
- Cinema (Arcade Bioscoop), Agnietenstraat 21, ☎ 0182-527773, . Small 4 screen cinema in centre. English movies shown with Dutch subtitles. Little shop sells snacks and beer. €8-9. (52.014627,4.710667) edit
- Play Golf, Sluisdijk 15, 2809 NA, Gouda, ☎ +31 (0)182 583933 (email@example.com, fax: +31 (0)182 583715), . Daily 8AM-sunset. Nine hole golf course, driving range, 18 hole putting green and restaurant. Equipment rental and lessons available. Weekends €30, weekday €20-25. edit
- Play snooker or pool (Sports Palace), Lange Groenendaal 110, ☎ +31 (0)182 548502 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . 5PM-midnight Tu-Su. Play snooker, pool or darts. You can also get lessons. There is a bar too. edit
- Galerie Montulet, Hoge Gouwe 115 (centre of Gouda), ☎ 0031(0)182-338239, . 12.00 - 17.00. Gallery exhibitions of modern Jewels made by Dutch Jewel-designers. the gallery is open from Thursday till Sunday from 12-17 hrs. edit
- Hans den Hollander Prints, Lage Gouwe 24, ☎ 06 14 97 96 47, . thursday to saturday 13.00 - 17.00. Gallery specialising in Modern Master Prints. Includes works by artists like Chagall, Miró and Van Dongen. A few steps from the famous 15th century Town Hall of Gouda. edit
- Gouda Bij Kunstlicht, Lethmaetstraat 45. In the month of December, the city centre gets lit up in special ways. This also contains the Candlelight night on the second Tuesday of December. edit
Inside a Gouda cheese shop
Most shops are open M-Sa 9AM-5PM. Almost everything is closed on Sundays.
- Gouda cheese. This world famous cheese gets its name from the town. It's been made locally with cow's milk since the middle ages. The cheese isn't made in the town itself, but the surrounding area. Check out the Cheese market (see See section) or some of the amazing cheese shops in the town. edit
- Goudse stroopwafels. These traditional Dutch cookies were first made in Gouda in 1784. Two thin wafers with a caramel filling. Yummy! edit
- Goudse kaarsen. Traditional Dutch candles that light up the room. edit
- Kleiweg. This is the main shopping street. You will find the usual high street shops and department stores. edit
There are lots of small cafes and bars at the north side of the Markt.
- Brunel, Hoge Gouwe 23, ☎ +31 (0)182 518979, . Modern French restaurant on a beautiful street. Mains €21.50. edit
- De Zalm (means the Salmon), Markt 34, ☎ 0182–686976 (email@example.com), . Restaurant/bar in the Markt. edit
- Eetcafe Vidocq, Koster Gijzensteeg 8 (Down a little lane, just off the Markt.), ☎ 0182-522819 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . A great cozy Dutch feeling restaurant with great food (especially steaks). The menu is written on a blackboard on the wall. Very popular. edit
- Scheeps, Westhaven 4, ☎ 0182-517 572 (email@example.com), . Beautiful, more upmarket restaurant, with lots of pictures of ships on the walls. edit
- Roma, Lange Tiendeweg 88, ☎ 0182–528781. Italian restaurant edit
- Pizzeria Peppone, Wijdstraat 26, ☎ 0182-522408. Italian restaurant, with outdoor terrace edit
- l'Angolo Divino, Wijdstraat 9-11, ☎ 0182-524466, . Open tuesday to sunday. Italian restaurant About E30 for a dinner. edit
- La Piazza, Markt 29, ☎ 0182–522993. Italian restaurant, with outdoor terrace edit
- New Tandoor, Lange Tiendeweg 49, ☎ +31 (0)182 529733, . 5PM-10.30PM Tu-Su. Indian restaurant, cheap prices, good food. Mains €12-15. edit
- La Cubanita, Jeruzalemstraat 2, ☎ 0182 670714, . Open 7 days a week. Tapas bar edit
- Tapasbar Tapas, Lange Groenendaal 57, ☎ 0182 523035 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Open tuesday-sunday. Tapas bar edit
- Xochimilco, Wijdstraat 29 (South of Market), ☎ +31 (0)182 523120, . 5PM-11PM Tu-Su. Mexican restaurant running for 18 years in Gouda. €14-20. edit
- Cafe Central, Markt 22-23 (On main square), ☎ 0182-512576 (email@example.com), . M 6PM-midnight, Tu-Su 9AM-midnight. A great traditional Dutch feeling cafe in the centre of town. Nice food and drinks, friendly staff and plenty of space. edit
- Tof, Markt 30, ☎ 0182-548897 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Su-W 10AM-1AM, Th-Sa 10Am-4AM. Modern bar on the Markt. Popular with the younger crowd, especially on weekends. edit
- De Gonz, Turfsingel 36, ☎ 0182 526499 (email@example.com), . Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sunday, depending on the program. Underground stage and alternative society (Check program by following numbered link). edit
- La Cubanita, Jeruzalemstraat 2, ☎ 0182 670714, . Open 7 days a week.. Pub focusing on spanish drinks and tapas. edit
- In de Salon, Karnemelksloot 1, ☎ +31182 - 51 21 15, . 1130-1400 1630-1930. "In de Salon" is one of the oldest pancake restaurants in Holland, situated in a 150 year old building. They serve pancakes and poffertjes. 10-20. edit
- So What!, Vest 30, ☎ 0182 519232, . Friday: 22:00 - late Sat: 22:30 - late. A nice and friendly place with a stage and a bar in the centre of Gouda. Perfect to get a drink and go dancing during the weekends. National bands are playing regularly. €1.80 for a beer. edit
Gouda is a very popular as day-trip. There is a limited supply of accommodation.
- Campanile Hotel Gouda, Kampenringweg 39-41 (2km from city centre, at the A12 motorway), ☎ 0182-535555 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: 0182-571575), . 75 rooms with satellite TV and Wifi. Restaurant with buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner. Double/twin €80+. edit
- Hotel De Keizerskroon, Keizerstraat 11-13, ☎ 0182-528096 (email@example.com, fax: 0182-511777), . Budget hotel, right in the centre of town. Ensuite: Double €79.50, triple €95. Shared bathroom: Single €50, double €60, triple €69.50. edit
- Hotel De Utrechtsche Dom, Geuzenstraat 6 (In the centre), ☎ 0182 528833 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Characteristic family hotel in the centre of Gouda. Breakfast included. Ensuite: Suite €125, double €80. Shared bathroom: Double €60, triple €80. edit
- Hotel Over de Brug, Ad en Vic Versteeg, Veerlaan 1, 2851 BV, Haastrecht (Take Provincialeweg West (N288) from Gouda), ☎ +31(0)182 501210, +31(0)182 501415, . This traditional hotel on the River IJssel, is about 5km from Gouda, in the small town of Haastrecht. It's an easy cycle to Gouda. There is a pub/restaurant. Free Wi-fi and parking. Double €67, Single €40. edit
- Tulip Inn, Goudseweg 32, 2411HL, Bodegraven (6km outsude Gouda, just off the A12. Take bus 178 from Gouda.), ☎ 0172-650003 (email@example.com), . 64 rooms all with balcony. Renovated in Aug 2007. There are two restaurants and a bar. €65.50-95.50, Breakfast €12.50. edit
Gouda is, in general, a safe city, even at night time.
There used to be a lot of car crime, but CCTV cameras have reduced this to normal levels. Just don't leave your valuables in the car.
- Police Station, Nieuwe Gouwe Oostzijde 2. Mon-Fri 08:00-21:00; Sat-Sun 09:00-17:00. edit
- Hospital (Groene Hart Ziekenhuis), Bleulandweg 10, ☎ +31 1820 566 666 (fax: +31 1820 566 601). edit
- Oudewater - this village is 15km from Gouda. It is famous for it's witch weighing house, where they issue certificates proving people aren't witches. It became famous during the 16th century because people accused of witchcraft were offered an honest chance of proving their innocence. In many cities and countries such trials were usually rigged, resulting in the burning or drowning of hundreds of innocent people. No witches ever were found in Oudewater...
- Rotterdam - the second largest city in the Netherlands, and the second largest port in the world is only 15mins from Gouda. Check out its 20th century architecture and great shopping.
- The Hague - home of the Dutch government and the residence of the Dutch Queen, this city is full of history.
- Utrecht - the city has some great historic architecture and is a transport hub for the Netherlands.
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