Besides lending its name to one of the most enduringly popular cheeses in the world Gouda ranks among the oldest cities in the Netherlands and still features many charming historical buildings such as its 16th century town hall. There’s plenty of other sites around the city to discover and its relatively small size means that Gouda is perfect for day trips.
It’s really central
Erasmus grew up there
After Baruch Spinoza, 16th century humanist Desiderius Erasmus is likely the most famous philosopher from the Netherlands. Historical records suggest that Erasmus grew up in Gouda and there are several tributes to him spread around the city including a wall mounted bust mounted created by acclaimed Dutch designer Hildo Krop.
Gouda’s main retail district revolves around two busy thoroughfares called Klieweg and Hoogstraat.There are many modern brand stores dotted along these charming streets including branches of H&M, Vera Moda and Flying Tiger.
The Red Lion Windmill
Like many other older Dutch towns, Gouda still has a working windmill which is known as de Roode Leeuw (the Red Lion). This awesome machine still produces flour and is open to the public two days a week.
There’s loads of cycle paths
Every part of Gouda is connected via well-kept cycle paths and the city is completely surrounded by a massive network of bike routes that cover North-Holland. It is easy enough to rent out a bike while in the city, or even ride to the city from Amsterdam, Rotterdam, the Hague or Utrecht.
The old City Hall
Gouda’s market square centres around the city’s historic city hall which was built during the 15th century and is recognised as one of the most complete examples of gothic architecture in the Netherlands. Needless to say the building is absolutely stunning.
These large recreation grounds in Northern Gouda feature many stunning locales such as the city’s botanical gardens and expansive landscapes. The park is easily accessible from Gouda’s city centre and looks onto several picturesque lakes.
Gouda’s gothic Sint Janskerk is a truly stunning piece of architecture and features a series of prized stained glass windows known as de Goudse Glazen. Although most parts of the church were built between the 15th to 16th centuries, it is foundations are much older and date back to at least the 1278.
📍 Sint Janskerk, Achter de Kerk 16, Gouda, +31 182 512 684
Gouda’s municipal museum looks after thousands of objects related to the city’s history including many Dutch Golden Age paintings. The museum lies just south of Sint Janskerk on a street where Erasmus allegedly played as a child.
📍 Museum Gouda, Achter de Kerk 14, Gouda, +31 182 331 000
There’s still an old-school cheese market
Between early April and late August Gouda hosts a weekly cheese market. Participants at this oldy-timey affair dress up in traditional Dutch clothing and cart around cheese in wooden dollies. Although the market certainly features a lot of cheese (which therefore might disqualify it from this listicle) it is worth mentioning that other regional delicacies are sold at the market and watching merchants barter, sample and weigh their produce is always enjoyable – irregardless as to whether you actually buy any Gouda.