Gouda is a city that lies in western Netherlands, about 15 miles from Rotterdam. The city is world famous for its cheese. Every Thursday, piles of cheese are traded in the city’s cheese market which is also considered as the biggest market the country. In reality, most Gouda cheeses are made in surrounding regions but are just mainly traded in the city. Other lesser known but nonetheless popular products from Gouda are the city’s smoking pipes, syrup waffle, and candles. It once had a thriving linen and beer industry as well.
Shops are open from Mondays to Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Most shops don’t open on Sundays.
It is crucial that you try Gouda’s main product which is cheese, since this is why the city has fame. If you want to take the traditional route, check out the Cheese Market where a cheese fair is held every Thursday. There are also many cheese shops around the city where you can purchase good quality cheese. Another local product that you also must try is Goudse stroopwafels or traditional Dutch cookies. This is basically a wafer sandwich with a sweet caramel filling in the center.
For a more modern shopping experience, check out Kleiweg which is the city’s main shopping district. The place houses different department stores and upscale boutique shops.
Things to See
- De Waag – De Waag is probably one of the most prized attractions of the city. The place was a former weighing house of cheese merchants. Today De Waag features an exhibit that illustrates and explains the whole cheese making process.
- Old City Hall – This fifteenth century structure is one of the oldest of its kind in the country.
- Market Square – The biggest market in the country, it is considered as the city’s biggest shopping station. The Market Square is still functioning and still holds markets and trade fairs on select days.
- Great St. John’s Church – Located south of the Market Square, it is the biggest cross-shaped church in Netherlands. Inside you will see exquisite stained glass windows that were made in the 16th century and are reportedly one of the most beautiful in the world. The windows were commissioned by noble families in Netherlands in the 1500s.
- Harbour Museum Gouda – This museum features old ships and boats that date back to the 1900s.
- Museum De Moriaan or national pharmaceutical museum – This museum pays tribute to the development of modern pharmaceuticals and features memorabilia and exhibits of pharmaceutical landmark events.
Restaurants and Bars
- Pannekoekenhuis – this restaurant is famous for its authentic Dutch pancakes. The restaurant is located near the Great St. John’s Church.
- De Zalm – a nice little restaurant near De Waag that serves Dutch cuisine.
- Eetcafe Vidocq – specializes in Dutch cuisine and steaks. The restaurant is popular among locals and tourists alike.
- Scheeps – casual dining place that’s a bit upscale but the quality of their food is worth the visit and the expense.
- Brunel – Highly recommended restaurant serving French food. The place is also a favourite of locals.
- Tof – popular bar near De Waag that is normally packed during weekends.