Dordrecht and Gouda: 2 interesting cities in Holland

Gouda, home of the famous cheese in the Netherlands

Gouda is a city located in southern Holland between the ancient Utrecht and Rotterdam. Many people associate its name with cheese, but a short acquaintance with the history of the town will show that it hides a lot of fascinating stories. Gouda is the birthplace of the famous scholar Erasmus of Rotterdam, who became a symbol of the Netherlands. Also the attraction of Gauda are recognized clay products – smoking pipes and crockery. Undoubtedly, it is worth visiting the colorful festivals, when the town in the Netherlands is lit by a thousand lights and looks like a big metropolis.

The City of Gouda

General Information

The city in the province of South Holland lies on the banks of the rivers Hollandse Eijssel and Gauve. The population of Gauda is about 72 thousand people. Today the city is a popular tourist destination. Numerous churches and a beautiful town hall dating from the 15th century are of interest. For many tourists, the purpose of a trip to the city of Gouda in the Netherlands is to visit the city market, where you can buy the very famous cheese. By centuries-old tradition, the market is open on Thursdays.

The status of the city in the Netherlands Gouda received in 1272. The settlement was founded by the family Van der Gaude. For the construction of the family castle was chosen territory on the banks of the river Gauve. For two centuries, swampy and densely vegetated land was transformed into a habitable area. Before long, the mouth of the river turned into a harbor.

The center of Gouda in 1650

However, in the middle of the 14th and early 15th centuries, fires broke out in the city, destroying Gouda. The situation was compounded by rebellion and a plague epidemic, which caused even more damage to the city. As a result, by the end of the 16th century the castle was in utter disrepair.

Modern Gouda is a typical Dutch city with a rich history. It is rightfully called the most bicycle 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 center of the city. Inimitable flavor of the city are pharmacies of 18-19 centuries, antique shops and art galleries.

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In addition to the famous cheese, you can visit many historical and architectural attractions of Gouda.

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

City Hall

During the long history of the town hall several times it was reconstructed, rebuilt, on the facade there are statues of the rulers of the Netherlands.

Interesting fact! In the middle of last century the town hall clock was installed, under them every hour there is a puppet show.

Today weddings and official events are held in the premises of the Town Hall. The interior is decorated in the style of the 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 to the open day.

The town hall is located at Markt, 1 or Market Square.

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

Central Square of Gauda

As in many cities, the central square of Gauda in Holland is a market square. The hallmark is the City Hall. Be sure to visit the Weighing House, where cheese producers and sellers once weighed their product. After that, the amount of the obligatory payment to the city treasury was established. The building of the Weighing House is considered one of the most beautiful in the Netherlands, built in 1668. The front part is decorated with marble and coats of arms of local mayors.

The Weighing House of Gauda

Weighing House

Another landmark in Holland that is of interest is the Church of St. John. The stained glass windows of the cathedral are undoubtedly its jewel. Most of them were made between 1555 and 1572. The stained glass windows are listed by UNESCO and are a world heritage site.

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Next door is the hospital of St. Catherine. Vagrants used to come here in search of shelter and food. Since 1938 there is a museum in the building of the hospital.

On the grounds of the Church of Our Lady there are pottery workshops.

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, Gauda

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

Good to know! The church still hosts services on holidays and Sundays. Locals come to hear the organ.

Main Hall of St. John the Baptist Church

  • Address: Achter de Kerk, 2, Gouda, Holland (150 meters from the Market Square);
  • Opening hours: in winter from 10-00 to 16-00, in summer from 9-00 to 17-30;
  • The ticket price: adults – 9,5 EUR, children (from 13 to 17 years old) and students – 5,75 EUR, for children under 13 years old free admission.

Colorful, theatrical show that will take you back to the Middle Ages. The fair is held every Thursday from 10-00 to 13-00 from April to August. Hundreds of farmers and traders come to Gouda. Cheese is sold right off the carts, and deals are struck in the old-fashioned manner.

Cheese Market, Gauda

Good to know! The action unfolds in front of the Gouda Museum, so after choosing a treat to your liking, you can visit the site and learn how cheese was made, weighed and sold in the olden days.

At the market, you can taste each type of cheese, learn about the cooking techniques and even take part in this entertaining process.

Old Pharmacy

The Gouda Museum has a unique collection. From 16th-century altarpieces, 17th-century group portraits of militiamen to 19th-century French and Dutch paintings (The Hague School).

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There are paintings from the 17th to the 19th century, sculptures, religious objects and altars on display. You can visit an old pharmacy and look at the dental office. The basement rooms evoke ambiguous feelings – torture chambers and chambers, where patients with mental disorders were kept, are preserved here. You can also enjoy the famous Gouda ceramics known as Gouds plateel as well as the large open warehouse with clay pipes, modern art, silverware and many other items.

Gouda City Museum

  • Address: Achter de Kerk, 14, Gouda, Holland (next to the Church of St. John the Baptist);
  • Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 10-00 to 17-00, Sunday from 11-00 to 17-00, Monday off;
  • Ticket price: 19,5 EUR for adults, admission free for children up to 17 years old.
  • Web site:

There are four mills in the city. The most interesting are De Mallemolen (renovated and receiving tourists since 2010) and De Roode Leeuw (1727) – known as the largest one in Gouda.

It is De Roode Leeuw that is the target of travelers. The mill was built in the early 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, but the city council, wishing to preserve an important historical landmark in the city, intercepted the initiative. The building was restored by the local authorities.

De Roode Leeuw Mill

De Roode Leeuw

The address of the building is 65 Vest, Gouda, Holland. The mill can be visited on Thursday and Saturday, but it is advisable to arrange a visit in advance, using the official website Tours are available only for a group of at least 25 people, the cost will be 40 EUR. Nearby there is a souvenir store selling flour, organic mixtures for different pastries.


Logement de Keizerskroon

Logement de Keizerskroon

The main influx of tourists is from the second half of April to early autumn. Hotel rooms must be booked in advance. The difficulty lies in a small area of the town, the choice of accommodation is not as great as in the larger settlements. Most hotels are concentrated in the historic part of town, among the attractions, or in the surrounding areas.

Good to know! If for some reason you could not book a hotel room in Gauda, you will need to find accommodation in neighboring cities. Given the regular railway connection, the trip to Gouda will not be a problem.

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

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In Gouda, there are cafes and restaurants with cuisines for all tastes and pockets. There are places that specialize in Asian cuisine, Italian menu, where they offer set meals and delicious lunches. The sweets stalls are absolutely impossible to miss.

Sweets at the Barista Cafe Gouda

Barista Cafe Gouda

This is important! When visiting Gouda, don’t miss the opportunity to try the local Poccherches donuts with different fillings and, of course, pay special attention to the cheese, it is sold in all the grocery stores.

To eat in a budget cafe for two will cost on average 15-22 EUR. In a mid-level café or restaurant, the check for two will be 50 to 60 EUR. And what dishes you should try when you come to the Netherlands, read this article.

How to get to Gouda from Amsterdam

Gouda (Netherlands) is a small town, 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 complicated, but at the same time romantic routes – by plane via Brussels, by train via Berlin, by bus via Riga. The most breathtaking journey awaits those who dare to drive through half of Europe in a car.

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Schiphol Airport

However, back to the most comfortable route. International flights in Amsterdam are handled by Schiphol Airport. Within the country between all the settlements is well developed railway connection, so to get from the terminal building to the town with the cheese name is not difficult.

Flights to the capital of Holland are not uncommon, tickets are sold on direct flights, you can also make a more complicated route with connections from many cities in Europe.

Schiphol Airport train

To get to the train stop, you do not need to go outside the terminal building. The apron is located underground.

There is a direct flight from Amsterdam Central Station to Gauda, which takes 50 minutes. It takes 25-30 minutes longer to get there with a connection in Utrecht or the futuristic metropolis of Rotterdam. The trip takes about an hour, the ticket will cost 12.7 EUR, not during peak hours and weekends the cost is 40% lower and is 7.62 euros. Also keep in mind that the ticket on the railroad website – – costs 1 euro cheaper than the ticket in the machine at the station.

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Interesting facts about Gouda

Gouda Cheese

  1. At the beginning of the 19th century Gouda was recognized as the poorest city in the Netherlands, and the word “Gouda” was associated with the nickname – beggar.
  2. There are 355 monuments in the city, which have been given “national” status. These are residences, churches, businesses dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries.
  3. Every December there is a spectacular light show on Markt Square – Gouda in flickering candles. During the holiday the electric lights are turned off and the square is lit only by candles.
  4. The life-size City Hall building is set in a theme park in Japan.
  5. Gouda cheese accounts for almost 60% of all cheese production in the Netherlands.
  6. The colorful “City on Water” festival is held in Gouda at the end of June during the weekend.

Gouda is a city where you can find activities for children. Many museums offer guided tours for children, cafes and restaurants offer children’s menus. For leisure activities, you can visit the many parks, a family golf club or the entertainment center Monkey Town.

All prices on the page are for July 2022.

Video: walk through the city of Gouda.

Author: Julia Matyukhina

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