EXPLORING GOUDA ON FOOT
An excursion dedicated to discovering picturesque Gouda, a lovely Dutch city known for its famous cheese. Together with an expert guide, we go for a lovely walk around the historic city centre to admire the main buildings and sights that illustrate its commercial and tourist development and enjoy a tasting session of the various delicious cheeses that are a feather in the cap of this amazing city.
- Walk around the centre’s cobbled streets
- Stop for photos at Sint-Janskerk, St. John the Baptist church featuring large stained-glass windows
- Market square with the oldest Gothic Town Hall in Holland
- Waag: public scales and tasting session
- Free time to visit Kaaswaag, the Museum of cheese
- We start our tour by leaving the port of Rotterdam behind us as we head towards Gouda, a picture-perfect Dutch city whose name derives from the Van der Goude family who, in the 11th century, built a castle near the river Gouwe where the land was mainly swampy.
- A canal was built in 1225 to ship goods to France and other European ports. Thanks to these trading activities, Gouda developed rapidly and obtained the first city statute in 1272.
- As soon as we reach Gouda, we start our tour along the narrow cobbled streets of the city centre and stop for photos at Sint-Janskerk, a church dedicated to St. John the Baptist, patron saint of the city and rebuilt many times in the 16th century due to various fires. It was erected in the International Gothic style but became famous mostly for thelarge stained-glass windows made btween1550 and 1570 depicting various subjects from the Catholic and Protestant religion as well as the history of the different Dutch provinces.
- Once off the coach, we follow our expert guide who takes us to visit the large market square, the “Markt”, where we can admire the oldest Gothic Town Hall in Holland with sections dating back to the 15th century. The building is made of sandstone and most definitely grabs our attention due to the Carillon clock on the eastern façade which chimes every half hour and displaying the unique moving statues depicting the moment when Gouda was declared a free city by Floris V of Holland in 1272. The visual effect of the dashing white and red shutters which stand out from the perfectly-preserved stone walls is also very interesting.
- On the north-eastern side of the Markt we find the Waag, i.e. the public scales used for cheese designed in 1668 by the architect Pieter Pos.
- Inside,we can admire and savour dozens of cheeses together with a nice glass of red wine. During the tasting session, we learn how the typical Gouda cheese is made, its various maturing stages and its relative characteristics in terms of texture and flavour.
- We then have some free time available to explore the square or visit the Kaaswaag, the museum describing the history of the cheese trade in Holland through interactive audiovisual activities as well as dairy production from the milking procedure to the finished product.
- Once our tourist and culinary itinerary through the city of Gouda is over and after delighting our palates, we board the coach and head back to the ship.
Good to know
- Comfortable walking shoes are recommended.