Learn about the history of Gouda, Netherlands at the Museum Gouda and enjoy lunch at the Museum Café


Gouda is a city in South Holland founded as a settlement during the Middle Ages. With a continuous history that traces its city charter to 1272, today Gouda is a thriving city seeped in history. Often thought of as the home to cheese, Gouda is also famous for its historic churches, buildings, stroopwafels, smoking pipes, pottery as well as its candles. Gouda cheese is produced in the surrounding countryside, its name comes from the Gouda Cheese Market which is active to this day.

Museum Gouda is housed in the historic building Catharina Gasthuis with a chapel that dates to the original settlement during the Middle Ages. Dedicated to all things Gouda this iconic museum houses a collection of over 40,000 art objects related to the centuries of history of the City of Gouda. As such it provides visitors a unique perspective of a slice of the history of the Netherlands.

Museum Gouda is closed on Mondays. It is open to visitors the other six days of the week from 11 AM – 5 PM. Special features of the Museum Gouda include a treasure of altar paintings from the 16th century. Most intricate altar paintings were destroyed during the iconoclasm, Gouda is the one place where a broad collection was preserved and are now displayed at the Museum Gouda. This alone makes Museum Gouda worth a visit, yet it offers so much more.

The experience of entering Museum Gouda is a magical transformation from the modern world back to the middle ages. This experience is reinforced by a City Scale Model of Gouda in 1562. This extremely important portrait of life in 1562 precious to the history of Gouda is equally representative of life around Netherlands and all of Europe during this time.

Owing to a progressive climate of tolerance Gouda did not experience an iconoclasm when the city turned to Protestantism. Museum Gouda exhibits a monumental altar painting dating to the 16th century from neighboring St. John’s Church, art work that can not be seen anywhere else in the Netherlands.

Although a home to religion, art as well as merchants in all trades, Gouda had its own militia that defended the city, kept the peace and sometimes went to war. Museum Gouda offers a look at the weapons of war in a collection of militia pieces. One of the most interesting pieces exhibited in relation to the Gouda Militia is a painting of the Gouda war council by Ferdinand Bol, Rembrandt’s master student.

In the 1900s Gouda became known as a center for decorative pottery. Museum Gouda pays homage to this important time in history with a vast collection of Gouda Pottery. Representing all the schools of pottery as well as the numerous factories that sprung up around pottery, Museum Gouda displays a definitive representation of local pottery.

No art museum in the Netherlands would be complete without paintings from one of the most important times in art. Museum Gouda as a large collection of 19th and early 20th century Dutch and French Paintings. This collection includes the work of the forerunners of the Impressionist movement.

Museum Gouda exhibits its vast collection of over 40,000 pieces of art in permanent galleries along with special themed exhibitions throughout the year. When planning to visit this museum housed in an historical building from the middle ages be sure to check their web site for special exhibitions that are on the schedule.

Museum Gouda welcomes and encourages visits by children. It also offers a garden café for light authentic fare served in a museum atmosphere or in a garden terrace to your liking. Museum Gouda offers guided tours as well as a Museum shop.

Museum Gouda is located Behind the Church 14 2801 JX Gouda.

When visiting the City of Gouda between April and August you should plan to be there for a Thursday morning. It is on Thursday mornings that a tradition that dates to 1395 takes place in the city hall plaza, The Gouda Cheese Market.

Story by Daniel Dachille and Laine Page

Voice over by Jim Reynolds

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