This traditional and magical event has been part of Gouda in the Netherlands for more than 60 years. People from all over the world come to witness this special event. Kongsberg in Norway each year sends Gouda a giant specially selected Christmas tree as a gift. The event of lighting the tree as well as numerous wonderful activities around the city is a huge highlight. It’s a festive day with carols and music and much more. In the evening everyone gather at the Gouda Markt and then the tree, the town hall and the other buildings around the square are all lighted by thousands of candles: A magical moment to experience.
Here is a link to their website for updated and latest information and news as well as the fascinating story behind the Christmas Tree: Gouda Bij Kaarslicht
But any other time of the year, no one can mistake the fact that Gouda is famous and well known for its cheese: Specifically Gouda Cheese.
In my opinion it is no wonder that you will find fantastic cheese shops, factories and museums all over town. I would suggest stopping at:
De Goudse Waag is a historic building dating back to 1668 where you can book a delicious private Gouda Cheese tasting. It was the cheese-weighing station of Gouda. Stop at the museum to explore the history of De Goudse Waag and the products that were weighed and traded here. There is a museum shop that has delicious real Dutch cheeses and a variety of traditional Dutch souvenirs you can buy.
You just have to buy and sample as many cheeses as you possibly can. Here are a few interesting shops where you can buy and sample cheese in Gouda:
If there is one thing besides cheese that you must try in Gouda it is their syrup waffles.
In my opinion the Kamphuisen Siroopwafel Shop is the place to go to.
The waffles have been baked according to the original Gouda recipe of the Kamphuisen Syrup Waffle from 1810. Now that is something special.
Central to the market square is ‘Het Oude Stadhuys’. This beautiful old town hall with its red shutters is often used for business meetings, events, and weddings. It is also often the backdrop to beautiful Instagram photos as well as the Gouda Christmas Candle light Festival.
The ever impressive Sint-Janskerk or St John is the longest church in the Netherlands and has 72 beautifully stained glass windows. Visit this beautiful church while you’re there. You can book your tickets online. The church is completely dependent on its own income and donations, so your visit will help them a great deal. Furthermore you get to see something really special: Like the glass of Philip II which are up to 20 meters high. A good tip would be to go on a very sunny day to experience the light shining through the windows.
The Gouda museum houses 16th century religious art, works by The Hague School and 20th century pottery and is well worth a visit. During summer time you can enjoy the walled courtyard of the Catherina Gasthuis for something to drink.
Gouda in Netherlands has 355 Monuments to discover. Here is a link to get more updated info on all of them. Discover the monuments of Gouda
The best tours in Gouda according to Viator travelers are:
Click on photo for link to these tours and more.