Until 2022

Present Time

Of course Gouda has existed for much longer than 750 years, but in 2022 we celebrate that in 1272 the town received its city rights from Floris V, Count of Holland.

A lot has happened in the history of the town, too much to include in our timeline. So we have made a selection of highs and (sometimes) lows and put them in chronological order.

We are looking forward to the celebrations! Gouda and the world have been through numerous crises, from the plague to town fires and now we are dealing with the coronavirus crisis, a pandemic that in future historical overviews will become just another event on the timeline.

If you really think we have omitted one of the highs or lows, please send a message to: info@gouda750.nl

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1 Ontginning


New development along the River Gouwe, the foundation of Gouda

The earliest known reference to the new name Gouwe, Gouda, Govda: Iuxta Goldam, which means along the Gouwe, dates back to this year. This reference is by Bishop Andreas of Utrecht who granted the chapter of Oude Munster in Utrecht development rights along this river, iuxta Goldam.

The name Gouda is thought to be derived from Gold-a, Gold-ach, which means a gold-coloured watercourse. The water got its golden colour from the turf.


First mention of Dirk, Lord van der Ghoude

William II, Count of Holland, first mentions the name of a lord of Gouda, Theodoricus de Ghouda, also known as Dirk van der Goude, in a sales agreement with German tradesmen. It is thought that the first motte (a fortified enclosed stronghold/fortress) in the area 'Behind the Church’, was also built before this year. Around this motte there was place for a market. The first church, the forerunner of the Sint-Janskerk, and several farms were also located here.

The current coat of arms of Gouda featuring six stars is of a later date. The arms of the Lords van der Goude used to have two stars. Jan van der Goude (1375-1411) bore arms featuring a silver crossbeam with two golden stars.

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3 Stadswapen
Carillion close up


Gouda receives its city rights from Count Floris V

On 19 July 2022 we celebrate that in 1272 it is 750 years ago that Gouda received its city rights from Count Floris V (born in 1254 and murdered in 1296). There were advocates of the city rights, as well as opponents, because these rights also came with certain obligations. Floris granted the city rights at the request of Nicolaas van Cats, the guardian of the eight-year-old Sophie van der Goude, who at that time was the heiress of the aristocratic Van der Goude family.

When the town received its city rights, the inhabitants also officially got all kind of other rights, such as citizenship, the administration of justice and freedom of religion.

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First devastating town fire and building of the Castle of Gouda

In 1356 Jan van Blois became Lord of Gouda, the town official of those days. There were already a corn mill at Molenwerf and a Weighing House. During the major town fire of 1361 the first Sint-Janskerk was burnt down. A section of the town gates with tower was used as the basis to build the Castle of Gouda, which was commissioned by Lord Jan van Blois, at what is known today as Veerstal.

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4 Kasteel van Gouda Pierson
2013 07 04 11 50 13


Gouda Cheese Town

Gouda had an important regional function, so therefore the Count of Holland granted Gouda official weighing and market rights. The cheese market was already established in 1395. The town officials bought a piece of land in the centre of town where the Markt and cheese market could take place. Before that cheese had been traded in various locations in the town. Due to the market rights, farmers from the region were not allowed to sell their produce outside the town. In other words, the world famous name Gouda Cheese does not come from the cheese being made here, but because Gouda was the town where cheese from the neighbouring villages and towns was traded.

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Jacqueline (Jacoba) of Bavaria gives the Militia of Gouda a chalice

It was the time of Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, and the Hook and Cod wars. Jacoba of Bavaria was the daughter of William II, Count of Holland and Margaret of Burgundy. She had already been married off to a French prince, John of Touraine, at the age of five. The marriage took place in The Hague ten years later.

After the death of her father when she was sixteen years old, she inherited, among others, large parts of what is now the province of South Holland. After the death of her husband, Jacoba remarried several times. Usually these were strategic marriages to increase her power.

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Miskelk Jacoba Van Beieren Wikipedia
Gravure Stadhuis


Second major town fire, the incentive for building the Gothic town hall on the Markt

In 1438 the second major town fire broke out, destroying most of the town. The town hall and archives were lost. At the Markt the groundworks for the Gothic town hall which is still standing today had started. Over the centuries the town hall has undergone drastic restorations and changes, both on the inside and on the outside. For example, the white and red shutters are a typical 19th-century addition. The statues on the facade have also been added later.

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Erasmus in Gouda

Erasmus was born around 1466 out of an extramarital affair between a clergyman and his housekeeper. Although his place of birth will most likely always remain a point of dispute between Gouda and Rotterdam, he and his brother grew up in Gouda. Erasmus went to the Latin school at the Markt (where Arti Legi is now located). He lived at the Emmaus Monastery van Stein (the area between the Kort Haarlem district and Haastrecht) which burnt down in 1549.

Erasmus did not like the strict rules of the monastery. He left and travelled around Europe, living from his work as a scholar and his publications.

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Goudse Glazen


De Goudse Glazen worden in de herbouwde Sint Jan aangebracht

In 1552 brandde de Sint-Janskerk na een blikseminslag af. Onder leiding van Cornelis Frederiksz van der Goude begon men met de wederopbouw. De beide broeders Dirck en Wouter Crabeth vervaardigden 72 wereldberoemde „Goudse Glazen“ voor de heropgebouwde kerk tussen 1555 en 1572. Beschilderde glas in lood ramen waren ook toen al een dure kwestie, vandaar dat er geldschieters werden gezocht om die glazen te financiëren. Filips van Spanje en Margaretha van Parma hebben allebei zo'n glas betaald en zijn dan ook met hun beeltenis te zien.

Er werd tevens opdracht gegeven voor de vervaardiging van nieuwe altaarstukken. Gouda werd niet echt door de beeldenstorm geraakt, in ieder geval niet de Sint Jan. De vele kloosters werden echter wel gesloopt dan wel herbestemd qua gebruik.

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The First Free State Assembly

In 1566 the Iconoclastic Fury, from which Gouda was spared, raged through the Netherlands. In 1572 the First Free State Assembly of the States of Holland gathered in Dordrecht. That day representatives of the towns present acknowledged William I, Prince of Orange, in his position of Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland and Utrecht. He was also appointed to represent the Spanish King Philip II of Spain, in his absence, as Patron of the Netherlands.

This marked the birth of the Netherlands as an independent country and the denouncement of Spanish rule over the Netherlands. This took place on the same date - 19 July - as Gouda had received its city rights three hundred years earlier.

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Dordrecht Plek van de eerste statenvergadering Rijksdienst Cultureel Erfgoed
Gevelsteen Coornhert


Coornhert, proponent of free speech, dies in Gouda

Dirck Volkertsz was born into a Catholic family in Amsterdam in 1522. He became an ardent proponent of free speech and freedom of religion. Like Erasmus, he was an influential, but lesser-known humanist. Coornhert did not believe in original sin, in other words, that due to a mistake by Adam and Eve humans would always remain sinful. He was also friends with William of Orange. Because of this he was considered a rebel by the Spanish who imprisoned him at the Prison Gate in The Hague.

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Gouda pipes, pottery and plateel industry

Even in its early days Gouda already had a pottery industry thanks to the presence of clay in the nearby rivers. In 1617 the industry had gone into decline. When the Twelve Years’ Truce put Willem Baernelt out of work as a soldier in the Dutch States Army, the Englishman started to make Gouda clay pipes, thus giving the pottery industry a new boost. The pipes became world famous and, what is more, the Pipe Makers Guild was established in 1660. When the wooden pipe came into fashion, the Gouda clay pipe fell out of favour. However, the Goedewaagen Factory continued to make clay pipes and Gouda pottery, also known as Gouds plateel, until well into the 20th century. There are still several artisan pipe makers in Gouda today, such as Kees Moerings and Patrick Vermeulen.

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Pijpenindustrie Goedewaagen Canon


Old Dutch Water Line, Disaster Year of 1672

Dutch children still learn in school that 1672 was the Disaster Year for the fledgling country of the Netherlands. It was the year that France, England and the German bishoprics of Munster and Cologne all declared war with the Republic of the Seven United Provinces of the Netherlands at the same time. A military defence line was needed to withstand all this aggression, so the Old Dutch Water Line was built.

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Rebuilding of burnt down windmills, excavation of the third Mallegat Lock and birth of Bleuland

In 1702 the Hofje van Jongkind for single women was put into use. Today it is a catering establishment where the tiny houses can still be visited. The burnt down windmills at Vest (Roode Leeuw, 1727, and De Korenbloem, 1751) were rebuilt.

Moreau started building the organ for the Sint-Janskerk and the old organ was sold. The Sint Jorisdoelen was built for the militia at Lange Tiendeweg. The third Mallegat Lock was excavated/constructed in what is now the Museum Harbour. Around 20,000 people were living in Gouda, however, this number fluctuated over the centuries!

In 1756 physician, later professor and namesake of the hospital, Jan Bleuland, was born at Hoge Gouwe. He died in 1838.

Anna Barbara


Anna Barbara van Meerten-Schilperoort

Anna Barbara van Meerten-Schilperoort was born in Voorburg in 1778. She was an unusual lady who carried on the Gouda tradition of tolerance, enterprise and free speech, although she is a lot less known than Coornhert and Erasmus. She was a socially active woman who, at the age of sixteen, married the Reformed parson Hendrik van Meerten. He attained a position in Gouda in 1796.

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Industriousness in Gouda increases and its products become famous all around the world

Gouda has always been an industrious town. Take, for example, the production of (Gouda Kuyt) beer, clay pipes, cheese and numerous other crafts. Industrialisation changed this picture. Industries were established that would develop what were to become typical Gouda products.

Well known examples are, of course, the Gouda candles produced by the Stearine Candle Factory which was founded in 1858. Now it is a chemical company with very prominent distillation towers that are visible from miles away. There were many laundries, especially in the canals surrounding the centre of Gouda. The publisher of dictionaries and children’s books Van Goor and the Gouda Machine Factory were founded in 1839 and 1916 respectively.

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Goudse producten


The Gouda syrup or treacle waffle

The syrup or treacle waffle is a typical Gouda delicacy that can in no way be compared with what is sold in the supermarket. In Gouda opinions on what is the best waffle are still divided. There are fans of all the waffles that are still being made.

The bakers used to be independent entrepreneurs, so it is hard to determine when exactly the Gouda syrup waffle was invented. In 1810 Kamphuizen started to bake its original syrup waffle, using a unique recipe. In 1837 the Gouda Syrup Waffle Factory was established.

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Town development, Gouda expands

It is not until the 20th century that Gouda slowly expands beyond the boundaries of the historic town centre and surrounding canals. The districts Korte Akkeren and Kort Haarlem date back to the 1900s-1920s. The districts Oosterwei, Bloemendaal and Goverwelle were built in the 1950s-1990s.

At the invitation of the Dutch government immigrant workers arrived in the 1960s to combat the shortage of labour that had been created by the Second World War. Many new citizens came to Gouda to give the town a boost. There are now almost 130 nationalities, the biggest group being Dutch people with a Moroccan background. The number of inhabitants has risen to over 70,000.

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Burg james en Juliana


The poet and First and Second World War in Gouda

In 1914 scientist-poet and humanist Leo Vroman was born at Krugerlaan. At the beginning of the Second World War he fled from the Netherlands to England. The Netherlands and Gouda were mostly spared the horrors of the First World War. However, they did have to deal with the arrival of refugees from Belgium, for whom a refugee camp was set up at Graaf Florisweg.

The Second World War, however, did not go by unnoticed. Stray bombs destroyed the station and houses on, among others, Fluwelensingel and Krugerlaan. At the beginning of the war the mayor James was dismissed, to return as mayor after the German capitulation. Many fellow citizens had been deported, including the entire Jewish population of the town. They had all been killed.

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Gouda welcomes more than one million visitors

For years the number of visitors to Gouda has steadily grown, passing the million mark in 2018. The town has worked hard to achieve this, for example, by attracting national events, such as the first edition of The Passion in 2011, the Sand Painter in 2012 and the arrival of Sinterklaas on national television in 2014 (when the Black Pete controversy made national headlines), the Tour de France coming through the town in 2015 and Pink Saturday in 2018.

Every year there are many events. Today large-scale King’s Day (formerly Queen’s Day) celebrations and numerous music festivals attract thousands of visitors. The town bustles with activity and attracts a steady flow of visitors from both inside and outside the town, thanks to the weekly Cheese Market from April to August, Gouda by Candle Light, the Gouda Ceramics Days, the Canal Run, Crazy Saturday (with a nod to Erasmus) and numerous other events, such as the Easter Breakfast, the Riverdale Dance Festival and the Super Cool Kids’ Festival.

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