Products, part 2

PIPE DREAMS AND CANDLELIGHT


Gouda is not only famous for its cheese, there are quite a few other products where the prefix 'gouda' means quality. Here follows a short history for some of them.

GOUDA PIPES



In former days, Gouda had a flourishing clay pipe industry. The pipes were used all over the world, and remnants have been found even in the United States and in Asia. Actually, the art of making pipes out of clay had been brought to Gouda by British pipe-makers. In the 17th century, these people had fled from the religious oppression in their home country, and were enlisted in the Dutch army. Afterwards, they took up their old trade again. Gouda had already a tradition of pottery, and the existing ovens could be used for baking the clay pipes.
The shape of the Gouda pipe is elegant.

The real wonder however is the long narrow tunnel of nothingness, through which you can inhale the smoke. It takes an artist with a steady hand to make a good pipe.


And even then, things can go wrong. Please, feel empathic with the 'pipe-makers sorrow'.


GOUDA CANDLES


In 1858 a factory was build in Gouda for the production of candles. Those who earned their money in the factory were all very much in favor of the factory. Those who were not involved, dreaded the stench. But the factory was run by rather modern principles: It was Philips' first customer for light-bulbs!
Gouda candles stood for quality candles, and this is still the case. Alas, they are not produced in Gouda anymore. But they are still part of tradition. On Tuesday night, some ten days before Christmas, we have 'candle night' in Gouda. There is a huge Christmas tree on the marketplace, then the city mayor reads from the Book, and all people are singing 'Silent Night, Holy Night'. The lights in the tree are lit, and in all houses around the market place people have candles in the windows. Nowhere is electric light, not in the shopping windows, not in the houses and not from the streetlamps. Suddenly, Gouda is really a medieval town. But so very, very crowded that it's difficult to let the atmosphere sink in.

Candles are also part of tradition in a different way. We try to sell them to tourists as a specialty. Nowadays, we even have paintings of the Gouda town hall on the candles, to prove how authentic they are. And after lighting the candle, all proof of deception will burn away, so who cares?

GOUDSE STROOPWAFELS (TREACLE WAFFLES)


In the Netherlands, stroopwafels are really very popular. You can buy the 'real Gouda stroopwafels', everywhere and they are real enough, but most usually not from Gouda. There is a special relation between the inhabitants of Gouda and the stroopwafels, however. In general, stroopwafels are considered to be for children. But in Gouda, when people drink their morning coffee, it's practice to offer a stroopwafel. And, to be honest, the best stroopwafels do come from Gouda. See how proudly shops advertise their high quality stroopwafels to locals and tourists alike.



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