things to do, part 1
A rainy day in Gouda town
You're sitting in a pub at the marketplace, watching a young couple in
the pouring rain on its way to city hall to get married. The bride is soaking
wet, but beautiful. So perhaps you could join the party and have a look
at the bridal room of the city hall in its old state. On the other hand,
if you don't have the guts to be a party-crasher, you can choose a museum.
So there you are, after the city tour. You are dripping wet because, according
to subjective statistics, it rains more often than not in the Netherlands.
What next? Of course you may go to the tourist information office, located
at the marketplace. The incredibly advanced numerical 24-hours-a-day tourist
information retrieval system makes the use of outdated Internet homepages
completely obsolete. On the other hand, as long as you are on the Net,
why not have a first glance at the possibilities of Gouda when it is raining?
The Catharina Gasthuis can typically be considered as the waste bag
of a Dutch province town. Anything old in town will end up in this museum.
The result is an interesting collection: Paintings, style chambers, the
old city's dispensary, an interesting private collection of paintings of
the 'Haagse School', plaques, everything is there. The building itself
is from the 14th century with a front extension of the 17th century.
Up to the beginning of this century it was the local hospital. When
you are there, notice the small canal under the building. In former days
it was used as an open-air sewer right under the wardrooms.
If you're travelling with children, you should certainly not miss this
museum. You can visit the isolation cell that was used for insane people
in former years. There is a wonderful painting of Saint John the Baptizer
after decapitation. The head is already off, and the blood spouts from
the neck veins like red water from a fountain. Technically, the painting
is at least as good as a modern comic book story. And if your children
want to see more, there is always the torture chamber. There you can see
what was done to soldiers as a punishment for raping young innocent girls
More recent warlike stuff can be found at the South Holland Resistance
Museum, dedicated to the second World War and the time afterwards.
If, on the other hand, you are more inclined to peace, visit the pipe-museum
and find your favorite peace-pipe.
As an alternative on such a rainy day, you might go to church. The main
church of Gouda, devoted to Saint John, is world famous for its stained
The founding father of our Fatherland, William the Silent.
This is probably the reason why you never heard from him ...
Be impressed by the way in which the artist used small pieces of lead
to enforce the image. And recognize Dutch history like the picture above.
The earliest windows were created when the church was Catholic. In
the windows, you can see the faces of the bishops who donated them. Look
at their faces, and you understand the Reformation. The later windows
were donated by Dutch cities and provinces. And there is one window that
was created after the second World War, depicting the liberation of Holland.
Outside the church, it is still raining.
So what about fun? Perhaps you should go to a game parlor, in a wonderfully
restored building. It's the
'Poffertjes' have the taste of pancakes, that is to say: hardly any taste
at all. But then sugar and melted butter are added and hardly any child
can resist it.
Afterwards, you may compare your losses with your blessings. If the latter
outweigh the former, send your children to the 'poffertjeskraam' (my English
dictionary translates this as flitter booth).
Then leave your children at the puppetshow. If they can't understand the
Dutch language, so much for the worse.
In the mean time, you can do some serious shopping. This is after all Holland.