Gouda's infamous flukes
Many a yarn can be spun about Gouda. We've selected a number of them,
ranging from interesting to ludicrous.
The first company
in the world to order
light bulbs from Philips
was the 'Koninklijke Stearine
the Royal Candle
Factory of Gouda
The Gouda Fire department has a reputation as well. In 1929 the barracks burned
to the ground and the steam-powered fire-hose was a total loss.
When a single mother was giving birth, it was the midwife's duty to ask
her who the father was. The midwife wasn't allowed to continue her work until she got
an answer. Because, if the city-council knew who the father was, they made him pay
for the upbringing of the child.
In mediaeval times it was obligatory for pharmacists, if they wanted to offer their clients
a new potion, to taste all the ingredients, in public, on their tongue.
Some laws should never be changed.
There was one midwife who cleverly used the rules to start a thriving business.
She started her practice outside the city, and wasn't interested about the father.
She was well-loved.
Gouda wasn't famous for the quality of its midwives.
The pay was so bad that only those who were totally unfit stayed on.
Anna van Hensbeek, MIDWIFE for OUTSIDE (the city)
To improve the quality of midwifery it became obligatory in 1730
that the still-born children were reported by the midwife herself at city hall.
The results of this law weren't impressive.
Even as late as 1840 one in fourteen children died at birth, the number for Holland
as a whole was one in twenty-two.
In the seventeenth century already, quite a lot of hemp was grown in and around Gouda.
The leaves of the hemp plant had to be battered to be used for the fabrication of rope.
This battering caused much noise and dust, therefore it was not allowed within the city walls.
The only exception was the prison.
The work was considered to be very suitable for the inmates, and dust did not create a problem because
windows and doors were always locked.
Gouda even has a martyr: Faes Dirkz.
Of couse the rope-makers had a saint as well, St. Paul who escaped because of the good quality of the rope.
In 1569, Gouda was still a catholic city, Faes had himself baptized again in Rotterdam because he
thought that his first baptism wasn't a truly Christian one.
When this came to the attention of the city council they asked him to leave the city.
Faes did not comply.
He was arrested and brought before the lords of justice.
They gave him a simple choice:
Deny the new baptism or die.
Faes chose death.
They asked him to stand in the hallway and think it over. Faes still chose death.
On the 31st of may 1570 he went to the gallows singing
'My God, were shall I go from here'
He was strangled and burned.
Two years later Gouda wasn't a catholic city anymore.
The new reformed preachers were very strict, even the famous 'Goudse Glazen', Gouda's famous
glass stained windows didn't escape.
The paintings of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost were removed from the church
because they did not comply with the new interpretation of 'God's word'.
They went out in 1573 and were reinstalled early this century, more than 300 years later.