things to do, part 1

A rainy day in Gouda town

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 The incredibly advanced numerical 24-hours-a-day tourist information retrieval system makes the use of outdated Internet homepages completely obsolete.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?

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.

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 from Gouda.

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.


The founding father of our Fatherland, William the Silent.

This is probably the reason why you never heard from him ...
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 glass windows.
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 


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).

'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.

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.

Enter and enjoy.

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