You can’t say cheese without saying Gouda! Operational since 1395. From April to August Thursday Cheese Market is the trading place in Gouda of one of the most popular cheeses in the world. Handshaking of the cheese traders and farmers. Surrounded by the famous Gouda cheese girls and boys.
Don’t forget to pay a visit to the Saint John’s Cathedral. Dedicated to John the Baptist, patron saint of Gouda. The longest church in the Netherlands. More important are the 70 stained glass windows (de Goudse Glazen) from the 16th Century. St. Jan’s Church is located in beautiful, historical Gouda and is the city’s principal monument. Originally a Catholic church, but became a Protestant place of worship in 1573. This as a result of the Dutch Revolt against the Spanisch siege.
Gouda has one of the oldest Gothic town halls in the Netherlands. It stands right in the middle of the lively centre of Gouda’s Market Place and it is world-famous. The town fire of 1361 destroyed the predecessor of this town hall. Requirement for the construction of a new town hall was: it had to be located in the middle of the market. That way it would be less prone to fire.
De Waag Gouda is a beautiful 17th century building, built in brick in the Dutch Classicism architectural style. Built by the famous architect Pieter Post in 1668. A tableau of Carrara marble in the historical front facade shows a depiction of the weighing of cheese. Nowadays you will find in the weighing house a ‘Cheese and Crafts Museum’ and the tourist office. Saying cheese means saying Gouda!
The former shipyard NDSM (Nederlandsche Dok en Scheepsbouw Maatschappij), is an absolute creativity hotspot. Many artists studios, start-ups, concerts and activities. In the 1970s, the shipbuilding industry in the NDSM area Amsterdam disappeared. A desolate industrial landscape of 32 hectares was left behind. Now NDSM area Amsterdam is a breeding ground for creative companies in the fields of visual arts, design, theatre, film, media and architecture.
The Muiderslot Castle Amsterdam is a beautiful castle, and it is also beautifully situated on the river Vecht and the former Zuiderzee. Because of its location on the river Vecht, Floris V, Count of Zeeland and Holland, was able to collect tolls. In the golden age, the owner and poet P.C. Hooft, the ‘Dutch Shakespeare’, made Muiderslot Castle Amsterdam into an intellectual artistic center. The writer received here many prominent men of literature, artists and scientists. It is also part of the ‘Hollandse Nieuwe Waterlinie’, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is massively built like a square medieval castle with a tower on each corner. With a moat and bridge it is very impressive. The 700-year-old castle is one of the best-preserved ones in the Netherlands. Muiderslot is more than just a castle. The old castle is surrounded by water and greenery. The herb garden and vegetable garden are very worthwhile to visit.
The Haarlemmermeer was created after many storms around 1500 merged a number of lakes. It was a rough environment and the lake was nicknamed ‘Water Wolf’. Reclamation work started in 1840. Originally the plan was to do this with 200 windmills, but the invention of the steam engine allowed the job to be done with three ultramodern steam pumping stations. The enormous Cruqius steam pumping station is one of the most impressive industrial monuments in Europe and still works. The cylinder has a diameter of more than 3.50 meters. The pistons drive eight external balance arms. With each piston stroke, 64,000 liters of water were pumped out of the lake. Abbenes and Lisserbroek were islands before the reclamation and are now pieces of old land in the polder. The Haarlemmermeer Polder is also part of the Defense Line of Amsterdam. The 60 kilometer long ring canal is divided in two by the Geniedijk. A military structure that had to protect Amsterdam by inundation.
Frans Hals Museum Haarlem has the largest collection of Frans Hals paintings in the world. It is a former ‘old men’s house’ built in 1608. There are fourteen paintings of his hand on display, including his famous civic guard paintings. Due to religious persecution during the Eighty Years’ War, Frans Hals came to Haarlem as one of the many Flemish refugees. Frans Hals (1582-1666) became one of the most famous portrait painters of his time. Among his greatest works are the portraits of the militia’s, similar to Rembrandt’s works. He was able to suggest movement and detail with a single, rough stroke of the brush, and because of his special use of colors. He is sometimes referred to as ‘the first impressionist’. Vincent van Gogh admired his modernist style.
Leiden University was founded in 1581 in a monastery as the first university in the Netherlands. Due to the ever-growing number of faculties, many buildings were given a university function and some faculties were built on behalf of the university. A number of members of the Royal House have lived and studied at Leiden University. King Willem Alexander studied history and lived at Rapenburg 116 and Queen Beatrix studied Law and Sociology in Leiden and lived at Rapenburg 45.