Gouda - Encyclopedia

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GOUDA (or TER GouwE), a town of Holland, in the province of South Holland, on the north side of the Gouwe at its confluence with the Ysel, and a junction station 122m. by rail N.E. of Rotterdam. Pop. (1900) 22,303. Tramways connect it with Bodegraven (52 m. N.) on the old Rhine and with Oudewater (8 m. E.) on the Ysel; and there is a regular steamboat service in various directions, Amsterdam being reached by the canalized Gouwe; Aar, Drecht and Amstel. The town of Gouda is laid out in a fine open manner and, like other Dutch towns, is intersected by numerous canals. On its outskirts pleasant walks and fine trees have replaced the old fortifications. The Groote Markt is the largest market-square in Holland. Among the numerous churches belonging to various denominations, the first place must be given to the Groote Kerk of St John. It was founded in 1485, but rebuilt after a fire in 1552, and is remarkable for its dimensions (345 ft. long and 150 ft. broad), for a large and celebrated organ, and a splendid series of over forty stained-glass windows presented by cities and princes and executed by various well-known artists, including the brothers Dirk (d. C.1577) and Wouter (d. c. 1590) Crabeth, between the years 1555 and 1603 (see Explanation of the Famous and Renowned Glass Works, &c., Gouda, 1876, reprinted from an older volume, 1718). Other noteworthy buildings are the Gothic town hall, founded in 1449 and rebuilt in 1690, and the weigh-house, built by Pieter Post of Haarlem (1608-1669) and adorned with a fine relief by Barth. Eggers (d. c. 1690). The museum of antiquities (1874) contains an exquisite chalice of the year 1425 and some pictures and portraits by Wouter Crabeth the younger, Corn. Ketel (a native of Gouda, 1548-1616) and Ferdinand Bol (1616-1680). Other buildings are the orphanage, the hospital, a house of correction for women and a music hall.

In the time of the counts the wealth of Gouda was mainly derived from brewing and cloth-weaving; but at a later date the making of clay tobacco pipes became the staple trade, and, although this industry has somewhat declined, the churchwarden pipes of Gouda are still well known and largely manufactured. In winter-time it is considered a feat to skate hither from Rotterdam and elsewhere to buy such a pipe and return with it in one's mouth without its being broken. The mud from the Ysel furnishes the material for large brick-works and potteries; there are also a celebrated manufactory of stearine candles, a yarn factory, an oil refinery and cigar factories. The transit and shipping trade is considerable, and as one of the principal markets of South Holland, the round, white Gouda cheeses are known throughout Europe. Boskoop, 5 m. N. by W. of Gouda on the Gouwe, is famous for its nursery gardens; and the little old-world town of Oudewater as the birthplace of the famous theologian Arminius in 1560. The town hall (1588) of Oudewater contains a picture by Dirk Stoop (d. 1686), commemorating the capture of the town by the Spaniards in 1575 and the subsequent sack and massacre.

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