Daytrip Gouda: Confirming the Dutch stereotype
If I say the Netherlands, what comes to mind? Cheese? Stroopwafels? Or maybe canals? Sideways tipping buildings? Tiny alleyways?
On our daytrip, we strongly strengthened the stereotypical image of Dutch cities. Gouda was the destination of our trip, just an hour away from Amsterdam. It has all the characteristics mentioned above: people wearing clogs were the only part that was missing from the image: Gouda even has a proper windmill!
Although Gouda is indubitably known for its cheese, we focused on another special delicacy from the Netherlands: the stroopwafel. We visited a renowned stroopwafel factory located right in the heart of Gouda’s old center. The Punselie factory, which produces allergen-free cookies that are served on all KLM-flights, has been a family owned business for years (started in 1872, with Ronald Punselie now leading the company). We got a tour and saw how the stroopwafels are transported on a curved conveyor-belt, and are then turned over (which, apparently, is a big engineering achievement).
During the tour, we ate ourselves almost nauseous with all the Punselie-leftovers. And then we ate even more, during the lunch break at an old clay barn turned into a pretty lunch spot, next to one of the small canals.
Then it was time to move again. The theme of our city tour? ‘Sloppen en Stegen’ (translated: dead-end streets & small alleyways). Not for people with claustrophobia, our brave students took up the challenge of squeezing themselves through tiny streets. The tour talked about old craftsmen that got streets named after them (pin makers-alley and oil butcher-pathway), and we learned that Gouda has the oldest Dutch town hall!
In the afternoon, there was time left to roam around. The usually peaceful old square was not so nice and quiet anymore: a big fair was taking place in front of the city hall – as mentioned, the oldest one of the Netherlands. Time was mainly spent at the fairground rides (the elephant ride was popular), and by eating large amounts of cotton candy. And of course: cheese, cheese and cheese! After this cultural dive into the Netherlands it was time to return to Amsterdam.
On to our next trip: our overnight excursion to Limburg!
Judith de Lange Program Assistent CIEE-Amsterdam