Gouda, our educational and fun day trip, as seen from the air, photographed perhaps in the 1950s or 1960's, as indicated by the few parked cars visible here.
France had its crowning glory in the Cathedral of Chartres and when you go inside there you may be dismayed by the scarcity of light filtering through the dim dark blue glass everywhere in the Chartres church. Darkness reigns there.
In Holland, Gouda boasts the opposite glory: a crowning large church with 16th Century stained glass, designed by the Crabeth brothers. The entire effect is astounding, and works like a 360 degree surround light show. With a bit of luck the organ is playing as well. Closed on Sunday.
There is a fine museum of old paintings next to the church, as well as the low remains of an age old hill-fortress. Google: kaasmarkt+gouda for choosing the right thursdays in summer for your visit Outside Gouda is the wettest wetland of polders and canal almost overflowing with water. Cool for a countryside ride. If you have interest in plant nurseries full of young trees go to Boskoop.
Gouda, our educational and fun day trip, is situated in the green, flat, waterlogged heartland of the province of South Holland, situated midway between Amsterdam and Rotterdam, a 40 minute ride from Amsterdam (my car takes you right there and would seat 3 to 4 adults).
In the Golden Age and in the 18th century Gouda became the central hub of inland tow barge and freight shipping on the many canals and rivers in between Dutch cities. At the outskirts one may still admire the Goudse river, and the Hollandse IJssel river and it is mind boggling and scary to see that their water tables rise many meters above the surrounding landscape of green pastures. (In other countries, water naturally tends to flow downwards because of gravitational forces. Apparently not so in Holland).
Gouda was also famous for its minor industries. White clay pipe industry linked with in with tobacco which was smoked by the Dutch during many centuries. Millions of these long stem pipes were produced. These pipes were the first mass produced objects with a very short life because of their designed brittle quality, so that replacing them would become a perfectly straightworward thing. It was perhaps not until the invention of the light bulb that this other disposable consumer good came on the market, also bought by the millions.
Another successful local industries were cheese making (Gouda cheese), syrup cookies and pottery.
Its crowning glory are the incredible stained glass windows (see below).
Photos below : Copyright Kees Kaldenbach 2008.
The true claim to fame in Gouda is the glorious St Jan church which boasts the best quality and quantity of stained glass windows in the Netherlands. The design drawings were made by the Crabeth brothers.
St Jan church, interior looking from the choir to the nave.
St Jan church, exterior.
Around the church perimeter are the loveliest canals, hidden streets and courtyards which allow you to find unexpected vistas.
The Lazarus gate gives access to a lovely enclosed garden.
This aerial photo may date from the 1950s or 1960s.
The town hall was built in 1448, and then consecutively revamped and restored in 1695, and 1877. Some specialists say it has been over-restored.
Gouda cheese and other commodities had to be weighed here by law from 1669 onwards. In order to be sure of the expressive visual quality of this building the city fathers had a full scale mockup built before giving the final OK for the construction of the final building. Nowadays the building houses the small cheese museum.
This photograph was taken through a peephole in a Gouda door, in the summer of 2007. 15 points if you manage to locate the building!
As an art historian based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, I can meet you in Gouda for a personalized guided tour of art museums and the historic center.
Together we will experience the beauty and history . Enjoy yourself and learn about history while strolling and discussing the country's history, art and culture. In doing so, we may touch many bases - spanning not only fine art and architecture but also the city's history and current social issues. See client testimonials.
Read a biography.
Menu of tours
If you want to just walk around with a very nice social companion for a day, we recommend www.friends4action.com
Drs. Kaldenbach is chairman of the Circle of Academic Tour Guides of the Netherlands and Flanders (CATON)
Starting at your hotel I will take you on a wonderful private cultural walking tour of your choice. My guided itinerary offers you accessable informative conversation in English, Dutch, or German (my French and Italian are more limited).
All photos on this page are copyright c Kees Kaldenbach 2007, except for the areial views.
You may also arrange this VIP treatment for business contacts or friends. Our cultural tour organisation office will take care of a unique and memorable experience.
Drs. Kees Kaldenbach is your private "scholar-lecturer on culture tours" *.
*Martha Gellhorn, Travels with Myself and another, p. 182.
Please contact me for time and fees of the tailor-made tour you are interested in.
These tailor made tours are available upon request - please contact me to book a date. Minimum group size: 1 person. Maximum group size is limited to about 10 persons. With a megaphone I can also manage larger groups on the streets.
Menu of tours
Photo by Dick Martin.
The Rijksmuseum has done me the honor of linking the main Rijksmuseum site to my website. Start at www.rijksmuseum.nl and select Collection. Then choose 'Digital Collaboration' and the 'Digital Vermeer House'.
I conduct Rembrandt walks in Amsterdam for the Netherlands Bureau of Tourism, London and New York City offices. Their clients include important journalists.
The travel site www.luxurytraveler.com has devoted a main feature to my tours and walks.
Read further client testimonials.
Drs. Kees Kaldenbach has been featured in television and radio documentaries, including BBC2 TV, NTV Japan, Danish TV and Radio Netherlands World Service. In July 2004 he was interviewed about Delft artists the Nishinippon (Japan, 2012) and by Tetsuya Tsuruhara for the leading Japanese newspaper The Yomiuri Shimbun. In 2004 and 2005 he acted in an advisory role to additional BBC teams. Kaldenbach has written extensively on Vermeer and 17th century Delft, also on Vincent van Gogh and on other art history topics.
Read a biography.
Drs. Kees Kaldenbach has been featured in television and radio documentaries, including BBC2 TV, NTV Japan, Danish TV and Radio Netherlands World Service. In July 2004 he was interviewed about Gouda artists by Tetsuya Tsuruhara for the leading Japanese newspaper The Yomiuri Shimbun. In 2004 and 2005 he acted in an advisory role to additional BBC teams. Kaldenbach has written extensively on Vermeer and 17th century Gouda, on Vincent van Gogh and on other art history topics.
Drs. Kees Kaldenbach is your private "scholar-lecturer on culture tours".
Further information is available on his encyclopedic web site: www.johannesvermeer.info
Drs. Kees Kaldenbach , firstname.lastname@example.org
Haarlemmermeerstraat 83 hs
1058 JS Amsterdam
telephone 020 - 669 8119 (from abroad NL +20 - 669 8119)
cell phone 06 - 2868 9775 (from abroad NL +6 - 2868 9775)
Reaction, questions? Read client testimonials.
Open seven days a week.
Member of the VVV Tourist information and the Amsterdam Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel).
Email responses and bookings to art historian Drs. Kees Kaldenbach.
This page forms part of the 2000+ item Vermeer web site at www.xs4all.nl/~kalden
Launched October 21 2007. Last update 17 feb. 2013.