Gouda's association with cheese comestibles has made it famous – the town's namesake fermented curd is among the Netherlands' best-known exports. But Gouda, the town, has a lot more to it than that.
Gouda enjoyed economic success and decline in the same manner as the rest of Holland from the 16th century onwards. Its cheese has brought recent wealth, as has the country's largest candle factory, which stays busy supplying all those Dutch brown cafes. The acclaimed 16th-century stained-glass windows in its church are a highlight.
Gouda makes a fine day trip, easily accessible from any city in South Holland or Amsterdam. The compact centre is entirely ringed by canals and is a mere five minutes' walk from the station.