There’s more to Gouda than cheese and stroopwafels. For the Gouda team event I’m looking for a workshop or activity to include the three other typical Dutch products of this city. And that’s where I’m stuck.
Dutch crafts of lost times
My footsteps echo in the cobblestone alley between the 16th century St John church and the tilted medieval houses. This transports you to lost times. Lost times it is. Door closed, shutters down. The shop with the large sign saying ‘Gouda kaarsen’ now primarily sells antics. The last clay pipe maker retired. He shows the old Dutch craft once in a while in a former ceramics factory just outside the city. Gouda ceramics….yes, there is one workshop you can still visit. It’s not in the city centre though.
Start of Gouda diversity team event at train station
Gouda team event on Dutch culture
My search for typical Gouda ánd typical Dutch elements in the St John resulted in some great ideas for the customised group outing. Now I’m out in the streets looking for the three other typical Dutch products of Gouda: ceramics, candles and clay pipes.
It all started with the request for a Gouda team event on Dutch culture. This corporate event is all about having fun and doing activities, instead of just a (self) guided city walk. And, it’s a group activity for half a day, three hours more or less. Which, for my ideas, is extremely short. To add the very popular typical Dutch stroopwafels and original Gouda cheese there’s going to be a stroopwafel baking session and a cheese tasting. I’m especially looking forward to the tasting as this is not your mainstream cheese experience. Really curious what the participants think of it!
Artisanal workshops in the heart of Holland
It’s hard to picture Golden Age Gouda being full of workshops. Every second shop had some connection with Dutch crafts. Large factories outside of the city brought the production of Gouda ceramics and candles to another level. The small artisanal shops in Gouda’s historical centre went broke. The clay pipe industry simply went up in smoke with the invention of the cigar and later the cigarette. As the last craftsmen turn grey and there are no successors, the old Dutch crafts simply vanish.
Local Gouda festivals celebrating Dutch heritage
Or, is there still a spark of life? Gouda is proud of its candles, ceramics and clay pipes. On Ascension day a large ceramics festival is held on the market square. It’s not just Gouda craftsmen and -women who show ceramics is still alive and kicking, people from all around the world come show their pottery.
In December Gouda lights it candles in the Gouda by Candlelight event. The city hall lights up real Gouda candles and locals living on the market put their best candles on the windowseal.
And the clay pipes? There is a great Erasmus festival on his birthday in October. It’s a jolly and folly Saturday with all locals proudly showing the Dutch heritage. All Gouda products are put into the spotlight.
Apart from the cheese and stroopwafels, clay pipes are the only elements of Dutch culture I will work with in the personalised Gouda team event in June. The Thursday market has a stall with ceramics and clay pipes. It looks o so fragile though, so I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to add an activity here. Maybe at the oldest tobacco shop in Gouda, which still has a great display of clay ánd wooden pipes…
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