5x Fun things to do in Gouda with kids

Thinking about a visit to Gouda with kids? Honestly, I feel a bit sorry for Gouda. Imagine having Leiden and The Hague just around the corner, two destinations with some of the best attractions in the Netherlands for families. The children’s activities in Gouda can’t really compete with that.

However, you don’t have to overlook Gouda when traveling with children. Gouda is a compact city with a car-free center. There are charming shops and beautiful old buildings and churches. In the Museum Gouda, there is a fun children’s museum where you can easily spend a few hours.

Practical information for a visit to Gouda with children

Gouda is a historic city located in the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. It is renowned for its cheese, stroopwafels (syrup waffles), historic architecture, and picturesque canals.Gouda has great train connections with other cities in the Netherlands. I would suggest spending one day in Gouda.


In Gouda, you can find both well-known chain stores and many unique shops. It’s not surprising that there are many cheese shops. Here, you can taste and buy cheese all year round. For an even more special experience, you should visit Gouda on Thursday mornings in the summer months. Then, there’s a historical cheese market in the market square. During the holidays, you can participate in children’s cheese games. For more information times, check the Gouda cheese city website.

If you want to do some shopping during your visit to Gouda with children, I found Lange Groenendaal a charming street with unique shops.

Gouda cheese

Fun things to do in Gouda with kids

During my visit to the city in winter found Gouda quite charming. Because the city is so compact and there is a lot of atmospheric lighting, it’s a great destination even in the colder months. In the summer, you can also take a canal cruise through Gouda’s canals. You can explore the city by wandering around or, if you have kids aged 6 and up, try a treasure hunt or interactive city game (available at the tourist information office).

When we choose a city trip with kids, we look for things that make the city unique. But if you have extra time, Gouda’s petting zoo on the outskirts of the city is said to be very enjoyable for toddlers and preschoolers.

Museum Gouda with Children’s Museum and Torture Instruments Cellar

Museum Gouda offers some of the best children’s activities in Gouda: the children’s museum and the torture instruments cellar. The children’s museum is a separate space within the museum with a craft cellar where regular activities are organized. During your visit to Gouda with children, your kids can dress up in the children’s museum. They’ll learn what a still life is and can create their own still life with various fake fruits and cheese. They can touch everything, and there’s plenty to discover for different ages.

Museum Gouda

I didn’t find the museum itself very appealing for families. There are mostly landscape paintings on display. But fortunately, something has been devised for children in various rooms. You’ll have to search a bit, but there’s a vase you can decorate with chalk. Also fun is the dollhouse that you can furnish as a historical house complete with miniature paintings. These activities are also very suitable for preschoolers. If you visit Museum Gouda with older children aged 6 to 12, you can explore for free with the “red suitcase,” a suitcase full of interactive tasks and facts.

Museum Gouda

Special mention goes to the torture instruments cellar of the Gouda Museum. It’s easy to overlook as it’s behind a closed door in the chapel. Go down the stairs, and you’ll find special glasses and flashlights that emit UV light. With these, messages and signs on the floor become visible that you wouldn’t otherwise see. Quite exciting, of course. Maybe not for a preschooler, as how do you explain that someone is hanging from the gallows? You should definitely do this with slightly older children. The images are never bloody or gruesome.

The Goudse Waag with the Cheese Museum

The Waag (waying house) now houses the tourist information office and the Cheese Museum on the upper floors. It’s a very small museum, but I ended up spending 45 minutes there, partly because of the friendly guide and the pipe maker who took all the time to tell us everything. Fun fact for kids: take a close look at the original marblework on the outside of the building. What is that man doing with his foot? He’s gently putting it on the scale to get a little more money for his cheeses.

The Goudse Waag

In addition to cheese, Gouda was also known for other products in the past. One of these was the pipe. It was made from clay from England or Germany. If you’re lucky, there’s a demonstration by the pipe maker or candle maker in the cheese museum. On the top floors, the cheese-making process is explained in films, and there are some historical tools used for this.

The City Hall and Puppet Show

The historic City Hall of Gouda dates back to the 15th century and forms the atmospheric heart of the market square. When there are no weddings or other events taking place, the City Hall is open from 11 am to 3 pm The building has various wedding halls and rooms in their original state. It’s truly a beautiful old building.

On the outside of the City Hall is the carillon with a puppet show. Every two minutes past the half-hour, you can watch a show. The carillon is relatively new, dating back to the 1960s.

The Goudse Waag

Sint Jan’s Church

When you visit Gouda with children, you’ll come across several churches during a city walk. We always enjoy taking a look inside. The largest and most important church in Gouda is Sint Jan’s Church. It’s the longest church in the Netherlands, and the current building dates from before the city fire in 1552.

The stained glass windows, in particular, make this church very interesting. There’s a lot to see, and an audio guide tells you more about it. For children, there’s their own version, “The Golden Glasses of the Sint Janskerk,” which explains things at a child’s level. However, it’s not very convenient that the audio tours don’t sync up, so you’ll have to adjust to your child if they’re wandering through the church alone.

Sint Jan's Church

The Museum Harbour of Gouda

The Museum Harbour of Gouda is an initiative to preserve the historical appearance of Gouda. If you have a very old boat, you’re allowed to dock here. The boats themselves cannot be visited. I found the whole atmosphere of the harbor area with industry in the background to detract from the feeling of the past.

The Museum Harbour of Gouda

Childfriendly accommodation in Gouda

Best Western Plus – Looking for a family-friendly hotel in Gouda? The Best Western Plus City Hotel is centrally located. They have beautiful, fresh rooms and an excellent price-quality ratio. This hotel offers both triple rooms and family rooms for four people.

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