Local Heart, Global Soul

August 10, 2017

Gouda Stadhuis: Disastrous Beginnings Lead To A Gem…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

‘In the Middle Ages the Van der Goude family built a settlement and fortified castle alongside the banks of the Gouwe River, and it is from this that the city of Gouda took its name.

Located on the Market Square Gouda’s fifteenth century “Stadhuis” (town hall) is one of the oldest Gothic town halls in the Netherlands. 

In the summer of 1438, a devastating fire reduced Gouda almost to ashes.

The wooden town hall was very badly damaged.

The town council decided that the new town hall should be a freestanding stone building, well away from other buildings in order to protect it from the danger of future fires.

A market field, little more than a peat bog was bought and in 1448 construction began, having been postponed many times due to the  poor financial situation of Gouda city.

One of the stonemasons was Jan III Keldermans, a member of a Brabant family of architects Keldermans from Mechelen. The building was built from Belgian limestone.

The foundation did not use piles as was common in many places, but rather frames of heavy oak beams.

Construction was officially completed with the completion of the turret in 1459 but the building was already in use after 1450. 

According to the historian Walvis, the town hall was surrounded by water by 1603 and could be reached by means of a bridge. In that year (1603), the current renaissance style borders were made by the city sculptor Gregorius Cool.

During 1692-1697 a major refurbishment took place again and the present stone scaffold built at the back of the town hall. Before that time there had already been a scaffold made of wood for public executions at the town hall as evidenced in texts as far back as 1525.

Until 1897 access to the scaffold was made by means of a wooden staircase on the outside of the town hall. It was not permitted to walk prisoners inside the Stadhuis.‘  The information was not available in English so I translated it from the Dutch wiki page. This is a beautiful building with a long history… the events that have happened during it’s time here, if only the walls could speak. Even better this is just the back side of the building. As you can see, the Dutch weather varied considerably between visits, in the last photograph I like to think that the clouds were tying to emulate the “stepped” roof of the building!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Wikipedia:  Gouda Stadhuis  (City Hall) / (Dutch language)

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