Winter Splendor in Gouda: City of Light and Captivating Exhibitions

14 November 2023

Experience the enchantment of the oldest light festival in the Netherlands, Gouda bij Kaarslicht. Admire the highlighted world-famous stained glass windows of the Sint-Janskerk and the exhibition Verlicht! showcasing contemporary light art, casting a wintry spell over the picturesque medieval city. This magic gains an extra dimension with the impressive World Press Photo Exhibition 2023 and the acclaimed Royal Art Exhibition at Museum Gouda. Explore the highlights of the winter agenda:

Enchanting Gouda bij Kaarslicht
Immerse yourself in the magic of Gouda bij Kaarslicht, the oldest light festival in the Netherlands, on Friday, December 15 of this year. The 68th edition promises a fairytale evening with thousands of candles illuminating the monumental City Hall from within, accompanied by a beautiful Christmas tree gifted annually by the Norwegian sister city, Kongsberg. The historic city center exudes Christmas atmosphere from 2:00 PM, with medieval streets serving as the stage for tableaus vivants and musical performances. The grand finale includes collective singing at the Markt and the lighting of the Christmas tree.

LichtKunstGouda with the theme: Enlightened!
Experience the present light through LichtKunstGouda 2023, featuring nine surprising light art installations at nine locations, including four churches. Marvel at sparking filaments, a halo, rainbow colors, a fairytale-lit garden, optical light circles, and dancing rays illuminating and exploring space like an echo. Discover the ‘enlightened’ thoughts as you walk among the works of light artists such as Jaap van den Elzen and Tamar Frank. From December 14 to December 24, 2023.

Goudse Glazen Uitgelicht and Ice Skating around City Hall
The winter events are in good company with the Goudse IJsbaan, where you can skate around the monumental City Hall of Gouda. The 200-meter ice rink opens its doors from December 20, 2023, to January 14, 2024. Enjoy winter drinks at the Koek & Zopie! Combine skating with a charming winter walk through the medieval streets around the Sint-Janskerk, with or without the Goudse Gidsen Gilde. Admire the famous stained glass windows of the church, beautifully illuminated from the inside during Goudse Glazen Uitgelicht, from December 15 to January 7, 2024.

Sparkling Gouda Winter Markets
December calls for cozy Christmas and winter markets. Creative hub GOUDasfalt kicks off on Saturday, December 10, with the Warme Wintermarkt. It’s the place to find handmade gifts and savor winter treats and local beer. The Winterfair in the Sint-Janskerk on December 15 and 16 starts tradition with Gouda bij Kaarslicht. This is the moment to buy Christmas gifts and support charities. The Goudse Wintermarckt on December 17 transforms the city center into a Winter Wonderland, featuring Gouda entrepreneurs, local products, a Christmas terrace with food trucks, and an X-Mas Selfie Spot.

World Press Photo 2023 and In Two Worlds Exhibition Move from outside to inside for thought-provoking photo exhibitions.
Starting with the World Press Photo Exhibition 2023, on display from November 25 to December 17, 2023, at the Chocoladefabriek. Featuring impactful visual stories, a mix of significant news events, and moments overlooked by mainstream media in 2022. Free to visit, seven days a week, from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM.
Simultaneously, on the ‘GOUDasfalt-terrain,’ ‘In Twee Werelden’ is an exhibition showing how people from the Moluccas had to adapt to life in the Netherlands. It raises questions like ‘Where do your roots lie?’ and ‘Who do you recognize as role models?’ Created by Nathalie Toisuta and photographer Ed Leatemia, the exhibition focuses on diversity, fusion, and the future. From November 22, 2023, to January 7, 2024.

Royal Art in Museum Gouda
Even more art! For once, the king has lent his art collection to Museum Gouda. Like the city museum, the Royal House possesses a magnificent Haagse School collection. Normally behind closed palace doors, these artworks come to the museum for a limited time. The highlight is the cabinet that the Haagse kunstenaarsvereniging Pulchri Studio gifted to Queen Wilhelmina and Prince Hendrik when they married in 1901. The object contains 116 small artworks. On display until Sunday, May 5, 2024.