Gouda Pottery and the (once) numerous other associated potteries, comes from the country of Holland or the Netherlands. The Netherlands is comprised of some 12 provinces. The picturesque town of Gouda is in the Southern province at the confluence of the Gouwe and Hollandsche Ijssel rivers. Geographically it lies midway between Utrecht and Rotterdam.
Ask most people about Gouda and they will probably say "cheese". It makes us smile too. Other products include candles, flax, hemp, smoking (clay) pipes (where most potteries began) and textiles.
Pronouncing Gouda? - the correct way is a very guttural, akin to a clearing of the throat, -"How-da".
Say it as you like - but don't say cheese!
A Brief History of the Pottery
This is a very brief outline.
There were many factories spread over the Netherlands producing the "Gouda style" of pottery. Most originally started out making clay pipes. The geographical position of the Netherlands gave the clay pipe/pottery factories an advantage when trading. The great North Sea ports on its coast, the River Rhine for the rest of Europe and being across the water from the Thames estuary, easy access to London. Eventually from there across the UK to Liverpool and other UK ports sending goods to the USA and beyond.
Factories such as PZH (Plateelbakkerij Zuid-Holland, 1898 - 1964), Regina (1898 - 1979), Schoonhoven (1920 - present day), Ivora (origins back to 1630 - 1965), Goedewaagen (first factory 1610 then in 1779 Dirck Goedewaagen - 1982, 1983 - present Royal Goedewaagen) and Zenith (1749 - 1984), were well known. They all had their own styles, patterns, decorators and designers. One of the greatest PZH designers was Henri Breetvelt . The best designs (and without doubt quality) were produced in what we know as the Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. After WW2 things were not so good, sadly quality and designs began to suffer. The PZH factory closed in 1964.
Some factories still make pots to this day. Reproductions being produced include a few early patterns of the Regina factory and beautiful ones by Royal Goedewaagen based on the designs of Klaas Vet. Royal Goedewaagen is now expanding into large export markets, notably the USA, which has become an important market for museum-reproduction types of Delft ceramics. The present Curator, Friggo Visser is very highly respected. In 1989 the former Gouda-based factory 'Flora' was acquired.
Despite the numerous factories, names, designs, styles, quality and prolific output of pottery produced, when we say "Gouda", we encompass all that prodigious variety of pottery and ceramics.
As collectors we acknowledge the extraordinary devotion of everyone associated with producing Gouda pottery from all of the past and present factories.