Gouda, city (1994 pop. 69,917), South Holland prov., W Netherlands, at the confluence of the Gouwe and Hollandsche IJssel rivers. Gouda is famous for its cheese. Other products include smoking pipes, textiles, candles, pottery, flax, and hemp. Chartered in 1272, Gouda was a center of the medieval cloth trade. Erasmus studied there prior to 1475, and in 1486 he entered a nearby Augustinian monastery. The city's notable buildings include the Gothic town hall (15th cent.) and the Sint Janskerk or Groote Kerk (16th cent.), one of the largest churches in the Netherlands.