While searching for things to do in Gouda and around I came to know of Oudewater, the little town located at 15 km away. So, early in the morning, in order to use the best connection, we took the train to Woerden and from there a bus to the city with narrow streets. I say narrow because all of the streets had only one lane and each car had to wait one another to pass – which gave the feeling of a crowded city.
The small town it is well-known for 2 main chapters: rope industry and witches. If regarding rope we haven’t learned much during our visit (as the rope museum is closed during winter period), I can not say the same about witches. During the crazy period of hunting innocent people and burning them because of witch blame, in Oudewater people used to receive a certificate stating that they have the normal weight – so they were not witches. There were many ways they used to believe a witch can be identified: tying people by hands and legs and throwing them into the water (if they managed to survive or stay above they were for sure witches), manipulating a key in a bible or a ball inside a room. Many of these things and some other stories are told at “De Heksenwaag” museum, the old scaling building: in each of the cities in The Netherlands you will come to see the “waag”, the place where the merchandise used to be weighted. But in Oudewater the scale was used also for people and the original scale still stands in the museum and you can measure yourself on it. At the end you will receive also the certificate, which is kind of a fun memory to have.
Walking around the city different signs of witches will come across your eyes:
Outside witches, beautiful old houses, well maintained gardens and cats at the windows, religious pictures are there on almost each building. I haven’t managed to find the reason of it, but it gave me the impression of a large religious community, especially catholic one – there are 2 catholic churches into the small city, which is a little bit unusual for the position of the city on the map. The most religious cities are in the South, under the river they say, and this is also demonstrated by the carnivals taking place there. Don’t forget that on Sunday the carnival starts in Maastricht and it shouldn’t be missed – pictures from last year here.
If you would like to get to know some extra information about the city you can check this website. Personally I’ve found the city beautiful, full with friendly people and a place I would like to go back in the summer, especially for the rope museum and some tours around the area. Would you like to visit it too?