Cheese Valley is a small, charming region of four municipalities. Each with its own cheese history and traditions and all equally hospitable.
Cheese Valley is the Netherlands at its best. A watery area that you can explore by cycling, walking and sailing — from town to village, from cheese farm to cheese market. It’s a landscape of rivers and lakes, of vast peatland on which the most succulent grass grows and cows greedily graze. It has the best soil for cheese, dairy and the purest flavors. Discover, experience and taste the yellow gold of Holland.
The semi-hard cheeses from Bodegraven-Reeuwijk win awards almost every year, and a farm from this area regularly wins the Boerenkaas (farmhouse cheese) Cum Laude trophy. The honor of being crowned Cheese Queen is another special tradition that has been taking place for decades. It’s a fantastic highlight of the Autumn Market! The Kaasmuseum (Cheese Museum) has the portraits of all the Cheese Queens and you can learn about the rich cheese history of Bodegraven-Reeuwijk.
Obviously, Gouda is a city that lives and breathes cheese. Surprisingly enough, the cheese is not actually made in Gouda itself. What is the secret of the city that is world famous for its cheeses? The key word is trade: farmers from the region brought their creamy, round cheeses to the weekly market in Gouda, where they were traded as ‘Gouda cheese’. You can spend a day with cheese in Gouda. You can also buy some to enjoy at home by stopping at one of the original cheese shops in the historic city centre or the famous Gouda Cheese Market.
Between Rotterdam and Gouda lies perhaps the best kept secret of the Netherlands: the Krimpenerwaard. It is an area of unprecedented charm and individuality. Every spring, the dairy cows literally dance and leap back into the pastures. It’s a fantastic sight to see! For centuries, farmers have kept the grass as protein-rich and tender as possible. And you can taste it: all the milk’s flavor is in the cheese. If you think that all cheese nowadays is factory-made, you would be wrong (thankfully). In the Krimpenerwaard there are still plenty of small, independent cheese farmers!
In the old days, traders brought products from farms to the city, which was smart because that’s how they got good prices! But the farmers quickly realized that Woerden was an important place for selling their merchandise and that it was worthwhile to make the journey themselves! So off they went, heading to the city on horseback and wagons and without the traders. There were plenty of them with the same idea and the first farmer’s market was born in 1410. It was the early beginning of the Farmer’s Market city of Woerden! This close connection with the countryside and sober entrepreneurial spirit never disappeared from the city. Every Saturday, the Kerkplein in Woerden is the place to be for trading the tastiest farm products.