Gouda’s main claim to fame is its cheese market, held on the Markt every Thursday morning (10am–12.30pm) from the middle of June to late August. Traditionally, a thousand or so local farmers brought their home-produced cheeses here to be weighed, tested and graded for moisture, smell and taste. These details were marked on the cheeses and formed the basis for negotiation between buyer and seller, the exact price confirmed by an elaborate code of handclaps. Today, however, the cheese market is a shadow of its former self, comprising a few locals in traditional dress standing outside the Waag with their cheeses, all surrounded by modern, open-air stands.

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