Gouda - Information & History

Gouda Pottery and the (once) numerous other associated potteries, comes from the country of Holland or the Netherlands. The Netherlands is comprised of some 11 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.

The flag of Zuid-Holland (South-Holland)

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!

Gouda lies midway between Utrecht and Rotterdam

A Brief History of the Pottery

This is a very brief outline. More information and pictures can be found throughout the website.

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 Dirk 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 . You can see one of them on Collectors Gallery 3. 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 eventually closed in 1964.

Some factories still make pottery 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 Conservator, Friggo Visser is very highly respected. In 1989 Plateelfabriek 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.

Here are just two examples of superb classic designs from our large and diverse collection. The collection is currently approaching some 500 pieces.

To see more from our collection go Gouda Gallery and Regina Gallery.

PZH Regina

The two handled vase on the left is from the most prolific and well known of all Gouda factories, Plateelbakkerij Zuid Holland, which was thought to have been possibly founded around November 1897 but did not commence manufacturing until possibly March of 1898. So we say founded 1898. The factory had a worldwide reputation for excellence and quality. This was probably entirely due to one man - Egbert Estié. In 1903, the factory was taken over by a the Hoyng family.

In 1928 the name Plazuid appeared, a derivation of "Plateelbakkerij Zuid-Holland" and pottery from this date is nearly (always some exceptions!) all marked as Plazuid Gouda Holland or PZH. The company managed to overcome the Depression and by the 1930's production was almost in full swing. WW2 produced a hiccup (big hiccup!) and only functional ware could be produced. As often happens, a thriving company began to slip, standards declined and by the 1950's the turn down really began. The final curtain call came in 1964. The vase shown was made in 1928 and has the pattern name of 'Rhodian' which was one of the original decors. It stands around 18.0cm high by 15.0cm diameter and is unblemished. Rhodian was also the name of a PZH ceramic process from around 1910.

The pitcher on the right was produced by Kunstaardewerkfabriek Regina. This particular example from our collection is in the 'Impero' decor and is in mint condition. See here for links to Regina factory information pictures and more from our Regina collection. We ask you to look in particular at an article by our dear friend Joop Nobel a leading expert on Regina and Dutch pottery. Please note that since Joop's article was written much more information on Regina has come to light and thus it should be used as a general guide only. For the most up to date information and much more, one should purchase Joop's excellent book. Details of which can be found elsewhere on this site.