The first mention of Gouda cheese dates from 1184, making it one of the oldest recorded cheeses in the world still made today. The cheese is named after the Dutch city of Gouda, not because it is produced in or near the city, but because it has historically been traded there. In the middle Ages, Dutch cities could obtain certain feudal rights which gave them primacy or a total monopoly on certain goods. Within the County of Holland, Gouda acquired market rights on cheese, the sole right to have a market in which the county's farmers could sell their cheese. All the cheeses would be taken to the market square in Gouda to be sold.
The Gouda cheese is typically used on sandwiches, either cold or melted. In the Netherlands, cubes of Gouda are often eaten as a snack served with Dutch mustard.