Gouda bij Kaarslicht
A Christmas tree from Norway

For the 65th time the municipality of Gouda receives a big Christmas tree from twin town Kongsberg in Norway. Gouda and Kongsberg have been twin towns ever since 1956.

From Kongsberg to Gouda

Cutting the tree

Het zagen van de boom van Gouda bij KaarslichtDuring Autumn Kongsberg's Forest Guard dept. selects  a suitable tree, between 59 and 78 feet tall (17-24 mtrs). Mid-November the tree will be cut, placed on a truck and signed with the mark : 'tree destination, the Mayor of Gouda'. The tree is transported to the port of Brevik (in the south of Norway), due to the size preferably before rush hours. In the port the tree gets transferred to a ship with destination Immingjam in the UK.

Rotterdam Harbour > Gouda

Early December the tree arrives in the port of Rotterdam. Again the tree is moved onto a truck which brings it to Gouda's Market square. Only after the ending of the Saint Nicholas festivities, after December the 5th the tree is brought to the Market and turned into a real Christmas tree by decorating it. Local crane company Nederhoff puts the tree in the right spot. Cyclus, the company responsible for maintenance of the public area, decorates the tree with a lifting platform.

Placement of the tree

When Cyclus decorates the tree, just like at home, the star or Angel on top should go in first. Decorating such a huge tree is not an easy job. Sometimes the tree is not as perfect as the year before, as it might miss branches or shows empty spots for example. Then Cyclus fills up the gaps so nobody will notice.

We always hope for nice bright weather, but of course Gouda by Candlelight is celebrated in Mid-December. We have had all kinds of weather, from rain to snow, sleet, stormy weather, circumstances that create some extra tension for all people involved in organizing this festival.


For years the ornaments were big white Christmas ornaments, made of foam. Later they were replaced by gold coloured little cheeses (picture), but these ornaments became a well desired collector's item. So now the tree is decorated with about 1000 red and gold Christmas baubles. In 2016 the people of Gouda decorated the tree with their own home Christmas decorations. Bells, painted stars and also knitted ornaments found a place in the tree, during a special celebration where pea soup and hot chocolate were provided and people could place their decorations in the tree, under the safe guidance of Cyclus and foundation members.

The Christmas lights

15.000 led lights are enlightened in three fases during the official ceremony between 7 and 8pm. The mayor of Kongsberg does the count down, assisted by the thousands of visitors on the Market square.

Jan Mostert aan het werk

Recycling the tree

On January the 6th, the tree is taken down. But it is not just cut and thrown away, the tree gets a second life, very sustainable! Some years ago, inhabitants of Gouda could buy a slice for charity. Another year the tree was cut into pieces and all pieces were reprocessed to become candle holders. In 2013 the tree was given to scouting group 'Cornelis de Houtman', where it still shines as the mast with the flag in their court yard. Several times the tree was turned into a work of art by local artist Jan Mostert (picture).


Twin city Kongsberg puts a lot of effort in providing this beautiful gift to their twin town of Gouda. Cutting the tree and all transports, both by truck as by ship, is covered by them.

A Christmas tree made of glass

During the 50th anniversary of Gouda by Candlelight (also the 50th anniversary of the twin township of Gouda and Kongsberg, Gouda returned the favour and send a tree to Kongsberg, a tree made of glass. The tree was a work of art, made by 'Boven de 7e Verdieping', a group of enthusiastic inhabitants of Gouda, organising many cultural events in Gouda. The tree found a beautiful spot at the river bank in the centre of Kongsberg. At the start of the advent period, 4 weeks before Christmas, the glass Tree gets lightened up in changing colours, providing Kongsberg with their own sort of Candlelight evening.

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