There are many different kinds of cheese in Holland. Alkmaar – 40 km north of Amsterdam – is known for Beemster Cheese and Edam Cheese. Since the year 1365, there is a Cheese Market in Alkmaar. Since these days the town disposes of officially approved scales. The present market celebrates its history with traditional costumes shown around an impressive pile of cheese. It is great fun. You can taste cheese and enjoy traditional Dutch food like “poffertjes” and “pannenkoeken”. The market is each Friday morning from April till September starting at 10 o’clock at Waagplein in Alkmaar.
Take a selfie as you say “Cheese” at the market
In the 17th century, the cheese market was held all summer. In 1916, an average of three hundred tons of cheese was converted. The market lasted till after midnight these days. At the market, farmers offer their cheese to traders and make deals with traders by clapping hands. Now the market ends at noon. The market attracts many people from all over the world. Cheese markets are a typical Dutch thing. In Holland, we keep 1.5 million cows. That means a lot of milk.
The cheese carriers’ guilds transport and weigh the cheese in Alkmaar. Before the guild goes into action, the square is made ready for the trade. Cheese stackers put the cheese in long rows on the square. One cheese weighs about 15 kilos. The stackers load the cheese on berries. These are carried by cheese carriers to the scales, where the cheese is weighted. Sworn venture masters oversee the process and make sure the weighing slips are complete. In the meantime, merchants and judges, involved in qualifying the supplied cheese, negotiate the price. The haggling between seller and buyer is accompanied by clapping hands while the supplier and trader reach an agreement.
Cheese Carrier Guild
A cheese carrier is a member of the cheese carrier guild. The cheese carrier guild is part of the Dutch intangible cultural heritage. A cheese carrier group, of 6 men, wears a traditional suit and a yellow, green, red, or blue straw hat. It’s quite a spectacle in these cheese markets. The cheese girls are really cute and adorable with their traditional dress and hat.
Address: Waagplein, in the Historical Center of Alkmaar.
Visit the cheesmarket in Alkmaar. Book you’re trip to Alkmaar with a tour operator and discover the city of Alkmaar by a guide or walk through the beautiful city of Alkmaar yourself.
The Alkmaar cheese market takes place from April till the beginning of September, every Friday from 10 to 12:30 o’clock.