Alkmaar Cheese Market – Say Cheese!
Cheesy title, right?
Yet somehow appropriate, given that today’s post comes to you from the town of Alkmaar and its tourist cheese market! Though similar to many small towns in Holland, Alkmaar is interesting in its own whey.
On the Waag square in the center of Alkmaar’s old town, what was once a functioning cheese market where cheese-traders would come to buy up products from the surrounding polders is now a tourist spectacle with white-suited and fancy-hatted carrying around sleds of the stuff while young ladies with Beeming smiles hand out samples and try to coax purchases.
It is, without doubt, a bit of touristy spectacle. The thing is, its also kind of fun! Old clothes and historic city center, plus, did I mention FREE CHEESE?! I tried quite a bit, and it was all pretty gouda.
For a laugh, you can also pose in the market house with the old scales where blocks of cheese were once whey-ed.
Though this is no longer used as a commercial market there are of course plenty of vendors ready to pass over big blocks of the good stuff for fairly reasonable prices. Make sure to haggle, though, as some of these folks look like they’ve been selling so long that their first clients were Edam and Eve!
Even outside of Cheese Season, Alkmaar would be a pretty little place to visit. With all the usual Dutch canals and historic buildings and even a beer museum, Alkmaar seemed worth a quick trip. Watch your wallet when the market is in town, though, otherwise you may be tempted to go on a shopping brie.
I visited Alkmaar (and the Beemster polder) while working as a photographer with GetYourGuide. To visit on your own, though, catch a train from Amsterdam’s Sloterdijk station for the 30-40 min ride. In spring and summer seasons, try to visit on a friday morning (10:00 – 13:00) to catch the recreated cheese market in the old town square.