Holland makes some fantastic cheese. It’s a huge source of income for some of the smaller villages in the Netherlands. Alkmaar for example is a train ride away from Amsterdam. One can fetch a free map of the city outside the railway station at Alkmaar. It’ll have the route to the weekly cheese market chalked out. It’s a good twenty-minute trek from the railway station.
I came upon several brochures at tourist information offices that had photos like the one above. I was curious. The weekly cheese markets enact the cheese trade of bygone eras. Actors enact the bargaining that used to happen between the wholesalers and their customers. Throw in a horse-carriage, chief-guests, a live band, boat ride and cafes serving you local beer.
I’m sure that it’s hard work running around like that for a couple of hours. It must take a lot out of these gentlemen every Friday morning between April and early September.
Alkmaar is a beautiful city. Don’t resist the cruise around town.
Edam, on the other hand is a short bus ride away from Amsterdam. A bus leaves every few minutes from the back end of Amsterdam Central Station. It’s a small, beautiful village and one that I highly recommend.
Edam host their Cheese Market on Wednesday mornings in the summer. The drill is much the same as Alkmaar but it’s a smaller and thus a more intimate showing.
In the old days, the price was negotiated between the seller and his customer by slapping each others hand.
A lot of the cheese manufactured in Edam and Alkmaar is exported especially to the United States.
I enjoyed my time at Alkmaar and Edam and I recommend that you stop over both these fantastic cheese destinations on your next visit to the Netherlands.