The Netherlands is famous for its tasty cheese and charming cheese markets. If you want to escape the beaten path of Amsterdam, just take the train and head on a day trip to Alkmaar, half an hour by train from Amsterdam Central Station.
Alkmaar is well-known for its numerous well-preserved medieval buildings, most notably Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk tower. The other main attraction, especially in the summer, is Alkmaar’s cheese market at the Waagplein.
The cheese market
After the old-fashioned tradition of the hand clap, traders and carriers start weighing the cheese. The demonstration takes place in front of the medieval weighing house, which is surrounded by stands where you can buy local cheese. Pay special attention to the ceremony; you probably won’t see it elsewhere, as Alkmaar is one of only five remaining traditional cheese markets in the Netherlands.
It is quite a challenge to take nice pictures here, as the cheese market is packed with tourists and shoppers. You don’t need more than an hour here, and if you need a break, simply embark on a city boat trip – it’s a whole lot of fun and it’s the best way to take kick-ass photos of the city.
If you are passionate about museums and culture, you can also visit the Beatles Museum (dedicated of course to the legendary band), the Dutch Cheese Museum and the National Beer Museum “De Boom”.
The cheese market takes place every Friday morning between 10:00 am and 12:30 pm from April to September. For more information about when, where and how the Alkmaar cheese market is held, visit its official website.
To check times for the train from Amsterdam to Alkmaar, visit this website.
If you are curious to know more about the other typical cheese markets in the Netherlands, check this website.
This is a guest post submitted by Julia Dimova, a 30-something Bulgarian currently living in the Netherlands after having sampled several other countries and beautiful cities. French language and culture are her passion and her love, as well as books, cooking, eating, drinking wine with friends, visiting museums and of course travelling. In her free time she writes in her blog about everything that crosses her mind. For more info, please check it out at OrpheeWay and have fun!