Saturday, November 14, 2009

Netherlands - Cheese market in Alkmaar

Windmills, tulips, porcelain, cheeses, clogs, bicycles as well as coffee shops are symbols of Netherlands. This is impossible to describe all mentioned symbols in one article that is why for each of them I will dedicate separate post.
First of all, I would like start write this story about holland's symbols from major agricultural product - cheese and unique in the world cheese markets.

 Do you know that about three kilos of cheese were produced worldwide for each person on Earth?! The largest producer of cheese is the United States, accounting for 30% of world production, followed by Germany and France, Italy, Holland and my country Poland.

The most famous holland's cheese is gouda which is made from cow's milk in city Gouda and Gouda-cheese has nut taste and is sold in huge blocks about weight to 12 kg.
Very popular is also cheese Edam. It is easy to recognize it because is covered red wax.


Several cities in Holland still have Cheese Weighhouses, . Woerden is a fully functional modern commercial cheese market. Four, Alkmaar, Gouda, Edam, Hoorn, are reproductions of traditional merchant cheese markets as operated in the Middle Ages. There are five cheese markets operating in the Netherlands. Woerden is a fully functional modern commercial cheese market. Four, Alkmaar, Gouda, Edam, Hoorn, are reproductions of traditional merchant cheese markets as operated in the Middle Ages. Alkmaar's cheese market at the Waagplein, is one of the country's most popular tourist attractions.


The cheese market traditionally takes place on the first Friday in April and the last market of the season is the first Friday in September. Every Friday morning (10.00-12.30 a.m.) the Waagplein is the backdrop for this traditional cheesemarket. Market activities are explained in Dutch, German, English and sometimes Japanese. There are four teams (vemen) of cheese-porters (kaasdragers), who can be recognised by their differently coloured straw hats: red, blue, green and yellow. Two porters bring cheese on stretchers to the weighing house (Waag) - a typical stretcher "weighs in" at about 160 kilograms. Merchants sample the cheeses and decide on a price using a barter system called handjeklap, literally clapping hands.


It is not actually possible to buy cheese at the market itself, which is really only a demonstration of how this merchants' market operated in times gone by. However, the demonstration, which takes place in front of the medieval weighing house, is surrounded by many specialized stalls where it is possible to buy all kinds of cheese and related natural products I recommend to do purchase there because tradesman offer products in prices lower than in shops in Amsterdam or Haag.


If you will be in Alkmar you have to visit Hollands Kaasmuseum - The Dutch Cheese Museum Hollands Kaasmuseum - The Dutch Cheese Museum with collection witch includes historical utensils in the preparation of dairy products, film- and photographic images and paintings it is something jet – from museum’s windows you can see excellent view on old Waagplain.

If you see more photos klick on MY GALLERY - Holland Alkmaar cheese market


  1. Gostei do seu blog é bem variado, principalmente do artigo sobre queijos. Mas tem muito é muito rico. Saudações do Brasil, por sinal tb gosto muito da Holanda, eu não sabia que la produzia muito queijo. Onde vc mora?

  2. Hi..nice posting.. oh ya.. follow me back ya..thanx

  3. Passaaro, Rossy, S.Raz, lifesimpressions thank you very much for good comments :) Come back any time you are welcome :)

  4. I love blogs with pictures and provide useful information and knowledge (like yours). I've always wanted to be in Netherland and snap photos of cheese and tulips..but it is so far away..I enjoyed looking at your photos. It would be better if you could enlarge it..

  5. Yummy cheese! The cheese on the market are one of the tourist spot in Amsterdam.

  6. i really love cheese u know...
    and now u make me starving :)

  7. I see you have been in Holland -do you know I never visited the cheese market in Amsterdam?
    I am Dutch, but have lived for the last 20 years in Los Angeles.

  8. You made me hungry too... i love cheese