Cheese Market Alkmaar 2017Fairs / Other
31 March - 29 September, 10 am - 1 pm
The traditional Dutch Cheese Market in Alkmaar is opening for business!
About the Alkmaar Cheese Market
The Alkmaar Cheese Market is a world famous tourist attraction that has been around since at least 1593. This market, filled with cheese, cheese-hauling carriers, scales and traditional dress, is a rare sight to behold.
The Dutch Cheese Museum
Inside the monumental Waaghuis (Weigh house) in the centre of Alkmaar you’ll find the Dutch Cheese Museum. The history of Dutch cheese making, trading and farming culture can be explored in this special location.
Among the things on display you can find historical artefacts, utensils, film and paintings from as early as the 16th century.
YouTube video by FanTravel
A day at the Alkmaar Cheese Market
Are you curious about what a day at the Alkmaar Cheese Market would look like? Here’s a short summary:
› Setting up the cheeses
At 7am, the cheese setters unload, inspect and set up the cheeses. They are tested for taste, fat, moisture and number of holes. They then report to the weighing house, where the cheese father (the head of the forwarding companies) inspects them.
› Opening the market
At 10am a bell is rung by an important guest and the market opens. Samplers and cheese traders get to work examining the wares. The price per kilogramme is bargained for by clapping hands and shouting prices.
› Weighing the cheese
Once the deal is closed, the cheese carriers take the sold cheese to the Waag where it is weighed by the tasman (purse man) and the waagmeester (weighing master).
After the weighing, the cheese carriers bring the cheese to the buyers’ lorries on wooden barrows.
› Carillon performance
At 10.50am and 12.15pm, there will be a special performance by the carillon bells in the main square.
› Verbal presentation
At 10.05am and 11.20am, there will be a spoken presentation for the visitors, given in Dutch, English, German, French and Spanish.
› Emptying the square
Unsold cheeses are loaded into carts to be returned to the haulier. The entire square is emptied by 1pm.