Living in or visiting Alkmaar? Information and useful links for students, locals and tourists.
Information about Alkmaar
Alkmaar is a large city in the province of North Holland. The earliest mention of the name Alkmaar is in the 10th century, but it wasn’t granted city rights until 1254. The site was most likely chosen as it lay on a sand bank that offered some protection from the sea and sits a couple of metres above the surrounding region, which consists of some of the Netherlands (and the world’s) oldest polders.
One very famous event was the siege by Spanish forces in the Eighty Years’ War, which proved a turning point in the war and gave rise to the expression "Bij Alkmaar begint de victorie" (Victory beings at Alkmaar).
Sites & Activities in Alkmaar
Alkmaar is rightly famous for its cheese market, one of the country's most popular tourist attractions. It traditionally begins on the first Friday in April and the last market of the season is held on the first Friday in September.
The town itself has an ancient historical centre with great walks and beautiful buildings, including the tall tower of the Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk, where many people from Alkmaar choose to get married.
Other interesting attractions are museums such as the Holland Cheese Museum, the National Beer Museum De Boom (for when the cheese makes you thirsty) and the Beatles Museum. This last might seem strange, but John Lennon’s first guitar was made in Alkmaar.