Cheese Market Alkmaar
Cheese Market Alkmaar
When you think about Dutch food, cheese is likely one of the first things to come to mind. One of the most famous spots in the Netherlands for buying cheese, the traditional Dutch cheese market in Alkmaar, is open for business from March to September. You can catch a glimpse of it every Friday morning and some Tuesday evenings in the summer!
World-famous Cheese Market
The Alkmaar Cheese Market is a world-famous tourist attraction that has been around since at least 1593. This market, filled with neatly stacked wheels of cheese, cheese-hauling carriers, scales and traditional work clothes is a rare sight to behold.
The Dutch Cheese Museum
Inside the monumental Weighing House (Waaghuis), 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. Amongst the things on display, you can find historical artefacts, utensils and paintings from as early as the 16th century.
A day at the Alkmaar Cheese Market
Are you curious about what a day at the Alkmaar Cheese Market might look like? Here’s a short summary:
Setting up the cheeses
At 7am, the kaaszetters 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 kilo is bargained for by symbolically clapping hands and shouting prices.
Weighing the cheese
Once a deal is made, the cheese carriers take the sold cheese to the Waag where it is weighed by the tasman (bag man) and the waagmeester (weighing master). After the weighing, the cheese carriers bring the cheese to the buyers’ lorries on wooden barrows.
At 10.50am and 12.15pm, there's a special performance using the carillon bells in the main square.
At 10.05am and 11.20am, there's 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.
Visit Alkmaar Cheese Market
The cheese market operates from 10am until 1pm every Friday from March until September. Visit Alkmaar Cheese Market and witness a 500-year-old tradition rolling out before your very eyes! Check the website for the Evening Cheese Market that takes place in July and August.