My dear Lola,
From middle April to early September, Alkmaar Waagplein square is filled, every Friday, by buyers, sellers and especially tourists, looking forward to enjoy its traditional cheese market.
Once a week the main square is filled with more than 30,000 kilos of Gouda and Edam cheese placed in long lines to let wholesale buyers try and buy in large quantities.
Who is who in the market?
At 10am the market begins with the bells’ joyfully peal. By then, the “ingooiers” have already unloaded the cheeses from each truck and the “kaaszetters” have been placed them along the square so that buyers can taste and buy the best variety.
These ones are organized in four groups of seven people using different color belts around their hat in order to be able to differentiate themselves between groups.
Once they have already reached an agreement, they collide the palm of their hand as a sign of the cheese sale contract deal, also known as the “handjeklap”, and immediately the “kaasdragers” carries the cheese to the balance at the “waggebouw” where the “waagmeesters” measures its weigh.
Doesn’t it look easy? There is almost a centenary tradition behind this union and weekly market, and sometimes they come to load up to 130kg weight to the waggebouw.
Certainly, Alkmaar is a must daytrips when staying in Amsterdam. A small town of just over 90,000 inhabitants that matches with the Dutch archetype; long cheese culinary tradition, organized around channels that roam its streets, and surrounded by windmills, the oldest; Piet Von Molen from 1769.
Find our more on: Amsterdam in 48h with the “I Amsterdam City Card”
How to get to Alkmaar?
There are trains departing from Amsterdam and stopping in Alkmaar every 15 minutes. It takes about 35 minutes to reach the city and the fare does not exceed 15 € return ticket.
Once in the city, you just need to follow all the tourists heading to the city main square to enjoy the market and its main attractions.