SAY CHEESE. Alkmaar is the capital city of cheese in Holland. The city has made a name for itself globally for its weekly cheese market. Cheese connoisseurs get excited, I’m about to tell you about the world’s largest cheese market.
Let’s just start with these guys – The Cheese Carriers Guild.
I have never seen anything more adorable than these men trotting with these boats of cheese. Aptly named the cheese carriers, these men are only 30 and form part of the Cheese Carriers Guild established in 1593.
Cheese trading started in 1365 in the city of Alkmaar when the city only had one pair of scales.
Today the weekly cheese market it still going strong – held every Friday during the spring to summer months, rain or shine! For updated information visit the official website.
The cheese market opening times:
The market opens officially to the public at 10am when the church bells ring.
However, everything will already be on display by 9:30 so definitely make it an early morning thing. Grab your coffee from one of Alkmaar’s great cafés and go get a great spot to watch the cheese carriers.
The market wraps up at 13:00 when the outdoor seating for the restaurants is brought back out onto the street.
Let the judging begin:
Cheese on cheese on cheese from all over the Netherlands is brought to Alkmaar. The cheese is carefully inspected, rated and weighed by the cheese samplers. Everything from how the cheese crumbles in between the fingers to the holes in the cheese is taken into consideration.
Like any great city in the Netherlands, Alkmaar is channeled by gorgeous canals. Being the city of cheese, it is rightfully lined with boats full of cheese on market day!
Strolling through Alkmaar’s charming streets and historic city centre was definitely a highlight of our trip!
Alkmaar as a city
We loved Alkmaar as a city. It was one of our favourite spots in the Netherlands. There is definitely more to see than the cheese market too, so my advice would be to stay for a few days!
We had this amazing breakfast spread at Anne&Max in the historic centre of Alkmaar. The restaurant even has a floating container docked next to the restaurant with closed outdoor seating.
Hop on a bike or stroll by foot around the old city of Alkmaar.
The Ray of Light Neongalerie is the coolest glassblowing and neon workshop turned coffee shop. Have an espresso and watch the owner blow glass and make neon art to start your day.
There are so many great cafés and restaurants to grab a bite. We loved sitting outside in the warm spring sun with beers & ciders in hand.