A visit to a cheese market is a great idea for day outing from Amsterdam. There are 4 cheese markets in towns and cities places near Amsterdam. The market of Woerden is the only ‘real’ cheese market. The cheese markets of Alkmaar, Gouda and Edam are more tourist re-enactments. A visit to a cheese market in Holland is only possible in the summer. All cheese markets are free to visit and are held in lovely old towns, all worth visiting. A visit to Holland cheese market is also a nice thing to do with kids.
RECOMMENDED READ: Gouda Cheese
4 Cheese Markets in Holland
Traditionally, Dutch cheese farmers brought their cheeses to the market square in town to sell. Special teams (vemen) carry the cheese on barrows because they more than 160 kilo. Each team wears a different coloured straw hats, depending on the official guild of cheese-carriers. The buyers then tasted the cheeses.
If they like the cheese, they start bargaining the price using a ritual way handshake or ‘clap the hands’ (handjeklap). The clap the hand of the other and shout out the price. If they agreed on a price, the porters then carry the cheese to the weighing house (de Waag).
1. A visit to the Cheese market of Alkmaar
The most famous and classic cheese market is in Alkmaar, North-Holland. The cheese market is every Friday morning. It’s not just a market, but rather a spectacle particular spectacle wither carries hauling cheese, specially for tourists. The cheese market is surrounded by a fun art and craft market. This is where you can find real Dutch ‘poffertjes’, herring, farm cheese, a clog maker, craft stalls and much more!
On this 2.5-hour small group walking tour, you will learn all about Alkmaar’s most well known attraction: the Cheese Market! Also wander through Alkmaar’s medieval center and along pretty cobbled streets and picturesque canals. On this tour you will get an insight into Dutch culture and way of life through the eyes of a foreigner living in Alkmaar, as your tour guide originally stems from Canada.
The town of Alkmaar has over 400 monuments and is the oldest city in this part of the country, most likely founded by the Romans. Enjoy this 2-hour guided tour of the city, stroll through the medieval city center, and visit Alkmaar’s famous cheese market with your own private guide.
More things to do in Alkmaar
Alkmaar is an old town with over 1000 monumental buildings. It’s also great for shopping. You can also visit the local museum ‘Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar’, and learn about the history of Alkmaar. The Cheese Museum is located at the old Weighing House. There is the Beer Museum ‘De Boom’, located in a former brewery dating back to the 17th century where you can try different locally brewed beers. And there is the Beatles Museum.
How to get to Alkmaar cheese market
The cheese market in Alkmaar is easy to reach by taking a direct train from Amsterdam Central Station to Alkmaar (4 times a days). The train takes 34 minutes and costs 7,50 (one way).
2. The Cheese market at Woerden
At the small town of Woerden, near Utrecht, the 100-year old cheese market is real. Farmers from surrounding farms bring their cheese to market where it is sold. The price determine the national prices of Dutch Farmers Cheese (Boerenkaas). Great cheese!
In summer, you see the Woerden Cheese market live in action every Saturday morning (27 April – 24 August 2019). There is a special program that includes tasting and a ‘tableau vivant’ between 11 am – 12. There is also a local market with cheese and local produce all day.
Grass Cheese day
Recommend is the Grass Cheese day in June when the young ‘grass cheese’ is presented. On Grass cheese day the whole city celebrates spring and the new cheese season. That day it’s all about cheese, and a giant 150 kg grass cheese is auctioned for charity. You can taste, watch, and experience cheese. The 2019 Graaskaasdag in on 1st of June.
Historical Cheese Market
At Historic Cheese Market, the town shows its ancient cheese making techniques dating back to Roman times. You will see cheese carriages (‘kaasbrikken’) and farmers wear typical Rhineland costumes. Furthermore you can enjoy traditional tug of war games. The historic cheese market is on 31 August 2019.
The Cow market, in dutch ‘Koeiemart’, is an old tradition that has been going on in Woerden for over 600 years. It’s is a festive cow market with cow show, a large market, fair and much more entertainment. The cow market at Woerden is at 23 October 2019.
How to get to Woerden
From Amsterdam Central Station, Woerden is easy to reach by train. The trip takes 40 minutes and costs 40 minutes. From Utrecht it is only 15 minutes by train to Woerden and a ticket costs 3,60.
3. The Cheese market of Edam
Edam lies near Amsterdam and Volendam. Thought Volendam is much more famous for tourism than Edam, Edam is much more authentic and nicer! Edam holds historic reenactments of its cheese market every Wednesday morning (till 12.30) in July and August. The cheeses are brought to the market by horse-drawn carts and boats.
How to get to Edam
From Amsterdam Central Station, Edam is only a 30-minute bus ride. Rent a bike and explore this lovely village or just wander by foot exploring the narrow cobbled streets!
4. Cheese market Gouda
The name from Gouda Cheese comes from the Dutch city of Gouda, near The Hague. Annually about 300,000 people visit the Gouda cheese market. The cheeses are delivered to and from the market on wagonettes and weighed after the sale in the monumental Gouda Weighing House. This is also a museum where you learn everything about Dutch cheese.
When to go
From April 6 till August 31, you can visit the Gouda Cheese Market every Thursday morning.
More things to do in Gouda
Gouda is a larger Dutch city, famous for its cheese, syrup waffels and earthenware. The city is full of picturesque street. The huge Sint-Janskerk and the Town Hall are monumental building worth seeing.
How to get to Gouda
Gouda is to be reached by train from Amsterdam Central Station in 53 minutes. A one way ticket is 11,30.