The Netherlands Pt. 5: Alkmaar

On this trip to The Netherlands I stayed well to the West of the country. I stayed in Womerveer which is northish of Amsterdam and travelled as far North as Alkmaar and as far west as Haarlem.

Until you have been to Holland it is hard to fully comprehend the national appreciation for two things: chocolate and cheese. So Brenda  planned in a day for us to see the cheese show and market in Alkmaar.  You may laugh a little but honestly how could a country with a city named Gouda ( pronounced howda with a guttural  at the front) not be fully dedicated to cheese?

Alkmaar is a beautiful old world city dedicated to cheese!

The most prominent building in the square is the cheese museum

I bet there were 500 people gathered for the cheese show

The man in the orange heart is “The Cheese Father”. Honorary leader of the cheese show!

We arrived a half hour early for the cheese show and it’s a good thing we did. By the time the show started (which by the way is translated from Dutch into English, German and French) people were standing 4 or 5 deep. Some lady used Brenda’s head as a tripod to take pictures!

The Cheese Maidens!

The Cheese Inspectors inspect the cheese to make sure it is mature. No really that is the job. That and giving out samples. So yummy!

The Cheese Racers load their cheese sleds with Gouda and take it to the weighing house.

The Cheese Judge weighs and records the cheese

The Cheese Racers then take the cheese off of the scale and run it wagons to be taken to market.

I am assuming that at the end of the race the team which clears the most cheese wins. But you cannot prove this by me. We left after 45 minutes of cheese racing. There was coffee to drink, shopping to shop and pictures to take.

An open air cafe on a cool and windy day

Back street shops, Alkmaar

Brenda on the canal bridge, Alkmaar
Cheese Museum in background



Alkmaar is reachable from Wormerveer by a forty-five minute train ride. If you go make sure you hit the city on market day. Take in the cheese show. Drink a capuccino.Take in a nice restaraunt and shop the artist’s  market which I thought kept pace with the art markets on Museumplein in Amsterdam. What a great day! Thanks Sis!