The Netherlands, Holland, is much more than visiting 4 days Amsterdam. Today’s post I want to talk about the cheese route through Holland (Netherlands), about its medieval markets in Gouda, Edam and Alkmaar. They are ideal and essential visits for cheese lovers and people who love to know a little more of tradition has come to our day and has become part of a trip through this beautiful country.
On my first trip to the Netherlands we visited the cheese market in Edam. But on this second road trip through Holland, we made the cheese route through the medieval markets. Each one has a different day, so you can scheduled the road trip to match.
If you come from south by car, the first village you’ll meet is Gouda.
If you travel to Amsterdam and from there you want to visit some of the cheese markets, the closest one is Edam.
The city of Alkmaar is ideal for a night out, as in summer it has one of the busiest cheese markets.
There are English tours departing from Amsterdam and taking you to Volendam and Zaanse Schans mills.
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Cheese route Dutch
The city that gives its name to one of the most internationally well-known (and copied) cheeses has one of the most beautiful and picturesque cheese markets. It is very close to Amsterdam, about 20 kilometers to the north and there are excursions to be able to go to visit both the city and its market, yes, you have to fit date and time.
Edam is in an area called Laag Holland and for eight Wednesdays a year we can enjoy its cheese market.
The cheese market in Edam is made in the traditional way. They recreate their market . They take the cheeses by boat down the canal. They pick them up, they take quality control, sell them and lead them to be heavy once the price is accepted. It’s very interesting to see the whole process.
In addition, Edam is a very picturesque village that deserves a visit. So my recommendation is you visit their cheese market, Wednesdays at 10 a.m. and then walk the town. Of course, you have to taste the cheeses at the medieval market or buy some of them. They’re very good and they’re authentic Edam cheeses.
In this post I tell you with detail what to see in Edam and its medieval cheese market.
Gouda is one of the most well-known types of cheeses worldwide. So it’s no wonder that in the city of Gouda, which gives its name to this delicious cheese, they made also a medieval-style cheese market. So if you’re a cheese lover and you like to see the different traditions that places have you travel, on Thursdays of summer you have an appointment in Gouda, the cheese town.
The Old Town Gouda’s is beautiful, its town hall will leave you speechless. And it’s here, in this square where the Gouda cheese market develops.
Farmers and traders negotiate the price against “Goudse Waag”, the place where cheeses are weighed once the price is accepted. This way, they know what taxes they’ll have to pay.
You’re going to see horses carrying cheese, cheese stands, people making crafts in a traditional way. It’s definitely very nice. Don’t forget to take a tour of the historic center.
In the Goudse Waag gouda’s cheese museum is located.
Curiosity,it caught my eye as it is pronounced Gouda in Dutch. They say something like Hauda, with a very strong H.
Dates of the cheese market in Gouda: from April to August. Every Thursday from 10h to 13h.
There are English tours departing from Amsterdam and taking you to Gouda Cheese Market Tour.
Where to sleep if you go in a van
Us visited Gouda as part of our road trip through Belgium and Holland traveling in a van. To find the places to sleep in our van we use the park4night app, it’s super practical if you don’t want to go camping every night.
In Gouda we sleep in a car park that has electricity and bathrooms (although they are disgusting) and is next to the center (5 or 7 minutes walk). Parking is available for a fee, it is 8€ per 24 hours.
If you want to go to the bathroom, next to the parking there is a café library, with clean bathrooms. They charge 0.50 euros to get in.
Alkmaar has the largest cheese market and perhaps one of the best known. In addition, the city has more than 100000 inhabitants, has a lot of restaurants with terraces full in the summer months and plenty of leisure to spend a weekend or at least one day and one night.
In our case we arrived at Alkmaar the day before the cheese market. We visited the city afternoon/night and the next day we enjoyed its medieval market.
There are English tours departing from Amsterdam and taking you to Alkmaar Cheese Market.
The cheese market cheese in Alkmaar
We visited the Alkmaar cheese market, was the second market we visited and the third between the two trips to the Netherlands. I thought I was find more of the same, but each market has its charm.
It’s better to arrive early to the cheese market, before 10 am . This allowed us to find a good place to enjoy the show. Besides, I don’t know if other markets were made, because we didn’t get to the beginning. But in this one, they sell you bags with different types of cheese.
For 10 € you can purchases at the market 3 types of cheese and some souvenirs that include you. Cheeses are spectacular good, a totally recommended purchase and if you take it gift looks super good.
When you get to the market you will see a lot of cheeses distributed throughout the square. You’re going to see how the price is negotiated, as quality controls do, you’ll see how they weigh it and how they take it. (this is the most disappointing part, when you see that put them in a truck…), but if you pay attention to the canals, you can see how they carry the cheese in small boats.
The atmosphere in the market is very pleasant, you see that they have a good time, that they enjoy it and that is spread.
The market starts at 10 o’clock, when the bell rings. Which usually makes it sound someone famous or a politician from the area.
Arriving earlier 10 am in the way, you can see how they’re organizing everything, how the stands are set up surroundings. I think it’s very interesting to see.
The cheese market in Alkmaar has been developing for more than 400 years in the balance square “Waagplein” , in the same as today. But it’s been growing they have enlarged the square to accommodate current needs.
Today what we see is a show. It doesn’t really hold any sale, but it’s a way to keep traditions alive and get to know it so much Dutch as visitors.
You’re going to see everybody take their duties very seriously. You’re going to see the people who carry the cheese, about 120 kilos, with a smile as if weighing nothing. Also, you’ll see walk/run in a curious way. Apparently it’s a typical thing that run that uninhabited way.
You have to pay attention to the canals, there you will see small boats, carrying their cheeses as they did in the past.
Cheese market opening hours in Alkmaar: from April to September every Friday from 10 am.
Recommendation: arrive about 15 minutes (or more) before 10 a.m. So you can have a better place, look for one with roof in case it rains.
Where to sleep if you go in a van
In Alkmaar you can sleep with your van or motorhome in a cool place. You’re going to have a view to the mills, and if you go with bikes you’re going to get to the cheese market in some 7 minutes per bike path. If you go on foot, the walk is longer, but just as nice.
The best of the parking, in addition to the views, is that it is free. The worst part is that there are no bathrooms near. We also find it in the park4night app.
I was surprised that although in the 3 markets of cheese have the same dynamics, they are different from each other. Each has something that the other does not and I think they are very nice to visit. Not to mention, they are in very picturesque places, the people are very nice and are super used to tourism.
Do you know the cheese markets in Holland? Would you like to visit them? Leave us your comments.
Prepare your trip to the Netherlands
- Dutch tour by car for 10 days
- 4 days in Amsterdam
- Going to a coffee shop in Amsterdam
- Rent bicycle in Amsterdam
- What to see in Utrecht
- Visit the Zaanse Schans Mills
- 1 day in Volendam and Marken
- What to see in Rotterdam
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We are not native English speakers but we have decided to translate our post to English so we can share it with the whole world. If you see any spelling mistake or something, please let us know, it is so important to us. If you do so, we can improve our post and also our English knowledge! Thanks in advance!!!