When you think of Holland you will probably think of wooden shoes, tulips and old windmills. But also of cheese. It is one of the most important export products of Holland. That is why the Dutch are sometimes nicknamed ‘Kaaskoppen’, ‘Cheeseheads’.
All over the Netherlands there are cheese markets, but the most famous one you will find in the cozy city of Alkmaar, only about 40 kilometers from Amsterdam. Alkmaar has an attractive historical center with beautiful canals and old facades.
Every Friday from the end of March till the end of September you can visit the cheese market on the ‘Waagplein’ (check their website on Holland Holiday.net)
Formerly the cheeses were brought in boats. The market is officially opened by the ringing of a bell. In this case a special guest, the ambassador of India, had this task. As soon as the market opens, the samplers and traders inspect the cheeses.
Cheese is knocked on and a special cheese scoop is used to extract a piece, which is then crumbled between the fingers, smelled, and tasted. The cheeses are loaded onto barrows. 8 Cheeses on a barrow weigh 130 kilos. Carrying such a heavy barrow is not easy. The carriers walk with a special ‘cheese carriers dribble’. Deliberately out of step, ensuring the barrow hangs as still as possible. First they take the barrow with cheeses to the ‘Waag’ where its is weighed. Then the cheeses are loaded in a handcart and after that loaded into trucks. Besides the cheese market Alkmaar is an attractive city to visit.