Cheese towns of Holland

These Dutch cheese towns are household names: Gouda, Edam, and Alkmeer (OK, so Alkmeer's not a houshold name, but it does host an awesome, medieval-styled Friday cheese market)



Make the trip to Alkmaar, 19 miles north of Amsterdam, on a Friday. This is the day the Netherlands' most famed cheese market is held on the main square in town (10am to noon). A sight not to be missed.

You can combine Alkmaar with an afternoon visit to nearby Zaanse Shans, a recreated Dutch village of windmills and living history exhibits, and perhaps also to Edam.


Quaint Edam is famous, of course, for its cheese—but you might not recognize it right away. You won't see here that famous red rind you're used to using to find the Edam at your local cheese shop. Red-rind Edam is for export only. In the Netherlands, the waxy skin over the cheese is yellow.

TK Edam.

Even better, head to the nearby little berg of Broek-in-Waterland, where you can stop by the Jakob Wiedermeir & Son farmhouse to watch the cheese actually being made (it's between Amsterdam and tour-bus-ready Monnickendam).


First things first. Gouda is not actually pronounced "GOO-dah." It's pronounced "HOW-dah" (with an initial guttural H, like the "Ch" in Chiam). Gouda's cheese market only runs in late summer, but the town itself is still worth a visit for the cheese (naturally) as well as its clay pipe-making industry; there's museum of ceramics and pipes at Adrie Moerings, Peperstraat 76.

For Gouda's most famous product, visit the Waag Weighing House and Cheese Exhibition at Markt 35 to learn everything you ever wanted to know (and more) about moldy milk products.

In nearby Schoonhoven, you can visit the workshops of Holland's top silversmiths (free demonstrations in the Edelambachtshuis on the main canal).


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Unless otherwise indicated, all photographs ©Amsterdam Tourism & Convention Board

This article was by Reid Bramblett and last updated in June 2011.
All information was accurate at the time.

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Copyright © 1998–2013 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.