Cheese Markets

kinderkaasmarkt.jpgDutch people people jokingly call themselves ‘kaaskoppen’, which means ‘cheese heads’, and they do so with good reason: they make and eat a huge amount of cheese in the Netherlands. Nearly 700 million kg of cheese per year is made each year and about half is exported to more than 130 countries all over the world. The Dutch often keep the best stuff for themselves though, so make sure you try all the different types while you can. And don’t forget: the older the cheese, the better the flavour…. 🙂

Kaasmarkt Alkmaar

The Alkmaar Cheese Market

A really popular tourist attractions in the Netherlands is the Alkmaar Cheese Market, which takes place in the main square of Alkmaar every Friday morning between April and September. Every week, about 30,000 cheeses arebought and sold at the market. Once sold, the cheeses are carried from the market to lorries by cheese carriers. They carry about 100kg of cheese on each journey and have developeda special way of walking to make the carrying of the heavy load a little easier. It’s a very colourful sight and very, very Dutch…. 🙂

Did you know that…

  • Dutch people eat 16.7 kilo of cheese every year (each!)
  • Alkmaar first used special weighing scales for cheese in 1365
  • The first cheese market in Alkmaar took place in 1622
  • 300,000 people visit the cheese market in Alkmaar every year

Edam and Gouda

Alkmaar is not the only town that has regular cheese markets. Some of the best-known Dutch cheeses are of course Edam and Gouda. But did you know that both Gouda and Edam are market towns? Gouda even calls itself the Cheese Capital of the Netherlands…. Gouda and Edam hold weekly cheese markets, just like Alkmaar. For more information about both places, just click on their names above and follow the weblinks.

Photographs of the Alkmaar Cheese Market by Monique Stap 🙂