cheese markets

Travel tips you can trust


Why the
Cheese Markets
of Holland are special

Visitors see Holland's traditional cheese trading process that dates back at least six centuries.

Holland Cheese Markets
tips and insights


Many towns once operated them. Today, only five still do.

Alkmaar, Edam, Gouda, and Hoorn stage colorful reenactments of the cheese trading process. However, the actual trading negotiations are conducted elsewhere.

Woerden is for real, but lacks the spectacle appeal because it's geared for commercial trading, not tourism. If you want authenticity, come here. If you want a showy performance, go to the other four.

Alkmaar is the most popular

It wins this title by a long shot because it stages the most interesting pageantry.

Tourists line up around the perimeter of the trading square to view the cheese-hauling porters bedecked in traditional white uniforms and colorful straw hats with trailing ribbons (see photo above). Each barrow is loaded with eight wheels of cheese, which collectively weigh 104 kilograms (230 pounds).

Unfortunately, because of the destination's popularity, tourists usually must stand several rows deep. You and your camera will likely not see much of the action if you are not standing in the front row and at the clock-tower half of the square.

Many half-day tours to Alkmaar operate from Amsterdam, which is about 40 kilometers (25 miles) away. They usually include a walking tour of picturesque Alkmaar town as well as windmill sightseeing.

Know these Holland tips and insights

Holland medal winners
Aalsmeer Flower Auction
Dutch Canals
Dutch Dikes
Dutch Windmills
Holland Cheese Markets
Holland Museums
Keukenhof Gardens
Madurodam Miniature Vllg
Royal Palace - Amsterdam

Also read
Top 3 Holland Wonders
Dutch phrases for travelers


Cheese market photo ©NBTC


Netherlands Board of Tourism


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