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A Guide to Visiting Dutch Cheese Markets

Picture of Tom Coggins
Updated: 13 October 2017
Over the warmer months of the year, five cities around the Netherlands host weekly cheese markets. Merchants at these seasonal markets tend to dress in traditional attire and participants continue to use age-hold bartering systems to sample, purchase and weigh cheese. Read on to discover what to expect at a Dutch cheese market.

Edam

Edam lies around 20 kilometres north of Amsterdam and is easily accessible via bus, car or bike. The city has played an important role within the Dutch diary industry for centuries and lends its name to one of the most popular cheeses in the world. Although an older cheese market was held in the city until 1922, its current market dates back to 1989 but still involves traditional costumes. haggling and plenty of edam.

📍Jan Nieuwenhuizenplein, Edam, the Netherlands

Balls of edam
Balls of edam | © pixabay

Gouda

Gouda probably ties joint first with Edam when it comes to famous places for cheese in the Netherlands. Like its main competitor, Gouda also lends its name to an extremely popular cheese that’s now found on every corner of the globe. Even though many international cheeses bear the name gouda, certain legally protected varieties are only made in the Netherlands including boerenkaas, Noord-Hollandse Gouda and Gouda Holland. The city itself lies almost in the centre of Holland between the four largest settlements in the country, namely Amsterdam, Rotterdam, the Hague and Utrecht. Gouda’s cheese market takes place in its historic market square that’s centred around the city’s iconic Gothic town hall.

📍Markt, Gouda, the Netherlands

Gouda’s cheese market
Gouda’s cheese market | © bertknot / flickr

Hoorn

Hoorn is around 40 minutes away from Amsterdam by train and lies approximately 20 kilometres north from Edam. Hoorn has hosted a cheese market since 2o07 on the city’s Roode Steen square. During the market a live commentator explains important information via loudspeaker and discusses the ins-and-outs of the historic cheese trade.

📍Roode Steen, Hoorn, the Netherlands

Different types of Dutch cheese
Different types of Dutch cheese | © pixabay

Alkmaar

Alkmaar’s cheese market ranks among the most popular tourist attractions in the Netherlands and revolves around several important traditions. Traders at the market still employ a system of handclaps to communicate with one another and carry cheese on wooden, wheelless gurneys. Like Edam and Hoorn, Almaar is located in North Holland and is reachable via an intercity train that travels between Amsterdam and Den Helder.

📍Waagplein 2, Alkmaar, the Netherlands

Woerden

Woerden is around 10 kilometres west of Utrecht and easily accessible by train from several nearby major city including Amsterdam, Rotterdam and the Hague. Tractors carry cheese into Woerden before every market which takes place on the city’s Kerkplein. There’s also a special market that’s held in early June every year which revolves around a unique type of regional cheese called graskaas that’s made from the first milk of spring.

📍Kerkplein, Woerden, the Netherlands