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Alkmaar vs Edam vs others cheese market

Sarasota, Florida
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Alkmaar vs Edam vs others cheese market

I’m going to Amsterdam in July 2023 with a travel buddy. I’ve been reading a lot about side trips and I came across the different cheese markets. I was reading conflicting things regarding which one I should choose to see, if I could only see one. I know there are multiple cheese markets, but I was first reading Alkmaar was the one to see. Then I read that Edam and another one that starts with a “W”, were more authentic. So fellow TA advisors, what are your opinions?

6 replies to this topic
Amsterdam, The...
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for Amsterdam
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1. Re: Alkmaar vs Edam vs others cheese market

https://www.expatica.com/nl/lifestyle/food-drink/dutch-cheese-markets-1126955/

Go which day best works for you. I would choose Edam because there is more stuff nearby to do the same day. There is also more to do every other place too. But Edam volendam and Marken are pretty good combination and close enough to Amsterdam.

Winter Haven...
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3 reviews
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2. Re: Alkmaar vs Edam vs others cheese market

I've been to three of those markets and all are wonderful. I'm a little biased because my wife is from Alkmaar. Both Edam and Alkmaar will be easier to get to than Gouda. Plus and minuses as I see them:

- Gouda: Takes a bit longer to get to. Gorgeous town. Wonderful market. With the towns having their markets on different days, your decision might become weather dependent.

- Edam: Easy to get to out of Amsterdam. Big plus is its proximity to Volendam and Marken. Hoorn and Enkhuizen (Zuiderzee Museum) also possible. Only downside might be that area gets awfully crowded in summer.

- Alkmaar: Thirty minutes by train from Amsterdam. Great market with lots going on (clog making, cheese, flowers, etc.). After the market do a wander. Grote Sint-Laurenskerk is well worth a walk through. You might check your dates to see if there's a recital. De Molen van Piet is one of the most beautiful wind mills you'll see in The Netherlands. Beside the market square you can catch a decent canal cruise.

"Not all those who wander are lost.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien

Gouda, The...
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735 posts
3. Re: Alkmaar vs Edam vs others cheese market

The cheese market town with a W is probably Woerden, which has a cheese market on Saturdays April through August. https://boerenmarktstad.nl/kaasmarkt/# Having never visited myself, I can't vouch for its authenticity, although "authentic cheese market" is an oxymoron regardless as wholesale cheese selling hasn't happened on public squares surrounded by consumers for at least 50 years now. Either way, Woerden is certainly a lot less known among foreign tourists, so in that way it'll be less touristy for sure.

Amsterdam, The...
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for Amsterdam
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10,993 posts
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4. Re: Alkmaar vs Edam vs others cheese market

If the OP were to open the link in post#1 they would read the description of the Woerden market.

The MOST important point to read - is that Woerden market really decides the price of Cheese in the whole country ( and by extension the global prices ).

And as pointed out by Chantal, tourists or a lot of locals from other parts of the country - also would hardly reach there. Even when for many years I lived barely a small distance from Woerden ( we used to cycle from Leidsche Rijn to Woerden on occasion ), we never really went to see the cheese market there.

Anyway - text below.

>>>

Farmers from the local area bring their cheese to the market every Saturday morning in the small town of Woerden, near Utrecht. It takes about 15 minutes by train from Utrecht, and about 40 minutes from Amsterdam. At Woerden cheese market, you’ll witness something very important – the prices charged here determine how much Dutch Farmers’ Cheese (boerenkaas) will cost on a national level.

There is plenty to see at Woerden’s weekly cheese market. This includes a program of cheese-tasting and an hour-long ‘tableau vivant.’ There are exciting events throughout the summer, such as Grass Cheese Day in June and the historical cheese market in August, when people dress up in costume and bring cheese to the market by horse and cart. Don’t miss the Woerden cheese song and the tug-of-war between farmers and traders at the close of day.

<<<

Amsterdam, The...
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for Amsterdam
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10,993 posts
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5. Re: Alkmaar vs Edam vs others cheese market

https://www.beleefwoerden.com/en/what-to-do/farmers-market/cheese-market

In case more info to be found or a video of tasting to be seen the link above is nice.

Edited: 1 year ago
Gouda, The...
Level Contributor
735 posts
6. Re: Alkmaar vs Edam vs others cheese market

While not wishing to infer that website in #1 is deliberately lying, I do wonder:

a) Why such pricing would be decided on Saturdays when people are off work

b) Why this would then only occur during tourist high season (i.e. April-August) since clearly the pricing of cheese is a year-round affair

More importantly, nothing about this can be found on the Woerden cheese market's own website. They even refer to the whole thing literally as a show. Surely, if #1 website were true, Woerden's own website would mention this? Again, as far as I know, all the Dutch cheese markets are fun experiences for visitors but not actually true examples of cheese trading.

Edited: 1 year ago
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