According to archaeologists, cheese was made as early as 200 BC.
In the Netherlands, the cheese industry has flourished since the Middle Ages, and now more than 800,000 tons of cheese are produced annually in the Netherlands and more than 600,000 tons are exported to the world.
In the past, the town square was used as a wholesale cheese market where cheeses were weighed and prices negotiated.
The real cheese market is now a sight that can no longer be seen.
However, some towns that used to have markets now hold traditional cheese markets as tourist events throughout the spring and summer. There, you can learn about cheese and its history, and see traditional market and costumes.
3 Biggest Cheese Market Events
Alkmaar, Gouda and Edam, where the three major cheese markets are held, are the cheese towns in Netherlands.
The cheese markets in these three towns are the most popular cheese markets visited by many tourists every year.
Alkmaar with 400 years of history
Alkmaar Cheese Market (Alkmaar kaasmarkt), held in Alkmaar, about 40 minutes by train from Amsterdam, is the largest cheese market in the Netherlands.
Alkmaar is said to have had a cheese market in 1365, although there is no clear evidence. But the Cheese Transport Association was established in 1593, so it is a cheese market with a history of at least 400 years.
Alkmaar Cheese Market is held every Friday from April to September. The Night Cheese Market is held every Tuesday night in July and August.
Event period: March 31st to September 29th
Night Market: Every Tuesday on July and August
Night Market Hours: 19:00-21:00
Address: Houttil 26, 1811 JM Alkmaar
URL: Alkmaar kaasmarkt
No.1 global market share Gouda cheese
Gouda cheese, for which the city is named, is one of the world’s best known and most eaten cheeses.
At the Gouda Cheese Market (Gouda Kaasmarkt), you can see demonstrations of the traditional style of dairy farmers negotiating prices with merchants in front of a Waag (weigher) and shaking hands when a deal is finalized.
Gouda is also famous as the birthplace of the Stroopwafel. Eat fresh stroopwafels from the stalls that line the square.
Gouda Cheese Market is held every Thursday from April to August.
Event period: April to August
*May not be held on national holidays
Address: Markt 1, 2801 JG Gouda
URL: Gouda kaasmarkt
Edam cheese is transported by boat
Edam is a small lakeside town.
The original Edam Cheese Market (Edam Kaasmarkt) closed in 1922, but now the Edam Cheese Market is held every year as a town event with the cooperation of citizen volunteers.
You can see a traditional cheese market where cheese is transported by boat.
Edam Cheese Market is held every Wednesday from July and August.
Event period: July 5th to August 23rd
Night Market: August 12th
Night Market Hours: 20:30-22:00
Address: Jan Nieuwenhuizenplein, 1135 WT Edam
URL: Edam kaasmarkt
Other cheese markets
The Netherlands is the country of cheese, so there are other cheese markets!
Woerden, located between Utrecht and Gouda, is also a cheese town. A cheese market had been open since about 1885.
Today, a cheese market is held as a town event. Every year during the event period, a cheese taste competition is held, and delicious cheese is commended.
Woerden cheese market is held every Saturday from April to August.
Event period: April 22nd to August 19th
Hours: 10:30~, 12:00~
Cheese Judging: August 18 (Friday)
Awards ceremony: Saturday, August 19th
Address: Kerkplein, 3441 BH Woerden
URL: Woerden kaasmarkt
Once a port town, Hoorn has developed around agriculture since the 17th century.
Hoorn is also one of the famous cheese market towns, and it is said that 3 million kg of cheese was traded annually in the central square of the city.
Hoorn cheese market is now a tourist event, and you can enjoy performances such as dance shows.