Dutch Cheese Museum, Alkmaar
The Alkmaar cheese market is one of just four traditional Dutch cheese markets still in existence. It has brought buyers and sellers together for at least 600 years. Yet, there are numerous stalls surrounding the weighhouse where you can try out all sorts of cheeses. The weigh house itself is now a tourist attraction. Built in the 14th century, it now contains a museum of antique dairy equipment along with displays that show traditional and modern cheese- making processes and techniques.
The Holland Cheese Museum is located on the second and third floors of the building. In 1576 the building became the Weighhouse for cheese. Nowadays a part of the building is used for the weighing of cheese during the traditional cheese market.
The museum tells everything about dairy farming throughout the centuries, trade and rural life, the history of cheese and the cheese- market. You can also visit the Municipal Museum of Alkmaar, the Beermuseum and the Dutch Stove Museum. The museum has a collection of historical utensils in the preparation of dairy products, film- and photographic images and paintings (including 24c 16th century portraits of Holland women) to explain the cheese-making process. The way of making cheese is the same as centuries ago, but from the beginning of the 19th century you can see that people made cheese on a larger scale.
The museum has 24 portrets of the 16th century showing women with regional costumes from the Noord-Holland area. The panel-paintings are part of the Top collection of the region. In the museum you can also see reproductions of the costumes on a real scale. In early day the place to buy and sell cheese was on one of the markets all over the country. At is still possible to visit some of those markets.
The guided tour is possible all over the year (except for Sunday's and in the evening) only after a reservation in advance. There is a possibility to make a guided tour in the historical Weighhouse on the first and second floor. You get an explanation about the proces of making diary products in the past and present. There is a magnificent treasure hunt for children, during which they can become a professor in the history of cheese.
The museum is completely wheelchair accessible.
Funny note about weigh houses
During the 16th and 17th centuries, people accused of witchcraft were brought to the weighhouse for a ‘witch test’. Those found to be lighter than a set weight were deemed guilty. Why? Maybe because witches are supposed to fly and should therefore weigh less.
Het Hollands Kaasmuseum (The Dutch Cheese museum)
T + 31 (0)72-5155516
F + 31 (0)72-5117513
Group Reservation: 072 - 5114284
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