Alkmaar City Tour (boat included)
Alkmaar City Tour (boat included)
Alkmaar is one of those great Dutch cities with a history. In the Eighty Years' War (1568-1648) that led to the independence of the Netherlands, the city of Alkmaar was one of the first cities to successfully rebel against the Spanish rulers.
In 1573, the Alkmaarders kept the Spaniards away with boiling tar and burning fagots. 'Victory starts at Alkmaar', has been the expression ever since. The ‘Alkmaars Ontzet’ is celebrated every year on October 8.
The city is located amidst the green pastures where the cows graze happily amidst a beautiful nature with meadow birds and migratory birds. No wonder that cheeses were developed here that are tasted, inspected, bought and weighed in and around the Waag with a real cheese show that can be attended every Friday morning from April to September. By the way Alkmaarders are called cheese heads.
Dennis Callan Dennis Callan reports on it in the video below.
We are visiting the small and historic Dutch city of Alkmaar. It's in the province of North Holland in the Netherlands about 10 km from the coast and 40 km northwest of Amsterdam. You might not spend the night here, but it makes a lovely daytrip destination with its large number of historic buildings, many shops large and small, lots of Dutch food, lovely canals and one important event.
Alkmaar is most famous for its cheese market that happens every week from March until the end of September and we have a complete separate movie about the cheese market that you can see here: https://bit.ly/2WNAT6T. In this video we’re going to show you that there is a lot more to see in town besides the cheese market, so by all means spend a few more hours when you get here and walk around in the charming little pedestrian zone, and take a boat ride through the scenic canals passing a lot of very old brick bridges and buildings.
The historic centre
The historic center of the old city is relatively small, just about a kilometer across with several main shopping streets for pedestrians so you can easily walk around in a couple of hours and maybe take an hour for a meal and spend at least half a day here, or maybe the full day with the cheese market, then shopping, eating, strolling, and just enjoying the pedestrian atmosphere of this historic old city.
It's especially lively on cheese market day with lots of sidewalk stands set up selling crafts and foods, and clothing, all kinds of souvenirs, some big wooden shoes, and of course you'll have a variety of different types of locally produced cheeses. The sidewalk stands are carrying on a long historical tradition because up until the 19th century, most food and agricultural products were traded on street markets.
How to get there?
We'll see a lot more of the city coming right up including a canal boat ride. But first a little discussion of how to get here. Most visitors to Alkmaar are staying in Amsterdam and coming up here as a daytrip. Perhaps the best way to get here is by train directly from Amsterdam Central Station -- just takes about 35 to 40 minutes to get up here and you will have the services of the excellent Dutch rail system with departures four times an hour on trains that are clean and smooth and not expensive.
Walk starting at the train station
Recapping our walk starting at the train station. We have gone through the middle of the old city and now have reached the center of the shopping and cultural area. And here we've got sidestreets as well that are fascinating for strolling along and doing some more shopping. These blocks in the city center preserve that 17th-century pattern of canals and narrow streets with many historic buildings we have reached the most beautiful part of Alkmaar.
Flowerpots in the street lamps
Here are all of the elements of a traditional Dutch city come together what you would hope to find when you visit Holland old brick buildings along the canal Terrace restaurant with a view of the passing parade of people with shops and benches and flowerpots in the street lamps. You might consider this the center of town with this impressive bridge in front of the Weigh House and leading across the canal to a lovely little shopping district with more of these pedestrian lanes with little boutiques tucked away. You could wander for hours.
This neighborhood in front of the Weigh House is action central for all the boats going through the town. Here you'll find several different choices for joining up with a boat tour. Some of them are just casual friends getting together, others are organized by various companies in town.