Shopping! My goodness, shopping to your hearts content here in Alkmaar. It is the 2nd shopping town in The Netherlands. You didn't know? I didn't either. But having seen the large and small streets, I believe it. Apart from the well known chain stores, there are a great many little shop to browse.
market stalls with women dressed in period costume in the hub of the tourist area next to the inspirational cheese weighing ceremony each Friday - with the taste test bits of cheese of all sorts of flavours to entice you - garlic, carraway seeds, natural, farmers cheese, paprika, pepper - go for it - so lots of atmosphere to provide sales gimmick but the prices were actually a bit dearer than in the local shops when i roamed around later.
15 euro for your choice of 3 small cheeses - maybe about 300 g each
What to buy: cheese made in the locality providing income for the locality
there were several shops or stalls that had Dutch clogs for sale - wooden ones and for the first time id seen them, slipper ones ie soft ones done in the shape of wooden clogs! (which i fell for as theyre light and easier to carry esp home to NZ and Oz with my already over burgeoning european collection of travel stuff, and theyre rather different.
Even though youd imagine that prices for touristy things like painted wooden clogs would be over priced i found them much much cheaper than prices id looked at at the Amsterdam airport duty free section.
What to buy: wooden clogs or try the clog slippers!
If you're looking for a gift or something groovy for your house, search no further. I already knew this shop as an e-commerce internetsite and even ordered stuff from them. But I discovered they have a shop in Alkmaar!
What to buy: All sorts of stuff for your house or gifts.
What to pay: Relatively cheap.
An eldorado for cooking fanatics and professional cooks. Anything you could wish for as to pots and pans, utensils, baking accessories...
What to buy: I bought a piece of cheesecloth to strain things like buttermilk. And a few large butchers hooks to hang my pans on. A rubber ice cube maker and best of all, a pudding tin to steam puddings in (with a lid).
A recipe for the pudding tin is on my Netherlands page under Local Customs.
What to pay: I spent about 25 euro.
Very friendly staff who pointed out to me that it would be cheaper to buy my cheese cut off the wedge instead of a small prepackaged round. She offered to shrink wrap my cheese which was great as one of the two wedges was a gift. I was also given some coated paper with instructions to wrap the cheese in it once it was opened.
What to buy: Someone else mentioned the Old Alkmaar (Oud Alkmaar) in another post saying it was fabulous, so when I saw this shop I stopped in and was happy that they had it and I didn't have to search around town.
It really is a fabulous cheese!
What to pay: I can't find my receipt, but I bought approx. 3.5 pounds and I think I paid around $24.00 US.
Schitterend Sieraden has a collection of women, men and child jewelry. The jewelry is special due to the design or the materials (gold, silver, genuine gemstones, freshwaterpearls) used. The jewelry is modern and classic. The jewelry can be worn for special occasions (to a wedding, ball, prom etc) or be worn daily. For the men they have a nice collection of cufflinks and for the children silver jewelry and LEGO watches en alarmclocks.
What to pay: The prizes are all below 100 Euro, thus really affordable.
Very appealing shop with unusual women's fashion, hand bags, hats and jewelry. Very colourful and appealing. Big sale going on right this moment! (June 2005).
There can't be an Alkmaar page without a cheese shop! There are several of them.
What to buy: Noord-Hollandse or Beemster
Almost any kind of flavour they got here! Incredible! Even I found an ice cream I liked...and I m particularly picky if it comes to eating ice!
What to pay: Not too much....