Heading for the cheesemarket and back from it i noted the main street was a rather lively street - and a particularly busy shopping street with lots of shops of variety - with some interesting buildings ie particularly the Stadhuis and the Grote Kerk
as i usually do and enjoy, take notice of the buildings and whats around you as you walk - i particularly enjoy seeing old and historical buildings and i am usually impressed by the buildings around europe marked with the year on it - the older the better!
Alkmaar had its share of old and impressive buildings and sites and sights too!
Clean drinking water was not always available in medieval towns. Here in Alkmaar, they brought in barrels of water from safe supplies and used it to make beer. Hence beer was drunk in huge quantities and still is today even though fresh water is easily attainable. Commemorating those golden days of beer making is the National Beer Museum. An onsite pub allows you to sample the local wares (for a price, this is Holland after all).
The first time I visited Alkmaar, I went with some friends and we decided to take the canal tour. The boat is a bit smaller than the boats in Amsterdam and doesn’t have a canopy, but that just lets you get that much closer to the town during the tour. We didn’t realize how much closer until we started passing under bridges. Some of the bridges are high enough that you can actually remain seated. A couple of the bridges are low enough that you have to lean over in your seat to pass under. One bridge in particular we had to get down between the seats because the height of the boat alone barely made it beneath the bridge. No one was hurt (they hardly ever loose a passenger) but there was some nervous laughter after that last bridge.
There are some canal boats in Alkmaar with canopies but these are from Rederij de Schans which puts on a cruise from Zaanse Schans to Alkmaar (and return) for the Friday cheese market.
rather photogenic all these cheeses around the shops - gimmicky but it is the local produce and picture postcard material!?
buy cheese too while you are at - some not bad deals and prices - cheese with a souvenir cheese slicer or cheese board etc!
Gothic Renaissance style town hall designed by Jan Stuyt. Right across the street from The Hof van Alkmaar restaurant. We saw a wedding party coming out when we walked by and thought it was a Church.
Our first up close look at a windmill. This one was in walking distance from the centre of town. Actually it was the first thing we saw from where we parked. It didn’t seem to be open for visits so we enjoyed the view from the outside. There were a few teenagers hanging out there too.
In the middle ages this was the St. Maria Magdalena monastery, which was given up by 1500. In 1572 the govenor of the Prince of Oranje, Diederik Sonoy made this place his residence.
Today you have a wonderful courtyard with appartments, small shops and a nice restaurant here.
This windmill is just within walking distance to the city center and it is a truly picturesque place! It is open to the public, but we did not go inside, but rather enjoyed looking at it from the outside!
If you walk through the old center of Alkmaar you will see various fine examples of 16th- and 17th-century houses. One of the most impressive is the stadhuis (town hall) with its gothic facade and ornamental entrance. Inside you can view an interesting collection of porcelain.
Like allot of dutch cities Alkmaar also had a wall to protect itself for attackers like the Spanish in the 80 year war (1568 -1648). The wall off course is gone but you can see still the the remains or the moat. On this place stood this mill.
At one corner of the market square, you'll be able to see how the cloak shoes are made. It doesn't take too long to make it, and doesn't look easy at all, but he did a very fine job...very skillful indeed!
You can get really nice ready-made cloak shoes according to your size or some other souvenirs, too.
The streetlights on the Waag-plein/square have the same shape as the "stretchers" (called "berrie" in Dutch) used to carry the cheese during the cheese market. See the pictures.
These two statues of a fisherman and his wife can be seen on top of the roof of the gallery at the Vismarkt (Fish Market).
Close to De Waag (Weighing House) you can find Beer Museum De Boom (The Tree), housed in a former brewery.
Not surprisingly, you can also have a beer here.
Dillenburgstraat 1, Alkmaar, 1814 JV, nl
Good for: Families
Gedempte Nieuwesloot 36, Alkmaar, 1811 KT, The Netherlands
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Business
The hotel faces a small moat and park on the other side of the road. Directly behind it is the city...more