Edam Things to Do

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Best Rated Things to Do in Edam

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    St. Nicolaaskerk (Grote Kerk): tombs

    by goodfish Updated Jan 12, 2012

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    (See previous review of church's interior)

    Under your feet in St Nicholas are the remains of several hundred years worth of Edam's citizens: thousands of grey stones, some elaborately craved and others blank, pave the floor from entrance to apse. Before the French occupation, it was fashionable for a person of means to be entombed in their parish church but a host of political and unpleasant hygienic issues had Napoleon banning burials inside houses of worship so after the early 1800's the deceased were interred in newly established cemeteries.

    You'll notice that some of the slabs are the length of a person and some are smaller squares. The long ones - sometimes elaborately carved - were more expensive than buying three smaller squares to cover the same amount of space so that person was probably wealthy: I have a side-by-side example in photo 2. You'll see names, dates and obituaries on some and just odd little symbols on others (photos 3 and 4)? Those symbols, handmarks, acted as identifiers for individuals or families at a time when many people couldn't read. Scratched on paper, they were your signature; carved into your front door, it was your house number.

    It was, of course, also cheaper to just engrave one small slab than the length of a large one so that explains the majority that are blank but some had heraldic markings destroyed during the Napoleonic years and still others have simply worn away. Rembrandt's rumored mistress, Grietje Dircks, may be buried under the stone marked "Griet Dircks" but there's no record of the event.

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    Jewish Cemetery

    by goodfish Written Jan 13, 2012

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    Edam was home to a small Jewish community in the 18th and 19th centuries but a decline in their numbers during the late 1800's closed the school and synagogue and the group merged with another in Monnickendam - which in turn merged with Amsterdam after WWII. There is a small Jewish cemetery dating to 1793 with a memorial to Edam's citizens who lost their lives in the Holocaust.

    You can find the cemetery east of Dam Square at the corner of Voorhaven/Zeiderzee Route and Oosterkade/Oorgat. Pietersbrug (bridge) is near that corner, and a wide place in the canal with some nice boats.

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    Kaasmarkt (Cheese Market)

    by goodfish Written Jan 13, 2012

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    That cheese that made Edam famous is no longer made in town but you can see where it was once brought to market from farms around the area. Merchants sampled plugs of the product drilled from new batches, haggled over the price, and their purchase was weighed and carried away to their boats or wagons on curved hand-barrows. On summer Wednesdays (July/Aug - 10:30-12:30) they hold costumed reenactments of the market, and you can sample a bit at the old weigh house (kaaswaag) on the square.

    Americans know it by the distinctive red wax coating but this is only used for product exported from the Netherlands: Edam meant to be consumed locally is either waxless or dipped in yellow or black, the latter having been aged for at least 17 weeks. It achieved popularity for its longevity: cheese that, when coated, wouldn't spoil on long voyages was prized in this country of seafarers.

    My main page shot was taken of the canal at the north end of the square.

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    Zuidpoldermolen

    by goodfish Written Jan 13, 2012

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    Think "Holland" and windmills come to mind. Edam has a very fine specimen that dates between 1626-35 that was used to grind grain and drain a polder: low land that has been reclaimed from the sea and diked. The low, octagonal design categorizes it as a smock style, and the name translates to "south polder mill." The wind-driven mechanics have been out of operation since 1949, and it was closed to visitors when we were by so I wasn't able to learn much more about it but you can get a rough overview here.

    From Dam Square: head east along Voorhaven, and then south (right) across 1 or 2 bridges on Oosterkade, west (right) on Burgemeester Versteeghsingel, and south (left) on the bike path along Broekgouwstraat. The Jewish cemetery (see previous tip) is also in this area.

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    De Grote kerk \ the big church

    by Mique Written Feb 16, 2004

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    The big church

    The church is dedicated to St. Nicolas, the parton of seafarers.

    The construction has probably begun as early as 1400 and was intended to be much smaller. But in 1540 the building got the shape it has now. And it was again extended with a latin school and a library in that same century.

    The windows date all back to 1602 except for one.

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    Het proveniershuis

    by Mique Written Feb 16, 2004

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    Het proveniershuis

    This place was founded in 1554/1555 with the help of wealthy Edam citizens. 16 small houses where build where poor people where they could live free of rent and with food provided. When they died, the furniture that they had taken with them to these houses was sold of as a way of repayment.

    Teh foundation existed until 1970 when it was dissolved.

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    almhouses Edam

    by margaretvn Written Jul 13, 2003

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    Edam

    Although you cannot go into these houses - they are worth looking at and they are on the way to the St Nicolas Church. Grietjes Dircks - Rembrandts mistress lived in one of the houses for some time. They were houses for the poor.

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    Hidden chapel

    by Mique Written Feb 15, 2004

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    Hidden church

    During the 17th and 18th century it was forbidden for a certain religious group to build their churches and chapels on the public road. They often held their services in a private house or a hidden church. Like this one, first you see the that was the house of the clergyman and then the actual church.

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    The weirdest bridge

    by Mique Written Feb 15, 2004

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    When we ran into this brdge i was realy glad that although it being winter we had had snow or something like that. We would've needed climbing gear! It might be a very convenient bridge when you're cycling but for the rest. Don't think i've ever seen such a bridge before

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    Old merchants house/Edam museum

    by Mique Written Feb 15, 2004

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    Edam Museum

    Originally build in around the 1550's. Had some changes then. Most notably the adding of the floating (on the ground water) cellar that was constructed around 1700.

    It houses the Edam museum since1895

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    The orphanage

    by Mique Written Feb 15, 2004

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    The orphanage

    The orphanage dates back to the 1661 but only part of the building dates back to that time. In the 19th century the building was enlarged at the back and part of the front has been redone at that time too.

    To make a good shot of this building i needed more space then was possible in the street. I had already backed up as much as possible to the house on the other side of the street but still the building didn't fitt. Very fustrating.
    But then someone came home. And they let me use the hallway so i could finally have the pciture i wanted. Though i missed the very tip of the building. It was either without or going to spread myself flat out in that hallway. Thought that that was pushing it a bit too far..

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    Almhouses

    by Imaniac Written Jan 8, 2004

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    When you walk back from teh Big Church you should first cross the river. Then you'll see these almhouses. The big house was built in 1555 by some rich inhabitants of Edam. People still live in these houses.

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    St Nicolas church

    by margaretvn Written Jul 13, 2003

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    church Edam

    This church, which was built in 1413-1625 is the largest hall church in europe. It is 90 metres long and it dominates the town's northern fortress. The stained glass windows are so beautiful and many are original Renaissance.

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    Cheese and Chocolates

    by Martin_S. Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Cheese, cheese market and chocolates....these would be the main things that would draw me back for a repeat visit to Edam. We missed the market day, but it is actually a "show" today, put on only for tourists, still it would be interesting to see.
    http://www.vvv-edam.nl/uk/index.html

    You can see in the first picture the "stretcher" for carrying cheese, then the cheese market itself, then the final product displayed in a outlet store in town. And the last picture shows some of the chocolates found there, what better way to end a fine meal of cheese with a sweet dessert of chocolate.

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    St. Nicolaaskerk (Grote Kerk): Exterior

    by goodfish Updated Jan 12, 2012

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    Little Edam has the distinction of having one of the largest churches in all the Netherlands. Like so many others in a country whose history is linked to the sea, it is named for the patron saint of sailors: St Nicholas. And like so many others of the oldest churches, it was originally Catholic. It seems odd to have such an enormous church in such a small village but the population of the town was much larger during its heyday as a busy port.

    Parts of this one date to the 15th century but the structure was extensively damaged and rebuilt after fires in 1602 and 1699, and the curiously squat spire on top of the tower was much higher than it is now. The cemetery on the north/east side, established during the French occupation and Napoleon's ban against inner-church burials, has a few nice monuments. In niches on the south side are a few weirdly unrelated pieces of statuary that I wasn't able to find out anything about, and some bricked-in tracery where windows must have been.

    The church is free and open to visitors 7 days a week from around the 1st of April - 1st of October, 1:30 - 5:00 PM. See my next review for some interesting details about the interior.

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