Schagen Off The Beaten Path

  • Texel - windmill 'Het Noorden'
    Texel - windmill 'Het Noorden'
    by vtveen
  • Texel - Oudeschild
    Texel - Oudeschild
    by vtveen
  • Alkmaar - Waagplein with cheese market
    Alkmaar - Waagplein with cheese market
    by vtveen

Best Rated Off The Beaten Path in Schagen

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    Alkmaar - Wildemanshofje

    by vtveen Updated Nov 5, 2012

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    Wildemanshofje - seen from the entrance porch
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    Most (foreign) visitors of Alkmaar are just heading to the cheese market on Friday mornings. This is of course one of the highlights in the Netherlands, but if you have some spare time I highly recommend walking around the old city of Alkmaar.

    At least we were happy running away from the crowds. Along one of the canals in Alkmaar we saw a sign for the ‘Wildemanshofje’. After an easy walk - perhaps 500 meters from the city center - we found this hidden gem at the ‘Oudegracht’.
    We passed the gate building with a sculpture of a ‘wild man’; referring at the name of the founder - Gerrit Florisz Wildeman - of this ‘hofje’. He built these almshouses in 1717 for poor elderly women from Alkmaar.
    The courtyard with a symmetric garden and lined with linden trees just coming into bud is surrounded by 24 (small) houses. In the garden is another sculpture of a wild man with a club.

    We have visited many ‘hofjes’ in the Netherlands, but this was one of the most beautiful ones; a real quiet and peaceful oasis in this - on a Friday - hectic city

    Directions
    Alkmaar is situated about 20 km's south from Schagen; easy accessible by car but also by train as we did. Every half hour there is a train leaving from Schagen to Alkmaar for a 20 minutes ride.
    Once in the city center, follow the signs for ‘Wildemanshofje’, Oudegracht 45-91, Alkmaar.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

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    Texel - less than 90 minutes from Schagen

    by vtveen Written May 13, 2010

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    Texel - windmill 'Het Noorden'
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    We have visited both Schagen en Texel and now realising the wonderful island of Texel is a doable daytrip from Schagen, even by public transportation. Using train, bus and ferry make it possible to avoid possible waiting times at the ferry between Den Helder and Texel.

    I would recommend exploring Texel on a rental bike, which is available immediately after disembarking the ferry at the harbour of ‘t Horntje (www.fietsverhuurtexel.nl). Don’t worry about a bike: Texel has 10.000 rental bikes.

    On your bike trip rather concentrate on the southern part of the island with some cute villages, polder landscape (with lots of Texel sheep) and the dunes. An itinerary you could do in a couple of hours (bike) time is:
    - Starting in ‘t Horntje: ferry harbour and pick up your bike
    - north along ‘De Rede’ and ‘Redoute’; visit Fortress ‘De Schans’ (‘Schansweg’); a little bit further along ‘Zuid Haffel’ you will find the Georgian Cemetery.
    - back and further till Oudeschild with its harbour, mill and museum.
    - further north along ‘IJsdijk’ and ‘Lageveld’ till Oosterend; a very authentic village with the impressive Maartenskerk and a nice square around the church.
    - 2 km’s north along the Waddensea you will find wind mill Het Noorden
    - from Oosterend to De Waal, the smallest village of the island with less than 100 houses
    - follow the signs for Den Burg, the ‘capital’ of Texel with a nice shopping area and cafes/restaurants
    - follow the signs for Den Hoorn with its remarkable church
    (from Den Hoorn you could make a detour to the dunes and beach)
    - return to ‘t Horntje

    Information
    Train Schagen - Den Helder: www.ns.nl
    Bus railway station - ferry: www.connexxion.nl
    Ferry Den Helder - Texel: www.teso.nl

    For more info and pics see my Texel page.

    Related to:
    • Cycling

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    Alkmaar - inevitable cheese market

    by vtveen Updated May 11, 2010
    Alkmaar - Waagplein with cheese market
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    When staying in Schagen on a Friday (April till September) you really should consider visiting the most famous cheese market of the Netherlands. We did it on our way home and made an extra stop (by train) in Alkmaar.
    This was a ‘new’ visit after about 30 years and we enjoyed it very much.

    Of course it is quite a touristy site and during our visit with splendid weather there were crowds in the city and especially on the Waagplein. There were rows of spectators, but with a little bit patience - perhaps 5 or 10 minutes - we got a place at the fence.

    We arrived at 10.45 am and the square in front of the beautiful weigh house had still a lot of cheeses (the later you come, the less cheeses are left !!). White dressed cheese carriers pick up 8 cheeses on a wooden barrow and are (almost) running - the cheese carriers dribble - with this rather heavy load of about 125 kilos to the Waag, where it is weighed on a special cheese scale. Once it is weighed the carriers bring the cheese to a vintage cart and from there it is transported to a modern truck, waiting in one of the side roads.

    If you do want to buy a (piece of) cheese it is possible from a cart on the square or in one of the stalls or shops around the cheese market. The Waaggebouw (Weigh House) houses also the Dutch Cheese Museum (www.kaasmuseum.nl).

    Information
    The cheese market takes place from the first Friday in April until the first Friday in September: 10.00 am - 12.30 pm. There are two verbal presentations to visitors, in Dutch, German, English and French.

    Alkmaar is situated about 20 km's south from Schagen; easy accessible by car but also by train as we did. Every half hour there is a train leaving from Schagen to Alkmaar for a 20 minutes ride.
    Once in the city center, follow the signs (or the crowds) to the cheese market, Waagplein, Alkmaar.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture

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Schagen Off The Beaten Path

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