Edam is a cute little town juts north of Amsterdam. It has some very nice canals, and it is a nice place to rent a boat and go boating on the IJsselmeer.
Edam has a rich history as a port and trade centre for cheese. Cheese from the North Holland region has been sold as far away as the Southern Netherlands (roughly equivalent to modern-day Belgium, French Flanders and Luxembourg) for centuries.
Today the BeemsterKaas dairy factory, located in this area, produces cheese of superior quality the same way as in days of old, like BeemsterKaas. This cheese with its relatively low salt content and full, creamy flavour is not just popular in the Netherlands, but in many other countries as well. The polder landscape surrounding the town, with its rich soil and salty sea wind, is ideal for keeping cattle. This is partly why this region has excelled in cheese-making for centuries.
Edam was granted the right to hold a free market in 1520 by the Hapsburg emperor Charles V. 50 years later, Prince William of Orange was to grant right of Cheese weighing house in perpetuity. The present weighing house was built in 1778 and cheese markets were always held until 1922. However, the appearance of cheese factories signalled the end of the farm cheese markets.
Tradition lives on in the modern-day Edam cheese markets. The well-known round cheese sold at the cheese markets, was already known in the 15th century and was shipped out of Edam hence its title of Edam cheese.
The Cheese Market can be found at the Jan van Nieuwenhuizen Square, the former cheese market of Edam.
Every year there are 8 morning markets and 1 beautifully lit evening market with a big flee market.
The Edam Cheese Markets Foundation is a non-commercial and non-professional organisation with more then ninety volunteers.
Edam is a nice daytrip from Amsterdam, and can be combined with either Volendam, Alkmaar or Hoorn.