Edam is close to Amsterdam and is one of the oldest towns in Holland. Cheese lovers beware: Edam is famous for its Edam cheese.
Build in the Middle Ages on a strategic point between the sea and rivers, it was a crossroads on international trade routes. Edam quickly became a powerful town, with a deep harbor and many shipyards. Edam had a strong connection with water. That’s why the citizens of Edam for a long time opposed imperial plans to protect the land from the water and reclaim new land.
Dikes and levees
Afraid that Edam would lose its trading position and fishing grounds, the locals destroyed newly build dams and locks. Only after heavy flooding and lots of casualties the Edammer people realized that the only way to survive in low Holland is by building dikes. And lots of them. Though these old dikes are merged in the modern landscape now, our guides love to point them out!
The harbor indeed silted up, so at the beginning of the 16th century Edam was given market rights by emperor Charles V. Market right were quite a big deal back then, so Edam quickly made fame as a market town. This weekly market is still a tradition in July and August. It has been held for nearly 500 years now, making it one of the most ancient markets in Europe.
Of course the big star of this market is Edam cheese. The cheese is brought to the market by local cheese makers on rafts. The cheese is then lifted out of the boats and carried to the market by sledges. Then the haggling begins, between the producers and merchants, until they agree on a price. Together with Gouda, Edam cheese is the most famous type of ‘Dutch gold’. The bowlingbal sized, hard round cheeses that put Edam on the map are exported all over the world. An Edam cheese is covered with parafine, which makes it waterproof. Edam cheese doesn’t age and even after a couple of years it’s still as fresh as when you bought it. On our Amsterdam windmill tour we visit a real Edam cheese farm where the local producers show us how Edam cheese is made. In summertime we try to include the Edam market itself in our itinerary.
|Country name||The Netherlands|