Cheese trading started in Alkmaar in 1365, and at that time the city owned only one set of scales.
The bell rings at 10am every Friday for the start of the market, where thousands of kilo’s of cheese are sold every week.
The cheese is inspected and tested by inserting a special cheese scoop into it. It must smell and taste perfect before it is sold.
The auction starts where bidders clap their hands to bid, and the last clapper is the winner.
Then the cheese carriers come in and load the cheese onto their barrow, each cheese weighs about 13.5 kg, and they load 10 cheeses at a time.
They walk with a special ‘dribble’ a particular walk/run to make sure the barrow hangs still.
We caught a canal boat from right out front of our camping spot into Alkmaar, then he took us on a windmill tour on the way back later in the afternoon.
I thought that windmills only ground flour, how wrong was I!
They are used to pumpwater, an important job here in Holland, but they can also used to make paint, mustard, paper and as a saw mills., and loads more. You can probably bet which one Brian wanted to go into.
Claude Monet was fascinated by this area and produced 25 or so paintings of the region, The Voorzaan and the Westerhem being the most well known.