Just a short drive northeast of Amsterdam are the villages of Edam, Marken and Volendam, collectively known as Waterland. This is the Dutch countryside—filled with tulips, red-brick houses, quaint waterways, ubiquitous canals and lots of black and white cows! We signed up for a ship’s tour to Edam, famous for its cheese. Cheese has been the primary resource of Edam’s economy since the 16th century. The weekly cheese market was established in 1526 and continued until 1922. The cheese brought to market by local farmers on little boats would be carried to the market on cheese sledges. There, the cheese would be inspected by merchants, tested for quality, haggled over, purchased and taken to warehouses to finish aging. This process is now modernized and efficiently commercial but since 1989, the town of Edam has re-enacted the cheese market for tourists every Wednesday in July and August. We did not see a re-enactment, but we did visit the market museum. And, of course, we bought lots of cheese!!!
As a bonus, we stopped at Zaanse-Schans, a park-like village along the Zaan River with green wooden houses, small gardens and canals, lump-backed bridges, windmills, tradesmen’s workshops and quaint shops. We took far too many photos! Every blink of the eye brought a photo-worthy sight into focus!!! Take a look:
After our day in the Dutch countryside, we returned to the ship for dinner and, later, an elegant evening at the Rijks Museum. I’ll tell you all about it in the next post!