Edam, The Netherlands

2019 HAL World Cruise

Friday, April 26, 2019

 

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!!!

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In Amsterdam, the cruise ships dock right in town. The train station is only a short walk away. Taxis are readily available. It is very easy to get around.
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Our tour bus passes the train station as we begin our excursion to Edam and the windmills of Zaanse-Schans.
On the road to Edam, we cross lowlands and canals.
On the road to Edam, we cross lowlands and canals.
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As we approached Edam, we started to see beautiful green fields with those black and white cows and lots of canals.
Canals make for pleasant waterside living.  And the homes in Edam are gorgeous!
Canals make for pleasant waterside living. And the homes in Edam are gorgeous!
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Crossing bridges is a way of life here. These small efficient bridges are everywhere.
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It’s a simple operation: call the operator; the chain is pulled; the entire bridge rises; boat passes; bridge is lowered; mechanism is locked into place; quick and done!
boat passes
boat passes
and the bridge comes back down
and the bridge comes back down
just lock it all into place.
just lock it all into place.
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On our way to the Cheese Market Square, we walked pass a very cute cheese shop. We all needed to by balls of cheese!!!
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I liked the size of these cheese wheels in the window. Ah but, they’re made of plastic and for display only! I wound up buying several smaller balls of Edam!!!
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Eventually, we made it to the old Cheese Market, the center of wholesale activity–kinda like a commodity exchange.
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Cheese would be brought to market on sledges, buyers would haggle with sellers for a mutually acceptable price.
Then the cheese would be weighed to determine the final cost.
Then the cheese would be weighed to determine the final cost.
Modern methods have made this all obsolete!!!
Modern methods have made this all obsolete!!!

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:

The park-village of Zaanse Schans is located on the bank of the River Zaan.
The park-village of Zaanse Schans is located on the bank of the River Zaan.
Here we visited a wooden shoe factory and museum.
Here we visited a wooden shoe factory and museum.
We saw how wooden shoes were once made by hand.
We saw how wooden shoes were once made by hand.
Then we saw how fast a machine could make them--about 5 minutes a shoe!!!!
Then we saw how fast a machine could make them–about 5 minutes a shoe!!!!
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They ream the interior of the shoe the same as the shell, The left arm copies the model, while the right arm follows the motion to clone the pattern. It only takes minutes to create a pair of shoes. Of course, the finishing details take some time.
The styles available are amazing!!!
The styles available are amazing!!!
Wooden shoe ice skates
Wooden shoe ice skates
Rooer skates.  How fun is this!!!
Roller skates. How fun is this!!!
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At the cheese hall we watched them make cheese. Today, they were making raw milk Gouda. We were reminded that unpasteurized cheese could not be taken into the U.S.
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And so, the Henri Willig Cheese from the Netherlands stays in the Netherlands!!!
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As we returned to the ship, we passed the old Dutch East Indies Company headquarters with a 3-masted schooner on display. I just had to take a picture of the beautiful building and the interesting replica!!!
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This sculpted mariner is on the dock in Amsterdam. Doesn’t he appear to be awaiting our return to the ship? Return we did. After dinner, we’ll be visiting the Rijks Museum for an elegant event hosted by HAL.

 

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!

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