Andrew and I made sure to visit the Alkmaar Cheese Market before leaving the Netherlands. Historically, cheese was brought to this square, weighed and then sold. Once a week, the town puts on a show and the process is described in detail, including young Dutch girls and boys dressed in traditional outfits selling hunks of cheese to all the watching tourists.
The town is also filled with stalls for market day, selling everything from Dutch novelties (like wooden shoes) and antiques to cheese, sausage and fried dough.
Once the cheese market closed, the square was filled with cafe tables and chairs for the surrounding eateries. Of course, I chose the meal that featured local cheese!
After visiting Alkmaar, we jumped in the car to head to Hoorn, located on the northeastern side of the country on the Markermeer lake. Along the way, Andrew stopped to photograph a roadside windmill:
Hoorn is home to the Westfries Museum, dedicated to Dutch history and life. I really enjoyed the variety of items on display, from paintings to room re-creations to a display on spices (re: DUTCH East India Company).
After grabbing a quick drink on the square, we took a walk around town to the water: