Edam is a small town in the Dutch province of North Holland. Its main claim to international fame is the Edam cheese, and many tourists come here to see the cheese market. The town has a picturesque town center that is well worth a visit.
Edam originated in the 13th century at a dam in the IJe or Ee river, from which the town derives it name. It became a chartered city in 1357, and from then on was a thriving harbour town on the former Zuiderzee, though it always remained rather small. The town´s cheese market gradually became its main reason of existence.
Today, Edam is twinned with neighbouring Volendam, although the inhabitants of both places still look at eachother with some suspicion. Edam traditionally was the more important town, with a predominantly Protestant population. Nowadays however, Roman-Catholic Volendam (technically still a village) has about 22,000 inhabitants, compared to only 7,500 for Edam.
The typical ball-shaped Edam cheese has been popular around the world since at least the 17th century. It is nowadays sold sealed in (usually red) parrafin wax, that makes it easy to take home as a souvenir. Most Edam cheese is 'young' cheese, very mild in taste, but you can buy aged, more distinctly flavoured varieties as well. Unlike in countries like France, Dutch cheeses don't have a certificate of origin, so Edam cheeses may in fact be produced all over the country, or even abroad. Only cheeses labeled Edam Holland are officially recognized by the European Commission, and may only be made in the Netherlands. The surrounding countryside of Edam still has some cheese farms producing Edam cheese, but the main production is now in cheese factories.
VVV tourist information office, Damplein (in the Town Hall), ☎ +31 299 31 51 25 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . 2 Jan - 22 Mar: Mo-Sa 10AM-3PM; 24 Mar - 25 Oct: Mo-Sa 10AM-5PM (July and August also Su 11AM-4PM); 27 Oct - 31 Dec: Mo 12AM-4PM, Tu-We-Th 10AM-3PM, Fr-Sa 10AM-4PM (30 Nov - 28 Dec 12AM-4PM). edit
Despite its small size, Edam has some interesting sights to offer. The town center is designated a Protected Cityscape, and looks very pretty with its narrow canals and old houses.
Cheese market, Jan van Nieuwenhuizenplein, . July and August: We 10-12:30AM. The original cheese market, held in Edam since the 16th century, was abolished in 1922. In 1989 it was re-installed for touristic purposes, and is now organized largely by volunteers. Although a bit of a, well, cheesy tourist attraction, the market is still fun to see. It has become a folkloristic event, with cheese bearers wearing traditional costumes, music and games. Explanations are given in English as well.Entrance free. edit
Edams Museum, Damplein 8 and 1 (annexe), ☎ +31 299 37 26 44, . Temporarily closed for renovations. The annexe is open. This museum is housed in the town's oldest brick house, built around 1540, and shows the interior of a 17th century house. On the first floor you will find an exhibition on Edam's history. Your entrance ticket is also valid for a visit to the nearby 18th century Town Hall, where you can see temporary exhibitions.€4. edit
Grote Kerk (Great Church), Grote Kerkstraat 57, . 1 Apr - 1 Oct: 1:30-5PM. The town's main church is dedicated to St. Nicholas, and was built in phases from the early 15th to 17th century.Entrance free. edit
Speeltoren (Carillon tower), Lingerzijde. This slim and slightly lopsided tower (a National Monument) is all that remains of the 14th century Onze-Lieve-Vrouwe-kerk (Church of Our Lady). Inside you will now find a photo gallery.edit
Kwakelbrug. Picturesque old wooden drawbridge (a National Monument), a good photo opportunity.edit
Zuidpoldermolen (windmill), Burg. Versteeghsingel 2. Not open to visitors. A windmill dating from 1670, originally built to drain the Zuidpolder. It is still operational, but only irregularly used.edit
City walk, Damplein 1, ☎ +31 299 31 51 25 (email@example.com), . Sa 2PM. The tourist office organizes a one-hour guided walk every Saturday, available in Dutch, English, German and French.Adults €4, children €2. edit
Het Geheim Van Edam, Spui 5, ☎ +31 299 37 10 70, . Tu-Sa 6PM-late; Su-Mo closed. This small and popular restaurant will not serve à la carte, but you will get to taste their Secret Menu, consisting of 5 small dishes. The place gets very good reviews.€35. edit
Restaurant & Pizzeria La Galera, Gevangenpoortsteeg 1, ☎ +31 299 37 19 71, . Opened daily; Summer 5-10PM; Winter 5-9PM. This restaurant offers a decent selection of Italian food. I you want to stay for a late night drink, you can visit the adjoining bar De Gevangenpoort. Menu available in English.Pizzas €6-11, pasta €11-12.50, mains €19.50-25.50. edit
De Prinsenbar, Prinsenstraat 8, ☎ +31 299 37 29 11, . Opened daily; Summer Mo-Th 11AM-1AM; Fr-Su 11AM-2AM; Winter Mo-Th 4PM-1AM; Fr-Su 4PM-2AM. Typical Dutch bar serving a range of club sandwiches and simple tasty dishes. The service is casual and friendly.Around €7. edit
Restaurant Jimmy Garden, Zuidervesting 5, ☎ +31 299 3 16 288, . We-Mo 1-10PM; Tu closed. Chinese-Indonesian restaurant and take-away, allegedly the best in town, serving the staple Chinese-Indonesian food that is still very popular with the Dutch, as well as more modern Asian fusion dishes.3 course menu €24.50, mains from €4.95; take-away menus from €13.50. edit
Restaurant & Hotel De Fortuna, Spuistraat 3, ☎ +31 299 37 16 71 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . This 3-star hotel has 24 rooms in 5 adjoining, ancient houses. It has a delightful garden and a good downstairs restaurant. The rooms can be noisy and some are a bit cramped, but the service is friendly and overall this is not a bad pick.Double room from €100, breakfast included. edit
l'Auberge Damhotel Edam, Keizersgracht 1, ☎ +31 299 37 17 66 (email@example.com), . This hotel and restaurant has 11 clean rooms, all with different, antique-style decorations. Some rooms are small but the lovely atmosphere makes up for that. Ask for a room on the front side, as they have better views and some of the ones in the back suffer from ventilation noises.Double room from €125, breakfast included. edit
Bed & Breakfast Edam, Jacob Tonissenstraat 12, ☎ +31 299 74 24 40, . This B&B has 3 rooms for 1, 2 or 3 people.Double room from €69 (high season) or €49 (low season); €7 surcharge for single-night stay. edit
Strandbad Camping, Zeevangszeedijk 7A (When approaching Edam from the N247, take the exit Edam-Noord and follow the signs to the camping), ☎ +31 299 37 19 94, . checkout: 11AM. This camping place is popular with families, as its location on the waterside allows for swimming and water sports. Bike rental available. It also has a pub-style restaurant with ditto food.Camping places from €5.75 + €3.70 per person + €1.50 tourist tax. Travellers' cabins for 3-4 persons €39.50. edit
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