The charming Dutch town of Edam is known worldwide for its famous Edam cheese. Explore the wonderful 17th century architecture with step-gabled rooftops, old cobblestone streets and squares, canals, bridges and cheese warehouses.
Edam is located in North Holland, on the banks of the IJsselmeer river and not far from Amsterdam.
Top things to do in Edam
- Take a historic walking tour (offered for a fee) from Edam Tourist Information Centre.
- Stroll along the cobblestone streets and alleyways on your own.
- Either take a canal tour or rent a canoe or small electric-powered boat.
- If you visit on a Wednesday during the summer, go to the morning Cheese Market. The market runs from 10:30 am – 12:30 pm.
- Discover one of the largest churches in the Netherlands. The Great Church has been standing on the same spot since the early 15th century. Lightening strikes to the church tower are said to have caused extensive fires in Edam in 1602 and 1699. It has impressive 17th century stained glass windows. The church is open to visitors from April through October.
- Listen for the bells of the leaning Carillon tower. The tower was once part of a large gothic Church of Our Dear Lady. The clockworks in the tower are the oldest in the Netherlands. The bells were designed in 1566. The bells usually chime at every quarter of the hour.
- Taste cheese and learn about the history of cheesemaking at the Cheese Weigh House. Built in 1788, it is open daily from April-September.
- The Dam Square, laid in 1624, is the centre of town.
- The Dam bridge was built in 1544. Its lock gates were removed in 1829.
- Edam City Hall dates from 1737 and was built mostly in Louis XIV style.
- The Edam Museum is housed in the oldest brick house of Edam, dating from about 1540. It features a floating cellar.
- Taste more cheese in 18th century restored cheese warehouses. Since 1916, Gestam has been storing, packing and exporting cheese.
- The area was first settled by fishermen and farmers in the 12th century.
- The first dam was built in 1230.
- Edam was once home to about 33 shipyards.
- Many famous ships have been built here. One of these was explorer Henry Hudson’s ship, the Half Moon.
- Edam cheese today is different from the original recipe. It is no longer made from whole milk, contains less fat content and doesn’t have as strong a flavour.
- The Great Church is one of the largest churches in the Netherlands. The Great Church, also known as Saint Nicholas Church, reduced the height of its church tower to avoid future lightning strike.
- The leaning Carillon tower clockworks are the oldest in the Netherlands.
- Cheese is still stored in traditional cheese warehouses to mature.
- Beautiful hollyhocks bloom during the summer months.
Edam is located about 23 km or 35 minutes drive from Amsterdam.
Consider a great day trip from Amsterdam, to also combine a visit to Volendam (8 kms from Edam) and Zaanse Schans (25 kms further).
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