Alkmaar Tours Blog

October 4, 2019

It’s tulip time!  No, not to see tulips blooming in the fields…but to plant them! 😊

It is no secret that I love tulips.  I recently bought several hundred tulip bulbs (even though I don’t actually have a garden...whoops) simply because I was seduced by all the pretty photos of tulips on the packaging.  But where do these tulip bulbs come from?  Well, let me tell you.

Many people think that the tulips growing in the fields are the flowers that are sold in  florists, supermarkets and markets – but that is not true!  The tulips in the fields are not grown for the flowers, but for the bulbs!  (See my other blog post to see how the cut tulips are grown).

Just like you would do at home, farmers plant the bulbs in the autumn for spring flowering.  However, the difference here is that bulb farmers are plant...

February 1, 2019

January isn’t my favourite month.  It’s cold, the wind picks up and its grey.  Very, very grey.  But, as the month goes on, I start to notice the days are getting just that little bit longer.  The florists and market sellers have spring flowers in little pots and tulips and daffodils are for sale.  Spring is coming! 

And with spring comes my absolute favourite time of year in the Netherlands…..tulip season!  I get so excited when I find that first field of flowers.  Last year, it was a field of tete-a-tete daffodils.  I could see the yellow glowing through the leaf-less trees.  Then of course comes the hyacinths which perfume the air so thickly that you can smell them before you can see them!  And then….tulips! 

Nothing is more amazing than seeing a tulip field in ful...

July 10, 2018

There has been a Cheese Market on Friday mornings in Alkmaar for as long as most people can remember. And the details of the Friday market have been posted in every guidebook and on every website, so it is no secret why the Friday market attracts about 6000 visitors every week.  6000!  That is a lot of people.

However what is not so well known is the Tuesday evening Cheese Market.  This is only the second year that there will be a market on Tuesday evenings and this year (2018) it is every Tuesday evening in July and August from 7pm – 9pm.  Last Tuesday was the first one and it was considerably quieter than the Friday market.  Plus the restaurants on the square have seating along one side of the market so you can watch the market with a comfy seat and a drink in hand!  Or why not come a little earlier and ha...

June 13, 2018

You know those guys in white who do that funny little shuffle and carry cheese at the Alkmaar Cheese Market?  Well, on 17th June 2018 the Alkmaar Cheese Carriers are celebrating 425 years since the creation of the Cheese Carrier’s Guild!  That’s a whole lot of history and tradition!

And how do you think the Cheese Carriers will be celebrating? With cheese of course! A giant record breaking cheese tasting has been organised for 750 people on the Waagplein in Alkmaar (the current record is 561 tasters).

In order to participate, you must register ahead of time here.  There is even a kids zone for the smaller cheese eaters among you!  How many times can you say you were a part of a record breaking event?  So don’t delay and REGISTER!

See you there!

Alkmaar Tours offers Alkmaar Cheese Market Tours as well...

June 6, 2018

It is no secret that Alkmaar is known for its Friday Cheese Market.  It is a fabulous attraction and nearly 170 000 people visited the Cheese Market in 2017.  That’s a lot of people!  But did you know that there is also a Tuesday evening Cheese Market in July and August? 

This is the second year that a Tuesday evening Cheese Market will take place.  But unlike last year, this year it will be every Tuesday in July and August from 7pm – 9pm.  It’s a great idea and it is well worth visiting on a Tuesday as the market is quieter than on a Friday.  It also means that you can spend the day in Alkmaar enjoying this charming Dutch city!  Why not check out the unique shops in the Old Town, stop and have a bite to eat at Soepp, head to Suzette Creperie Bar for some poffertjes (little Dutch pan...

June 1, 2018

Have you every wanted to travel back in time?  Well, make sure you are in Alkmaar this weekend

(June 2nd & 3rd 2018) and you can travel back in time to the year 1573 with the annual Kaeskoppenstad festival!

The Kaeskoppenstad is probably the coolest festival Alkmaar has.  The amount of effort that goes into making our little town look like a medieval village is staggering.  And it is well done, really well done and is an absolute must see!

The heart of Alkmaar is transformed to look like a medieval village with hundreds of actors portraying everything from plague victims to beggars to peddlars and musicians.  Wander along the straw lined streets of the festival and experience what life was like hundreds of years ago.  Even kids will enjoy this as there are games, shows and demonstrations.  And kids who like a...

May 18, 2018

Get out your calendar and mark this down - the Alkmaar Pride Parade is on 26th May 2018!  If you haven’t been to a Pride Parade, then you are missing out.  The canals come alive with boat after boat of brightly decorated (and usually rather interesting) people celebrating LGBT and life in general.  Think lots of balloons, flowers, LOUD music and costumes.  You might even get lucky and catch a thrown lolly or flower.  It is a great atmosphere and definitely not to be missed!   (BTW this boat won the award for best boat last year.  It was definitey the best one!)

The Alkmaar Pride Parade is on 26th May, 2018 and will travel along the Alkmaar’s canals between 2pm - 4pm.  Check out the map below for a detailed route.  Be there or be square! 

For a full program of activites...

May 15, 2018

The Alkmaar Cheese Carrier’s Guild is celebrating 425 years this year (wow!) and to commemorate it, they have made a funky birthday calendar.  What is a birthday calendar you ask?  A birthday calendar is not like a regular calendar that is tied to a particular year, but instead is a perpetual calendar where you can record the birthdays of your friends and family (cool idea, eh?).  Birthdays are a big deal in the Netherlands and this is why birthday calendars are so important; you certainly wouldn’t want to be that one person who forgot Kees’ birthday. 

You may also be wondering where you keep this unique calendar.  Take a guess….it is somewhere you spend time in every day.  The kitchen?  The living room?  The bedroom? Nope.  The bathroom/toilet.  You can check out all the upcoming birthdays while y...

May 10, 2018

Grachtenrondvaart Alkmaar (Canal Boat Tours Alkmaar) is celebrating their 70th anniversary with free boat tours and poffertjes (little Dutch pancakes) on 27th May 2018.  Did I get your attention?  Good!  Now read on....

This family run Alkmaar business welcomes over 40 000 visitors on their boats every year.  They are even #1 for tours on Trip Advisor (Alkmaar Tours is 2nd, but I’m ok with that!). 

The boat tour is fun – I have done it loads over the few years I have lived in Alkmaar!  You sail on an open boat along old canals and past beautiful buildings.  The boat sails in most weather and you will soon see why you can’t have the larger covered boats in the city centre:  some of the bridges you go under are so low that you actually look at them and think that there is no way a boat that big will...

April 10, 2018

We've had some cold, cold weather here in the Netherlands.  Remember all those photos of people skating on frozen Amsterdam canals?  Well, the weather is finally warming up here and that can only mean one thing - the spring flowers are blooming!  Hooray!

I have been out every few days scoping out the fields, peering down at small sad little plants and wondering if they will ever bloom.  I was starting to think it was going to be May before we saw anything.  But then I went out today and TA-DAAAAAAH!  We have flowers!  Can I just say how amazing it is to see fields in full bloom?  I get excited every time I come across a new field.  No two are the same. I don't think that there is anything better than cycling along the flowering fields in the warm sunshine.  It is definitely the Netherlands at its finest...

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Alkmaar, the Netherlands  |  Tel: +31 (0)6 11486998

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