Saturday 9th September is Open Monument Day (Open Monumentdag) in Alkmaar. Many of Alkmaar's monuments which are normally closed for the general public are open for everyone! Take a look at the Monument Day website for a list of which monuments are open.
So, which monuments will I be visiting? Top of my list this year is Piet’s Windmill (Molen van Piet). Apparently it is not for the faint of heart. You climb on old wooden steps, there are lots of mechanical workings and places where you feel like you can easily fall….but hey, it is not every day you get to go inside an 18th century windmill!
Another place I would love to see is the Hofje van Paling en Van Foreest. A hofje is an almshouse (a residence for elderly people created from a person’s assets). This hofje was built around 1522 and it has an inner courtyard that is normally closed to the public.
Other places worth a mention are the City Hall (Stadshuis) and the Accijnstoren. The City Hall is one of Alkmaar’s best known monuments. It has been expanded many times since it was built in 1520 and you can feel history oozing from each ornate room. It is much larger than you would expect and is a definite must see!
The Accijnstoren was the former tax collecting office for the ships arriving into Alkmaar. It dates back to 1622 when the ships would arrive at the small port, their goods would be checked and a duty levied before the ship was allowed to enter Alkmaar. If you are feeling brave, climb the ladder to the top where the old bell is. Just be careful coming down!
The monuments are open to everyone however some did require getting free tickets ahead of time. If you already have your ticket, then consider yourself lucky as they are all sold out!
Alkmaar Tours offers top rated Private and Small Group Tours of Alkmaar’s medieval centre and the famous Alkmaar Cheese Market! For more information on the different tours, please visit the Alkmaar Tours Website.