Edam Tourist Attractions
The historic old town of Edam, in the polder area on the IJsselmeer, is world famed for its round red and yellow Edam cheeses as well as the historic structures in the city centre.
The cheese market was revived in 1989, mainly for tourists to enjoy, and is held every Wednesday in July and August. The inhabitants live by industry, agriculture, stock-farming and fishing.Edam grew up around a dam on the Ee, which linked the little river Purmer with the Zuiderzee. When the damming of the rivers flowing into the Zuiderzee began in 1230 a settlement was established for the transshipment of goods, and when tolls began to be levied it developed into a trading town. Edam received its municipal charter in 1357. Its heyday was in the 16th century, when shipbuilding, herring fishing and the cheese trade brought the town prosperity. The warships with which Admiral de Ruyter defeated the British fleet were built in the Edam shipyards. In 1573 William of Orange granted the town the right to have a weigh-house in recognition of its valor and the part it played during the siege of Alkmaar.
The Grote Kerk or St Nicolaaskerk in Grote Kerkstraat is a Late Gothic hall-church with a 15th century tower and beautiful 17th century stained glass. The furnishings of the church also date mainly from the 17th century.
The Town Hall (Stadhuis), on Damplein, with its domed timber tower, was built in 1737. The floor of the registry office is still strewn with sand, as in the Middle Ages. There is a small collection of pictures in the very fine Council Chamber.
Opposite the Town Hall is the Damsluis. The bridge over the sluice has fine Late Gothic iron railings.
The 15th century tower of the old Church of Our Lady (destroyed) in Edam has the oldest carillon in the Netherlands (1560).
The Municipal Museum (Stedelijk Museum) at Damplein 8 occupies a house dating from 1540, with a beautiful facade of 1737. It has a curious floating cellar in the form of a boat. The most striking items in the museum are the paintings of three local characters - the "Fat Man" (who is said to have weighed 445 pounds), the "Man with a Beard" and the "Big Girl" (depicted life-size, 2.5m/8ft2.5in tall).
Address: Postbus 174, Edam, Noord-Holland 1135 ZL, Netherlands
In the Weigh-House (Waag) in the Kaasmarkt in Edam, the original weights can still be seen.
The water between the two bridges in Spuistraat is known as the boerenverdriet ("farmers' sorrow") because the farmers' boats often get stuck here. In July and August there are boat trips in the IJsselmeer.
The famous Edam cheeses are brought to market in boats of traditional type and carried to the weigh-house, which dates from 1778, by porters in period costume.
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