Top 10 attractions

There is plenty to see and do in Alkmaar all year round! Check out our top 10 highlights that should not be missed during your visit to Alkmaar.

Tourist Information

​Discover what you can see and do in Alkmaar

Be surprised by these special events, activities and cultural must-visits of Alkmaar. All in the beautiful, historic city center. Enjoy these highlights!

Cheese market

Thousands of visitors from all over the world come to Alkmaar especially for the cheese market. It is therefore a special spectacle with a square full of cheese and lugging cheese carriers. In 1365 Alkmaar had weighing rights and one scale, but in 1612 there were already four. When the first real cheese market took place is shrouded in mystery. Old documents have been found on which it is clear that in 1622 the cheese market took place with certainty, but there is also evidence that in 1593 the cheese carriers' guild was founded; from this we can conclude that there must have been a cheese market even then.

There is a cheese market during the months of April through September every Friday from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.

In the months of July and August, in addition to Fridays, an extra Cheese Market takes place on Tuesday evenings from 19:00 to 21:00.

Waagplein and the Waagtoren

The Waagplein with the Waagtoren is the eye-catcher of the center of Alkmaar. On the Waagplein, the Kaasmarkt (Cheese Market) takes place every Friday morning from March to September. In addition, the finest terraces await you the rest of the days. The Waagtoren, also known as the Waaggebouw, stands at the Waagplein. 

The Waag was originally built as a Heilige Geestgasthuis with a chapel. The guesthouse served as a hospital for the poor and pilgrims could spend the night there on their way through. The building was converted into the Waag in the 16th century. The Waagplein grew over the centuries. In the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, several residential houses were demolished to enlarge the market area.

It currently houses the Alkmaar Store and the Cheese Museum.

Cheese museum

Here you will learn all about the entire process from cow to cheese in an interactive way. The Cheese Museum is located in the Waaggebouw on the Waagplein. 

For children there is a lot to see and experience in the Cheese Museum. For example, they can do a treasure hunt that teaches them all kinds of things about cheese. Through touch screens, films and games they experience the entire museum in a surprising way.

In the cheese museum you can learn everything about cheese, but also about the cheese city and cheese heads. So do you want to know more about cheese and everything that comes with it? Come to the tastiest museum in Alkmaar!

Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar

For anyone who wants to experience and discover the history and art of Alkmaar, a visit to the Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar is an absolute must. You will find interactive exhibits with collections of ancient and early modern (painting) art. In addition, you can view a presentation of the Bergen School collection. The Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar has something for everyone and is therefore suitable for a wide audience.

See which exhibition is currently on display on the Stedelijk Museum website.

Grote Sint-Laurens church

The Great St. Laurens Church in Alkmaar is the largest church in North Holland above the North Sea Canal. The church began as a Catholic building designed by the Keldermans family.

Many art treasures were lost during the Iconoclasm in 1566, and during the Spanish siege in 1572, the church silver was melted down to finance William of Orange's battle. The Reformed service brought new interior pieces back into the church, such as the pulpit, the men's pews and the large copper candle crowns.

Since the Reformation in 1573, the church became the center of Protestant worship. Both religions have left many traces: this makes the church extra special. Works of art such as the famous vault painting The Last Judgment by Van Oostsanen, paintings by Van Everdingen and a brand new permanent exhibition on the impressive history of the church adorn the Great St. Lawrence Church. The church also has two, world-famous organs: the Van Covelens organ (also called the Choir organ) and the Van Hagerbeer/Schnitger or Grote organ.

Discover Alkmaar from the water

Akmaar is bursting with beautiful canals. The city can be admired very well from the water. Now all you have to do is choose, take a boat tour or do you prefer to sail yourself?

From April through October, a boat departs every hour Monday through Saturday. Between May and September it is also possible to take a canal cruise on Sundays. The canal cruise departs from the Mient and passes many beautiful places and hotspots in Alkmaar.

Would you rather sail through the canals of Alkmaar yourself? Of course you can! Then rent a boat from one of the boat rental companies in Alkmaar and go exploring by yourself.


Alkmaar has been in the top 10 shopping cities of the Netherlands for years. The cozy and historic city center lends itself well to a day of shopping. Along the main streets you will find a wide range of well-known chain stores.

Alkmaar has two main streets in the center where many large stores are located, find out here which ones these are. But don't hesitate to pop into a side street to visit one of the Alkmaar boutiques.  Check out the original stores here. There are also several shopping areas outside the city center, such as shopping center de Mare or de Hoef.

City Walk and hidden courtyards

If you are in Alkmaar, don't miss the hidden courtyards. Alkmaar has no less than eight courtyards, most of which are still inhabited. In the Hof van Sonoy you can enjoy a terrace. Or take a look inside one of the stores located there. People still live in the other hofjes.

These hidden gems are oases of tranquility in the middle of the city. According to some people, the hofjes are also the best kept secret of Alkmaar. Come and discover it for yourself!

Besides the almshouses, you can discover much more of Alkmaar on foot. For example, discover the city during a city walk or take the city as your starting point and walk through the surroundings of Alkmaar. 

Set out on your own or get informed at the Alkmaar Store. View the VVV walking maps here.

Huis met de Kogel

This house owes its name to the bullet that entered the house during the Siege of Alkmaar. The bullet was later placed in the left corner of the facade by the moat. An account of the repair costs has been preserved; the account mentions "a gatt" in the house after an impact of a Spanish cannonball. When the house was built is not known. It is suspected that it was built shortly before the siege of Alkmaar (1573).

The House with the Bullet is one of two remaining wooden houses in Alkmaar. A fun fact is that the bottom is narrower than the top. Why? Because a smaller floor plan meant the homeowner was going to pay less taxes. The building is made entirely of wood except for one wall.

National Beer Museum

Beer has been the most popular alcoholic beverage in our regions for several thousand years. But how is it brewed? What is malting and why is yeast so important? You can learn all that and much more at Nationaal Biermuseum De Boom - where, of course, you can try some tasty treats after your visit.

The museum is located in the historic building of former brewery De Boom, near Alkmaar's famous cheese market. It opened in April 1987 and has already welcomed many Dutch and foreign guests. Management and organization is entirely by volunteers.