With its distinctive wheel-like shape and fire-engine red rind, Edam is one of Amsterdam’s most famous exports, although the cheese looks a little different in its home town - here, the cheese has an uncharacteristic yellow rind. Edam isn’t just a cheese, though; it’s also the name of the town where it’s made, a waterside residence settled back in the 12th century. 18km north of Amsterdam, the town lies on the banks of the IJsselmeer (IJssel lake) and is reachable by boat, as well as being a popular destination for cheese-loving tour groups.
In the heart of town is the famous cheese market and cheese-weighing hall, an ancient tradition that was reopened in 1989 thanks to tourist demand. The market runs weekly through the summer months, with locals getting into the spirit with traditional costumes, live folk music and, of course, stalls stacked high with cheese. For the full experience, pay a visit to the region’s cheese and dairy farms where you can marvel at the cheese warehouses and enjoy cheese-making displays.
There are plenty of attractions in town aside from cheese, too – the Edam Museum, housed in an early 16th-century townhouse, offers historic snippets of the town’s whaling past and the teetering Carillon Tower (Speeltoren) with its picturesque gothic façade is worth a visit. Alternatively, take a stroll around Edam’s idyllic drawbridges, canal houses and pretty teahouses.