Alkmaar [ˈɑl(ə)kmaːr] (listen) is a city and municipality in the Netherlands, located in the province of North Holland. Alkmaar is well known for its traditional cheese market. For tourists, it is a popular cultural destination.

De Bierkade
De Bierkade
Flag of Alkmaar

Coat of arms of Alkmaar

Coat of arms
Location in North Holland
Location in North Holland
Alkmaar is located in Netherlands
Location in the Netherlands
Coordinates: 52°38′N 4°45′E / 52.633°N 4.750°ECoordinates: 52°38′N 4°45′E / 52.633°N 4.750°E
Country Netherlands
Province North Holland
 • BodyMunicipal council
 • MayorPiet Bruinooge (CDA)
 • Total31.20 km2 (12.05 sq mi)
 • Land29.26 km2 (11.30 sq mi)
 • Water1.94 km2 (0.75 sq mi)
Elevation1 m (3 ft)
 (April 2016)[4]
 • Total107,822
 • Density3,713/km2 (9,620/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Area code072
Old Alkmaar plaque, Amsterdam Museum
Old Alkmaar plaque, Amsterdam Museum


The earliest mention of the name Alkmaar is in a 10th-century document. As the village grew into a town, it was granted city rights in 1254. The oldest part of Alkmaar lies on an ancient sand bank that afforded some protection from inundation during medieval times. Even so, it is only a couple of metres above the surrounding region, which consists of some of the oldest polders in existence. Older spellings include Alckmar.[5]

Siege of Alkmaar

In 1573 the city underwent a siege by Spanish forces under the leadership of Don Fadrique, son of the Duke of Alva. The citizens sent urgent messages for help to the Prince of Orange; he responded by promising to open the floodgates of the dykes and flood the region if the need arose, which despite the protestations of the peasantry, fearful for their harvest, he proceeded to do.

Some of his dispatches fell into the hands of Don Fadrique, and, with the waters beginning to rise, the Spaniards raised the siege and fled. It was a turning point in the Eighty Years War and gave rise to the expression Bij Alkmaar begint de victorie ("Victory begins at Alkmaar"). The event is still celebrated every year in Alkmaar on 8 October, the day the siege ended.

Since the French Revolutionary Wars

In 1799, during the French Revolutionary Wars, an Anglo-Russian expeditionary force captured the city but was ultimately defeated in the Battle of Castricum. After that battle, on 18 October 1799, the two opposing sides held the Convention of Alkmaar which met to determine the fate of the defeated Anglo-Russian force. The French victory was commemorated on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris as "Alkmaer".

The North Holland Canal, opened in 1824, was dug through Alkmaar. In 1865 and 1867 the railways between Alkmaar and Den Helder and between Alkmaar and Haarlem were built respectively.

In the second half of the 20th century, Alkmaar expanded quickly with development of new neighbourhoods. On 1 October 1972, the town of Oudorp and the southern portions of Koedijk and Sint Pancras were added to the municipality of Alkmaar.[6]

Population centres

Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
Source: Lourens & Lucassen 1997, pp. 54–55

The municipality of Alkmaar historically consists of the following cities, towns, villages and districts: Alkmaar, Bergermeer, Daalmeer, De Hoef, De Horn, De Nollen, Het Rak, Huiswaard, Koedijk (southeastern part), Overdie, Oudorp and Omval. On 1 January 2015 the municipalities of Graft-De Rijp and Schermer were merged into Alkmaar. The historical village of De Rijp is thus since a part of Alkmaar.

These once separate villages are now all linked together by the suburban sprawl of buildings that arose between the late 1970s and early 1990s. During this time, the population of Alkmaar almost doubled.

Local government

The municipal council of Alkmaar consists of 39 seats, which are divided as follows after the 2018 elections:[7]


North gable of the Beer Museum in Alkmaar
North gable of the Beer Museum in Alkmaar

The A9 motorway runs from Amsterdam to Alkmaar, then continues on to Den Helder as the N9.

There are direct trains to Den Helder, Hoorn, Zaandam, Amsterdam, Utrecht, Ede, Arnhem, Nijmegen, 's-Hertogenbosch, Eindhoven, Maastricht and Haarlem. For exact details see Alkmaar railway station.

Alkmaar has two railway stations:

The waterway Noordhollandsch Kanaal, which opened in 1824, runs through Alkmaar. As of 2017. it can be crossed (among other ways) using two of the five operating vlotbruggen, Koedijkervlotbrug and Rekervlotbrug.

Main sights

Alkmaar - Luttik Oudorp lente
City centre
Cheese market

Alkmaar has many medieval buildings that are still intact, most notably the tall tower of the Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk, where many people from Alkmaar hold their wedding ceremony. The other main attraction, especially in the summer months, is Alkmaar's cheese market at the Waagplein, one of the country's most popular tourist attractions. The cheese market traditionally takes place on the first Friday in April and the last market of the season is the first Friday in September. Every Friday morning (10:00–12:30) the Waagplein is the backdrop for this traditional cheese market. After the old-fashioned way of the hand clap, traders and carriers will weigh the cheeses. It is one of only four traditional Dutch cheese markets still in existence. The traditional fare of this cheese market is those cheeses made in the local area, as opposed to the well-known brands of Dutch cheeses, including the Edam and Gouda cheeses. It is not actually possible to buy cheese at the market itself, which is really only a demonstration of how this merchants' market operated in times gone by. However, the demonstration, which takes place in front of the medieval weighing house, is surrounded by many specialized stalls where it is possible to buy all kinds of cheese (and non-cheese) related products. The Waag is also home to the local tourist office and a cheese museum. Alkmaar has 399 registered rijksmonuments, of which most are situated along the city's old canals.[8]

Alkmaar has two large theatres and a big cinema (which was originally two cinemas). A red light district is situated at the Achterdam, and Alkmaar has a nightlife scene as well which takes place in the pubs in front of the cheesemarket. Every year, at the end of May Alkmaar hosts the four-day event Alkmaar Pride, which has a canal pride parade on Saturday.[9]



Rechtestraat, De Rijp, Netherlands - panoramio (23)

De Rijp

Alkmaar, toren van het stadhuis RM7282 foto5 2014-12-26 11.41

Townhall tower

Kennemerstraatweg 118-126, Alkmaar


Alkmaar, de Mient bij het Biermuseum RM7221 foto3 2014-12-26 11.24

De Mient near the Biermuseum

De Rijp Panorama 2

Grote Dam

Alkmaar, straatzicht De Laat met de voormalige Domuskerk foto7 2014-12-26 11.52

View to a street: De Laat with its former church


Alkmaar is home to the professional football team AZ (Alkmaar Zaanstreek). In 2006, the club moved to a new 17,000 capacity stadium, the DSB Stadion, now named the AFAS Stadion. In 2008–2009, AZ won the Eredivisie, the Dutch football league. It was the second league title for the club after the Eredivisie in 1980/81 with only one league defeat.

The city also has a velodrome where the Dutch national track cycling championships are held every year.

Notable residents

Cheesemuseum in the Alkmaar Waagbuilding 1582 - panoramio
Weighing house (Waag) and cheese museum
Topographic map of Alkmaar, Sept. 2014

Twin towns—sister cities

Alkmaar is twinned with:


  1. ^ "College van burgemeester en wethouders" [Board of mayor and aldermen] (in Dutch). Gemeente Alkmaar. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
  2. ^ "Kerncijfers wijken en buurten" [Key figures for neighbourhoods]. CBS Statline (in Dutch). CBS. 2 July 2013. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  3. ^ "Postcodetool for 1815AG". Actueel Hoogtebestand Nederland (in Dutch). Het Waterschapshuis. Archived from the original on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
  4. ^ "Bevolkingsontwikkeling; regio per maand" [Population growth; regions per month]. CBS Statline (in Dutch). CBS. 27 October 2017. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  5. ^ Amsterdam Museum, Amsterdam
  6. ^ Ad van der Meer and Onno Boonstra, Repertorium van Nederlandse gemeenten, KNAW, 2006.
  7. ^
  8. ^ nl:Lijst van rijksmonumenten in Alkmaar.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Städtepartnerschaften und Internationales". Büro für Städtepartnerschaften und internationale Beziehungen (in German). Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  11. ^ "Bath's Twinning Associations". The Mayor of Bath. Archived from the original on 17 May 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
  12. ^ "Town Twinning". Bath and North East Somerset Council. Archived from the original on 27 October 2007. Retrieved 12 December 2007.


  • Lourens, Piet; Lucassen, Jan (1997). Inwonertallen van Nederlandse steden ca. 1300–1800. Amsterdam: NEHA. ISBN 9057420082.

External links

AFAS Stadion

AFAS Stadion, formerly called DSB Stadion is a stadium in Alkmaar, Netherlands. It is used for football matches and is the home stadium of AZ. The stadium is able to hold 17,023 people and it officially opened on August 4, 2006 with a friendly against Arsenal. AZ lost the match 3–0, with Gilberto Silva scoring the stadium's first ever goal. The first Eredivisie game against NAC Breda was won 8–1 by the home team with the German midfielder Simon Cziommer scoring a hat-trick.

AFAS Stadion replaces the club's former ground, Alkmaarder Hout. The main stand is called Victorie Tribune, the stand with the fanatic supporters is called Van der Ben Tribune (Ben-Side), the stand behind the other goal is called the Alkmaarderhouttribune, in honour of the former stadium, and the stand opposite to the main stand is called Molenaar Tribune after the brothers Cees and Klaas Molenaar, founders of AZ. The official name is AFAS Stadion, but some supporters call it Victorie Stadion, a name that alludes to the turning point victory over Spanish troops besieging Alkmaar during the Eighty Years' War.

In order to further grow the club's budget the AZ Board made the decision to increase the stadium's capacity to 30,000 seats. This was to be achieved by adding a second tier to 3 of the 4 stands, leaving the main stand (The Victorie Tribune) as is. Construction was to begin in the second half of 2010. Construction never got underway though, as the club's main sponsor, and one of the main financial contributors to the project, DSB Bank, went bankrupt shortly before work was to get underway, and as of 2017 the capacity remains at 17,023.

AZ Alkmaar

Alkmaar Zaanstreek ([ˈɑlkmaːr ˈzaːnstreːk]), better known as AZ Alkmaar or simply AZ (Dutch pronunciation: [aːˈzɛt]), is a Dutch professional football club from Alkmaar and the Zaanstreek. The club plays in the Eredivisie, the highest professional football league in the Netherlands, and hosts home matches at the AFAS Stadion.

AZ has won the Eredivisie twice, in 1980–81 and 2008–09. In the same season as their first league title, they also reached the UEFA Cup Final, which they lost to Ipswich Town. In addition, the team has won the KNVB Cup on four occasions.

Barry Hughes

Barry Hughes (31 December 1937 – 2 June 2019) was a Welsh professional football player and manager, active primarily in the Netherlands.


A COROP region is a division of the Netherlands for statistical purposes, used by Statistics Netherlands, among others. The Dutch abbreviation stands for Coördinatiecommissie Regionaal Onderzoeksprogramma, literally the Coordination Commission Regional Research Programme. These divisions are also used in the EU designation as NUTS 3.

Cornelis Berkhouwer

Cornelis "Cees" Berkhouwer (Dutch pronunciation: [kɔrˈneːlɪs ˈbɛrkˌɦʌu̯ər], 19 March 1919, Alkmaar – 5 October 1992, Alkmaar) was a Dutch politician.

He was a Member of the European Parliament between 1964 and 1984, for the Dutch People's Party for Freedom and Democracy, which sat as part of the Liberal Democrat group in the Parliament. Between 13 March 1973 and 10 March 1975, he served as President of the European Parliament.

Georg Keßler

Georg Kessler (born 23 September 1932) is a former German football manager.

Hans de Koning

Hans de Koning (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈɦɑns də ˈkoːnɪŋ]) (born April 5, 1960) is a Dutch football manager and former goalkeeper. He is currently the head coach of FC Volendam.

Henk van Stee

Henk van Stee (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈɦɛŋk fɑn ˈsteː], born December 17, 1961 in Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland) is a former football midfielder from the Netherlands, who played for Sparta Rotterdam and De Graafschap. He retired in 1990, and became a football manager, who worked for Sparta Rotterdam, VVV-Venlo, Feyenoord Rotterdam, AZ Alkmaar and Excelsior Rotterdam. Currently he works as the youth academy director for FC Zenit Saint Petersburg.

Héctor Moreno

Héctor Alfredo Moreno Herrera (born 17 January 1988) is a Mexican professional footballer who plays for Spanish club Real Sociedad and the Mexico national team as a central defender.

Moreno came through the youth ranks of Club Universidad Nacional, making his senior debut in 2006 at the age of 18. He moved abroad a year later, joining Dutch side AZ Alkmaar, with whom he won his first league title. He joined Spanish side Espanyol in 2011, playing with the side for four years before returning to the Netherlands with PSV Eindhoven. In 2017, Moreno had a short spell with Roma before moving back to Spain with Real Sociedad.

Moreno was a member of the Mexico under-17 national team that won the 2005 World Championship held in Peru. He has also represented Mexico at the 2010, 2014, and 2018 FIFA World Cups, as well as the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup, the Copa América Centenario, and the 2013 and 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.

Jong AZ

Jong AZ is a Dutch association football team, based in Zaandam in the Zaanstreek. It is the reserve team of AZ, based in Alkmaar, and plays in the Keuken Kampioen Divisie.

Jordy Clasie

Jordy Clasie (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈjɔrdi ˈklaːsi]; born 27 June 1991) is a Dutch footballer who currently plays as a midfielder for Eredivisie club AZ Alkmaar, and for the Dutch national team.

Louis van Gaal

Aloysius Paulus Maria van Gaal OON (Dutch pronunciation: [luˈʋi vɑŋ ˈɣaːl] (listen); born 8 August 1951) is a Dutch former football manager and player. At club level, he served as manager of Ajax, Barcelona, AZ Alkmaar, Bayern Munich and Manchester United, as well as having two spells in charge of the Netherlands national team. Van Gaal is one of the most decorated managers in world football, having won 20 major honours in his managerial career.Before his career as a coach, Van Gaal played as a midfielder for Royal Antwerp, Telstar, Sparta Rotterdam, Ajax and AZ. He is also a fully qualified physical education teacher, and worked at high schools during his career as a semi-professional footballer. After a brief spell as an assistant coach at AZ, Van Gaal served as the assistant under Leo Beenhakker at Ajax and eventually took over as head coach in 1991. Under his lead, the club won three Eredivisie titles, the UEFA Cup, and the UEFA Champions League. He moved to Barcelona in 1997 and won two league titles and one Copa del Rey, but left after disagreements with the club's hierarchy.

Van Gaal was then appointed at the Netherlands, but failed to qualify for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. This preceded another brief spell at Barcelona, before he returned to AZ, where he won an Eredivisie title, and was hired by Bayern Munich in 2009. In Germany, he secured the Bundesliga, the DFB-Pokal, and reached the final of the Champions League, but returned to the Netherlands, where he led the nation to third at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He was then hired at Manchester United later that summer, where he won one FA Cup before being dismissed in 2016.

Marco Borsato

Marco Roberto Borsato (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈmɑrkoː roːˈbɛrtoː bɔrˈsaːtoː]; born 21 December 1966) is a Dutch singer. Born in Alkmaar, North Holland, he started performing in Italian before switching to Dutch in 1994. He has consistently been one of the most successful and biggest grossing artists in the Netherlands for the past twenty years.

Master of Alkmaar

The Master of Alkmaar was a Dutch painter active around Alkmaar at the beginning of the sixteenth century. His name is derived from a series of panel paintings from the church of Saint Lawrence in that city, dated to 1504 and showing the Seven Works of Mercy; they are currently in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

The paintings, bearing the stamp of Geertgen tot Sint Jans, are done in bright colors, and their figures are drawn in an exaggeratedly caricatured manner. It has been proposed that this artist is identical to Cornelis Buys I, the brother of Jacob Cornelisz van Oostsanen; he is known to have been active in Alkmaar between 1490 and 1524. More recently, the name of Pieter Gerritsz, originally of Haarlem, has been proposed, he being in Alkmaar beginning in 1502. This artist, in 1518, was compensated for a painting of Saint Bavo in Haarlem, and his name can be found in records of the Egmond Abbey and of the church of Saint Lawrence in Alkmaar, over a period covering the years 1515 to 1529.

Siege of Alkmaar

The Siege of Alkmaar (1573) was a turning point in the Eighty Years' War. The burghers of the Dutch city of Alkmaar held off the Spanish (who had set up their camp in Oudorp) between 21 August and 8 October 1573, with boiling tar and burning branches from their renewed city walls. On 23 September William the Silent followed up on a request by Cabeliau dating from the beginning of the siege and ordered the dikes surrounding Alkmaar to be breached, thereby flooding the polders in which the Spanish troops were camped. This forced the Spanish commander, Don Fadrique, the son of the hated Alva himself, to retreat and the last Spanish soldiers left on 8 October 1573.The end of the siege is considered a turning point in the Eighty Years' War as Alkmaar was the first city to overcome a siege by the Spanish army.

The garrison included a detachment of Scots soldiers who had previously tried to defend Haarlem.A first-hand account of the siege exists in the diary of Nanning van Foreest, a local city councillor. Several archaeological examinations have uncovered remains of the battle.

Theo Vonk

Theo Vonk (born 16 December 1947 in Uitgeest) is a Dutch former footballer and manager, most recently in charge of Gibraltar Premier Division side Glacis United, where he also served as technical director.

Tripartite-class minehunter

The Tripartite class is a class of mine warfare vessel used by the navies of Belgium, France and the Netherlands, as well as Pakistan, Indonesia, Latvia, and Bulgaria.

Wesley Hoedt

Wesley Theodorus Hoedt (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈʋɛsli ˈɦut]; born 6 March 1994) is a Dutch professional footballer who plays as a centre back for Premier League club Southampton, and the Netherlands national team.

Willem van Hanegem

Willem "Wim" van Hanegem (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈʋɪləm ˈʋɪm vɑn ˈɦaːnəɣɛm]; born 20 February 1944) is a Dutch former football midfielder and coach born in Breskens, Zeeland. In a playing career spanning over 20 years he won several domestic honours in the Netherlands, as well as a European Cup and a UEFA trophy, all with Feyenoord. He was also a finalist in the 1974 FIFA World Cup. As a manager, he won the league and cup with Feyenoord and spent a period as the Dutch national team's assistant coach. His most recent job as manager was for FC Utrecht, from 2007 to 2008.

Places adjacent to Alkmaar
Municipalities of North Holland


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